SF Gate – Oakland bishop puts morality clause thoughts in writing
Read the SF Gate’s assessment of the contract situation »
June 30, 2014
Dear Community members,
After Bishop Barber met with representatives of our faculty, administration and students at the end of May, we committed to send you the Bishop’s promised letter clarifying the intent of new language in the Diocese of Oakland employee contract. The letter below is the result of a three-week collaborative and pastoral process in which the Bishop sought feedback and advice from people in our community and elsewhere in the Diocese. There is also a letter from our school leadership that provides context and additional information about the contract, our support for it, and the need to devote our full attention to the education of our students.
We sincerely hope that these letters reassure you that the O’Dowd you know and love will continue to serve the educational, personal and spiritual needs of our students. Please call or e-mail us if you have any questions.
Steve Phelps and Pam Shay
Statement from the Bishop June 27, 2014
Download the Bishop’s Letter to the community »
Statement from O’Dowd Administration June 30, 2014
As promised last month, we are providing clarification, sent to us today by Bishop Barber S.J., of the intent of the new language in the Diocese of Oakland employee contract. When he met with representative groups of O’Dowd faculty and staff and students on May 27, the Bishop promised to issue the attached letter to relieve any anxiety caused by the revised contract language and to reaffirm his commitment to a conversation that could refine the language for the 2015-16 contract.
Bishop Barber was quite clear in his discussion with us that his intent is not to scrutinize the private lives of Catholic school employees nor is he asking Catholic school administrators to do so.Instead, he is introducing language that asks employees who share in the teaching ministry of the Church to reflect on how they can best be role models to students, and how their respect for and alignment with Catholic teachings can be a credible witness to our mission.
He is concerned that no one in service to Catholic education compromises the right of the Church to proclaim its teachings to our students and families by publicly promoting views or taking actions inconsistent with those teachings. As senior leaders of Bishop O’Dowd High School, we understand and support Bishop Barber’s desire for our instruction to reflect our Catholic identity and uphold the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals.
The Bishop understands that individuals may have differing views about the language used in the contract. He simply wants those who are in the employ of the Church to showrespect for the
Church’s traditions and be prudent in the conduct of their lives so that they not bring discredit to our school community or the Diocese of Oakland.
For many years, we have included language in our employee handbook that is very specific in this regard. Our faculty and staff havelong understood that their private lives should not intrude in the classroom and that their behavior outside the classroom should not reflect poorly on Bishop O’Dowd HighSchool. For this reason, we can assure you that our school community will not fundamentally change because of the new contract language.
We appreciate and support Bishop Barber’s attached letter and welcome his commitment to take this ongoing conversation into account in refining the contract language for the 2015-16 contract.
We are proud that O’Dowd is a dynamic and exciting Catholic college preparatory community of faith. We have a new strategic plan to implement and nearly 1,200 wonderful students and their families to serve. We are focused on fulfilling our mission of providing an excellent Catholic education, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Bishop in the spirit of Christ, which is the spirit
of love for each student and all in our community.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide additional clarification for you on this matter.
May you find God and joy in all that you do this summer!
Board Vice Chair