EXTRA LETTERS: Readers react to local directive to Catholic teachers
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 8, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.
EDITOR: I haven't read the specific language of Bishop Robert Vasa's school contract amendment (“Diocese requires teachers to follow church doctrine,” Feb. 28). But the bishop has a perfect right, if not an obligation, to require Catholic school teachers to adhere to the teachings of the Catholic faith.
We live in a secular, relativistic society. If I am sending my child to a Catholic school, I want to be sure he or she will have teachers who convey, by word and example, the authentic teachings of Catholicism. Otherwise it can easily become a situation where the tail wags the dog.
In the Catholic Church, change does take place. It took decades of theological scholarly work in the liturgical, scriptural and ecumenical movements and the lay apostolate to reach Vatican II; then it took 29 years, and consultation with bishops and theologians around the world, to compose the catechism. As successor to the apostles, Vasa is charged with the privilege of preaching the gospel. I wish him well.
An ethical dilemma
EDITOR: The local Catholic community finds itself in the eye of an ethical storm due to the bishop's mandate that all educators sign a covenant stating that “modern errors” relating to issues such as contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia are inconsistent with the teaching of the church. The implication is that signature of the addendum is a condition of continued employment.
Is this coercive approach warranted in light of the collateral damage it may inflict? One could logically ask, why stop there? Shouldn't students and families be required to sign as a condition of attendance?
The impact of this requirement is potentially devastating to many. For educators whose beliefs are not congruent, there is no wiggle room — sign and suffer the effects of the cognitive dissonance that will result from the realization that they have betrayed their beliefs for the sake of continued employment, or don't sign and suffer economically.
Students may face the loss of teachers who have devoted their lives to providing them with a well-rounded Christian education. Surely they will understand that a document signed under duress is a hollow token of compliance. Finally, the draconian nature of this requirement will demonstrate to the community our unwillingness to accept diversity in our schools.
JIM and SUZANNE PALLESCHI
Scattering the flock
EDITOR: While we recognize Bishop Robert Vasa's obligation to teach and uphold Catholic doctrine, to require his employees, Catholic and non-Catholic teachers, to affirm and uphold such doctrines as a condition of employment is unreasonable at best and draconian at worst. Upholding mores from a male-dominated, first century Palestinian society is antiquated and divisive.
As practicing Catholics, we recognize our beliefs regarding contraception, homosexuality and the role of women in Catholic liturgy are in opposition to Catholic doctrine. However, unlike the many excellent teachers at St. Eugene's, Cardinal Newman and other schools, our livelihood is not jeopardized by our views.
Our children were blessed with a Catholic education, as were we. Until we read of Vasa's mandatory affirmation, we had hoped our grandchildren might be afforded the same opportunity. However, a Catholic institution in which all teachers follow rigid and close-minded dogma, or are coerced into signing an affirmation they do not agree with, is not one we could support monetarily or entrust our children to attend.
A good shepherd sets down his staff and bends forward to gather his flock, but Vasa swings his like a weapon, scattering the flock in every direction.
TOM and JODI DUCKETT
Duty and belief
EDITOR: David Bjorstrom (“Sensible policy,” Letters, Tuesday) asked: “Why would someone work as a Catholic school teacher .
For the bishop to demand a statement of compliance with the threat of dismissal is antithetical to the church's teaching on conscience. Joseph Ratzinger wrote in 1968 that “one's own conscience .
Follow church leaders only to the extent that they themselves follow Christ.
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