JUST WHAT DOES AFFIRM AND BELIEVE MEAN?

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EXCERPTED FROM ARCHBISHOP SALVATORE CORDILEONE’S MARCH 16, 2015 LETTER TO SAN FRANCISCO CATHOLIC SCHOOLS’ TEACHERS:

(Boldface emphasis by Abyssum)

All teachers are expected to contribute to an atmosphere of holiness, virtue, and familiarity with the Gospel. How can this occur if not all teachers agree with Catholic teachings?
The way to assist teachers who distance themselves or privately oppose some Catholic teachings is to alert them to sensitive issues. Because the school fosters holiness, virtue and evangelization, teachers not knowledgeable about the precise contours of Catholic teaching have to be cautious about what they say in the school and what they do in the public sphere outside the Catholic school.
Honest mistakes do happen, and when they do, reparation can be made. This is not in and of itself a cause for a teacher to be punished. At the same time, teachers and staff at Catholic high schools have to strive to present Catholic teachings as consistently as possible.
Dissenting from Catholic teaching or the natural moral law in a Catholic high school does not promote holiness, virtue and evangelization.
Finally, it is important to note the careful use of language in the document [the new form of the teachers’ contracts] . In front of many statements of Catholic teaching in the faculty handbook come the words “affirm and believe.” This is a statement made on behalf of the institution, not all individuals in the institutions. Our Catholic high schools try to hire people who do believe what the Church teaches, but in our schools we have good teachers who belong to other Christian faiths or to no faith at all. They are members of the school community.
The language “affirm and believe” acknowledges the good activity of the entire corps of faculty and staff by making this claim on behalf of the institution. That is, in the first instance, “affirm and believe” refers to the Catholic high school itself, and, secondly, to many faculty who identify with the Catholic teachings behind which the high school as a whole stands.
My hope is that the document on Catholic faith and morals that is becoming part of the faculty handbook in our Catholic high schools will help the schools better fulfill their mission, and also highlight for teachers true Catholic teachings that are contested by many people in secular society today.
Sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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1 Response to JUST WHAT DOES AFFIRM AND BELIEVE MEAN?

  1. God, thank you for this “Soldier of Christ. Give the rest of us the courage to uphold your teachings.

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