Bp. Vasa (D. Santa Rosa) under fire for requiring Catholic school teachers to live according to the Faith

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has an interseting story about an initiative in the local Diocese of Santa Rosa where Most Rev. Robert Vasa is bishop.

It occurred to me as I read this that people who make a push for laity to be more involved in leadership roles in the Church should then willing embrace certain obligation that leaders in the Church take on, including swearing that they adhere to the Church’s teachings an legitimate discipline.  Why should lay people get a pass?   Thus… sign or get out.

Santa Rosa Diocese requires its teachers to reject ‘modern errors’

By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese is requiring its 200 schoolteachers to sign an agreement affirming that “modern errors” such as contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia are “matters that gravely offend human dignity.”  [NEWS FLASH: It is no secret what the Church has always taught about these things.]

The move is an effort by Bishop Robert Vasa to delineate specifically what it means for a Catholic-school teacher — whether Catholic or not — to be a “model of Catholic living” and to adhere to Catholic teaching.

That means means abiding by the Ten Commandments, going to church every Sunday and heeding God’s words in thought, deed and intentions, [Are those unreasonable things to expect from Catholics in leadership and service positions in the Church?  ALL Catholics, for that matter?] according to a private church document that is an “addendum” to language in the current teachers’ contract.

In his two years as Santa Rosa’s bishop, Vasa has attempted to bring his strict[Ooooo!] interpretation of church doctrine to a diocese that historically has had a more tolerant approach. [Get that?  He is therefore probably "intolerant".  And he is "attempting" to do this... but he'll fail.  Right?]

But some teachers fear[Ooooo!] the addendum is an invasion[OH NO!] of their private lives and a move toward imposing more rigid Catholic doctrine. [No, that paragraph isn't loaded with attempts to bias you against the bishop.  Nah.]

“Personally, it’s probably something that I can’t sign,” said a teacher at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa.

John Collins, the diocese superintendent, said the contract language is not an effort to drive certain teachers away or “provoke” them. He said about 25 percent of the teachers are non-Catholic.  [And?]

“People are being invited to grow in an understanding and appreciation and embrace of the Catholic Faith,” he said.

He said he did not expect that many teachers would reject the document, which they must sign if they are to return for the 2013-2014 school year.

The teacher, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, said he has not made a final decision whether or not to sign the document.

“On my high moral days, [Shouldn't teachers in Catholic schools strive to have "high moral days" all the time?  What do they do on "low moral days"?] I feel I absolutely won’t sign,” the teacher said. “And on my days that I think about my job, I think who will it affect if I don’t sign it.”

The teacher said he objects to the “whole idea that they want me to live their morals when it’s my personal life what I do outside of work.”

[NB:] But Vasa said that very response is why he felt compelled to write the addendum. He questioned whether someone “can teach what the Catholic Church teaches with zeal and enthusiasm while holding, as they say, ‘in the privacy of their heart’ views that are contrary to Catholic doctrine. [That is a good question.  And Bishop Vasa is not just a Superintendent of Schools or and employer.  He is a bishop, who is above all trying to keep people out of hell.  He is responsible for souls, not jobs.]

He strongly rejected the notion that the letter was a move toward greater religious dogma. “That’s fear mongering, [as we saw a few paragraphs ago] which does not in my view have a foundation in fact,” Vasa said.

“I’m not presuming that the campus is liberal or conservative. I am simply fulfilling my duty and responsibility to make sure that the Catholic faith, as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is clearly and consistently taught in the Catholic institutions of the Diocese.”

[...]

Read the rest over there.

In a Year of Faith… in a time of promoting a “New Evangelization” we have to be clear about who we are.

Otherwise, let’s just shut the doors of our schools and hospitals or sell them off and stop pretending that they are Catholic.

No?

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117 Responses to Bp. Vasa (D. Santa Rosa) under fire for requiring Catholic school teachers to live according to the Faith

  1. Legisperitus says:

    Oh, please let them put up a poll…

  2. Weetabix says:

    Perhaps the Bishop should stress the point that he’s not trying to drive anyone away or punish anyone – he’s trying to find the absolute best teachers to fulfill the very clear mission of the school: to imbue every subject with a firm compliance with the Catholic faith. How can a teacher do that who does not hold or respect the Catholic faith?

  3. Scott W. says:

    Aren’t there many examples of non-Catholic companies having moral turpitude clauses in their employment contracts governing off-company-time behavior?

  4. Scott W. says:

    P.S. Anyone got a link to the actual text of the affirmation?

  5. Pingback: Should Catholic School Employees Be Required To Be Catholic School Employees « Our Lady and Sheen

  6. Adam Welp says:

    That’s fine, let them not sign then clean house to make room for orthodox teaching orders like the Nashville Dominicans. I would like to see this done in the Archdiocese where my wife teaches!

  7. mamajen says:

    If our bishop were to take a stand like this, I’d be more inclined to send my son to the local Catholic school. But as it stands I will not waste my money.

  8. JacobWall says:

    Good work, Bishop Vasa! I feel the same as you, mamajen. My wife and I recently had this discussion about our 5-year-old son, now in kindergarten. Our conclusion was this: Even though in our case the local Catholic school is 100% publicly funded, if we send him to there, we would have to spend his hours at home undoing a distorted version of Catholicism presented to him by the teachers. For us this is more dangerous and difficult than simply drawing clear lines from the beginning that religion is taught at home and in church, and the school has no say in it. So, the public school it is.

    The priest who teaches the religion classes is amazing, but, as my youngest children’s godfather pointed out, they only get to be with him an hour a week or so. Like you, mamajen, if we saw something like this from our bishop, I’m pretty sure we would go for the Catholic school.

  9. teomatteo says:

    “that is an “addendum” to language in the current teachers’ contract.
    I wonder why the scare quotes? Maybe because its a “latin” word???

  10. JacobWall says:

    The whole private views vs. public views thing does not work. If a teacher cannot agree to such simple basics, they should not be teaching in a Catholic school. Children see their teachers outside of class, and hear about their “private opinions.” It even comes through in the class when teachers say things like “official Church teaching that we are supposed to support is …” and give a strong implication that they personally do not agree without saying so directly. Kids are smart. They pick up on this stuff.

    He’s really not asking for that much. Many devout evangelical protestants I know could easily agree to all of the items listed, including contraception, church attendance, etc. So why is it so hard to ask this of Catholics or even non-Catholics teaching in a Catholic school? The sad part is, I suspect Bishop Vasa is going to have as much trouble with the 75% “Catholics” as he will with the 25% non-Catholics.

  11. charismatictrad says:

    Wow, the epitome of a Christian-turned-secularist relativist: let me live the way I want to live; my faith has nothing to do with my life. WHERE HAS ALL THE LOGIC GONE?!?!?!?!?!?

  12. Giulio says:

    I find ‘amusing’ that corporation have a code of ethics, require that employees behave even after working hours.

  13. One of those TNCs says:

    Let us pray for Bishop Vasa. I followed the link to the whole article – it’s worth reading, especially because it gives excerpts of the actual contract.

    But you might want to skip reading any of the comments that follow. They are, for the most part, hate-filled and pitiful in their total lack of understanding of what a follower of Christ is obliged to do.

    May the Lord have mercy on them, and give strength and wisdom and courage to Bishop Vasa and other bishops who lead their flocks as he is leading his.

  14. Elizabeth M says:

    What the article doesn’t say is that they are quoting teachers who are non-Catholic and making it sound as though it is the Catholic teachers who won’t sign. Hence the anonymity. Why does the devil continue to think he can divide Catholics with this stuff?
    When teachers here in CA public school refuse to teach gay “marriage” as equal, or speaking out against it outside the classroom they get fired. The Diocese would be sued rather quickly by wolves.

  15. Scott W. says:

    When teachers here in CA public school refuse to teach gay “marriage” as equal, or speaking out against it outside the classroom they get fired. The Diocese would be sued rather quickly by wolves.

    Great point Elizabeth. Many of the comments after that article talk about how it is an invasion of privacy and a violation of conscience. The sound from them when someone refuses to teach gay “marriage”?…..

    [crickets chirping]

  16. Supertradmum says:

    This is not a new idea. Bl John Paul II wanted teachers to do as such; here are the documents for the oath and promise from Rome, both of which I have taken in the past. Notice the dates.

    NAPCIS schools in the States have required this for years. and I know of one person who had to leave after breaking the agreements.

    It is about time all the bishops of all the dioceses in the world demand this of our teachers. I think the bishops have been remiss about this.

    PROFESSION OF FAITH and THE OATH OF FIDELITY
    ON ASSUMING AN OFFICE TO BE EXERCISED IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

    As conforming to Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem, this Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity supercedes the Profession and Oath of 1989.
    I. PROFESSION OF FAITH

    I, N., with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith: namely:

    I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

    Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

    II. OATH OF FIDELITY ON ASSUMING AN OFFICE TO BE EXERCISED IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH

    (Formula to be used by the Christian faithful mentioned in Canon 833, nn. 5-8)

    I, N., in assuming the office of __________, promise that in my words and in my actions I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church.

    With great care and fidelity I shall carry out the duties incumbent on me toward the Church, both universal and particular, in which, according to the provisions of the law, I have been called to exercise my service.

    In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it.

    I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.

    With Christian obedience I shall follow what the Bishops, as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith, declare, or what they, as those who govern the Church, establish.

    I shall also faithfully assist the diocesan Bishops, so that the apostolic activity, exercised in the name and by mandate of the Church, may be carried out in communion with the Church.

    So help me God, and God’s Holy Gospels on which I place my hand.

    (Variations in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the formulary, for use by those members of the Christian faithful indicated in can. 833, n. 8).

    I shall foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall insist on the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.

    With Christian obedience I shall follow what the Bishops, as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith, declare, or what they, as those who govern the Church, establish. I shall also — with due regard for the character and purpose of my institute — faithfully assist the diocesan Bishops, so that the apostolic activity, exercised in the name and by mandate of the Church, may be carried out in communion with the Church.

    NOTE: Canon 833, Nos. 5-8 obliges the following to make the profession of faith: vicars general, episcopal vicars and judicial vicars; “at the beginning of their term of office, pastors, the rector of a seminary and the professors of theology and philosophy in seminaries; those to be promoted to the diaconate”; “the rectors of an ecclesiastical or Catholic university at the beginning of the rector’s term of office”; and, “at the beginning of their term of office, teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines which deal with faith or morals”; and “superiors in clerical religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in accord with the norm of the constitutions.”

    Taken from:
    L’Osservatore Romano
    Weekly Edition in English
    15 July 1998, page 3

  17. Cathy says:

    Kudos to Bishop Vasa! Both Catholics and non-catholics who sacrifice their hard earned dollars to send their children to Catholic schools should have full assurance that what is taught and lived in the schools does not dissent from the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic education goes beyond reading, writing and arithmetic and the vocation of Catholic teaching must have within its scope the propagation of the Catholic faith. The state of primary and secondary education in Catholic schools, in general, has been horrendous – I came from both. If you believe I’m wrong, I challenge you to give a second-grade Baltimore catechism to an adult Catholic educated in Catholic Schools in the 70′s to the current day and you will most likely find an adult who is a foreigner to the majority of what is between those pages.

  18. Tradster says:

    Sadly, liberals seldom have any qualms about lying to get their way. I expect many will simply sign it, forget it, and go on with business as usual.

  19. mamajen says:

    @JacobWall

    My son will turn 5 this summer, and it’s off to public school for him in the fall. For a variety of reasons I didn’t feel that homeschooling was the right thing for us, but I will be keeping a close eye on him, to be sure. I went to a Catholic school for my first 2 1/2 years, and it was largely a disaster. We are fortunate to have a fairly conservative public school system in my city, and I will just do my very best to make sure he knows the difference between right and wrong no matter what he may encounter–you can’t shelter them forever!

  20. Supertradmum says:

    PS I helped write, about ten years ago, a similar oath and promise for non-Catholics to use in schools. Some schools are using my work. It can be done.

  21. Jean Marie says:

    Sweet Jesus, when will sanity return?

    [Friend... probably not completely in my lifetime. But the sides are sorting themselves out.]

  22. jhayes says:

    Supertradmum wrote: “This is not a new idea. Bl John Paul II wanted teachers to do as such”

    Yes, but only “teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines which deal with faith or morals.” not elementary and high school teachers or university teachers of other subjects.

  23. Rich says:

    I love it how the “Catholic” school teacher tries to play the victim card, when in reality her students and their families have been the ones victimized through the reception of a merely pretend Catholic education.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    jhayes, you did not read all I wrote. NAPCIS schools replied to this request and used these for elementary and high schools, as keeping with the spirit of the law….should have been required for all Cathollc schools in the world.

  25. The Masked Chicken says:

    “On my high low moral days, I feel I absolutely won’t sign,” the teacher said.

    The Chicken

  26. MrTipsNZ says:

    And yet the same newspaper would more than likely think it natural that the Catholic Church should be made to sign and comply with Obama’s HHS mandate………

  27. Marie Veronica says:

    Our bishop asks this kind of oath of teachers – Catholic school and CCD. I think it should be mandatory that those who teach Catholicism to Catholics be professing Catholics! It caused a few to refuse to sign it and the press got a story. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-07-11/local/35489175_1_new-oath-school-teachers-catholic-school

    Prayers for the ill-cathechized. I try to nudge people also – links, books, lectures, invitations to devotional practices. Sometimes people “don’t know what they don’t know.”

  28. Athelstan says:

    From the comments section on the story:

    High school, Catholic educated or not, should be a safe place were young people should be able to express themselves when it comes to sexual orientation and not feel ashamed because of what their school tells them what is right and wrong. NONE of the things that are presented as “modern errors” are errors at all.

    Clearly, the Church and her parents did a bang-up job of catechesis on this young woman.

    This is the kind of attitude that we confront now. The Church has to ask itself: Is it worth bothering to have schools if this is the sort of student that they turn out regularly?

    And yet: Bishop Vasa’s predecessors allowed this situation to unfold over the decades. Why? Did they not care? Were they afraid?

  29. Scott W. says:

    Sadly, liberals seldom have any qualms about lying to get their way. I expect many will simply sign it, forget it, and go on with business as usual.

    Probably, but signing the affirmation puts one “on record” as it were, and that is an excellent starting point for separating the wheat from the chaff.

    And the oath that supertradmum posted is good, but Bp. Vasa’s affirmation targets explicitly the “hot button” issues, and leaves little room for creative interpretation. If every bishop did likewise, we could really get a clearing of the stables.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Those two documents were from the Vatican.

  31. Laura98 says:

    I would have been MORE than happy to sign such a paper when I worked at one of the local Catholic schools (where my daughter attended). But nope… no such thing was asked. I can imagine the uproar it would have caused… but I digress. Perhaps our bishop (whom I love) will take this idea and go with it! One can only hope!

    As a side note… I used to live in Santa Rosa, and I’m so happy to see them have such a wonderful bishop! After years of … well… lesser quality. It’s a tough place (read VERY liberal) to be an orthodox Catholic, but it sounds like Bishop Vasa is handling it pretty well. Lots of prayers needed for him and the Church there.

  32. acardnal says:

    Ya know, if you don’t like the HR policies where you work, then don’t work there! The same applies to working for Catholic institutions.

  33. acardnal says:

    God bless Bp. Vasa.

  34. Ben Dunlap says:

    I suspect that a similar policy is one of many reasons why the Faith is taught robustly here in the Diocese of Wichita. From the teacher application:

    I understand that if it is found that I … have promulgated teachings inconsistent with established Catholic teachings, or that I have openly adopted a way of life inconsistent with Catholic moral standards, or that I have otherwise portrayed myself in a way that is not appropriate for student emulation in a Catholic school, I may not be hired or retained in employment with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

  35. Scott W. says:

    I suspect that a similar policy is one of many reasons why the Faith is taught robustly here in the Diocese of Wichita. From the teacher application.

    Actually, most dioceses have something similar. I did when I worked for a parish in the middle-of-the-road Diocese of Lansing. The problem is that progressives possess false view of conscience and use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. By zeroing-in on specific acts and teachings, Bp. Vasa’s affirmation removes all the ambiguity that dissidents thrive on.

  36. God bless +Vasa. And may the Lord give us many bishops like him.

  37. BLB Oregon says:

    “Sadly, liberals seldom have any qualms about lying to get their way. I expect many will simply sign it, forget it, and go on with business as usual.” –This comment could have been avoided, lest we invite ourselves into rash judgment. The devil put a ditch on both sides of the road, and we must be careful, lest we fall.

  38. tealady24 says:

    OK, now that I’ve fed Basil . . .

    It seems so simple; teachers should be practicing members of the CATHOLIC faith, (not that pseudo-protestant watered-down version) that passes for catholic today. There are truths to our faith and if you cannot adhere and teach these, then you shouldn’t be hired. And you should be fired.
    The minute BO stepped onto the ND campus a few years back, with the greatest of pomposity, mind you, I knew we were in big trouble.

  39. BLB Oregon says:

    Sadly, I have heard people from the Diocese of Baker say that there was resistance in some fellow Catholics not out of defiance to what is in the oath, but out of judgment that it was felt the oath was one-sided or that it was insulting or that some people they admire wouldn’t sign it or other objections having nothing to do with finding any falsehood in the oath that violated their own consciences. Some were angry simply that they were put on the spot after many years of not having been asked to sign anything. Others had dealt with parts of Church teaching they do not agree with by remaining silent about those topics, and they didn’t want to be forced to take a stand.

    It is to be hoped that the faithful are eager to be obedient and would refuse to take such an oath only if a bishop were asking for compliance to teachings that are in violation of the teachings of the Magesterium. Surely they would be have redress within the Church, if they were to do so (that is, if a refusal was actually out of a correctly-formed conscience in defiance of a bishop who had strayed from the truth). To refuse for any other reason is sad and disturbing. To be asked to do something you don’t particularly like or agree with but which is not a violation of a correctly-formed conscience is no violation of your person. Too many people do not get that. They must be corrected, but one has to hope that they are doing their best with the formation they have been given.

  40. Clinton R. says:

    Gee, how dare Bishop Vasa make teachers in Catholic schools adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. You mean the teachers can’t teach according to the “spirit” of Vatican II? They don’t get to have a private magisterium? Seriously, I am glad the Bishop is making it known authentic Catholic teaching is a must for anyone who teaches in Catholic schools. As Father states, the bishop’s job is to keep souls out of hell, not make teachers feel warm and cozy inside. If one cannot or will not adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church, there is the door.

  41. APX says:

    Scott W.

    When I was working as a peace officer, I had to sign and swear my soul away with regards to my conduct inside and outside of work. It was made very clear to me my first day that something as common as getting drunk in bar could result in being charged under the provincial Peace Officers Act (sucks for Mounties ’cause the RCMP Act is federal, Federal = possible criminal record) and, at best, fined, for “Behaviour unbecoming of a peace officer.” Depending on what it was, (ie: a DWI (DUI for you Americans) would result in termination of employment.

    Seeing how my faith was officially destroyed by my grade 12 Christian Ethics teacher who taught us heresy, I don’t think this is asking too much.

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  43. Anne 2 says:

    Those who do not know that children learn by example;
    and do not know that all Catholics must adhere to the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH” in entirety;
    and that people do not check their morals and personal beliefs at the door when they leave the house;
    and that they have no right to tell Catholic parents what they should and should not expect when they pay for a Catholic education via tuition and the cost of books – - do not understand or do not want to understand. Quite frankly, its none of their business.
    We must all defend Bishop Vasa in the secular newspaper comments.

  44. JohnE says:

    I like a bishop who’s not afraid to use his crozier. I think unity is exactly what the Church needs at this time. We can do a better job gathering the strays after that.

  45. Shonkin says:

    I think the thing to understand is that Sonoma County (of which Santa Rosa is the seat) is heavily influenced by San Francisco. Sonoma County has the second-highest per capita AIDS rate in Northern California, at least partly because the lower Russian River is a vacation and retirement destination for “gay” San Franciscans. It should be no surprise that the Press-Democrat has a heavily liberal bias.
    Teachers have a strong influence on children, doubly so during adolescence. It isn’t just the religion teachers; coaches influence them a lot, as do the classroom teachers in other subjects. Bishop Vasa is right to expect the teachers to present a good example for the students. Otherwise, they might as well close the schools.

  46. PostCatholic says:

    They that lie down with dogs wake up with fleas. If one is non-Catholic and teaching in a Catholic school which was established to pass on the Catholic faith, then ex vi termini one ought to be expected to have no problems with passing on that faith.

    One reason I’d never teach in a Catholic institution.

    Morality clauses in contracts aren’t by any means limited to religious institutions or their schools. Don’t execute the document if you can’t execute the expectations. Or even better: Don’t work for an employer whose values you can’t respect.

  47. vikingjr says:

    “The teacher said he objects to the ‘whole idea that they want me to live their morals when it’s my personal life what I do outside of work.’”

    Oh really? What about what scandalous priests do outside of work? These are the same people that want an inquisition when they find out that a priest asks questions that make them uncomfortable while in confession…

    What hypocrasy… This type of teacher is the exact reason why my wife and I won’t send our children to Catholic School… Didn’t Fulton Sheen say something about how you can send your kids to a state school where they will fight for their faith, or Catholic school, where it will be robbed from them?

  48. BLB Oregon says:

    “I like a bishop who’s not afraid to use his crozier. I think unity is exactly what the Church needs at this time. We can do a better job gathering the strays after that.”

    Yes…a pastoral action that some of the sheep do not like should not be taken as some form of violence against sheep! He’s not beating anyone with anything. As far as I know, he’s not barring the schools from using Islamic electricians or from having atheists working in the cafeteria kitchens. Rather, his intent is to be faithful to his responsibility to make sure that those given any sort of teaching office with the Church’s name on it are not teaching or holding any errors, nor by their silence failing to teach truths that the Church is duty-bound to teach. That is the bishop’s duty to God, to the parents of the children entrusted to the school, and to the students.

  49. “He said he did not expect that many teachers would reject the document”

    Its worth pointing out that not only is there a new generation of priests & bishops who love the faith, but there is a new generation of lay faithful who do as well. It is a sign of hope that many – if not most – teachers won’t have any problem seeing the reasonableness of this and sign enthusiastically. I know of at least two schools in the pacific northwest where this is the case.

    It also helps when parents charitably but firmly make their desire for faithfulness in their schools known – first to the principal and if necessary to the priest and even the bishop. Having that support helps schools & clergy go the extra mile that otherwise seems insurmountable.

  50. jhayes says:

    Supertradmum wrote: “Those two documents were from the Vatican.”

    I agree. I was only pointing out that the “NOTE” at the end clarifies that the teachers they apply to are university level.

    Which doesn’t mean that NAPCIS and individual bishops can’t have their own requirements.

    Since you mentioned you have written an oath and promise for non-Catholics I wonder how you dealt with the issue of non-Catholic teachers in Catholic school who hold personal beliefs different from the Catholic Church – for instance, Episcopalians who believe that artificial contraception can be a morally good choice in some circumstances. I suppose that, like a law school professor, they can agree to teach the law as it exists, whether they personally believe it is good law or not, but asking them to say that they believe in the teaching and will be guided by it in their own personal life is something else again.

  51. Bob B. says:

    Having taught for well over a decade (my third profession) in a few Catholic schools, I have always thought that such a thing should be required, but from everyone in a school, college or university. The reason for this is that everyone on a campus must be a role model for the students. I have seen and heard, firsthand, principals, a dean of students, teachers, and staff members say things in direct contravention to the Faith. Complaining to the pastor, priest or diocesan education office does nothing except brand you as a troublemaker and make it easier to have you eased out.
    If you scan the local papers in this diocese, you find a bunch of Catholic high school students who don’t like the bishop’s decision, which only proves the point that they haven’t been taught our Faith very well.
    I’ve suggested, more than once, that as students graduate from middle school, high school and college/university they have to pass a Catholic religion test. You would think I had suggested the downfall of all that is sacred and holy by the reaction this meets. In truth, most teachers and diocesan education offices fear how many would fail, especially in high school and college where social action is virtually all that is taught.

  52. Oneros says:

    It’s one thing, perhaps, to not expect a Catholic teacher to not be a heretic in terms of belief.

    It’s quite another when you start getting into talk of “way of life” and “adherence” and “compliance.” Someone can believe and accept all the moral teachings and be a sinner, even non-defensively so.

    Expecting “adherence” to Catholic doctrine can only mean assent. Otherwise, no one “adheres,” because we’re all sinners.

    But of course, I expect this will just be another example of their “two tier” system for sinners, their double standard, being trotted out. It’s really about keeping up appearances, isn’t it?

  53. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “I wonder how you dealt with the issue of non-Catholic teachers in Catholic school who hold personal beliefs different from the Catholic Church – for instance, Episcopalians who believe that artificial contraception can be a morally good choice in some circumstances. I suppose that, like a law school professor, they can agree to teach the law as it exists, whether they personally believe it is good law or not, but asking them to say that they believe in the teaching and will be guided by it in their own personal life is something else again.”

    A person’s personal beliefs inevitably enter into their teaching if not explicitly certainly implicitly even when the subject matter does not involve theology or philosophy. History, social studies and ethics are three examples.

    Moreover, one’s personal behavior off campus influences students. So, if you are an active homosexual living with your lover, the students are probably aware of it. If you are working at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in the evening or on weekend, the students are probably aware of it. This behavior is not Catholic and those people should not be employed at Catholic institutions. Simply put, if a person does not believe and uphold Catholic teaching in all things, both on and off campus, then they shouldn’t be teaching at a Catholic school.

  54. BLB Oregon says:

    “…I expect this will just be another example of their “two tier” system for sinners, their double standard, being trotted out. It’s really about keeping up appearances, isn’t it?”

    You talk about keeping up appearances as if it were a bad thing….and as if appearances never had any basis in reality.

    The standard being discussed isn’t any worse than a health club that expects its trainers to maintain a certain level of fitness and to “walk the talk” in terms of regular exercise, some amount of moderation in terms of food intake, and so on. Again: not the guys who maintain the aerobic equipment or the lady who keeps the pool clean, but the people who lead the exercise classes. Health clubs also do not fire people because word got around that an instructor lit up a big fat stinky cigar when his sister had a baby. They do tell their fitness instructors that a certain personal regime of fitness is expected, in order to maintain some level of credibility, or else those instructors need to find another line of work. That is not a lot to ask!

    Really….what if your rejection of a “two tier” system was in place for pastors and confessors? Again: we’re not talking about never failing. We’re not talking about witch hunts. We’re talking about asking that certain life behaviors that are mandatory according to the course of study at least be habitual in people who have accepted the role of teacher. That is not an insurmountable standard, even in a sinful world.

  55. jameeka says:

    Good timing for Most Rev Vasa—now I pray it is beginning…perhaps the Western USA will lead in the great re-emergence of a strong Catholic Church in the States.

  56. acardnal says:

    Oneros wrote, “It’s one thing, perhaps, to not expect a Catholic teacher to not be a heretic in terms of belief. It’s quite another when you start getting into talk of “way of life” and “adherence” and “compliance.” Someone can believe and accept all the moral teachings and be a sinner, even non-defensively so.”

    I think the bishop and the Church are more concerned about teachers (no matter their faith) who live and behave in a persistent and unrepentant sinful lifestyle such as couples living together without benefit of marriage, homosexual lifestyle, working at PP clinics, divorced and remarried w/o an annulment, and so forth.

  57. jhayes says:

    acardnal wrote, “Simply put, if a person does not believe and uphold Catholic teaching in all things, both on and off campus, then they shouldn’t be teaching at a Catholic school.

    I think the NAPCIS schools do require all teachers to be practicing Catholics.

    However, the linked newspaper article said

    “John Collins, the diocese superintendent, said the contract language is not an effort to drive certain teachers away or “provoke” them. He said about 25 percent of the teachers are non-Catholic.

    My question was about that 25%

  58. acardnal says:

    If the 25 percent of the the teachers who are non-Catholic are living and committing sin in a persistent and unrepentant manner (or teaching heresy) per Catholic teaching then they should not be teaching in a Catholic institution. Sin is sin whether or not you are Catholic or Christian or a Muslim or an atheist.

  59. Imrahil says:

    Signing this is the very least that can be demanded.

    That said, you cannot fight all things at one time. Given that the first thing to be fought is outright heresy and total illoyality to the Church and that, sadly, even this can far from be excluded among an average teaching body today (this is, technically, an assumption…), I think that divorced-remarried who in respecting their irregularity stay away from Holy Communion, or those who say they cannot achieve to follow the Church’s doctrine on contraception, or the young who have brides that are also concubines, etc., should get a pass for the time being.

    But seriously. Dissenting on abortion? On not acceptance of homosexuality, but homosexual marriage? As a Catholic teacher?

    Nope.

  60. Gail F says:

    On the fourth page of this story, which is quite well-written, you will see that the clause teachers will have to sign defines these positions as “ministerial.” I’m sure that’s the main point of this. It makes very clear, and makes the teachers sign a statement that it’s clear to them as well, that teaching jobs in the system are considered “ministerial” positions and thus are covered under various exceptions to employment laws. The SCOTUS Hannah-Tabor decision went to the Lutheran school because the teacher who sued for discrimination had been designated a “called” teacher — one considered to be a minister. I predict this is going to be a big deal in the future, as the increasingly secular culture (of whom the hysterical folks in the story’s com-box are representatives) demands that only actual pastors are ministers — and that everyone else must be allowed to do whatever he or she wants.

    The anonymous teacher quoted was a good example. He (?) was torn between the requirements of his job and between the insistent and emotivist requirements of our culture. A “nice” person would never deny a gay couple the right to marry, our culture says. We are all under a huge amount of pressure to comply — and of course, we all want to be nice to our neighbors and co-workers and fellow school families. It’s a huge mistake to discount this teacher’s concerns as meaningless. They are common and extremely powerful.

  61. everett says:

    From here on the ground in the Santa Rosa Diocese, I have a hard time saying enough good things about what Bishop Vasa has done for our diocese in the short time he’s been here. Upon first arrival, he preached patience, that turning around the diocese would be like trying to course correct on an oil supertanker, but that a few degrees at a time, and we’d be on a completely different course.

    Education has been one of his biggest emphases, which has led to this step, which is great. The home school I work at already does this, as does the day school that founded the home school. This past fall, that school was incorporated into the Diocese as a Diocesan school.

    He’s also been working on reforming the liturgy and liturgical music, having brought in a wonderful Benedictine, and they are now offering the EF twice a week at the Cathedral, with a High Mass on Sundays. They’ve been heavily emphasizing chant, and while he has yet to have any sort of universal statement like this education one regarding the lituryg, he’s made it very clear where he stands in regards to following the rubrics in his preaching at various parishes and masses. I’m attending a Diocesan liturgy workshop on Saturday, and I’m confident that it will be worth my while and a positive experience (unlike many of my experiences with “liturgy workshops”).

    The Santa Rosa Diocese has been a mess for a long, long time, but things are turning around.

  62. PA mom says:

    These are very reasonable requirements.
    I also agree that as laity have nearly entirely taken over these institutions that the quality control has lessened. To not discriminate based on religion, but still genuinely create an atmosphere alive with it is a challenging proposition.
    Still, I have to wonder how many religious still teaching in the schools will have an equally difficult time deciding to sign?

  63. acardnal says:

    Being “nice” to people who are persistent and unrepentant in committing sin is not loving. Sin offends God. It opposes truth. We need to teach people what sin is so they don’t offend God – because people who knowingly sin are likely to go to hell. Hell and sin are real.

  64. acardnal says:

    . . . as we heard in today’s Gospel.

  65. jhayes says:

    I hope that when Supertradmum logs in she will be willing to tell us of her experience in writing an agreement for non-Catholic teachers (see my comment of 2:40 pm

  66. Gail F says:

    acardnal (assuming that is in reply to my post): You’re right. But that is not what people have been taught. Niceness is the new American morality. Americans are nice people. And according to this morality, saying other people are wrong about ANYTHING is not nice. The only person you can condemn is someone who says that someone else is actually wrong. Then you should condemn away.

  67. Pingback: Hear, Hear for Bishop Vasa! | Top US News Today

  68. John Nelson says:

    His Excellency is my ordinary, I pray for him daily. I am hoping he will introduce the same for EMHC, lectors, CCD teachers, etc. God bless him, a good and faithful servant.

  69. acardnal says:

    When you write on a blog, jhayes, you open yourself up to responses from everyone else on the blog.

    I, too, look forward to Supertradmum’s response.

  70. acardnal says:

    When all parties of a contract or agreement have knowingly, willfully, and freely agreed to the terms and then subsequently violate them, termination of employment or other action as appropriate may occur.

    While Supertradmum sleeps in jolly old England, let’s look at the terms of the oath as quoted by Supertradmum and which apply to EVERYONE – Catholic or non-Catholic:

    QUOTE:
    - Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

    - I, N., in assuming the office of __________, promise that in my words and in my actions I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church.

    - I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.

    - With Christian obedience I shall follow what the Bishops, as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith, declare, or what they, as those who govern the Church, establish.
    UNQUOTE

    If one does not comply with the terms of this oath/contract/agreement whether on campus or off campus, they are in violation of its terms and subject to its sanctions.

  71. jhayes says:

    “While Supertradmum sleeps in jolly old England, let’s look at the terms of the oath as quoted by Supertradmum and which apply to EVERYONE – Catholic or non-Catholic:”

    It doesn’t apply to elementary and high-school teachers. The only people it applies to are those listed in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8

    As the NOTE at the end of the oath explains, the only teachers included in Canon 833, Nos. 5-8 are “teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines which deal with faith or morals”

  72. acardnal says:

    The bishop can apply it to anyone he chooses.

  73. acardnal says:

    Canon 833, 5-8, is what is required. If a bishop chooses to use the same in a civil employment contract or equivalent and apply it to all employees, he is free to do so.

  74. jhayes says:

    Yes. As I said in my 2:40 pm post:

    “Which doesn’t mean that NAPCIS and individual bishops can’t have their own requirements.”

  75. Joan A. says:

    Teachers are a dime a dozen. A bachelors degree and a little credential is all most have for K-12. They aren’t so special. If they are devout Catholics, however, they are special. That may be the most important “credential” of all for being in positions to form and influence our children. I agree with Fr. Z, it’s simple: sign, or there’s public school to which you can apply right down the street.

  76. Thurorus says:

    One can only presume that the people who object to Bishop Vasa’s decision are absolutely horrified that in places like Canada, all teachers must ‘teach’ gay marriage regardless of their beliefs…

  77. The Masked Chicken says:

    I tried to access Fr. Z.’s blog this morning and all I got was a blank page. I thought he might have been making a meta-statement about the sede vecante :)

    “Its worth pointing out that not only is there a new generation of priests & bishops who love the faith, but there is a new generation of lay faithful who do as well. It is a sign of hope that many – if not most – teachers won’t have any problem seeing the reasonableness of this and sign enthusiastically. I know of at least two schools in the pacific northwest .”

    You could have had this forty years ago if the Baby Boomer laity hadn’t been so screwed up by the insanity of liberal hi-jacking of Vatican II. No wonder Michael Voris and his ilk sound so perpetually angry. They have a right to be. Their faith lives were stolen from them. many have had to disvover this truth by themselves. Many still haven’t.

    I am glad that the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction, but this is no guarantee of anything. In any sufficiently democratic society (as opposed to one governed by a strict sense of history and tradition), it is well-known that the society will endlessly oscillate between two poles, usually liberal and conservative. Someone won a Nobel Prize for proving this. Is this conservative swing really a systemic return to orthodoxy or merely one swing of the pendulum? It is too soon to say.

    The Chicken

  78. wmeyer says:

    You could have had this forty years ago if the Baby Boomer laity hadn’t been so screwed up by the insanity of liberal hi-jacking of Vatican II. No wonder Michael Voris and his ilk sound so perpetually angry. They have a right to be. Their faith lives were stolen from them. many have had to disvover this truth by themselves. Many still haven’t.

    I remember well the Latin Mass from the 60s, as I was in high school. I nearly choked a few years ago when in RCIA the DRE said that the Latin Mass had never been taken away! Taken away was exactly what it was. I remain angry because I witnessed the wreckovation of churches, the replacement of proper altars with plywood tables, the removal of reverent and glorious hymns with banal songs accompanied by guitars. The introduction of the “folk Mass” at which I still shudder–it was pretty much the last straw for me, the thing which terminated my interest in the late 60s in becoming a member of the Church. Angry? You bet. I spent 40 years in the desert, before coming back to the still badly wounded Church, and am deeply regretful that I didn’t stay to make vocal my complaints for those 40 years, in the hope of reducing the damage done.

  79. nurserose says:

    I have lived almost my entire life in the Santa Rosa Diocese. I attended the cathedral elementary school until 5th grade, when my parents decided to home school me and my siblings. Their major reason for this was that they felt the Catholic faith was not being taught adequately. My First Communion preparation had been a real eye-opener to my parents, as the textbook used by the school failed to mention that the Eucharist was the true body of Christ. Instead, it only talked about “sharing a meal” etc. It’s sad to say that pretty much every one of my classmates from elementary school (and many of them continued on to Catholic high schools) has abandoned the practice of their faith. On the other hand, my siblings and I have ALL continued to be active in the parish as we have become adults.
    We are very proud of Bishop Vasa. He has already made a number of significant changes during his short time so far in Santa Rosa. It is an exciting time to be a faithful Catholic in this diocese!

  80. Diogenes71 says:

    Well done, Bishop Vasa! A true Shepherd! I am pleased by the comments of members of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Cherish the faith. It is a gift!

  81. Supertradmum says:

    Well, one reason I worked with NAPCIS and got the Master Teacher’s Certificate from them was because the high school and elementary schools in that group demand the oath and promise.

    All Catholic schools should incorporate those for teachers. What is the point of having college and university professors take the oath and make the promise if the brain rot has set in the students for twelve years of education.

    Kids are formed by 18.

  82. jhayes says:

    Wouldn’t it be simpler, then, to hire just practicing Catholics as teachers? What mystifies me is hiring non-Catholics for 25% of the teaching staff and then asking them to sign an oath that they believe everything that the Church teaches.

    If they do believe everything, seems as if they would already have converted to Catholicism.

  83. Supertradmum says:

    jhayes, in most states, where the Catholic schools take money from the Government, which NAPCIS schools do not, it is illegal to not hire non-Catholics. There have been some court battles over this in the past. Reason for NAPCIS, as completely private schools do not have to, at least at this juncture in history, abide by those laws or guidelines.

    However, the real problem are so-called Catholic teachers who say they are Catholic, but then one finds out as administrator that these people are living with partners, or in irregular marriages, or are practicing homosexuals, etc., etc., etc.

  84. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Kids are formed by 18″

    Technically, in neuroscience terms, the brain does not stabilize until about 23. In some people, I suspect it is much longer and they seem to accumulate in Southern California, unless there were fall-out from a secret nuclear test in Calofornia. Hmm…that could explain a lot :)

    The Chicken

  85. The Masked Chicken says:

    “However, the real problem are so-called Catholic teachers who say they are Catholic, but then one finds out as administrator that these people are living with partners, or in irregular marriages, or are practicing homosexuals, etc., etc., etc. -

    I’m available for hire. Have Breviary…will travel.

    The Chicken

  86. Supertradmum says:

    MChicken, you forget about the conscience. Here are various translations from Baltasar Gracian, Spanish Jesuit.

    “Give me the child, and I will mould the man.”

    “Give me the child for seven years,
    and I will give you the man.”

    “Give me the child until he is
    seven and I care not who has him thereafter.”

    “Give me the child till the age of seven
    and I will show you the man.”

  87. wmeyer says:

    …where the Catholic schools take money from the Government, which NAPCIS schools do not, it is illegal to not hire non-Catholics.

    Just another reason not to mix with the infidels. ;) But really, the complexity of law and government is such that once you intermingle with even one program, you quickly become entangled. It’s a bit like quicksand.

  88. wmeyer says:

    Technically, in neuroscience terms, the brain does not stabilize until about 23. In some people, I suspect it is much longer and they seem to accumulate in Southern California, unless there were fall-out from a secret nuclear test in Calofornia.

    Actually, there are many of them in Northern California, as well. See San Francisco, for example.

    Although the brain may not have stabilized until mid-twenties, I think that many of the fundamental views are established long before, and that once the late teens are reached, conversion is difficult to achieve, without some major life-changing event which forces a reconsideration of principles.

  89. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Give me the child till the age of seven and I will show you the man.”

    That is partially true from a natural standpoint. Language becomes, more or less, well-developed by that age, but there is a complete upheaval in emotions when hormones re-wire the brain in puberty. Also, Gracian overlooks the action of grace, otherwise, how does one explain why some (a small number) of abused children turn out alright? Likewise, there have been many kids who were well-raised who went on to do despicable things. We are always to be on guard. Habit formation requires constant practice. Ask any musician.

    The Chicken

  90. Supertradmum says:

    MChicken, grace not withstanding, there are many children ruined at an early age. Sadly. And, the so-called Catholic schools are partly at fault. Bishop Vasa will save souls for his efforts. God bless him.

    By the way, the Jesuits were not talking about nature, but nature AND grace. They were and have been into education for hundreds of years. This is one reason why-formation.

    Formation must come early. And the lack of early formation is one huge reason for the vocation crisis, which is largely the fault of the parents. I do not need to go into the fall of the true Jesuit education here, but the general truth of the statement holds.

  91. jflare says:

    I think it rather sad that they’d need to take this step, but I think it necessary. Frankly, I wish our archbishop here would do something similar.

    “…whole idea that they want me to live their morals when it’s my personal life what I do outside of work.”
    In other words, I can’t possibly be expected to actually BELIEVE what I’m teaching. ..Which raises the interesting question of why this teacher insists on teaching in a Catholic school in the first place.
    Kids aren’t stupid, they can tell a determined hypocrite from a mile away. If teachers wish to earn and keep students’ respect, they’ll need to reflect what they teach in their own lives.

    This teacher’s assessment sounds to me like the kind of LACK of zeal that’ll drive kids away from the faith..very quickly.

  92. jflare says:

    “I nearly choked a few years ago when in RCIA the DRE said that the Latin Mass had never been taken away!” ["Latin Mass" meaning the Novus Ordo in Latin, right? Be careful of terminology. The Novus Ordo was to be in Latin, too.]

    I would assume the DRE meant that the Latin Mass had never been officially abrogated by the Vatican. It’s true enough that many nations’ bishops conferences required that the Latin Mass cease, to be replaced by the Novus Ordo. This happened here in the ‘States about 1969. I’ve often wondered whether said conferences technically had the authority to act thus. Certainly the Latin Mass all but disappeared in practical terms as a result, but I’ve generally understood that Pope John Paul II considered over-ruling the bishops conferences during the early 80′s.
    At the time, he seems to have decided that allowing greater use wouldn’t work so well, but he DID give individual bishops authority to allow for the Latin Mass. Sad that so many refused to even consider that option.

  93. I agree with Supertradmum: many children are ruined early, and a person ruined from his tenderest years will need a miracle of grace to be set right. And children can go to hell, too<a href="http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2013/02/st-faustina-on-children-and-more.html.

  94. wmeyer says:

    Father, the comment on nearly choking was a quote from me. The “Latin Mass” I was referring to was from the 60s, not the NO. I was in high school then, and remember it well.

    jflare, what the DRE was claiming was that the mas which we now refer to as the EF continued to be offered. There may be places where that was so, but not where I was.

  95. Supertradmum says:

    jhayes. the promise I wrote for the Protestant members of staff was worded in such a way that they did not have to take the oath, but promised to be respectful and uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church as a member of the faculty, and that there lifestyle would be in keeping with real Christian principles. All the Protestants were happy to sign the agreement at the schools where this was used, at that time, about 12 years ago, in several elementary and high schools. If they did not want to do so, they could apply for a job elsewhere. It became part of the hiring process.

    And, there is no two-tiered system, as we all are bound as humans to the same morals. As to respecting the teachings of the Catholic Church as a teacher in a Catholic school, that should be obvious.

  96. Oneros says:

    “I think the bishop and the Church are more concerned about teachers (no matter their faith) who live and behave in a persistent and unrepentant sinful lifestyle such as couples living together without benefit of marriage, homosexual lifestyle, working at PP clinics, divorced and remarried w/o an annulment, and so forth.”

    But apparently rather more acceptable if the teacher goes out and hooks up anonymously every Friday, confesses Saturday, and communes Sunday in a cycle (let’s assume it’s sincere) like that??

    Any moral calculus that views the “compartmentalized” sinner as in a better place than the “integrated” sinner…needs to rethink its priorities.

    As it is, I’m not even sure this is “persistent and unrepentant”…as plenty of married couples using contraception fit that bill, it’s just that their sin is “invisible” and so they get winked at in the same manner that a boyfriend can introduce his girlfriend and hold hands at Church and no ones minds jump to conclusions about the premarital sex that they might be (probably are) having. If he introduced a boyfriend though (or a new “wife” after divorce, etc etc)…then there’s a problem! Even though any sin there is JUST as invisible and private.

    I’m telling you: any (two tiered) system that punishes public or “manifest” sin (as opposed to “private” sin)…doesn’t wind up discouraging people from sinning, it just encourages them to not get caught. A law like this isn’t going to stop anyone from cohabiting, for example, it’s just going to encourage them to work even harder to hide that fact. So like I said: keeping up appearances.

  97. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Supertradmum,

    I agree that it must be education and grace. The really sad thing that seems to never be discussed is the question of how many of the parents of children who fall away from the Faith actually have been praying for them their whole lives? Parents have to set an example. Even the worst of school educations can be overcome by holy parents. Education is a cooperative effort that must be led by the parents. You can have the holiest of teachers and lousy parents or lousy teachers and holy parents, if those were to be the only two choices, and I would take the holy parents, every time.

    Really, I wish the bishop could make the parents take the oath.

    The Chicken

  98. The Masked Chicken says:

    Oh, by the way, every time I see the name, MChicken, I think of the chicken sandwich from McDonalds :) Anyone try their McFish Bites that they introduced for Lent? They aren’t half bad.

    The Chicken

  99. tzard says:

    We know where this “my life outside of work is my own” thing comes from – they want at least the option to be immoral. However, this idea itself doesn’t hold water even in otherwise secular contexts.

    For instance, an IT support person, or a doctor has to carry a pager or phone and respond after hours. I know of people who work for Visa who can’t be seen using a Mastercard. I also knew of someone who worked for Coke who could be disciplined for being seen drinking a Pepsi (that was a while ago, I can’t say if it’s the current policy). Someone in selling Fords can’t be seen driving a Toyota.

    Sure, we’re not slaves and can always choose another job. But that’s the point – if this is a condition of employment – moreso, if being an example *outside of the school building* is also part of the teaching they’ll be doing, then that’s a reasonable requirement just on that basis.

  100. PA mom says:

    Chicken,
    Re parents… So true!

    Good recommendation for Stage 2.

  101. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Sure, we’re not slaves and can always choose another job. But that’s the point – if this is a condition of employment – moreso, if being an example *outside of the school building* is also part of the teaching they’ll be doing, then that’s a reasonable requirement just on that basis.”

    Being a moral example of virtue is one thing. Being an example of the virtue of Visa (yuck on credit cards – boo, hiss) is another thing. As for education, the oath regarding outside virtue is usually interpreted backwards. The oath really means, or is supposed to, that you are striving for virtue before you enter the classroom, not only after you leave it.

    The Chicken

  102. Oneros says:

    The problem is the idea that we can judge who is “striving for virtue” and who isn’t by any external evidence. The way we treat “public” sin is the double standard Christ came to condemn as Phariseeism; it’s all just about keeping up appearances.

    Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of heaven before you!

  103. Imrahil says:

    I know of people who work for Visa who can’t be seen using a Mastercard. I also knew of someone who worked for Coke who could be disciplined for being seen drinking a Pepsi.

    Which are clear cases of treating employees as slaves; also, awful things like that can possibly be prevented by secular law. I’m not inquiring into the political question whether it would be prudent at a certain time to vote for a party that proposes to do so (threshold to State influence, etc.), but principally yes that is how it is.

    For, yes, the work after closing time is one’s own. Not because of the option to be immoral, but because we are not slaves. Frankly, if you put all people in prison, solitary confinement, give them moral keepers, hinder with the lash all immoral interaction of the prisoners, and take all ropes away to prevent suicide, you might very well ensure morality (not denying that in practice prisons are not so moral places after all). But you would not want to do that.

    On the general topic, I think the focus is somewhat misleading if we expect to give an example of virtue. As the dear @oneros said (I will not comment on his latest paragraph though), this cannot be measured. And even if it can, to a degree, be somewhat measured, it is a standard for clergy and religious; besides the “morality job” any Christian has to assume, we had better not make it obligatory for anyone who simply does laity work. Even including teaching, which yes is somewhat special.
    [Then morality is difficult enough, isn't it? Say publicly that you want moral examples. Morality, simplifyingly speaking, allows to drink and smoke. Hence it belongs to the "free time is my time" issue. Well then - have a nice time explaining to the public why your moral examples drink and smoke.]

    We want not so much morality athletes (though we’d welcome them, if you get my meaning). We simply want people who comply with the Rules. That’s fair enough; only for us these Rules are not limited to the secular laws (secular laws may, in things unimportant combined with the acceptance of due penalty, or in conscience cases, not even belong to them), but include some different ones. And for these, we have plain proof that they really are Rules. God’s command, for one thing (by which I do not deny the importance of the natural law theory; but yes, if God does command a thing we have to obey it).

    [I do not deny that maybe in the end, the "morality athlete" is simply he who does follow the Rules. But the perception is a different one, and that is my point.]

  104. robtbrown says:

    Oneros,

    Any moral calculus that views the “compartmentalized” sinner as in a better place than the “integrated” sinner…needs to rethink its priorities.

    Incorrect

    The integrated sinner is worse than the compartmentalized sinner both objectively and subjectively.

    Objectively–because the sin is more frequent.

    Subjectively–because frequent sin becomes habitual (i.e., a vice), which means the faculty (intellect, will, or particular sensible appetite) itself tends toward a certain evil, so that the person himself is changed.

  105. robtbrown says:

    I don’t think in the US it could be enforced that an employee of VISA only use that credit card, or an employee of Coca Cola or Pepsi only drink their respective products.

    1. Generally, if companies want employees to use their products, certain benefits or discounts are given to encourage use of the product. I know of no US corp that mandates such use.

    2. Certain chains in the US are tied to one product or another. McDonald’s only sells Coke. Yum! brand (spun off from Pepsico) restaurants (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC) only serve Pepsi products. To say that an employee of Coke couldn’t buy a soft drink from PH, TB, or KFC is ridiculous. Ditto Pepsico and McDonald’s.

  106. robtbrown says:

    In 1975 I taught in a Catholic school in Wichita. If memory serves, the policy was:

    No teacher or employee of the school, no matter what religion, could say or do anything that would undermine Church teaching. This was made clear at the beginning of the year. Most of the teachers. Ironically, the only offenders were Christian Brothers, who were run out of the school by the bishop at the end of the year.

    I also know of a case in which a divorced male teacher was living with a woman. His contract was not renewed at the end of the year

    It’s very simple. As someone said above, if a teacher doesn’t want to abide by those standards, don’t sign a contract to teach there. As someone said above, high school teachers are easy to find. And the salaries in Catholic schools are usually less than public schools. Non Catholic teachers who teach there prefer the atmosphere, with almost no discipline problems, to what is often found in public schools.

  107. Oneros says:

    Robtbrown:

    Your assumptions are incorrect. A cohabiting or divorced-and-remarried couple could be having sex once a month, for all we know, whereas the “compartmentalized” struggling/cycling sinner could be “slipping up” weekly.

    The problem is in making assumptions about people’s private lives based on their living situation, but only according to a double standard wherein a cohabiting couple is assumed to be fornicating, but a non-cohabiting boyfriend/girlfriend are not (even though it’s, realistically, just as likely). Ditto for that boyfriend/girlfriend versus a boyfriend/boyfriend. Or a divorced and remarried couple versus a married couple who are, in all likelihood, contracepting. Or single men who, by that very fact, are very probably masturbators (if not fornicators or gay).

    Really not our place to jump to any conclusions though. Or even if we do know something has happened, we can’t know their attitude towards that happening (it may be contrition or repentance, etc). Maybe the divorced-and-remarried couple are living as brother and sister, or TRYING to but occasionally slip up. Either way, they should not be “guilty until proven innocent.”

    All it does is encourage hiding and keeping up appearances. A “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy MIGHT make sense if some idea of “good example” is desired. But nothing more is reasonable, and even that notion is hypocrisy-inducing (do as they say, not as they do! Who but God is good?) Still, it’s one thing when someone advertises something, and another when you probe their private life like a busybody to try to ensure they’re “complying” with your rules.

  108. robtbrown says:

    Oneros,

    Your approach is wrong. This has nothing to do with jumping to conclusions about whether someone is sinning.

    1. The purpose of any regulation for teachers outside of class is not to keep them from sinning. Rather it is to keep them from giving public scandal. The emphasis is on giving example to the students, not on the private lives of teachers.

    2. Co-habitation does not refer to those of different genders sharing the same house. It is not uncommon among college students that those of both sexes rent a large house together.

    3. Co-habitation does refer to a couple living together in a relationship resembling marriage. There is not necessarily an assumption of fornication/adultery. Sometimes the sex life of couples married for 25+ years is non existent–that doesn’t mean they’re not living as a married couple. In fact, divorce settlements sometimes contain texts in which one party (or both) are prohibited from co-habiting for a certain period of time.

  109. acardnal says:

    Oneros, the perception (public scandal as robtbrown said above) of unethical behavior also has its sanctions. When I worked for the government, one was counseled or given some form of corrective action when even the perception of malfeasance was given – especially concerning associations with contractors or potential bidders.

    In this case we are dealing with a private and religious enterprise which has the right to impose “perception” clauses where scandal can be given to the Church or the Catholic enterprise.

    Many such “morals” clauses exist in celebrity contracts, e.g. Tiger Woods.

  110. Oneros says:

    So it’s as I said: keeping up appearances.

    However, it’s not even a particularly sensible keeping up of appearances in the modern world anymore. People’s perceptions nowadays, especially young people’s, aren’t based on the Leave It to Beaver regime. If a teacher introduces his girlfriend, the students will assume they’re sexually active or, at the very least, the students won’t think that living together is some sort of “special line crossed” which for some reason suddenly changes the nature of the perception.

    Furthermore, students are unlikely to know a married teacher was previously divorced, and certainly won’t know (or attribute any significance to) whether or not an annulment was obtained first.

    This isn’t about setting a good example for kids. It’s about a ham-handed attempt to MAKE an example of certain “sinners” as part of an identity-politics game.

  111. acardnal says:

    Oneros wrote, “This isn’t about setting a good example for kids. It’s about a ham-handed attempt to MAKE an example of certain “sinners” as part of an identity-politics game.”

    Not really. Rather it is about those who insist on living in persistent and unrepentant mortal sin. Neither God nor His Church condone such behavior particularly if it is public – unless it’s a politician. :-(

  112. Oneros says:

    “Rather it is about those who insist on living in persistent and unrepentant mortal sin.”

    So many things wrong with this that were already discussed above. First, why this is “about” them, I don’t know. An argument that it’s about the kids and their formation would be one thing. Making it “about” sinners is none of your business; if they are, it’s between them and God. Second, this is jumping to conclusions; as even several people above admit, at most this is about “perception,” not being able to judge the state of anyone’s soul nor even what they might be doing in private. Nor do we know that, if anything is going on, it’s “unrepentant.” What it DOES allow for is a group of “sinners” that people can point to and demonize under a two-tier system in which everyone is a sinner anyway (but some sinners can be singled out like this, apparently). Finally, giving someone a job is not the same as condoning their behavior in any sense. Moral cooperation does not extend that far and, besides, the interesting thing is that PRIESTS can’t even be sacked this easily; that’s a long process that takes forever (and even some laicized priests are given a sort of “alimony” by their dioceses). They kept serial abusers around, but God forbid a teacher hasn’t finalized her annulment yet? I’m sorry, this is absurd.

  113. robtbrown says:

    Oneros says:

    So it’s as I said: keeping up appearances.

    Which of course what public scandal concerns.

    However, it’s not even a particularly sensible keeping up of appearances in the modern world anymore. People’s perceptions nowadays, especially young people’s, aren’t based on the Leave It to Beaver regime. If a teacher introduces his girlfriend, the students will assume they’re sexually active or, at the very least, the students won’t think that living together is some sort of “special line crossed” which for some reason suddenly changes the nature of the perception.

    My experience is that if, say, a lay religion teacher appears with his girlfriend, the students will not assume they are living/sleeping together. I will say, however, that in such a circumstance odds are that at least one student will later ask the teacher the question.

    Furthermore, students are unlikely to know a married teacher was previously divorced, and certainly won’t know (or attribute any significance to) whether or not an annulment was obtained first.

    Actually, the opposite is true. Students know more about teachers’ private lives than other teachers do. When I was in high school, we all knew our married football coach was boinking the married girls’ gym assistant. He was the best coach the school ever had, and we all liked him, but we, his players, referred to ourselves as Gussie’s Boys (it’s even written in my yearbook by teammates). We also knew that the Journalism teacher was there because her husband was in the Federal Pen.

    This isn’t about setting a good example for kids. It’s about a ham-handed attempt to MAKE an example of certain “sinners” as part of an identity-politics game.

    Nonsense. As someone said above, morals clauses are often written into endorsement contracts. It is simply part of being a public figure.

  114. Oneros says:

    “Which of course what public scandal concerns. ”

    Untrue. The mere knowledge (or perception, at least) that sinning is happening is not, in itself, scandal, unless for some reason it’s causing other people to sin.

    As Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Still less can that be considered scandal, which only arouses comment, indignation, horror etc., for instance blasphemy committed in the presence of a priest or of a religious; it is true that the act arouses indignation and in common parlance it is often called scandalous, but this way of speaking is inaccurate, and in strictly theological terminology it is not the sin of scandal. Hence scandal is in itself an evil act, at least in appearance, and as such it exercises on the will of another an influence more or less great which induces to sin.”

    The idea that the mere knowledge that priests did something bad is what caused all the cover-ups of priestly child-abuse in the name of “avoiding scandal.” Again, this notion makes GETTING CAUGHT the condition of “scandal” and thus encourages secrecy or discretion as an alleged “virtue” in terms of “avoiding scandal,” and thus makes it all just about Pharisaical appearance-keeping. This is not, however, a theologically rigorous notion of scandal.

    For it to be scandal, there must be some sense in which a person’s behavior is inducing another to sin. The mere fact that priests or teachers are sinning shouldn’t be seen as causing/inducing anyone else to sin. The “bad example” idea is, I think, bunk, because there is no reason why teachers or priests should be taken as “examples” by anyone. People know what the Church teaches. If they see a priest or teacher shacking up or engaging in other impropriety and say, “Oh, well, I guess it’s okay! I can do it too!” they’re just being disingenuous, were just “looking for an excuse,” and the blame should not be attributed to the publicity of the other’s sin.

    I’d think a pretty strong argument would have to be made (and hasn’t been) that mere knowledge of the sins of others is enough to constitute an occasion of sin. Maybe the real problem is the idea that teacher’s are “role models” for students (I certainly didn’t consider them so when I was in school!)

  115. acardnal says:

    The “Catholic Encyclopedia” quotation you cite doesn’t use the word “cause”, it uses the word “influence”: “Hence scandal is in itself an evil act, at least in appearance, and as such it exercises on the will of another an influence more or less great which induces to sin.”

    The word used most frequently in the CCC when discussing scandal is “lead[s]” not “cause”.

    2284 “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.”

    “Maybe the real problem is the idea that teacher’s are “role models” for students (I certainly didn’t consider them so when I was in school!)
    The CCC says in 2285, “Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others.”

    CCC #2287 “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “

  116. Oneros says:

    You emphasize “leads.” I would emphasize “induces” or “encourages.” I am not at all certain in what sense the mere knowledge that someone else is sinning is encouraging me or anyone else to sin. It’s just knowledge of a fact about the fallen world. The scandal of a teacher or educator IS grave, certainly, but that scandal would have to be real scandal; in other words, a teacher using their authority to encourage sin, such as by teaching students it is good or some heresy like that. But merely knowing that someone is sinning does not cause or “lead” or “induce” or “encourage,” the notion of “leading” or “encouraging” does have to show some sort of causal connection between the knowledge and the other person’s sinning, has to show some sort of inducement. If the teacher is saying “Live like me!” or “Adultery is okay!” or “Do this and I’ll give you good grades,” that’s one thing. But merely doing something in their private lives that students MIGHT find out about (but which they make no claim about, and in fact probably try to keep discrete)…that’s just knowing that humans are humans. Anyone who sins just because they see a priest or teacher doing it…was already disingenuous all along.