Several recent national stories have placed morality clauses at Catholic schools in the spotlight. Most dioceses and schools utilize them, as do many other professions.
Most recently, homosexual gym teacher Carla Hale lost her position at Bishop Watterson High School in Clintonville, OH.
Staff members at Bishop Watterson High School, and many Catholic schools across the country are asked to sign a morality clause, in which they agree to abide by the Church’s teachings. The Diocese of Columbus requires morality clauses of all its employees.
Hale was fired in March after the school discovered that she was living in a homosexual relationship. Doing so violated both her employment contract and her teacher’s union agreement. She is challenging her dismissal through a grievance with the teacher's union, and has also filed a complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission under a city ordinance that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Columbus Dispatch points out that morality clauses are commonly found in contracts for professionals such as physicians, athletes, actors, police officers, university employees, public schools, as well as religious, faith-based, and educational organizations. Some Catholic schools require that their educators take an Oath of Fidelity to the Church and her teachings at the beginning of each school year.
Educator Jane Riviere, of Our Lady of Fatima in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, chose not to renew her contract because as a homosexual she could not sign the diocese's morality clause.
"While I do not agree, I accept the position of the Diocese," Riviere told KATC.
"Given this is a Catholic school, and a Catholic owned operated school I don't find it that surprising they do specifically define what they mean by morality," LSU Law professor William Corbett told KATC.
In the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif., Bishop Robert Vasa sought to have all of the diocese’s teachers sign a document acknowledging that contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia are offensive to human dignity. When some teachers, parents, and pastors balked, Bishop Vasa decided to wait a year in order to first educate the teachers about the Church’s teachings.
“Clauses that once would have hardly been noticed, because most people agreed with them, are becoming more controversial,” John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, told the Dispatch.
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