The Diocese of Santa Rosa, which runs about a dozen schools in the North Bay including St. Vincent de Paul High School, has reversed plans to require teachers to sign a ‘”morality clause,” saying they agree that gay marriage, contraception and euthanasia are “modern errors” that “gravely offend human dignity,” the Press Democrat is reporting.
The initial requirement, part of teachers’ employment contracts, caused anger among both teachers and parents at St. Vincent and other schools run by the Diocese, who said the decree was an unnecessary intrusion into their personal lives.
Bishop Robert Vasa made the announcement Thursday in a letter addressed to pastors, principals and teachers, although he said he still intended to implement a similar clause over the next two years, according to the Press Democrat.
"The goals which we had established for this year's teacher contracts will be postponed and we will plan to implement them, in some form, in the spring of 2015," Vasa wrote in the letter.
Vasa, who took over the leadership of the diocese in 2011, has since surprised many congregants with his more strict interpretation of Catholic teachings, including calls for politicians who support abortion to step down.
When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops conducted a nationwide audit of child safety practices in 2009, Vasa, then head of a diocese in Oregon was one of only two bishops in the country who refused to participate.
Asked why, Vasa said he believed teaching young children about sexual predators instills fear in them.
“I refuse to implement programs in our schools or our CCD program that are directed at somehow trying to empower kids to keep themselves safe,” Vasa told a Bend newspaper in 2009, referring to the religious education program. “Because predators are bigger, smarter and much more determined than the children ever will be.”
Click here to read more about Bishop Vasa’s new announcement.
If you're a teacher or parent, we want to hear from you. How does this announcement impact your plans to continue teaching or sending your child to St. Vincent de Paul?