Calif. Catholic schools impose ‘purity test’ over ‘gravely evil’ gay sex and masturbation
A new faculty handbook for four Catholic high schools in the San Francisco area will include a “morality clause” that warns teachers that homosexuality, sex outside marriage and masturbation are forbidden.
In a letter to teachers this week, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who was instrumental in creating California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, explained that there had been “confusion about the church’s stance… in areas of sexual morality and religious practice.”
The new handbook states that “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”
And teachers are expected to “refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.”
While Cordileone insisted that the “clarification” was not intended to “target for dismissal from our schools any teachers, singly or collectively,” the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on the archdiocese to remove the “anti-LGBT” language from the teachers’ contracts.
Lisbeth Melendez, who directs Latina/o and Catholic Initiatives for the HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program, pointed out that Cordileone seemed to be at odds with Pope Francis.
“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,” Melendez said.
“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.”
On Wednesday, a group of students at San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory School rallied against the “morality clause.”
“We learn about social justice here, we learn about equality, it doesn’t represent what our school is,” Sacred Heart senior Gus O’Sullivan told KTVU. “I was really shocked. I’m gay myself so this document has a lot of resonance to me specifically.”
Watch the video below from KTVU, broadcast Feb. 5, 2015.