Frank Bruni’s column today examines the case of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, where over 2,000 parochial teachers are being asked to sign a greatly expanded morals clause in their contract.
The previous contract briefly stated that the employee would not contradict Catholic doctrine, and left it at that. The new, expanded contract goes into great detail about what that might mean, but only in a particular direction:
The new contract expressly forbids a “homosexual lifestyle” and any “public support” of one. But it says nothing about public support of the death penalty, something else that the church opposes.
The new contract specifically rules out any use or advocacy of abortion rights, surrogacy, even in vitro fertilization. But it doesn’t address possible advocacy of the sorts of bloody military engagements that the church often condemns.
The new contract forbids “living together outside marriage,” “sexual activity out of wedlock” and any public endorsement of either. But there’s no reference to concern for the downtrodden, to the spirit of giving, to charity. And while those are surely more difficult to monitor, aren’t they as essential to Catholic principles, and closer to the core of the faith?
Additionally, and equally troubling, the contract stipulates that the teacher is defined as a ‘minister’, a designation which, as Bruni points out, would allow the Archdiocese to circumnavigate all manner of employment discrimination law by grouping the gym teacher in with the parish priest.
Already, numerous teachers have refused to sign, and a local group is protesting in the area. Their billboards argue “Would Pope Francis sign this contract?”
Read the whole column here
How about where you are? Has Pope Francis’s example reversed the trend, or are you still seeing things like this?