Once again, Catholics are challenged in their own institutions. You have probably read about the uproar in San Francisco over the new standards for teachers in the San Francisco diocesan high schools which in Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s words clarify “Catholic issues in our Catholic schools.” In other words, the Archbishop is making a concerted effort to “present Catholic doctrine in its fullness” to [the archdiocese's] students and to make sure that the schools under his jurisdiction are “truly Catholic.” To this end Archbishop Cordileone sent a letter to teachers in the archdiocesan high schools and issued a document on “Catholic faith and morals that is becoming part of the faculty handbook.” Much of the statement covers what the Archbishop calls “hot bottom” issues regarding sexual morality.
Eight California legislators have written to the Archbishop objecting to the standards and to the Archbishop’s designation of teachers in the four high schools as “ministers.” The Archbishop’s new standards set “a divisive tone, which stands in stark contrast to the values that define the Bay Area and its history” as well as sending “an alarming message of intolerance to youth educated [at the four schools].”
In his excellent letter responding to the legislators, the Archbishop asked them: “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general?”
“I respect your right to employ whomever you wish to advance your mission,” he told them. “I simply ask the same respect from you.”
Now the New York Times is chiming in with a story in the February 27 edition. Interestingly, they do not quote from the Archbishop’s letter to the legislators. Instead we get quotes from the mother of a student saying, “this language says some people are not O.K. – and that’s not O.K.” And from a teacher and union official who says that union members are “worried about teachers who are gay and who are not able to live publicly.”
One of the things which strikes me about this situation is how the Church has lost the moral high ground. Acceptance of evil behavior is now viewed as the greatest virtue.
To date the Archdiocese has said that the Archbishop won’t use the word “ministers.” Beyond that it says that he “has not repealed anything. He is adding explanations, clarifications, and material on Catholic social teaching….Nothing already planned to go in [the handbook] is being removed or retracted or withdrawn….Even if a substitute for ‘ministry’ is found, the substitute must guarantee that the teachers in the Catholic archdiocesan high schools promote the Catholic mission of the institutions.”
Good for Archbishop Crodileone. Add him to your prayer list and go to Catholicvote.org to show your support for him.