Catholic educators and their problems with making a “profession of faith”…

So…if a CCD teacher believes that the all-male priesthood is wrongheaded Church policy and that the ban of the use of artificial birth control is equally wrongheaded, should that individual be allowed to teach CCD?

If that person happens to want to do so in the Diocese of Arlington, VA, the answer is “No.”

 

The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington (VA)

 

According to the Washington Post, the Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, is requiring his 5k teachers in Catholic schools and CCD teachers as well—to “submit of will and intellect” to teachings the Church characterizes as divinely revealed.  The diocese includes nearly 500k Catholics across northern and eastern Virginia.

The diocese sent a letter to the teachers in early June and requires that they profess an oath of fidelity before a priest.

The diocese’s Director of Education and Liturgy, the Reverend Paul deLadurantaye, said:

The Church is foremost a communion, not a building.  And the church’s teaching is meant to be a service, not to coerce or oppress….This is just to say the Church is a reliable guide, more reliable in these matters than what I read elsewhere. There’s something more transcendent than just my own judgment.

The diocesan spokesman, Michael Donohue, said Bishop Loverde sent the letter in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s direction Catholics celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II in various ways, including those that “profess our faith in the risen Lord.”  Donohue called the oath “uncontroversial,” saying it is meant to be a positive sign to parents:

I can’t imagine there are many [teachers] who have issues with the church’s teachings on faith and morals.

Donohue also said he “found it hard to believe” that anyone who had concluded that a Church teaching was wrong would want to teach it.

Apparently Bishop Loverde, Fr. deLadurantaye, and Mr. Donohue didn’t consult with Kathleen Riley and Rosemarie Zagarri or at least three other CCD teachers at St. Ann’s Parish who have resigned rather than make the profession of faith.

Riley said:

I’m just shocked, I can’t believe they’re asking me to sign this.  The bishops are human, and sometimes their judgment is not God’s judgment.  We always have to be vigilant about that. The Holy Spirit gives us the responsibility to look into our own consciences.

Zagarri—a professor of history at George Mason University—called the profession of faith a “slap in the face” to Catholics who have remained active and close their differences with Church teaching.  Zagarri wrote Bishop Loverde:

Although I fully understand the authoritative role of the Catholic hierarchy in defining the teachings of the faith, in my view only a person who is willing to abandon her own reason and judgment, or who is willing to go against the dictates of her own conscience, can agree to sign such a document.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Zagarri added:

This is not in the spirit of what people go to a Catholic church for, which is community and a loving, welcoming environment. It’s exclusionary, a suppression of dissent, let’s all line up and be the army of God.

The Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, Reverend Ronald Zuzzi, sympathizes with the bishops…to a degree.

Nuzzi told the Washington Post that he believes many bishops “are in a pickle” because they want Catholic institutions to be staffed by people who not only teach what the Church teaches but whose “whole life will bear witness.”

However, Nuzzi also keeps a 1940s photo on his desk showing the German bishops giving the Nazi salute.  He said:

I keep it there to remind people who say to do everything the Church says, that their wisdom has limitations, too.

A “profession of faith” is synonymous with a Nazi salute?

When bishops make political decisions—no matter what their political views may be—they’re not teaching faith and morals. The profession of faith concerns only those defined Church teachings which are applicable for all times.

 

 

To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/sunday-school-teachers-balk-at-oath-agreeing-to-all-church-teachings/2012/07/11/gJQAcAvGeW_story.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

38 Responses to Catholic educators and their problems with making a “profession of faith”…

  • “I keep it there to remind people who say to do everything the Church says, that their wisdom has limitations, too.”

    As does his historical knowledge apparently:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/03/06/the-lion-of-munster/

    http://faroutliers.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/germanaustrian-catholics-vs-nazis-1930/

    The photo he keeps on his desk is a favorite on atheist and anti-Catholic websites with some loons attempting to claim that one of the individuals is Pope Benedict! Anyone who keeps such a picture on his desk has “issues” with the Church.

  • As to Rosemarie Zagarri, I suspect she is the same person who left this comment at America magazine in 2008:

    “Rosemarie Zagarri on October 17, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    10.

    Our Catholic leaders remain fixated on making abortion illegal–and the carnage continues. We elect Bush Sr.–1 million+ lives lost each year to abortion. We elect Clinton–1 million+ lives lost each year to abortion. We elect Bush Jr. the first time–1 million+ lives lost each year to abortion. We elect Bush Jr. the second time–1 million+ lives lost to abortion each year. It is said that an addiction is marked by repeatedly trying more and more of what doesn’t work! How about we try a new strategy? The pro-abortion side says they want abortion to be “legal, safe and rare.” Instead of continuing to expend so much time, talent and treasure on our still unsuccessful effort to make abortion illegal (and thereby compel the other side to expend like amounts to oppose us), let us join with the other side and pool all our joint resources to design, implement and fund programs and practices that might actually reduce the number of abortions. In other words, instead of continuing this thus far futile fight to make abortion illegal (at the cost of 1 million+ lives each year), let’s actually save some lives! We should never abandon our conviction that abortion is a serious moral evil. But I suspect God would care little that abortion was legal if at the same time no abortions occurred! Conversely, God is unlikely to be indifferent to our persisting in a course of action, regardless of how well intentioned, that prevents us from taking concrete action which actually saves lives. Let’s put the other side to the test. Let’s all of us on BOTH sides of the issue take concrete and meaningful steps to save lives by reducing the number of abortions. The first of such steps should be to vote for the presidential candidate whose policies give the most promise of saving lives from abortion, not the candidate who simply mouths a desire to make the practice illegal.”

    http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11118&comments=1

    Presumably she is now really ticked at the candidate she obviously supported, Obama, who has saved zero lives from abortion.

  • I have tried to create a pithy comment illustrating how being a teacher in a Catholic school means you are engaged in a profession of faith, but my pith tank is near dry.

  • Why would parents send their children to a Catholic school only to have heretical teachings foisted on the kids. Call me crazy but I’m with the Bishop from Virginia. I think this should be a nationwide rule for all diocese. If you are unwilling to take an oath of fealty to teach only the teachings of the faith— go somewhere else.. The followers of Naral would be happy to have you teach their children.

  • “But I suspect God would care little that abortion was legal if at the same time no abortions occurred!” Not true. Legalizing the injustice of abortion undermines not only the Catholic Faith, but the whole nation, the Judicial system and the dignity of the human person who constitutes the state, denying “their Creator”, their unalienable rights their rational, immortal soul, making of mankind a stupid beast. The Standard of Justice, the morally and legally innocent person conceived will be denied by this nation of WHO??? Who has the sovereign, supreme authority to deny another human being his soul and inherent destiny? Rosemarie Zangarri?

    WK Aiken says:
    “I have tried to create a pithy comment illustrating how being a teacher in a Catholic school means you are engaged in a profession of faith, but my pith tank is near dry.”
    If “Truth is what serves the State today,”, then “The TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH, so help me God”, is the TRUTH that will set us free. AMENDMENT 9: Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.
    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    The right to be free from heresy, the right to be prevented from following one’s vocation in the Catholic Church and Catholic Faith. FREEDOM from social engineers without the best interest of the person, or the love of neighbor.

  • “The photo he keeps on his desk is a favorite on atheist and anti-Catholic websites with some loons attempting to claim that one of the individuals is Pope Benedict! Anyone who keeps such a picture on his desk has “issues” with the Church.”
    The Catholic Church gets us to heaven, but the individual needs to want to go to heaven, even if he does not believe in heaven. To develop a belief in heaven after one has lost heaven is not smart.

  • “However, Nuzzi also keeps a 1940s photo on his desk showing the German bishops giving the Nazi salute.” Are they real bishops who have self-excommunicated themselves, or are they imposters?
    “A “profession of faith” is synonymous with a Nazi salute?”
    A profession of Faith salutes God. A Nazi salute salutes man. Hitler died didn’t he? So, Nuzzi ties his wagon to a dead man. Speaking of “limitations”.

  • How I love my Bishop! When my husband was retiring from the Air Force, we needed to find a place to live that had good Catholic schools and healthy parishes. I came across an article about this High School http://www.jpthegreat.org/ It is the only school in the US with a 4 yr Bioethics program. We knew instantly that it was the school for our daughter. (And, we are not the only ones who moved here just for that school!) She has since graduated and loved every minute of her experience there. She can defend her faith in any situation – and enjoys doing so! We also found a great school for our youngest and love our parish. We have many, many wonderful, young priests here! Bishop Loverde is doing a fantastic job running this diocese and our family prays for him everyday. We are so thankful for a good, solid diocese where our kids can not only learn their faith, but find friends who share it with them.

  • Dr. Zagarri was an occasional contributor to The New Republic ca. 1986. At the time she was on the faculty of a college in West Virginia.

  • Unless my memory is quite defective, this fellow was her husband.

    http://www.jeffersonmorley.com/Bio.html

  • Thank God for faithful teachers like Bishop Loverde.

    Kudos to Kathleen Riley, Rosemarie Zagarri and three other CCD teachers at St. Ann’s Parish for possessing the integrity to proclaim their heterodoxy and cease poisoning the minds of innocent children.

    Next step: take their uncatholic opinions to one of the thousands of black-hearted, protestant cults dotting the landscape.

  • I am very happy about the Bishop’s decision. I hope more bishops and pastors follow his lead. I wonder if this will encourage some really great Catholic teachers to apply for positions that have heretofore been filled.

    I would like to see a printout of what the profession of faith they are signing includes. Our normal profession of faith being the Creed, I wonder what is enumerated in the diocesan one…the non-negotiables used in voter info pamphlets?

  • The bishops make too many ‘moral’ statements that are wrong. For example, the Bishops commented on a proposed federal budget saying “The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these MORAL criteria” in Catholic social teaching that requires adequate protections for the poor. I doubt any Catholic can agree with every statement from the bishops that they claim is about morals. So what does the oath say and what does it mean exactly?

  • I, ______________________________________________, with firm faith believe and profess each and every thing that is contained in the Symbol of Faith, namely:

    I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

    Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

  • Thank you elm. Looks good to me.

  • Taking this oath as Catholics, should not be a problem. I wish my diocese would employ this same oath. Who knows what kind of whacky ideas are being passed out as tenets of our faith. The priest’s in our parish have little to do with the PSR classes.

  • “What people go to a Catholic church for, which is community and a loving, welcoming environment”. Not, of course, to encounter Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – that’s soooo pre-Vatican II! These people are beyond a joke. I wouldn’t trust this particular woman to look after my dog, let alone educate my child.

    Those who are received into the Catholic Church recite the Nicene Creed and then add the following:
    “With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed. I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals. Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act”.

    As a cradle Catholic I have never had to make this profession, but I would be happy to stand up in public and do so (preferably in Latin) because, quite simply, I am a Catholic. Anyone not prepared to do the same should follow the instruction of Lady Macbeth: “Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once!”

  • “These people are beyond a joke. I wouldn’t trust this particular woman to look after my dog, let alone educate my child.”

    Bravo John!

  • “The right to be free from heresy, the right to be prevented from following one’s vocation in the Catholic Church and Catholic Faith.”
    The right to be free from heresy, the right NOT to be prevented from following one’s vocation in the Catholic Church and Catholic Faith.
    SORRY

  • Blessed John Henry Newman who, as an Anglican had shown in Tract 90 how the Thirty-Nine Articles could be read in a Catholic sense and, as a Catholic, had shown in his Letter to the duke of Norfolk how the Encyclical of 1864 and the Syllabus of Errors could be read in a minimising sense, had little confidence in professions of faith. Different people will accept them in different senses and, then, if you ask them in what sense they hold them, you are applying a fresh test and so on ad infinitum

    We know in what sense many of the Jansenists subscribed Cum Occasione and, in the last century, in what sense many theologians subscribed the Anti-Modernist Oath.

    We have seen a recent example of this, from the other end, in the case of Rosmini’s 40 propositions. Now certainly, they can be read in an heretical sense; indeed, that is the most obvious reading of them. However, if read in the author’s sense, that is, in the context of his own idiosyncratic philosophy, they do bear an orthodox sense. An early example would be the fifth Ecumenical Council. In the eighth canon, those are anathematized who say “one Nature incarnate of God the Word” – the very watchword of the Monophysites – unless they “accept it as the Fathers taught, that by a hypostatic union of the Divine nature and the human, one Christ was effected”.

    It may be valuable, as a gesture, but little more.

  • Your post makes me smile Michael P S- it sounds like the world is full of liars and cheats and good-balls– why try? I don’t think you meant to be so despairing- only a little more valuable than a gesture?
    Although all your points are true- hope does spring eternal that we can actually communicate and share meaning and understanding. And make promises without our fingers crossed! (or mental reservations)

  • oh man i’ve got to do a better job of proofreading- that is supposed to say “goof balls”
    sorry

  • I agree with the Bishop, if you are trusted to teach the Catholic Faith, then you should agree to making a Profession of Faith. And I would go further than that, one must be living the faith, What about at Mass at the Profession of Faith, are you lying or do you avoid making that Profession? Because if you you are lying or avoiding professing all that the Catholic Church teaches, you are not in Communion with the Church and guilty of heresy and should not be in the position to teach your “Cafeteria Heresy” in a Catholic institution. Period. You need to make a choice, either your Catholic or a Protestant, there is no middle ground. And here is a little thought for those who would teach something to others that would lead them astray, “You will be held accountable for leading others to heresy when you stand in judgement before Jesus Christ. As a Deacon of the Church, I pray that I will always teach the truth and not lead someone astray. God help us if we do!

  • There’s a big leap from agreeing with all teachings and a willingness to abide by them. People can teach what they don’t wholeheartedly agree.

    Given the practices of the Catholic community at large, it would be hard to fill a few pews on Sunday if you expected every communicant to sign on to that statement in the strictest sense of interpretation.

  • We seem to confuse teaching the faith with teaching what I think the church should be teaching.

    The time for debateing church teaching comes at a much later stage of our education.

    We start with the basics _ 1. What does the Church Teach.

    We progress -2. There are some who question the teaching.

    We further progress – 3. Here are the reasons why I , good conscience, differ with the church.

    You cannot jump to 2 and 3 with out fully exploring 1 with prayer and consideration to those who have explored those issues before I have. Too frequently, we hear from many who have decided what they want to believe in advance and then seek to justify that position andf explore only those opinons which support the one they want.

  • @fxkelli: Isn’t this the reason the word “We” in the Nicene Creed was replaced with the word “I”. We can profess what the Church and Christ’s people confess and still not believe it ourselves, but to pray the creed and say “I believe” it means what we say. Anything else is a lie.

  • “@fxkelli: Isn’t this the reason the word “We” in the Nicene Creed was replaced with the word “I”. We can profess what the Church and Christ’s people confess and still not believe it ourselves, but to pray the creed and say “I believe” it means what we say. Anything else is a lie.”

    The problem is the conflation of the essential truths that all Christians, by definition would hold universally, and those that the Roman Catholic church teaches specifically at this point in time, but may, at some point reconsider. The Nicene Creed is the core or that “we” and our salvation. Teachings on specific issues that may not be essential matters of salvation are things where we owe the church respect and should not contradict publicly, but, that isn’t the same thing as finding full, unquestioned agreement.

  • The Profession itself makes an important distinction between

    1) Revealed truths defined by the Church, to which we are bound to give the assent of Faith

    2) Definitions on questions of faith and morals, which, although not revealed, we are bound to accept and hold (e.g. that Nicea was a true Ecumenical Council, the Canon of Scripture &c) At one time, this used to be called “ecclesial faith,” as founded on Christ’s promise to the Church.

    3) Non-definitive teaching of the Magisterium, to which we are bound to “adhere with religious submission of will and intellect.” This particular phrase was first used by Clement XI in Vineam Domini Sabaoth (16 July 1705), during the Jansenist controversy (wouldn’t you know?) in which he taught that mere “respectful silence” [silentium obsequiosum] is not enough. What exactly it does mean is a question of dispute amongst (orthodox) theologians, but it cannot mean less than “respectful silence” On the other hand, we do not have to make an act of faith in such teaching and to doubt it is not heresy. To voice such doubts publicly may well be “rash, temerarious and offensive to pious ears,” to quote a stock phrase, or “scandalous and in practice pernicious” in the case of moral teaching.

    Of course, this does not exclude legitimate interpretation of the teaching in question, but this falls within the realm of theological opinion. Sometimes, the Magisterium deliberately leaves a question open. When, in defining the doctrine of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII wrote “expleto terrestris vitae cursu [when the course of her earthly life was run] theologians can debate whether the BVM died or not; Catholics are not even bound to form an opinion on that question.

  • Reply to hyphenated Seymour

    Your reply, while cerebral, is not very cogent to us mere mortals. Try speaking using the language of regular folks. I went through 12 years of Catholic education and am still left wondering what you are actually saying. That said, our Church has spoken on abortion, gay marriage issues, and women priests. We don’t have the choice to believe without comprimising our salvation. Your conscience can’t counter what the Church teaches. If you are able to listen and read, you have to have trained your conscience to realize the Church’s stance on the issues. Please don’t be so pedantic and try helping us understand with down to earth phrases and words. Thanks.

  • The question is where our salvation comes from. It’s one thing to believe every element of church teaching, and an another thing to think that salvation comes from believing every element of church teaching.

  • For my part, I never said, believe everything the Church teaches. I used three specific items. Are we not the Body of Christ(the Church) ?? Why do we look for ways to betray the Body of Christ on earth. Suppose we are kind of like the Israelites in the OT and have become a stubborn people. Salvation comes from Christ dying on the cross for us and no where else. After He did that it is then up to us to earn salvation by how we live our lives.

  • fx kelli There’s a big leap from agreeing with all teachings and a willingness to abide by them. People can teach what they don’t wholeheartedly agree.

    it is the willingness to abide part… Are you saying, for example, people can believe (not wholeheartedly) that co-habitation is wrong, co-habitate, and still teach that co-habitation is wrong, ?

    I think it would not come across as truth to the students.

  • michael
    respectful silence when in doubt is a good idea.. along with petitioning God for wisdom.

  • “fx kelli There’s a big leap from agreeing with all teachings and a willingness to abide by them. People can teach what they don’t wholeheartedly agree.

    it is the willingness to abide part… Are you saying, for example, people can believe (not wholeheartedly) that co-habitation is wrong, co-habitate, and still teach that co-habitation is wrong, ?

    I think it would not come across as truth to the students.”

    That’s leads to the real problem. The church has a clear problem controlling it’s core orthodoxy within it’s membership. This solution is very broad and throws a very wide, exclusionary net. It’s co-mingling absolute essentials of belief with less important beliefs.

    The church is going to have to decide where it wants to draw it’s line in the sand to establish it’s orthodoxy. No problem if it wants to have a clear and unequivocal stand on issues of grave moral choices like abortion (and even co-habitation), but if it decides to purge the pews of everyone who think it’s not such a big deal if priests are able to marry, that becomes another matter entirely.

    But, it’s not like the church hasn’t been in this place before in it’s 2000 year history.

  • fxkelli

    No one ever suggested that clerical celibacy was a matter of faith or morals.

    Up until the Reformation, all Christian Churches of East and West (except a group of Nestorians in Persia) regarded Holy Orders (bishop, priest, deacon) as an impediment to marriage.

    The East allowed married men to be ordained to the priesthood and the diaconate, but not the episcopate. The practice of excluding married men from Holy Orders can be traced in parts of the West back to the 4th century and it became universal by the 10/11th century. Even in the West, no one suggested that he ordination of a a married man was invalid

    Because of this, we in the West are inclined to treat celibacy of the clergy as one issue, whereas, really, it is two (1) Should bishops, priests and deacons be allowed to marry? and (2) should married men be ordained?

    Of course, to claim, as the Reformers did, that clerical celibacy is contrary to scripture, would b heretical. Merely to argue that the Church ought to change her laws on the subject is perfectly legitimate. However, one would have to observe the limits set out in Session XXIV of the Council of Trent, to contradict which would be heresy.

    “CANON IX.-If any one saith, that clerics constituted in sacred orders, or Regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, are able to contract marriage, and that being contracted it is valid, notwithstanding the ecclesiastical law, or vow; and that the contrary is nothing else than to condemn marriage; and, that all who do not feel that they have the gift of chastity, even though they have made a vow thereof, may contract marriage; let him be anathema: seeing that God refuses not that gift to those who ask for it rightly, neither does He suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able.

    CANON X.-If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.”

  • It is not possible to teach the faith well unless one is committed to the true, Magisterial teachings of the Church. We are steeped in social structures of sin that will only be dissolved by Christian solidarity found in the true teachings of the Church. We all must commit to these teachings and realize that our Bishops have a responsibility to the faithful, the flocks entrusted to their care. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph #1868, we study the Nine Ways of Aiding Another in Sin. We should express our thanksgiving to the Lord for any and every Bishop who inspires us to live our Baptismal promises, while witnessing to truth and faithful catechesis of others entrusted to our care.

    Counseling or advising another to sin.

    Commanding another to sin.

    Provoking another to sin.

    Consenting to another’s sin.

    Showing another how to sin.

    Praising another’s sin.

    Concealing, remaining silent about, doing nothing to prevent another’s sin.

    Taking part in, or enjoying the results of another’s sin.

    Defending another’s sin.

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