Monday, May 19, 2014

Regina Brett's Column on the Catholic School Teachers' Contract

Regina Brett is one of the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best columnists. In her Sunday column she talked about the morality clauses in the new contract all Catholic grade school teachers must sign in Cleveland (also in Cincinnati and other dioceses).

Click for Regina Brett's Column

Brett begins her column with a question found on billboards sponsored by the group "Voice of the Faithful" around Cincinnati: "Would Pope Francis sign the new teacher contract?" Incredibly, what passes for "morality" in this contract seems to revolve almost totally around an interpretation of one of the commandments, "Thou shallt not commit adultery" (to Catholics the 6th Commandment; to other traditions the 7th). Incredibly, the issue isn't mainly adultery--it's abortion and "embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogate parenthood, direct sterilization or so-called homosexual or same-sex marriage or unions." Note that it is silent on contraception/birth control, still technically a sin for Catholics, but  a teaching ignored by almost all Catholics (to an astonishing degree). Also note that the contract doesn't mention all the other sins against the poor, the hungry, the homeless; says nothing about violence or war; does not mention the Works of Mercy; does not even get into the central issues of Jesus' life and ministry. 

Teachers are told that they aren't being forced to sign this contract. But if you don't sign, you don't have a job. So most will sign this, many against their wills. Many will cross their fingers, not wanting to repudiate gay friends and family members or friends and family who have had babies with reproductive technologies like in vitro and artificial insemination.

How have so many in my church become so uncharitable and narrow-minded? Where is the spirit of Pope Francis? Where is the spirit of Jesus?

Here is how Regina Brett ends her column:

Would Pope Francis sign the new Catholic teacher contract?
Not the pope who told us, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" This teaching contract would violate his own moral code.
Will the teachers sign it?
What a miracle it would be for this church if every teacher refused to.

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