The conservative Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco has developed a new document for Catholic high school faculty and staff clarifying that sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, the viewing of pornography and masturbation are “gravely evil.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s document applies to faculty and staff at four Catholic high schools: Riordan and Sacred Heart in San Francisco, Marin Catholic in Kentfield and Serra High School in San Mateo. It states that administrators, faculty and staff “affirm and believe” the controversial statements, which will be part of the faculty handbook.
The document goes on to say that marriage is between “one man and one woman,” despite California law allowing same-sex marriages. It also notes that sperm donation, the use of a surrogate and other forms of “artificial reproductive technology” are also gravely evil.
The document notes that while not all staff at the schools are Catholic, they are “required to stand as effective and visible professional participants and proponents of truly Catholic education.” Those who are not Catholic “must refrain” from participating in organizations that “advocate issues or causes contrary to the teachings of the church.”
In a letter to teachers at the four high schools, Cordileone wrote that his document isn’t intended to single out for dismissal any teachers but that the schools must buck the “tremendous pressure the contemporary culture places on everyone to conform to a certain agenda.”
“This pressure is exerted relentlessly in the media, in entertainment, in politics, in academia, in corporations — in short, in all the influences of popular culture,” he wrote.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco is proposing three new clauses to the contracts for the teachers in the Archdiocesan high schools. The purpose is to further clarify that Catholic schools –as the first clause states– “exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church.”
The Archdiocese is also adding detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice — taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church — into the faculty and staff handbooks of the four archdiocesan high schools, Archbishop Riordan, Marin Catholic and Junipero Serra High Schools and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. The handbook additions will take effect in the 2015-16 school year and are not part of the contract. About 315 teachers at the four schools belong to the teacher’s union which is currently negotiating the contract to take effect Aug.1
Nearly 500 people in total are employed at the four high schools.
The handbook and contract changes do not contain anything essentially new. Rather, they are intended to clarify existing expectations that Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching, archdiocesan Catholic schools Superintendent Maureen Huntington said.
“Because we live in a very secular society, the truth as revealed by God gets overshadowed by popular ideology,” Huntington said. “In order to remain faithful to God’s revelations and the church’s teachings, additions and clarifying statements have been developed for our teachers and staff members articulating specific fundamental truths, which are not understood or accepted within our secular society.”
The intent is not to drive any teacher out of a job, Huntington and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said. “At the outset, I wish to state clearly and emphatically that the intention underlying this document is not to target for dismissal from our schools any teachers, singly or collectively, nor does it introduce anything essentially new into the contract or the faculty handbook,” Archbishop. Cordileone wrote in a February letter to the teachers.