Apr 4, 2013 11:34 PM by Erin Steuber

Lafayette Diocese Addresses Morality Clause

We're hearing from the Diocese of Lafayette, for the first time, about changes to their morality clause.

As we first reported, the morality clause addendum outlines for teachers, certain acts, which are at odds with the Catholic Church. Those acts include: Non-catholic marriages; Living with a boyfriend or girlfriend; "Homosexual activity"; Abortions and having children out of wedlock.

Teachers tell us they need to sign that clause or they're out of a job. And some aren't standing for it. Yesterday, it was a long-time art teacher at Our Lady of Fatima, a lesbian, who stepped down. Today, in a show of support, Jaci Russo, President of Fatima's Advisory Council, also announced her resignation.

The Diocese says this morality clause is nothing new. And the addendum, that was added back in February, was added for clarity. Now, Monsignor Curtis Mallet is speaking on behalf of the Diocese.

"Is this an attempt to out people?," said KATC's Erin Steuber.

"Absolutely not. You know there's no witch hunt about what's going on," said Mallet. "It's simply communicating as clearly as we can what is at the heart of Catholic education. Most of the contracts for the coming year have been signed without incident, or question, or problem."

That's not the case with everyone. KATC has learned of two resignations because of the updated morality clause.

In her resignation letter, Jaci Russo writes: "I believe the new morality clause is flawed in many ways. By listing these "sins," a number of teachers are forced to either lie about who they are, or deny the things they may have done in order to keep their jobs at Fatima."

In response to her resignation, the Advisory Council released their own statement saying: "We regret that Mrs. Jaci Russo has chosen to react to this situation without seeking to learn the specifics of how this decision was carried out. Her posture is not the position of Fatima's Advisory Council. We support our Administration and the Diocese and we wish all the best for the teacher involved, with whom we have tried to show Christian compassion and understanding."

"We discriminate between right and wrong," said Mallet. "So it's all about modeling, modeling the Gospel of Jesus Christ period. That's the bottom line for us."

This is not just an issue at Fatima. We've also been contacted by a Catholic school employee at STM who takes issue with signing the morality clause. Not doing so will likely cost him his job.



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