Same-sex marriage no longer called 'gravely evil' in revised Bay Area Catholic handbook

In the latest revision of a proposed handbook for Bay Area Catholic school teachers, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone no longer calls same-sex marriage “gravely evil.”

The change also removed the description for masturbation and in vitro fertilization, and it comes after months of negotiations to provide a new contract and handbook for teachers of the four high schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. But some in the school communities feel that those who do not align with certain Catholic teachings might still face discrimination.

Kathy Curran, whose son attends Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, said the latest revision, which was released May 10, is “much softer, but the attack against the community remains. It is still quite clear anyone who is gay in the school, whether teacher or student … those kids and those teachers get the message that they are not okay in the school.”

When negotiations began in February for a new teacher contract that will take effect July 1, the archdiocese sparked outrage by announcing its intent to reaffirm that teachers publicly and professionally align with the Catholic mission. Cordileone has since established a committee to explore language in the proposed faculty handbook.

Cordileone also previously conceded that educators will no longer be referred to as “ministers,” a term the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers Local 2240 was concerned could potentially strip teachers of their legal rights. “There’s been a dialogue about the handbook, and it’s a good dialogue,” said Larry Kamer, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Meanwhile, the teachers union and archdiocese continue to negotiate the contract.

“We definitely have not agreed to any language at this point,” said Paul Hance, a union representative and teacher at Serra High School. “We know where we work, we understand it is what it is to be a teacher in a Catholic school, but the archbishop is going out of his way to get that in print.”

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