PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Call New Morality Clause Threat to Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2015
Contact: Ellen Euclide | firstname.lastname@example.org | 773 217 0023
CATHOLICS CALL MORALITY CLAUSE A THREAT TO OUR SCHOOLS
Call To Action is appalled that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at all high schools within the Archdiocese be required to agree to “morality clause” as part of their employment contract. The language in the clause is not related to job competence and attempts to invade the personal beliefs of the employee. This denies workers the right to discern their own conscience, violates our faith, and harms our schools.
“As Catholics, we have the obligation to follow our conscience. Our faith is one that teaches us to love and respect one another, not to judge and dismiss. When institutional leaders attempt to create a litmus test for one’s Catholicity by prying into their personal thoughts and conscience decisions, they deny the beauty of our faith and the dignity of the people of God” says Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director.
This morality clause was introduced to some teachers and staff on Tuesday, February 3. It is expected to be released at a mandatory meeting of all Catholic school teachers and administrators on Friday, February 6. Employees, alumni, students and their parents have already begun to express their outrage over the damage this will do to the community they love.
We are proud of the long Catholic tradition of great education and intellectual curiosity that our Church has fostered. Requiring workers to sign extreme, invasive, and unnecessary morality clauses like this one reverses that long held value. The proposed language will make it impossible not only for schools to hire and keep great educators but also for those teachers cultivate the young minds of the next generation of leaders.
The culture of fear that would be created by the Archbishop’s proposed morality clause would not only affect teachers and staff but make schools an unsafe space for students. The example it sets is especially dangerous for LGBT and questioning students and those from households that don’t meet the Archbishop’s limited definition of family. We believe in a Church that celebrates diversity and communities that value and nurture all children.
In addition, the Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers” An attempt by the diocese to bypass all legal protections that its employees might have as workers.
As faithful Catholics, we call on Archbishop Cordileone to remove this language and any reclassification of positions that strip workers of their rights. We stand with all the workers who are pushing back and standing up and with the parents, students and alumni working to make their school a safe and welcoming community.
Call To Action is a national organization working for equality and justice in the Catholic Church. With over 25,000 members and supporters and 50 chapters, Call To Action educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities.