Another bishop thinks Catholic teachers should be role models

Another bishop supports the idea that teachers in Catholic schools must serve also as role models. The Cardinal New Society, which watches the status quaestionis of Catholic education in these USA, has a letter that His Excellency Most Rev. Richard Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland, sent to teachers in the diocese entrusted to his care.

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Teachers ‘Instrumental’ in Developing Students’ Catholic Faith, Says Cleveland’s Bishop Lennon

Catholic school teachers must be role models of faith and morality for their students to emulate, Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio, has told teachers in his Diocese.
In a letter sent to diocesan teachers and administrators and provided to The Cardinal Newman Society by diocesan spokesman Robert Tayek, Bishop Lennon highlighted teachers’ irreplaceable role in inspiring their students to deepen their Catholic faith.
“As a teacher or administrator in a Catholic school, you are engaging a beautiful and uniquely important vocation and ministry of Christ’s Church,” his letter states. “You are instrumental in the development of each and every student as a whole and authentically Catholic person… As such, it is a great honor and privilege to play such a special and important role in the life of the Church through your ministry.”
Bishop Lennon’s statements are similar to those of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, who has proposed contract changes to ensure that his Catholic school teachers are witnesses to the Catholic faith. The Diocese of Cleveland also recently defined faculty members as “teacher-ministers” and added detailed language in teacher contracts to require moral behavior.
According to a Diocesan statement, these changes are necessary for students’ faith lives:
Our teacher contracts have for quite a long time required that teachers be models of the Catholic Faith, because we recognize the great influence our teachers have on the Faith formation of our students, not only by how they teach in the classroom but also by how they live their lives. We recognize that now, more than ever, the secular culture is offering a view of life and humanity that is often at odds with Christ’s truth as presented through the Catholic Church.
Cleveland’s Catholic teachers and school leaders sign a contract “which recognizes his/her role as minister and role model of the Faith,” Tayek explained to the Newman Society. The contract agreement for administrators states:
The Administrator-minister further understands and acknowledges that it is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that administrators in a Catholic school are truly and in a very real sense engaged in a special ministry, or apostolate, of the Roman Catholic Church and that such administrators should be witness to Christ in their lives as much as in their classroom instruction.
This “morality” clause “has always been a part of the teacher-minister contracts for elementary and secondary educators in the Diocese of Cleveland,” Tayek continued.

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8 Responses to Another bishop thinks Catholic teachers should be role models

  1. Chiara says:

    I am fortunate enough to have Bishop Lennon as my good bishop. He has, unfortunately, had to deal with a great deal of abuse from special interest groups (ie, women’s ordination, married clergy, etc.), the local media, and most undeserved of all, those of us in the Diocese. He is not afraid to do and say the moral thing, which is a rare quality these days, even among the clergy.

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for this nice article. It is good to hear something pleasant about Bishop Lennon for a change!

  2. SKAY says:

    Wonderful! Thank you for the great news, Father.

  3. RuralCatholic says:

    @Chiara…I’m also in Bp Lennon’s diocese and I sent him a thank you letter several weeks ago. He needs to hear more positive reinforcement for his efforts…like providing Latin Masses in at least five churches that I know of, and encouraging his priests to be holy and the wonderful ‘mini’ pilgimages to various diocesan churches in conjunction with Rome’s year of faith and mercy … We’re more fortunate than many realize, especially when I see what’s happening in NYC, Boston and elsewhere.

  4. Pnkn says:

    Gasp.
    After assuming that parents and godparents are the primary role models to children, now the local magisterium emphasizes the teaching that teachers should also be role models. Given all the chatter about more lay involvement in the Church, I’ll soon be expecting that every individual Catholic will be clamoring to be a role model. What then : children offering respect and obedience as per the fourth commandment?
    If only !

  5. Max says:

    I agree, let’s send this good Shepherd a thank you letter!

    BTW Pater Z: Texas and other areas that are having severe weather/flooding issues has several Internet transfer hubs. That may be a source of your blog woes too.

  6. Chiara says:

    Rural Catholic – I agree, Bishop Lennon is greatly underappreciated but consistently takes the high road.

    Regarding the pilgrimages – I took part in the Diocesan Pilgrimage during the Year of Faith. For those of you who are not familiar, the Cleveland Diocese announced the pilgrimage during that summer. We were to visit 4 or 5 specific Marian parishes throughout the Diocese, scattered over all 8 counties. I joined the Hispanic community at my parish and was elected the driver because my car had GPS. Their English was sparse and my Spanish was far worse, but we had a terrific time.

    At the first parish, we were issued a “passport”, and every time we visited a parish and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, the passport was stamped with the seal of the parish. At the end of the pilgrimage, we were to go to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. After having our passports checked, we were then given beautiful medals of the icon of Jesus the Teacher. These were not what I expected. Instead of cheaply made metal, they were more of a pendant with the image (colored) under a protective bubble. Bishop Lennon had apparently taken a large amount of these with him to Rome during his visit with the Pope, and they were blessed by His Holiness.

    The Diocesan Pilgrimage this summer will be at motherhouses of various orders in the Diocese, since this is the Year of Consecrated Life.

    Again, we are very lucky to have such a good bishop. I have written Bishop Lennon more than once telling him so!

  7. Netmilsmom says:

    Time to move back home to Cleveland!

  8. jeffreyquick says:

    Bp. Lennon doesn’t have a reputation as a cuddly guy, and he pissed off a number of people with the parish closings. But he’s been patient and firm where it’s counted. There seems to be a tighter rein on liturgy here than in the neighboring D. of Youngstown.