Catholic archbishop’s teacher directive prompts vigil at San Francisco cathedral

San Francisco teachers

Billy Bradford, left, and others hold up signs as they gather with students and supporters at a vigil outside of St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. 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. Jeff Chiu, AP

San Francisco teachersJeff Chiu, AP

Billy Bradford, left, and others hold up signs as they gather with students and supporters at a vigil outside of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco is getting pushback 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.

SAN FRANCISCO — About 100 people attended a vigil outside the Roman Catholic cathedral in San Francisco on Friday to protest the local archbishop’s move to require teachers at four Catholic high schools to lead their public lives inside the classroom and out in accordance with church teachings on homosexuality, birth control and other hot-button issues.

The protest, which also included songs and prayers, came as Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was holding mass for teachers from parochial schools throughout the three-county Archdiocese of San Francisco and then meeting with high school teachers to answer questions about changes he wants to make to their faculty handbook and employment contract.

“I chose to send my children to Catholic schools because I wanted their education to be grounded in love, compassion, and a strong sense of social justice,” said Peggy O’Grady, a parent at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco. “This effort by the archbishop will do the opposite, and would run counter to all I believe and value in a Catholic education.”

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Cordileone this week presented teachers at the four high schools owned by the archdiocese with a detailed statement of faith affirming that Catholic school employees “are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny” church doctrine on matters related to sexuality, marriage and human reproduction.

The statement, which the archbishop said would be added to the faculty handbooks, outlines the church’s teaching that using contraception is a sin and that sex outside of marriage, whether it is in the form of adultery, masturbation, pornography or gay sex, is “gravely evil.”

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