LET THE PUBLIC SPEAK: Readers react to local bishop's directives to teachers
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Sign or resign
EDITOR: At a time in the history of the Catholic Church when we might expect humility and reparation for past and current sins, we have instead Bishop Robert Vasa regressing to the days of the Inquisition (“Diocese requires teachers to follow church doctrine,” Thursday). Today instead of torture and killing, teachers in Catholic schools are asked to sign or resign. I guess the familiar has its pull. Such audacity is beyond belief. Any institution that doesn't learn from its past mistakes is doomed to repeat them, and clearly we can see the choice Vasa made for his diocese.
Is it the Middle Ages?
EDITOR: I am currently reading Ken Follett's “World Without End,” a novel set in the 14th century that revolves around Catholic life in the region of England's Kingsbridge Cathedral. It deals with clerical abuses, the subjugation of women (even those in religious orders), the politically appointed bishop's absolute authority over his congregation, accusations of heresy and witchcraft, dictates about how people should think. Carefully researched, more fact than fiction, the book is excellent.
Now I read in The Press Democrat that Bishop Robert Vasa is demanding the kind of loyalty oath from his teachers that hearkens back to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's reign of terror, President Ronald Reagan's loyalty oath, to policies that have been outmoded and condemned. Even worse, he devalues and disrespects women and gays in the name of God. Really? In light of the moral and fiscal bankruptcy perpetrated by so many male clergy? We are still reeling. Is this the Middle Ages or the 21st century?
Our teachers are being threatened in a time of grave recession, their personal beliefs being scrutinized even though those beliefs never enter into the curriculum. These new demands are the manipulations of a martinet, and if they are meant to redirect our focus, they don't. Parents, please support these teachers.
EDITOR: The Santa Rosa Diocese, in requiring that its teachers sign an agreement rejecting “modern errors,” is historically consistent for the Catholic Church. Some 400 years ago, Galileo was required to deny his modern error — supporting Copernican Theory that the earth went around the sun. The church knew better then, too. Diocesesan teachers today should have no moral problem signing this agreement, following Galileo's precedent of agreeing with and privately ignoring the precepts of the church.
GENE MICHAEL GORDON
EDITOR: As I read Thursday's article “Diocese requires teachers to follow church doctrine,” I could hear the uproar from liberal Santa Rosa. This may be an infringement upon the teachers' freedom of belief, but the freedom to make rules is important to religious (and other) organizations. If I were a teacher, I would have difficulty signing the agreement, as I am just a young adult still trying to separate all the shades of gray into blacks and whites. However, the schools are founded on Catholicism and all its values, so expecting teachers to adhere is completely reasonable.
I commend Bishop Robert Vasa for striving for consistency in the body of Catholic schoolteachers, as consistency is one of the most difficult standards for humankind to meet. The troubling human vice of hypocrisy damages society wherever it is manifest. Vasa has taken an honorable stand in ensuring biblical views are both lived out and upheld, thus setting an invariable example for the students.