Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Oakland's Bishop Barber defends personal-conduct standards for Catholic-school teachers

Catholic World News - June 03, 2014

Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, California, who has been roundly criticized for including a code of personal conduct in contracts for Catholic-school teachers, defended his policy in an interview with the National Catholic Register.

Bishop Barber, who described himself as a “career classroom teacher,” said that purpose of the revised contracts was to “set an expectation.” He explained: “Every teacher is a role model for the students, whether they are teaching P.E. or math. The classroom is their pulpit, and they will help form their students as young adults.”

Rejecting the idea that his policy was a form of interference in teachers’ private lives, the bishop said:

What you do in your private life is between you and God. But what you do in your private life that becomes public — either because you put something on Facebook or let all the kids know about it in class —becomes a source of scandal, and it directly affects your responsibilities as a teacher.

The broader purpose of the new policy, the bishop said, was to underline the Catholic identity of parochial schools. “When things drift, alternative visions replace Catholic identity,” he said. When a clear Catholic identity is lacking, he remarked, the result is an “untenable situation” in which individuals feel free to set their own rules. He reported that the controversy over his new policies had been “spurred by a few teachers and some parents who are not in agreement with most teachings of the Church.”

Bishop Barber, a Navy chaplain, also revealed to the Register that he has “kept my commission active” and is using his vacation days to fulfill his military obligations.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,417 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,582.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AimezLoyaute - Jun. 04, 2014 12:38 AM ET USA

    The Bay Area Dream Team- Bishop Sal and Bishop Michael! God grant you both many years!

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 03, 2014 9:38 PM ET USA

    Only a few refused to sign, too. I sincerely hope that the principals and administrators are made to sign this, too. I have heard far too many of these people state things contradicting the Magisterium and NOTHING being done to these people (but not true of those who complained).

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jun. 03, 2014 7:46 PM ET USA

    Wow! One of our few Bishops with a backbone. Great for him. Hope he sticks to his guns.

  • Posted by: filioque - Jun. 03, 2014 7:37 PM ET USA

    What is astounding is that a Catholic bishop has to explain these things to teachers and parents. Or perhaps it is more astounding that we have one who will. Thank you, Bishop Barber. Ad multos annos!

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17