It seems there might be a tad bit of confusion in both the mainstream and Catholic media about the flap over the teachers in the four archdiocesan high schools, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify some things. First, there are two different documents that were in play. One has been signed, sealed and delivered, and the other is still a work in progress. The first was the teacher contract which was just signed last week. The vast majority of this document had to do with labor issues, not morality, but there was a preamble that dealt with the overarching topic of the schools’ Catholic identities and the teachers’ need to not screw that up. The second document is the teachers’ handbook, which is still being developed. That was the document that carried the mean old words from the catechism of “gravely evil” to which so many teachers balked. It’s really not that surprising that there is some confusion, though, because most dioceses don’t deal with teachers’ unions. For some reason, though, the Archdiocese of San Francisco years ago decided to put a union between itself and their teachers.
Please check out the last version of the handbook dated March 29, 2015 (http://www.donotlink.com/ggu3). “Gravely evil” and “ministers” were removed. “Gravely evil” was being heavily mischaracterized by those against Archbishop Cordileone. Time and again the students and the media were told that the Archbishop was calling PEOPLE gravely evil instead of the sins addressed. So, what really does this handbook say? Here we go:
1) Teachers cooperate in the mission of the Church for Catholic Schools.
2) Teachers teach by example.
3) The Church cannot err in Faith and Morals. In other words, if you are going against her, you are wrong.
4) You cannot receive Communion while in mortal sin. You cannot receive while consciously living or attached to that sin. (Situation ethics don’t apply here).
5) Catholic teachers (and the rest of us) are obliged to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days. (That this has to be said shows how bad the situation is.)
6) Marriage is between a man and a woman, and children have a right to their biological mothers and fathers.
7) The male-only priesthood is a doctrine of the Church.
8) You need a well-formed conscience. In other words, you don’t understand the teachings of the Church on the “primacy on conscience.” It’s definitely not, “My conscience supersedes the doctrines of the Church.”
9) All human beings are precious, whether you can see them or not, or whether you consider them to be a human being. (That includes all “gender identities” and those of us who accept our genders as they are would say “Duh!”) They are human from conception to natural death. (So no abortion and no euthanasia.)
11) All of God’s children are called to chastity. Contrary to popular belief, that includes homosexuals, heterosexuals, married, single, or any other bizarre “gender identity” or status you can come up with.
12) The Church believes in the rights of workers, which is why, ironically, it’s quite silly that we even need a teachers’ union in the first place.
13) The Church cares for the poor.
14) We have freedom of religion.
15) All should have a personal relationship with God. We don’t create Him to be what we want Him to be, but we meet Him with humility through prayer and the Sacraments.
That about sums up the handbook. This was the document that had the meat of Catholic teaching in it, not the teachers’ contract. The contract just pointed to Church teaching. It would be soooo nice if a bishop could say “You must follow the teachings of the Church.” Sadly, we’ve been left to our own devices so long, people don’t know what those are. We’ve, basically become Catholic by nationality out here. A separate handbook is greatly needed, and this one is definitely a work in progress. Even after the work is done, it’s going to take education, education, and a lot more education, and I’m not just talking about the students.