Cleveland, Cincinnati Archdioceses Defend Contract Changes

The Cleveland contract changes include language that refers to teachers as “teacher-ministers.”(Photo: Flickr)
The Cleveland contract changes include language that refers to teachers as “teacher-ministers.”(Photo: Flickr)

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has joined its counterpart in Cincinnati in requiring its elementary school teachers to sign contracts with expanded morality clauses.

Cleveland Diocesan spokesman Robert Tayek says the new contracts are simply more specific on what the church considers to be moral behavior. The clause’s ban includes publicly stating views contrary to church positions on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion and in-vitro fertilization.

The teachers are also referred to as “teacher-ministers.”

Tayek says that reflects their role as educators in both secular and religious subjects.
He says clarification of existing morality clauses will help protect the diocese in legal cases.

“This was brought about because there have been lawsuits in other dioceses in Ohio and as well as across the country where clarification was really necessary so it wouldn’t be subject to a broad interpretation,” Tayek says.

Tayek says those who refuse to sign the contract would no longer be able to teach, but he does not believe it will be an issue.

A similar contract change in Cincinnati sparked a protest and petitions against the change, but the diocese is holding fast.

Long-time Bishop Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale was fired last year after publicly disclosing her same-sex partner in her mother’s obituary.

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