Archbishop’s controversial proposals provoke national reaction

Faculty at four Bay Area Catholic high schools have expressed objections to non-inclusive statements about marriage, sexuality, and reproduction made by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, and concern over his controversial proposals to designate teachers in the diocesan high schools as “ministers” in the faculty handbook and the collective bargaining agreement.

“To say that [teachers] are concerned would be an understatement,” said Lisa Dole, an instructor at Marin Catholic and president of the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2240. “They are understandably worried about the legal ramifications of the term ‘minister’.”

In a March 2 meeting with the union executive board, the archbishop said he no longer intends to use the word “minister” in the faculty contract to refer to teachers. However, he rejected the local’s request to keep the current language in the collective bargaining agreement.

Local 2240 represents faculty at Archbishop Riordan and Sacred Heart Preparatory in San Francisco, Marin Catholic in Kentfield, and Junipero Serra in San Mateo.

“We do not question the Archbishop’s right to highlight certain church doctrines” said Paul Hance, a Serra teacher and Executive Board officer. “Our union’s concern is related to the terms of our employment, which have been negotiated and agreed to by the Archdiocese and union representatives since 1972.”

In a statement supporting the Archdiocese teachers, the CFT said, “Archbishop Cordileone’s proposals appear to be at variance with the philosophy and direction taken by Pope Francis. No one doubts that religious schools, like all private schools, are free to shape their curriculum in line with the views and mission of the institution. However, those views must be questioned and confronted when they fundamentally violate the constitutional rights of individuals who work in these schools.”

Eight state legislators said in a letter to Cordileone, “The standards within the morality clauses would be illegal for any other employer.”

— By CFT Staff