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The Roar of the Lion

In this section of last month’s issue, we wrote about the “shakeup happening in San Francisco,” the epicenter of which was Star of the Sea parish, where the decision by recently installed pastor Fr. Joseph Illo and associate pastor Fr. Patrick Driscoll to allow only boys to serve at the altar “sent shockwaves through the region and across the nation” (“The Beginning of the End?” May). Little did we know, when we wrote that New Oxford Note, that the Star of the Sea shakeup would, in retrospect, look like a mere tremor compared to the tectonic activity that was to take place a short time later.

We described San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who gave his express permission to Frs. Illo and Driscoll to implement their boys-only plan, as “a man who doesn’t shy away from controversy.” Recently, controversy reintroduced itself to Cordileone, and rather rudely.

Early this year, Cordileone decided to join his brother bishops in Cincinnati, Columbus (Ohio), Cleveland, Honolulu, and Oakland (about whom see our New Oxford Note “A Manufactured Controversy,” Jul.-Aug. 2014) and include a “morality clause” in the contracts of the teachers in the San Francisco Archdiocese’s fourteen high schools. On top of that, he has added detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practices into the high-school faculty handbook for the upcoming school year. According to reporter Valerie Schmalz, writing in Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper, “The handbook and contact changes do not contain anything essentially new. Rather, they are intended to clarify existing expectations that Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching” (Feb. 6). The additions “specify for all what the Church teaches and require that high school staff and teachers not contradict Catholic teachings in a school environment or in public actions.”

In essence, Archbishop Cordileone wants to strengthen and safeguard the Catholic identity of his Catholic schools. Who could possibly have a problem with Catholic schools promoting the Catholic faith? Why, Catholics, of course!

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