Tracy A. Woodward
THE WASHINGTON POST
Kathleen Riley (L) and Alison Carroll (R) resigned as teachers for St. Ann Catholic Church Sunday School in Arlington because they would not sign the bishop’s new Profession of Faith.
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:
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.
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:
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?