Bishop Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in northern California is requiring teachers in diocesan (Catholic) schools to sign a statement called “Bearing Witness” that they will live in accord with the principles of the Catholic Church. In other words, they are being asked to agree to the mission of their employer/school and not act in ways that controvert the mission.
I haven’t seen the statement, but the press coverage implies its authenticity.
When I worked at the Vatican, there was one morning when a Vatican employee had called into a radio show, identified himself as a Vatican employee, and then went on to talk about his relations with his live-in girlfriend. He didn’t use his name; so he wasn’t tracked down. But he certainly created a lot of buzz in Vatican offices. Everyone – even if they didn’t practice their faith much – knew that he’d violated one of the agreements of working at the Vatican. It’s like any business or organization, a certain amount of loyalty to the entity’s mission and identity is expected. When it comes to religious organizations, even more can be required.Not every teacher at a Catholic school needs to be Catholic, but they do need to be able to interact with students in a way that upholds Catholic teachings. If they cannot do that in good conscience, then that teacher is not a good fit for a Catholic school.
Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI dedicated their pontificates to reaffirming and clarifying Catholic identity. It’s good to see the effects of their work locally. I’m sure Bishop Vasa would appreciate support. You might consider contacting him by email or post.