While the case involved a teacher in a Lutheran school, it will clearly have a huge impact on Catholic schools and other ministries.
From the New York Times:
In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference.
“The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a decision that was surprising in both its sweep and its unanimity. “But so, too, is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”
From the USCCB:
“It’s a great day for the First Amendment,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.
Bishop Lori spoke January 11, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold a church’s right to determine who its ministers are and banned government interference in the process. His statement follows.
The Supreme Court decision marks a victory for religious liberty and the U.S. Constitution. Freedom of Religion is America’s First Freedom and the Court has spoken unanimously in favor of it. The Founding Fathers would be proud. Respect for the long-standing “ministerial exception,” which is grounded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment and prevents the government from interfering in the employment relationship between a Church and its ministers. This decision makes resoundingly clear the historical and constitutional importance of keeping internal church affairs off limits to the government—because whoever chooses the minister chooses the message.It’s a great day for the First Amendment.
Bishop William E. Lori
U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty