In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, teachers of all the archdiocesan schools were introduced to their new contract last week. I see the new contract as an enormously positive thing; however, some people seem negative about it. I think this negativity comes from fear and ignorance. The first thing to point out is that the standard has not changed. By signing the contract, teachers are agreeing to the exact same standard to which they have agreed for years. But now, they are able to do it with more clarity. Before, in the old contract, the language about Church doctrine and scandal was vague. Now common areas of scandal are spelled out clearly. One would think that more clarity and more information would be a positive thing, making one freer to make a decision as an adult.
Secondly, it seems to me that few people take the time to find out why the Church teaches what she does. When we go to such effort, we find out that the Church's teachings are the most loving set of doctrines in the world. We find that her teachings are reasonable, based on both reason and revelation from Christ.
I am confident that those who sign these new and improved contracts in good faith and embrace the Church's teachings will be holier and more fulfilled. Mission accomplished! Some human beings would be on the way to salvation. And the ripple effect would cause those around them to be more likely on the path of salvation also. However, it seems that we are wired as human beings to think that living according to Church teaching will make life boring or sad. The happiest people I know are those who strive to live the Faith. The saddest and most miserable people I know are those who reject Church teaching and try to find fulfillment in worldly things.
One concern I have heard is that our Catholic schools may lose some of the better teachers because of the new contract. I think the answer to this supposed problem is in the contract itself where the teachers are now referred to as "teacher-minister". This makes it clear that teaching at a Catholic school is not just a job but a ministry, not just a job but a mission. I would hope that parents would not lament the loss of supposed "better teachers" who may not be witnessing the way to Heaven. Inversely, I would hope that parents would celebrate the teachers who embrace the Church's teachings and show their children the way to Heaven.