I think we’ve all seen the headlines akin to “Archbishop Prepares to Fire Gay Teachers!” This simply is and never was true. I received similar comments the other day and I think they need to be addressed because they are common arguments made. It shows the thinking of some of the crew that’s fighting against Archbishop Cordileone. While Sam Singer is a hack and there are the usual Call to Action or Stop Patriarchy blowhards, I think this comment shows the point of view of rest of the minority who thinks authentic Catholicism shouldn’t be taught in a Catholic school and should be replaced by situation ethics. I also think it’s a result of the faithful being left in the wilderness so long to fend for themselves and is exactly what Archbishop is trying to prevent for future generations. One comment:
“You write, ‘They want to teach at a Catholic school but they don’t want to actually teach Catholicism. In fact, some want to teach against it. They want to sell abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage.’ As a parent at one of these schools, all the teachers want are their employment rights protected and the ability to live their PERSONAL lives in peace and without fear. They do not teach against Catholic doctrine.”
“The reality is that most of the teachers that have been fired a crossed the country for violating church doctrine have been found out by people trolling for information against them. One mentioned her same sex partner in her mother’s obituary. Just google ‘catholic teachers fired.’
The current handbook for these schools already asks that teachers follow Catholic doctrine. There is no need, other than a legal one for the Archbishop, to insist upon these changes, particularly identifying teachers as ministers. As a “minister’ they are no longer protected under federal employment law.”
This is snipped for brevity. You can see the whole conversation and my response to the specifics Teach Tolerance addressed in her comment here: (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/sam-the-spin-doctor/#comments)
Teachers teach by example. Is there anyone on this planet (except maybe Singer) who would deny this statement to be true? Yes, they use overhead projectors, white boards, books, etc., but if you made that statement, nobody would argue with it, right? So, when you are a teacher and you let people in the school know you are, say, having an extra marital affair and the students find out, you are teaching something contrary to Church doctrine. Exposing children to this in any school is no bueno, but it’s legally unacceptable in a Catholic school. Is it illegal in the state of California? No way! Anything goes here in a public school, but, to borrow a phrase from Hebrew National, we adhere to a higher law – more specifically Canon Law:
- Can. 803 §1. A Catholic school is understood as one which a competent ecclesiastical authority or a public ecclesiastical juridic person directs or which ecclesiastical authority recognizes as such through a written document.
- 2. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.
- 3. Even if it is in fact Catholic, no school is to bear the name Catholic school without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.
Now, these teachers don’t have to even be Catholic but they are not to contradict Catholic doctrine and integrity in word or deed. Unfortunately, some are.
The reality is there are some people who are fearful for their jobs. They’re already living their sins out loud and some genies just can’t be put back in those bottles. That would require a public repentance. The problem is these people knew they taught in a Catholic school, but for whatever reason, they didn’t think there would be a problem with making their sins public. The Archbishop has said that he doesn’t want to give up hope that the situations can be rectified and has hope that nobody will lose their jobs. What does this mean? It means he loves them so deeply that he wants them to understand the Church teachings and to fear for their mortal souls. This is why we love him! People want to think it’s simply about rules, but it’s simply about souls – the students, the teachers, all of us! The Archbishop wouldn’t just dish out a penalty without first trying to counsel the person. This is why he won’t say there’s a specific circumstance in which a person would be fired. He’s not giving up hope. We, for our part, should pray that his hope rings true!
For the rest of the teachers out there that are doing things which are against Church teachings but aren’t yelling it from the rooftops, they join the rest of us sinners, right? The vast majority of us are private sinners. We’re constantly falling off the Catholic wagon in one way or another. (Well at least I am – I have a husband who will back me up on that!) Do they have to fear about someone pawing through their trash for the used condom wrapper? Of course not! Do they have to fear about not being repentant? Well, yeah, because eternity is a mighty long time, and even private sin affects society (contrary to what Teach Tolerance thinks), but do they have to worry about losing their jobs? No.
So far, the focus has been on homosexuals only. (You could say homosexuals are an obsession with some.) People have been convinced by the media reports á la Sam Singer that this additional wording in the contracts is to weed out homosexual teachers. Newsflash! Homosexuality itself is not a sin!!! One more time: HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN! People can continue to say that it is, because hey, they are free to live in Factually Inaccurate Land!
What the Archbishop is proposing doesn’t single out homosexuals in the least. He’s asking that every teacher is “outstanding in correct doctrine, the witness of a Christian life, and teaching skill.” (Remember that thing called Canon Law? I swear to you it’s a good read!) He’s helping them out by telling them what that means, since some have missed it thus far. No more being confused by ambiguity. (Isn’t being transparent a good thing? I thought I heard that somewhere – repeatedly. ) The last thing the Archbishop wants to do is have someone lose their jobs because they didn’t understand what was expected of them.
Why are people fearful of having Church doctrine spelled out for them? I keep hearing the complaint “It was already there! How dare he change it?!” If it was already there, what’s the big deal? They keep saying it doesn’t change anything. I agree it doesn’t change a single thing about Church doctrine or Canon Law. I think the crux of the fear is that people might actually understand that this Archbishop follows Church doctrine and Canon Law (maybe because he actually has a PhD in Canon Law?). Now that would be something new for San Francisco!
Again, it’s not just homosexuals who are being held to uphold Church doctrine. It’s ALL teachers. Here are some examples of some other ways that teachers might be publicly contradicting Church doctrine (anything resembling reality – and there are a lot of them based on the fact I went to 12 years of Catholic schools – are purely coincidental):
- If they are publicly escorting women into an abortion facility wearing one of the cool crossing guard vests
- If they are known to be sleeping with another teacher
- If they are known to be having an affair with another teacher
- If they have the picture of their homosexual wedding ceremony on their desk
- If they are suggesting the kids use birth control so they don’t get pregnant
- If they talk about the “archaic” doctrine on the all-male priesthood
- etc., etc., etc.
Note that only one of these had to do with homosexuality and it wasn’t the fact that someone was simply homosexual.
The other fallacy being floated (as shown in Teach Tolerance’s comment) is that people are going to be trolling for other peoples’ sins. Another newsflash – we don’t want to know your sins. I don’t want people to know mine, why would I ever want to know yours??? This is about peoples’ very PUBLIC displays of their sins. If I was teaching, I wouldn’t worry about my sins because I keep them between me and my confessor! Simply being a sinful person doesn’t get you fired or we wouldn’t have any teachers at all (or an Archbishop or Pope, for that matter).
Speaking of sins, I’m going to bring up a little item that Sam Singer hasn’t brought up, probably because he’s represented a bunch of people who have done the same thing. While Sam’s not re-hashing it, others in social media are. If you actually live under a rock and haven’t heard about it, lucky you, but you will if you like to follow the Archbishop. It’s another story from years back now, and I’m only going to bring it up again because it shows how our wonderful Archbishop guides us by example: THE DUI (insert Dragnet music here). While probably the biggest faux pas of the Archbishop’s life (Who would ever think wine, with dinner, WITH YOUR MOTHER would get you into such trouble???), it’s also an example of how we should handle our sins. (You can argue amongst yourselves about culpability sin-wise, but all we can be sure of is that it was a mistake.) What did he do when he made that mistake? He owned it! He didn’t make any excuses. When asked, he said he had wine with dinner. He didn’t argue with the officers or pull a “Do you know who I am???” move. He apologized, he was contrite, and never drank again when there was the outside shot he might be driving. I’m sure he probably even went to confession for it because that’s the kind of guy he is. He didn’t blame the archaic Church or the strict law of the land. He did something very public and he publicly repented. A total example for how we should handle our sins (and we all will sin, because there’s not a perfect one in the crowd.) Is this the guy you think wants to fire people for the heck of it or who wants to go looking for other peoples’ sins? If so, get a clue. Stop looking at the spin and start looking at the man.
The doctrine and disciplines of the Catholic Church don’t exist to hurt you. Stop being so narcissistic! We all sin. The more faithful of us Catholics try not to, yet we still fall short and repent and repent and repent. The dumber ones say (condensed version) “The Catholic Church just needs to allow me to do what I want without guilting me.” Helllooo! The rules and truths come from God, and you, with your personal proclivities, are not the only ones bound to them. It’s a level playing field where we (gay, straight, something in between, black, white, green with envy) all have the same play book. The Church isn’t “bigoted” but you just might be suffering from liberal Catholic privilege where you think the rules apply to everyone else but you.