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.



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