Letters to the Editor: Horror over Catholic teacher contract

Letters to the Editor: Horror over Catholic teacher contract

Letters to the Editor

This letter was originally sent to Bishop Michael Barber, head of the Catholic Church's Oakland diocese, and was forwarded to The Alamedan for publication.

Bishop Barber:

As a Jesuit-educated Catholic, I have reacted with horror at your recent requirement to have teachers and employees in Diocesan schools sign a contract with faith and morals clauses. That has nothing to do with the education of children.

This requirement will be seen as an attempt to impose morality rather than to teach it. That is anathema to what the Jesuits at St. Ignatius and the University of San Francisco taught me. I well remember professors responding to my challenging questions with the attitude of: “Good, Arthur, you’re thinking and not simply accepting.”

What your incorrectly styled ‘voluntary’ requirement will do is to cause many more people to leave your church and seek the truth of Christ without it. It’s not ‘voluntary’ if one cannot be employed without signing it. It doesn’t seem to be logical that you would use that word in this context.

And I don’t mean just the teachers will be leaving. The monetary support will also flee, as many of my associates have already told me. Perhaps that will get your attention.

Finally, a bit of history. This move by you is identical to the move in the McCarthy era to have loyalty oaths required of certain people in certain positions. I’m sure you’re aware of that history.

So, Bishop, step back and take a deep breath, and consider rescinding this requirement. Otherwise you’ll be fueling a lot of unnecessary controversy in an extremely un-Christian fashion.

Yours faithfully in Truth,

Arthur Ramirez Lenhardt


Submitted by old timer (not verified) on Thu, Jun 12, 2014

Well stated, Arthur. Let's go forward, not backward.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on Sun, Jun 15, 2014

Arthur what could a rational person expect from an organization which is founded on totally irrational premises?

The bishop is acting as he is expected to behave for those who live by faith and not by reason.

Rational arguments are useless when engaging those who believe they have and know the truth!

Submitted by Michael (not verified) on Sun, Jun 15, 2014

There is no place in a Catholic school for teachers that are unwilling to accept and embrace Catholic moral teachings. Students need to be enlightened not feed the secular progressive lies and the "anything goes" mentality. Math, science, critical thinking, logic and reason all part of a well formed moral conscience. Teachers that would promote the secular progressive agenda do a terrible disservice to their students. Think of the dignity of the human person and how many women think nothing of murdering their babies and then discarding them into the trash. If the teachers don't want to sign the moral clause they should go someplace else, this is a win/win for all concerned.

Submitted by William (not verified) on Sun, Jun 15, 2014


As you're aware 'catholic' with a small 'c' means 'universal' which must necessarily mean 'non-exclusionary' simply by the definitions of the words. Your broad-brush 'secular progressive lies' seems judgmental and exclusionary. You are non-specific in this accusation and that seems to imply that's what non-signatory teachers bring to the class. What makes you assume that non-signatory teachers would bring an agenda to a class simply because they are living together unmarried, atheists, or whatever? If they pushed that in the classroom, they would be called up on that and fired, of course.
And the dignity of the human person, especially with regard to women, was destroyed by the church in 1139 by the Second Lateran Council when priests were forbidden to marry. Why? Primogeniture! Married priests had to give their land to their first-born. If they weren't married, and therefore had no children that were 'legal', the land the priests inherited from their parents would go to the church. This was affirmed by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. So don't talk about the dignity of the human person when the church has not dignified the humanity of women in nearly a millennium. Unless, of course, you feel that women are a lesser life form, as the church apparently does.

So Michael, are you 'C'atholic or 'c'atholic? Do you Exclude or Include? Do you Hate or do you Love? Do you Judge or do you Accept? And don't forget Matthew 7:1.

Submitted by Joseph (not verified) on Sun, Jun 15, 2014

"Michael", your talking point rhetoric "secular progressive agenda" is what we Americans call equality and a free society as stipulated in our foundation documents. Conflating science and math with magical religious thinking is utterly ridiculous. Time will extinguish the hate preached by so-called religions.

Submitted by tom (not verified) on Sun, Jun 15, 2014


Rational discussion and decision making is exactly what the catholic church is not. This goes for any of the numerous faith based systems of reality construction.

The Catholic Church, is an organization which amongst other major issues of faith based invalid teachings, denied the solar centric cosmos and put those with rational scientific thought to death for postulating against church faith based teachings that the earth is not the center of the universe!

Moral conscience rests best on rational decision making for society and not on the denial of freedom to teachers and students in their own personal moral life.

I am sure I would not be allowed to teach freely and rationally in a catholic educational system.

Submitted by joseph (not verified) on Mon, Jun 16, 2014

marian - the separation clause and Jefferson's letters to the CT Baptists make it very clear that American's are entitled to freedom OF religion, as well as freedom FROM religion. As an American citizen you should probably know that. Because "religions" are tax exempt, they are subsidized by all Americans.

Submitted by bp (not verified) on Mon, Jun 16, 2014

What else would you expect from the most bigoted and morally sanctimonious organization in the history of mankind?

"It is necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff." - Pope Boniface VII