Is your Sunday School teacher Catholic enough?
Michelle Boorstein’s story on the Arlington Catholic Diocese requiring Sunday School teachers (known as catechists) to sign onto fidelity oaths points at a local example of the global church’s recent efforts to bring dissenters in line with Vatican teaching.
The oath goes beyond requiring Catholic religious educators, who are church volunteers, to teach official church doctrine; it requires them to affirm that they believe it. From Boorstein’s report:
“I can’t imagine there are many [teachers] who have issues with the church’s teachings on faith and morals,” Diocesan spokesman Michael Donohue said. Asked about polls showing that the majority of American Catholics use artificial contraception, forbidden by church doctrine, he said he “found it hard to believe” that anyone who had concluded that a church teaching was wrong would want to teach it.
In a letter explaining the new diocesan policy, Arlington Bishop Rev. Paul S. Loverde wrote of the need “to assure sound teaching in our catechetical programs” by requiring that teachers make a public, annual ‘Profession of Faith,’ and that they sign a document stating that they “believe and profess every thing” contained in the Nicene Creed. The Profession of Faith also asks teachers to state that they “believe everything” contained in the scripture and tradition of the church, that they ‘firmly’ accept church teaching “on faith and morals” and that they submit themselves to the authority of the pope and bishops.
You can read the letter and the profession below.Catholic bishop's letter to Arlington Diocese and Profession of Faith document
The oath, Boorstein notes, mirrors trends in recent years to bring Catholic educators and theologians in line with official church teaching. One example cited by those who support the Vatican in its efforts to assert its authority over Catholic teachers is Pope John Paul II’s letter on Catholic Universities, which said:
“All Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfil a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
YOUR TAKE: Do you think Catholic Sunday School teachers should be required to believe --and not just teach —“each and every thing” contained in the full canon of Catholic faith?