In a letter dated Tuesday of this week and addressed to pastors, Catholic school principals, and teachers in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif., Bishop Robert Vasa has decided to postpone the requirement that educators sign an addendum to their 2013-2014 contract. The proposed addendum acknowledged that the diocese’s educators were “ministerial agent[s] of the bishop,” and that they rejected the “modern errors” that “gravely offend human dignity,” such as abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage and euthanasia.
According to the Press Democrat, Bishop Vasa had received resistance from parents regarding the addendum.
"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," said Bishop Vasa in the letter.
Bishop Vasa explained that he had failed to properly engage and consult with principals and pastors beforehand. Bishop Vasa told The Cardinal Newman Society via email:
This was determined in the course of a meeting with the pastors of schools with whom I had failed to properly communicate. I realized that though I had thought that what I had expressed in the course of the year had prepared the groundwork for this spring’s action but the response from pastors and principals clearly indicated that what I thought had been clear was not clear at all. As I wrote in the letter, this desire to strengthen our Catholic schools is just too important not to do well.
Wrote Bishop Vasa in his letter:
We agree that we need to engage our Teachers and give them the necessary faith instruction which they need to more fully understand and appreciate the teachings of the Church, including those issues about which there is such sharp contrast between the mores of society and the clear and consistent teachings of the Church. This, as you told me, is too important a goal to try to accomplish in one year by way of a couple of meetings and a mandate.
Therefore, Bishop Vasa plans to implement a Diocesan Catechetical Enterprise for principals and teachers. During the 21-month period he plans to address “a number of significant misunderstandings about what the Church teaches, as well as why.”
The bishop says that he views the postponement as an opportunity to teach and that he will prepare presentations for principals and teachers on “matters of faith and morals.”
The Press Democrat reports that when asked whether the bishop still wants to in the future require teachers to formally agree to certain Catholic doctrine, diocese spokeswoman Deirdre Frontczak said, "He has said that quite clearly."
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