SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Students and parents from schools controlled by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco protested at Saint Mary’s Cathedral on Ash Wednesday, saying the church should stay out of teachers’ bedrooms and drop proposed morality clauses in teacher contracts.

On Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days on the Catholic calendar, the students and parents are hoping Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will change his mind on the clauses, as the church heads into 40 days of Lenten reflection.

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“We’re here because if Jesus were alive today, he’d be standing right next to us,” Mairead Ahlbach, a student at Sacred Heart, told the crowd.

At issue, the archbishop’s proposed morality contracts for teachers, including opposition to homosexuality and contraceptives.

Students and parents staged a protest over proposed morality clauses for Archdiocese of San Francisco teachers at Saint Mary's Cathedral on February 18, 2015. (CBS)

Students and parents staged a protest over proposed morality clauses for Archdiocese of San Francisco teachers at Saint Mary’s Cathedral on February 18, 2015. (CBS)

Outside the cathedral, Fr. John Piderit of the Archdiocese said, “The archbishop is reiterating standard Catholic doctrine. And the complaint raised by different politicians and some parents and teachers is that this is discriminatory. In fact, our approach is the same for young men and women, for heterosexuals and gays.”

But the difference over doctrine and its application run deep.

“The only thing we’re doing here tonight is preaching Catholic values,” Ahlbach said.

When asked if the archbishop’s proposal falls in line with the church’s doctrine, another student who attended the protest said, “Yes it does fall in line with Catholic doctrine, but we feel like if this goes through that a lot of our teachers might leave.”

“We don’t want our teachers to leave and maybe even leave the faith. We just think that maybe the Catholic Church should become as progressive as the Episcopal Church,” the student said.

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