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​​​​4.1.15.1 Controversial Issues

St. John reminds us: "When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming" (Jn 16:13).

Controversial issues are topics of a religious, moral, social, or political nature where there are differing opinions among recognized theologians, moralists, and social scientists. Teachers, catechists, and staff members must share with the pastor/principal/director of religious education any topics that may arise either inside or outside the classroom that may be controversial regarding Church teachings and practice. Teachers and staff members must always be conscientious about learning what the Church teaches before they presume to present or discuss the position of the Church on controversial issues. Presentations and discussions on such matters are to be conducted in harmony with the teachings of the Church in a spirit of ecclesial unity.

4.1.15.2 Assemblies and Guest Speakers

"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions" (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholics in Political Life).

Discussion of Catholic teachings and practice that promote a deeper understanding of the faith is important. Speakers or topics, however, should not contradict the mission and principles of the Catholic Church, especially in the area of objective Catholic moral teaching. The person in charge will ensure that only speakers (whether private individuals, elected civic officials, or appointed civic officials) who do not contradict these standards are invited to address any audience at a school, parish, or archdiocesan event. Consultation with the Office of the Archbishop​ should take place if there is any concern about the suitability of a speaker or topic. Final responsibility and judgment on these matters is reserved to the archbishop.

4.1.15.3 Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and organizations are intended to be consistent with the fundamental moral principles of the Catholic Church. The person in charge approves the formation, philosophy, and existence of clubs and organizations, with particular regard for Catholic moral teaching, age appropriateness, and the maturity of the anticipated audience and membership. Individuals who hold a leadership role in any club or organization are expected to have an understanding of and adherence to Catholic moral teaching.

4.1.15.4 Personnel as Role Models and Witnesses to Faith


While all teachers and staff in schools and parishes are to be models of Christian living, the president, principal, vice principal, campus minister, religion teachers in schools, and all catechists must be practicing Catholics. (See the Sample Interview Questions Related to Catholic Identity for Teacher or Staff Applicants​​.) The life of a practicing Catholic includes daily prayer, Sunday Mass, regular penance, and living in conformity with the Ten Commandments, beatitudes, and precepts of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2041–2043).

Discussion of Catholic teaching and practice that promotes a deeper understanding of the faith is always welcome. Since catechists and teachers are considered witnesses to the faith, any personal disagreement, dissent, or objection to Church teaching or practice on their part should be discussed with the person in charge who will help them better understand the faith and help them discern what may or may not be presented. Behavior that is contrary to Catholic teaching or archdiocesan policy will be addressed by the person in charge, guided by to Gospel principles and archdiocesan policies. If, in conscience, one can no longer publically support Church teaching or practice and is unable to work with the person in charge on the matter, it should be a sign that one should not be teaching in or representing the Church.

4.1.15.5 Publications

The person in charge is the publisher of all communications, including all digital and print formats, determines what is disseminated in the name of the parish or school, and assures that the content is in accord with Church teaching and practice.

4.1.15.6 Sunday Activities

Sunday is a holy day that celebrates weekly the resurrection of the Lord. In the Catholic tradition Sunday is conducted as a day of worship and rest. Students, faculty, staff, and their families should approach Sunday as a day of rest and time to celebrate the Eucharist in their parish (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2177–2186​).

School meetings, events, athletic practices, and competitions are not to be scheduled on Sundays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday nor are school facilities to be rented. If an exception is made for the Catholic Youth Organization​ on Sundays, facility use cannot begin until after 12 noon in order to allow families time to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in their parishes. School cafeterias and snack bars should observe the Catholic abstinence regulations by not serving meat or poultry from their facilities on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.