Catholic school teachers share in duty to preserve school’s Catholic identity

MANILA, Oct. 10, 2012—Teachers in Catholic educational institutions share in the responsibility to preserve the Catholic identity of the institution, according to the Primer on the Year of Faith and on the New Evangelization, written early this month to help the faithful understand the significance of the Year of Faith, which starts October 11, 2012.

The primer, written by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, explained faith, secularism, the changing times, and living and strengthening our faith as Filipinos, but also zeroed in on life issues and the topic of dealing with dissension among Catholic schools.

“A Catholic institution of higher learning, whether pontifical or not, has to be faithful to its identity, nature, and role as a Catholic institution. One of the distinctive marks essential for Catholic identity is fidelity to the Christian message in conformity with the magisterium of the Church,” the document stated.

“Faculty members share in the responsibility of preserving and promoting the Catholic identity of the institution. Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out the confusion created among the faithful ‘by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church’s pastoral leadership,’” said the primer, released early this month.

The Catholic identity of an educational institution is usually expressed explicitly in its vision-mission statement, the document stated, adding that this identity of Catholic universities in the Philippines is confirmed by membership in the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), the statutes of which were approved by the Holy See in 1949.

“Therefore, by its very nature and identity a Catholic educational institution adheres to the truths that are contained in the deposit of faith, Scripture and Tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the Church.”

The fidelity of two Catholic universities had come into serious question in recent months after faculty members from each school publicly expressed their support for a legislative measure that mandates taxpayer-funded contraception, by becoming signatories in a declaration of support which explicitly carried the name of the universities in the documents, which were both widely circulated in social and mainstream media.

The reproductive health (RH) bill, the measure in question, has been rejected by Church hierarchy and lay faithful, citing its blatant disregard for the dignity of persons primarily through institutionalized contraception. Magisterial teaching on artificial contraception is definite and not at all ambiguous, with the matter being tackled quite extensively by Pope Paul VI in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”).

Professors in the two universities invoked academic freedom in defending their moves in support of the birth control bill. Quevedo, however, clarified the matter.

“Academic freedom is not a right for faculty members of a Catholic educational institution to betray its Catholic identity and nature and cannot be a reason for dissenting against the official Catholic position as on the Reproductive Health Bill,” the prelate stated in the primer.

While promoters of the RH bill insist that the birth control measure had nothing to do with morality and that women deserved “freedom of choice” when it came to issues concerning their bodies, the prelate explained that as teachers of faith, “the Bishops of the Philippines point out that the distribution and use of artificial contraceptive means to prevent conception and the implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb are not morally neutral. Based on official Catholic moral teaching, they are in fact morally evil.”

The freedom to choose cannot be contrary to the law of God “who gave that freedom,” he added. “Briefly and simply, the freedom to choose is not absolute. It is necessarily limited by the moral law, as taught authoritatively by the magisterium or teaching authority of the Church.”

The issue concerning dissension by some faculty of Catholic schools took a more animated twist recently after a strongly worded editorial of a pontifical university’s official student publication pointed out the errors in insisting on the primacy of academic freedom over the nature and function of Catholic schools as regards the Church’s mission.

Year of Faith

Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2011 issued his Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei (“Door of Faith”), and declared a Year of Faith from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The Year of Faith would be “a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith,” the Pope stated in the letter, adding that it is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.”

The starting date of the Year of Faith – October 11, 2012 – is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1964), as well as the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) which is the summary of the Christian faith, Quevedo stated in the primer.

The ending date – November 24, 2013 – is the Feast of Christ the King, the center of our profession of faith. (CBCP for Life)

  • Joseph Perez

    Kudos to UST for the brave stand :) :) :) My alma mater :) :) :)

  • Francis Rey DeLara Apo

    May God bless the institutions who adheres to the truths that are contained in the deposit of faith, Scripture and Tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the Church.nnnMay God give wisdom and enlightenment to all the teachers so that they may only communicate the truth about salvation and God’s law to their students.

  • Kevin

    Arrogant and delusional. CBCP should rethink their position in society.

    • Wawet Faustino

      no need. if you’re a catholic, you should rethink your religion. if not, you’re in no position to dictate what catholics should stand for.

      • Just sayin’

        Being a Catholic doesn’t mean that we cannot have views and perspectives that differ from what the “True Catholics(since I believe you are referring to yourself)” stand for. Yes, I am a Catholic and yet I oppose some of the CBCP’s views some of which I think are absurd and well, medieval. If then I guess you’d be implying that I should “rethink” my religion by voicing out my opinion and suggesting what the rest of the “Catholics” should stand for, if then I ask who has the right to dictate what all the Catholics should stand for? Am I required to follow suite without doubt and question? Yes he may be a simple Catholic without power and connections but I must remind you that he has every right to endorse his views and he is in the position to dictate, and it is us the listeners that should decide whether to follow suite or not.

        • topsy

          you don’t make sense.

          • JojoTagleYSUNOThere

            @Topsy, you’re retarded. @Hermatocrit, Score points for Poe’s Law.

          • Gilbert

            Trolling seems to be the way that anti-Catholic haters like you profess your faith. I hate to imagine what else goes on in your mind on a normal day.

        • Mike

          If you cannot accept official Church teaching as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, at least have the decency to do what all other dissidents since Martin Luther have done: leave the Church and either join one that conforms with your belief or establish your own. What’s the point in staying?

        • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

          You are a Catholic if you follow the Creed of the Catholic Church. And what is our Creed? I hope you know it. Spell it out for us so that we can have a serious talk here.

    • niveK

      Because you said so? Someone is arrogant and delusional…look in your own mirror.

  • Hematocrit

    Catholic school teachers please be reminded of your sacred duty. You need to brainwash, ay este, teach the future generation so they can ensure that the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and society along with it, remains and shall remain stuck in the Middle Ages.nnnWe can’t have progressive-thinking Filipinos proliferate in the country! These liberal thinkers pose as a danger to the sacred ideals we’ve been clinging to for the past centuries, as if scientific research and advancement weren’t enough!

    • theo

      Apparently your comment is the only way you can get published…

    • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

      Those who hate the Church always use the words “medieval” and “middle ages”. Wala na kayong bagong “adjective”?nnOK then, tell us what are the teachings of the Church that makes Catholics “stuck” in the Middle Ages.

      • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

        You are so intelligent. I am sure you can come up with something. :-)

      • Hematocrit

        Okay, let’s use ancient, outdated, primitive, antiquated, unenlightened, obsolete, antediluvian then. Take a pick, the choice is yours. nnOMG that second challenge, baka hindi nako matapos but I’ll give you one: According to your supposedly “infallible” church the culture of death includes divorce, reproductive rights and homosexuality. Ding ding ding! Sounds stuck in the Middle Ages to me.

  • Angu00e9lica Marie Mijares

    What is this I see? An anti-RH ad from CBCP using Josu00e9 Rizal’s face and words? Wasn’t the CBCP one of the main institutions against the teaching of Rizal’s works in schools during the time of Claro M. Recto? Wow.

    • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

      Oh yes. The CBCP was against that. But do you really know the reason why? Tell us more about it. Coz I know you know what you are talking about.

  • Stranger

    Looks like Catholic bashers have come out again. So it’s okay for the world to whip up anti-Catholic hate, but elite society is affronted when Ateneo faculty get bashed by a student ediitorial? Sounds to me like something is demonic with elite society.

  • Hein S

    Bishop Soc Villegas said the problem of Declining number of Believers lay with the ARROGANCE and HYPOCRISY within the Church.

    • troll hound

      Villegas’s words apply quite well to the pro-RH Ateneans who claim to be Catholic.

  • aguedo florence jalin

    The varsi editorial simply gave a clear-cut statement of onenof the truths of the word “Catholic” in our present context.nEverything has its proper context. I commend the editor for coming up with anbold stance knowing fully that a tsunami of reactions will follow after. Thenarticle is not a product of imagination but simply a perspective from anstudent’s lens. Education is meant to further one’s awareness of the reality outside the walls ofnthe classroom. And this is what the editorial did. As a mentor, I feel elatednknowing that students are taking an active part in the issues of the country.nThis is an indicator or a matrix that the lessons inside the class are appliednin the concerns of the people. To those who are offended and admit that theynare Thomasians, please bear in mind that the TRUTH ALWAYS HURTS. There is anseed of truth or logos spermatikos (according to St. Justin) in the content ofnthe article. And as Thomasians we need to be reminded that our education isnalways an opportunity for TRUTH-SEEKING, TRUTH-TELLING and TRUTH-LIVING.nnn nnnAssoc. Prof. Aguedo Florence Jalin Jr.nnnInstitute of Religion,

  • Lux in Domino

    Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches. nSt.Thomas Aquinas Patron Saint of UST.n

  • Lux in Domino

    We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decidesu201d St. Ignatius of Loyola Founder Society of Jesus.

  • Lux in Domino

    “Be driven by the love of God because Jesus Christ died for all, that those who live may live not for themselves but for him, who died and rose for them. ABOVE ALL, LET YOUR CHARITY AND ZEAL SHOW HOW YOU LOVE THE CHURCH. YOUR WORK IS FOR THE CHURCH, which is the BODY OF CHRIST.” n~St. John Baptist de la Salle~ Founder Christian Brothers.

  • Anthony Perez

    I agree completely. If you don’t agree with a school’s Catholic standpoint, then don’t teach there. It is as simple as that.

    • Rogie Ylagan

      and if a person doesn’t agree with the Church’s teachings, then they must not call themselves catholics.

      • tom

        howcome cbcp has not excommunicated the president and majority of Filipinos who approve of the RH bill?

  • Rogie Ylagan

    It’s not just the teachers, but it’s a collective responsibility for all catholics to preserve our identity… as catholics of course. calling yourself a catholic and not believing the Church’s teachings, it’s either you don’t truly understand catholicism or you’re a hypocrite.

  • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

    To the haters of the Catholic Church here who keep on throwing the words “medieval” & “middle ages”, give us one teaching of the Church that keep us Catholics in the “middle ages” like what you claim. There is no use in throwing such words if you will not back it up.

  • Q

    All this freedom talk making human emotion explode to stretch readers’ exchanges to as far as name-calling. Sad. nnSteve Jobs had a ‘distortion reality field’~ “a science fiction term that described his belief that wanting and willing something–even the near-impossible–could make it happen.” nnBy choosing to tweak the natural law of gravity, coz it’s very inconvenient and limiting, I see myself freely floating soon! Or maybe, it’s indeed similar to the “world is flat” and we haven’t known enough about it yet?

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