Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Archbishop Cordileone acts on Catholic Schools: they "exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by the Catholic Church"

Bless his Lionheart! Forgive the long post  title, but this initiative is so important every word is also important. Excerpts from Valerie Schmalz's article on the front page of today's Catholic San Francisco are below.

The Archdiocese has also released a special supplement to this week's Catholic San Francisco which consists of: the Archbishop's letter to school faculty; the documentitself: "Statement of the High Schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Regarding the Teachings and Practice of the Catholic Church”; a statement from Maureen Huntington, Superintendent of the S.F. Department of Catholic Schools; and Q and A about the new teachers' union contract. The supplement may be found here (PDF).

Here's a (very) short video of His Excellency outlining the initiative:

Archdiocese: Catholic schools exist to ‘affirm and proclaim’ Gospel of Jesus
February 3rd, 2015
By Valerie Schmalz
Faculty handbook changes emphasize that teachers, staff must not publicly contradict Catholic teaching
 The Archdiocese of San Francisco is proposing three new clauses to the contracts for the teachers in the archdiocesan Catholic high schools. The purpose is to further clarify that Catholic schools – as the first clause states – “exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church.”
 The archdiocese is also adding detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice – taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church – into the faculty and staff handbooks of the four archdiocesan high schools, Archbishop Riordan, Marin Catholic and Junipero Serra high schools and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. The handbook additions will take effect in the 2015-16 school year and are not part of the contract.
 While the handbook and contract changes reiterate more strongly the responsibility of teachers and staff not to contradict Catholic teaching in school and in their public lives, they do not contain anything essentially new and are intended to clarify existing expectations that Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching, archdiocesan Catholic Schools Superintendent Maureen Huntington said.
The intent is not to drive any teacher out of the schools, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone and Huntington said....

Archbishop’s letter
Archbishop Cordileone specifically addressed concerns about job security in a letter dated February 2015 to teachers. 
“At the outset, I wish to state clearly and emphatically that the intention underlying this document is not to target for dismissal from our schools any teachers, singly or collectively, nor does it introduce anything essentially new into the contract or the faculty handbook,” the archbishop wrote in the letter.
The handbook additions clearly state that the institution believes in the listed items, and does not require each individual staff member or teacher to assent to each stated item of Catholic doctrine. That is because the archdiocese recognizes that some Catholic teachers and other non-Catholic teachers may not agree with all that the Catholic Church teaches, Archbishop Cordileone said. The aim of the handbook additions is to specify for all what the church teaches and require that high school staff and teachers not contradict Catholic teachings in a school environment or in public actions. ...
 Archbishop Cordileone explained the reasoning in his letter to the archdiocesan teachers, saying “I see a need to provide more clarity for our teachers.” “For a Catholic high school to attain excellence, it must be at one and the same time an excellent institution of secondary education and a truly Catholic institution,” he said. “Changes in our secular society over the last few decades have brought new challenges to this endeavor in both senses, as we now face both increased difficulties in educating our students well in an array of academic subjects, and unprecedented challenges in forming our young people with a deep and strong Catholic identity as well as knowledge and practice of the Catholic faith,” the archbishop wrote....

Changes cover ‘hot button’ issues
The additions to the faculty handbooks cover what Archbishop Cordileone termed “hot button” issues and are drawn directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They include statements of Catholic teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage, artificial contraception and artificial means of reproduction such as in-vitro fertilization as well as affirming the authority of the magisterium of the Catholic Church and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
 “Confusion about the church’s stance is prevalent in areas of sexual morality and religious practice,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “For this reason, the statements for inclusion in the faculty handbook focus on these two areas. This focus does not imply lesser importance to Catholic teachings on social justice, which in fact are widely accepted and well interpreted in Catholic educational institutions.”
 “There is nothing new under the Catholic sun with this approach,” said Jesuit Father John Piderit, moderator of the curia/vicar for administration for the archdiocese. “It is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is straightforward.” 

Read the whole thing.

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