Why do you send your children to Catholic schools? Is it to:
(A) Learn tolerance and inclusiveness, accepting all ideas and lifestyles equally, regarding all as on an even playing field.
(B) Learn from their drama teacher how others feel by play-acting their lifestyles on “Rainbow Appreciation Day.”
(C) Learn from their social studies teacher that all religions have something to offer, and all are equally true.
(D) Learn from their science teacher that religion is bunk.
(E) Learn from every teacher what the Catholic Church teaches, and see by their example how that is carried out in one’s life.
I already know the answer to that: It’s (E).
I mean, you’re a smart cookie:
If you only wanted to teach tolerance and inclusiveness, you could take advantage of that public school down the street–the one with the expensive sports program and swimming pool and extracurricular activities–which you already pay for with your tax dollars. There would be no need to shell out an average of $3,673 for Catholic elementary school tuition, or $9,622 for Catholic secondary school tuition.
No, I get it: You send your children to Catholic schools because you expect that they will get a full measure of sound doctrine: Catholic social teaching, Catholic theology, Catholic classics, the works.
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But it seems that every day in the news, we read of a teachers’ union, or a same-sex marriage supporter, or a student group, or (horrors!) a parents’ group that is demanding that Catholic schools get off their high horse and stop being Catholic.
There are many examples; but let me cite just two which crossed my desk today:
1. DIOCESE OF OAKLAND
In the Diocese of Oakland, 500 angry people signed a petition by Change.org, protesting a “morality clause” which teachers are required to sign if they want to keep their jobs. Three teachers at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland won’t be allowed to return in the fall because they refused to sign the contract. The new language addresses the teachers’ personal lives, and has caused a stir among openly gay and non-Catholic teachers, who could potentially violate their contracts. Succumbing to the pressure from parents and teachers, Bishop Michael Barber has agreed to meet with faculty and to clarify the language in the morality clause. We’ve yet to see how this will all play out. According to NBCBayArea:
“It is distressing to see the impact the words of this contract amendment have had on our school’s community,” Bishop O’Dowd parent Christina McKenna wrote on the petition. “It’s a giant step backward, especially as we strive to teach our children inclusion, tolerance, and respect.”
Mike Brown, a spokesman for the diocese, insisted that the bishop is “not targeting gays.”
Instead, Brown said, the morality clause was written to remind teachers that they are role models both in and out of the classroom. Barber said Tuesday that he will add “clarifying language” to the contract for future years, because the 2014-15 contract is “completed.”
It’s not clear what that language will consist of. The bishop will meet at another Catholic school, De La Salle, next week to talk with teachers there, Brown said.
“Morality clauses” have been cropping up across the country, including in Cincinnati, where the New York Times reported that critics of the new Archdiocese rules there have put up billboards this spring asking, “Would Pope Francis Sign the New Catholic Teacher Contract?” The contract there specifically bans “public support of positions contrary to Roman Catholic teaching” that include same-sex marriage unions, assisted suicide, abortions, as a few examples.2. HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PENS LETTER TO THE VATICAN
This morning, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholics Schools for being openly LGBT. The nine–from schools all across America–requested an audience with Pope Francis, at which time they hope to explain that they were fired from a Catholic school for “who they love” and demanding that their respective schools become more accepting and welcoming of dissident teachers.
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It does (doesn’t it?) seem that we’ve lost the war: that the greater society will not take our “No” for an answer and will continue to press for a secular agenda, regarding adherents to the Catholic Faith with suspicion. It seems that they will continue to demand that their viewpoint be institutionalized everywhere, from the workplace to the classroom.
But there’s no reason (is there?) to sacrifice on groceries and goodies for the family in order to provide a Catholic education, if the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-sexual license crowd is permitted to set the curriculum.
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Catholic teaching requires us to respect all persons, regardless of their race, their gender, their social class, their sexuality.
But we need not regard all actions as permissible and good. We must not be forced to teach that all paths are equally valid, that all lifestyles are equally acceptable in the eyes of God.
If that’s the direction our schools take, either by their own volition or by force of law, then we should close the doors and home school–or take advantage of that free school down the street.