Students at a San Francisco Catholic high school have had enough of their administration telling them that being gay is a “grave evil” — and they’re standing up for teachers who they fear could lose their jobs.
Earlier in February, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone sent a letter to teachers in the Archdiocesan Catholic High Schools “clarifying” the church’s view on morality. One of the affected schools is Archbishop Riordan High School.
The new handbook language warns that:
“… all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”
In addition, it outlines church positions on controversial subjects including the ordination of women and notes that faculty must:
“… refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.”
The additions would take effect in the coming school year and clearly imply a shift in how the church will police student and teacher behavior, even though the policy claims that this is not its intent:
Cordileone writes that the new document clarifies Catholic issues in Catholic schools with the intention:
“… not to target for dismissal from our schools any teachers, singly or collectively.”
He said the staff will not have to sign anything regarding their adherence to the new additions to the handbook.
Cordileone said that while the “Catholic high schools try to hire people who do believe what the Church teaches,” there are “good teachers who belong to other Christian faiths or to no faith at all,” and that these clarifications are meant to instruct them in their behavior and teachings.
But by now, we’ve learned that Catholic schools in particular have no problem firing longstanding teachers who don’t meet Catholic school standards of “morality,” no matter what a policy says about respecting different faiths. Students and teachers have every right to be upset — and they are.That’s why about 20 Riordan students gathered outside their school last week, risking detention to protest the new policy. In interviews with media they’re dropping truth bombs left and right, saying loud and clear what everyone else is thinking:
“I want teachers to be called teachers and not ministers and I think they should be able to express themselves however and wherever they want,” Zev Rymland said.
“The archbishop is making such a huge deal on homosexuality and masturbation and pornography and all that. There’s bigger problems going on in the world. People are starving,” Dominic Collantes said…
Others feel that his views are not consistent with a progressive city like San Francisco and what kids have been taught to this point. “I was taught this idea that God gave us free will to live how we want to and make our own decisions and the archbishop with this is not really giving the teachers the ability to do that,” Dylan Ennis said.
For what it’s worth, ABC points out that the same school has also come under fire recently for another morality-related scandal:
The ABC7 News I-Team has interviewed teachers at Archbishop Riordan High who say the principal showed them pictures of naked women and other images not appropriate for a school environment.
We asked one Riordan High teacher how something like this is brought up and they said, “‘Let me show you this, look at this, what do you think about this one?’ That’s how it comes up. Casually, you know. Like it’s no big deal.”
Even more sensitive, two teachers accuse the principal of showing them a racy video involving a Riordan High student. The school says it investigated the claims twice and they are false.
And it’s the teachers whose morality we’re worried about?
Newsflash to Catholic leaders and school administrators: Being gay doesn’t make you a bad teacher or a bad person. Unless you’re also outlawing divorce, shellfish, mixed fabrics and the host of other random details that the Bible supposedly outlaws, move along. The students have spoken.