Should a Catholic School Have a Transgender Teacher?
Last month Mercy High School in San Francisco informed parents that a female English teacher who’s been there for four years will continue to teach there—only now she will be considered a man.
According to Daniel Guernsey, Director of K-12 Programs at the Cardinal Newman Society, the Mercy Sisters offered counselors “to help the students of the all-girls school accept the biologically female teacher’s new gender identity as a man.” Writing for Crisis Magazine, Guernsey reports that the Sisters’ explained their decision in a letter to parents: “We strive to witness to mercy when we honor the dignity of each person in a welcoming culture that pursues integrity of word and deed.”
But exactly to whom are the Sisters being merciful? To the teacher—by accepting her rejection of her biological sex and thus assenting to what Pope Francis has called a false “gender ideology”? To the students—by offering counselors, a tacit acknowledgement that they’ll need therapeutic help dealing with this?
Guernsey writes that “the Vatican has taught for decades that Catholic school teachers are expected to uphold the Catholic faith in both word and deed…Does a teacher who claims a gender that’s not her biological sex go against Catholic values?” He answers his own question by quoting Canon Law, which requires that “teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.” And isn’t it plain old common sense that teachers in Catholic schools should be role models for the faith?
Cardinal Raymond Burke spoke recently at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Britain. According to a report at LifeSiteNews, he focused on the responsibility of parents as first educators of their children, warning them “to guard their children from ideologies that have crept into schools, even Catholic ones, that are at odds with the Gospel.”
The Cardinal’s words are prescient and a wake-up call to parents:
Good parents and good citizens must be attentive to the curriculum which schools are following and to the life in the schools, in order to assure that our children are being formed in the human and Christian virtues and are not being deformed by indoctrination in the confusion and error concerning the most fundamental truths of human life and of the family, which will lead to their slavery to sin and therefore, profound unhappiness, and to the destruction of culture.
Guernsey believes it’s time for bishops and Catholic school leaders to formalize policies and put procedures in place to deal with situations such as the one playing out at Mercy High School. “While all human beings deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, there are many people who would not be considered qualified to serve as Catholic schools teachers…This is not a reflection on anyone’s individual human dignity, worth and freedom, only on their suitability to assist Catholic schools in their mission of leading students to their final good…”