SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The Archdiocese of San Francisco is adding detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice into the faculty and staff handbooks of four Archdiocesan high schools in San Francisco, and has also proposed three new clauses be added to teacher’s contracts to further clarify that Catholic schools “exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he hopes the document, “Statement of the High Schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Regarding Teachings and Practice of the Catholic Chuch,” will allow Catholic high schools to better fulfill their mission.

RELATED: LGBT Catholics Embraced By San Jose Diocese In Light Of Pope Francis’ Progressive Stance On Gay Community

The statements are taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese points out, they do not contain anything essentially new. Rather, they are meant to clarify existing expectations for Catholic teachers in their professional and public life. This includes the belief that “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil, including adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, is appealing to the San Francisco Archdiocese to remove the anti-LGBT language from its new teachers’ contract.

“The new ‘moral clauses’ proposed in the contract by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone stand in stark relief to the message of inclusion being promoted by Pope Francis,” said Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, director of Latina/o and Catholic Initiatives for HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program. “In imposing what amounts to an anti-LGBT purity test, the archbishop is closing the door on dedicated professionals, many of them faithful Catholics, gay and straight, whose moral codes do not embrace discrimination.”

ALSO READ: Boys Only: SF Catholic Priest Says Girls Not Allowed To Serve At Altar In His Church

Students in the diocese are using a Twitter hashtag, #teachacceptance, and a related petition, to voice their opposition to the archdiocese’s anti-LGBT edicts.

In a letter to high school teachers, Archbishop Cordileone said the document is not meant to drive anyone out of a job. But with many “hot button” issues related to faith and morality, he felt it was important to help teachers provide perspectives to their students who might be struggling in areas such as sexual morality and religious discipline.

The handbook additions would take effect in the 2015-16 school year at Archbishop Riordan, Marin Catholic, Junipero Serra and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prepatory. The teacher’s union is currently negotiating, as their contract expires July 31.  Archbishop Cordileone is expected to present the changes and address high school teachers on February 6.

Comments (23)