Monday, February 23, 2015

S.F. archbishop goes against grain with strict morality code

By Kevin Fagan

(San Francisco Chronicle) The Catholic Church is famously conservative, but San Francisco’s archdiocese is carving out new ground on the right even for that religion as it tries to require its teachers to reject homosexual relations and other “gravely evil” behavior in their lives.

Only a handful of U.S. dioceses have added such forceful language to their teacher conduct codes in recent years requiring conformity to church doctrine in their public and private lives, experts say. Oakland, Santa Rosa and Cleveland were foremost among them — but none has pressed the point home as adamantly as San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. And Oakland and Santa Rosa have backed down from their pushes...

“I believe these men are acting out of sincere conviction, because clearly the ecclesial winds have shifted,” said Bretzke, who taught at the University of San Francisco and in Berkeley before going to Boston. “This is not the way to put winds in your career sails anymore. Whatever you want to say about them, you cannot say they are political opportunists...”

The local conservative stance finds more resonance in Cleveland than most other places. There, Bishop Richard Lennon expanded the morality clause last year for his diocese’s teachers that banned activities including same-sex relations, pornography viewing and cohabitation outside marriage on pain of being fired.

Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek said the move was made to “be more specific” at a time of growing moral need.

“Like the Archdiocese of San Francisco, we here in the Cleveland Diocese recognize that now, more than ever, the secular culture is offering a view of life and humanity that is often at odds with Christ’s truth as presented through the Catholic Church,” read a diocese statement forwarded by Tayek. “In response to that reality, we have added language to our teacher contracts...” (continued)


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