San Francisco Archbishop details expectations for Catholic school teachers

Salvatore Cordileone

Salvatore Cordileone

SAN FRANCISCO — The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco is getting pushback from some parents, students and teachers at parochial schools after unveiling faculty handbook language calling on teachers to lead their public and professional lives consistently with church teachings on homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, birth control and other behaviors he describes as evil.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone plans to include the language in next year’s faculty handbooks for four high schools owned and operated by the archdiocese. The document states all administrators, faculty and staff, including non-Catholics, will be required to refrain from saying or doing anything publicly that contradicts church doctrine.

That has prompted criticism from within the school community and among gay rights activists.

“The new ‘moral clauses’ proposed … by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone stands in stark relief to the message of inclusion being promoted by Pope Francis,” Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, a director of in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program.

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Cordileone stressed that the handbook additions are meant to provide clarity for teachers and not to target any for dismissal.

“The intention is certainly not to pry into the private lives of the teachers. We certainly aren’t going to do that. People are entitled to their private lives, but teachers also have to respect the mission of the school in the way they live their public lives,” he said in a in a YouTube video posted as school principals presented the changes to teachers Tuesday.

The four schools – Archbishop Riordan and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, Marin Catholic in Kentfield, and Junipero Serra in San Mateo County – enroll about 3,600 students and are among a handful of Catholic schools nationwide with teachers represented by a labor union.

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