Improper use of social media

A word of advice for schoolteachers: don’t ever seek a job in Cincinnati Catholic Archdiocese schools. You’d have to sign a contract that makes you their slave.

The Archdiocese has a new contract for teachers, one that’s twice the size of previous contracts, to accommodate the many things it tells you not to do.

The contract for the 2014-15 school year explicitly orders teachers to refrain “from any conduct or lifestyle which would reflect discredit on or cause scandal to the school or be in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals.” It goes so far as to ban public support of the practices.

Principals in the 94 Archdiocese-supervised schools in Southwest and Central Ohio began receiving the new employment agreements Thursday. More than 2,200 Greater Cincinnati parochial teachers will be affected by the new contract, the Archdiocese estimates.

I wonder how many of them are looking around for a new job right now.

Under the new contract, teachers are expressly prohibited from: “improper use of social media/communication, public support of or publicly living together outside of marriage; public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock; public support of/or homosexual lifestyle; public support of/or use of abortion; public support of/or use of a surrogate mother; public support or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.”

The wording is horrendously foggy – maybe whoever drew up that contract should do a refresher course in how to English – but you can figure out what they’re trying to say. You can’t publicly support “living together outside of marriage.” You also can’t yourself “live together outside of marriage.” (What, no roommates? What do people do if they can’t afford the rent? Or if they just want company around the house? If they just like sharing the rent and the chores with a friend or two or four?) You can’t support “sexual activity out of wedlock” and you also can’t fuck someone you’re not married to. You can’t support “homosexual lifestyle” and you also can’t be lesbian or gay or bi. (I don’t even know what the Vatican thinks about being trans. Maybe it forbids itself to have an opinion.) You can’t support “use of abortion” and you can’t yourself have an abortion. (What if you’ve already had one, or more than one? Is that a firing offense?) You can’t support “use of a surrogate mother” and you can’t “use” a surrogate mother yourself. Does that also mean you can’t be a surrogate mother? Is it ok to be one but not to “use” one? Who the fuck knows. The Archdiocese has its list of rules, and it’s doing its best to put them into a contract; don’t bother it with tiresome questions.

In short, the Archdiocese thinks it has the right to be all up in your business every hour of every day just because you work for one of its schools.

The contractual language is a first because it brings more specificity to the individual teacher employment agreement and what practices will cost teachers their jobs.

And it further focuses on the Archdiocese’s established philosophies and the importance of adhering to Catholic teachings, Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

“There aren’t any new expectations of our teachers in the 2014-2015 contract. The revised wording is just more explicit in that it lists examples of behaviors that are unacceptable as contrary to church teaching,” Andriacco said. “We think that’s fairer to the teachers and a help to them.

“We’ve always regarded our schools as a ministry. That’s why we open the doors in the morning. Not all of our students are Catholic and not all of our teachers are Catholic, but all of our schools are Catholic. And we found out from listening sessions around the Archdiocese two years ago – when we developed our Vision for Catholic Schools – that Catholic identity is very important to our Catholic school families,” Andriacco said.

And what is Catholic “identity”? For the majority of Catholics, it’s much more a matter of shared rituals and symbols than it is of obedience to that hateful list of Forbidden Things above. Much more. But the Archdiocese wants to interpret it is both permission and demand for more rigorous enforcement of the hateful rules.

Before and after: New restrictions in teacher contract


  • The 2013-14 teacher employment contract for the Cincinnati Archdiocese has provisions on personal behavior, but not as detailed as the one teachers will be required to sign for the 2014-15 school year. Teachers must also initial some of the provisions as well as sign the contract agreement.
  • The current, three-page contract includes a provision that states in part that teachers: “understand and fulfill his/her duties as a Ministerial employee of the School/Educational Office and serve as a Catholic role model, inside and outside of the classroom, regardless of his/her personal beliefs or other religious affiliation; comply with and act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church … which include certain proscriptions on personal behavior not adhering to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that could be detrimental to the Employee’s ability to serve as a Catholic role model; comply with the policies and directives of the School/Educational Office and the Archdiocese, including without limitation the Archdiocese’s “Ethics and Conduct Policy.”

Hmm. What other kind of thing is detrimental to the Employee’s ability to serve as a Catholic role model? Anything they forgot to mention? Does the Employee have to molest children?

At any rate, they’re not kidding. They do fire people for not being reactionary-Catholic enough.

Recent Archdiocese firings, suspensions, dismissals for clashing with church teaching


  • In 2009 a nun was suspended by the Archdiocese for publicly supporting the ordination of women priests.
  • Later that year a volunteer religion education teacher was dismissed after her letter to The Enquirer in support of the suspended nun was published.
  • In 2010 the Cincinnati Archdiocese fired an unmarried teacher who became pregnant by artificial insemination. A federal court ruled in 2013 in her favor, ordering the Archdiocese to pay her $171,000 for her improper firing.
  • In 2013, an assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School was fired for writing on his public blog his support of gay marriage.

You have been warned.


  1. karmacat says

    So if someone is for the death penalty, will that get them fired. Oh, wait, it is not about sex, so it is not as important to put in their rules. Because, of course, having premarital sex is so much worse than killing someone. They don’t seem to have a lot to think about except for who is living whom, who is sleeping with whom, and how and where they are doing it.

  2. Abdul Alhazred says

    So if someone is for the death penalty, will that get them fired …

    If they explicitly say that the Roman Catholic church is wrong on the subject, they might indeed. Or that the Mass is best said in Latin, etc.

    It’s about sex, but it’s almost as much about obedience in general.

  3. karmacat says

    I do remember in the presidential elections that the church wanted to refuse JOhn Kerry communion because he supported abortion. But the church didn’t say anything about Gingrich or other catholic candidates being for the death penalty. I know I am pointing out the obvious that the chuch is a bunch of hypocrites, but it is frustrating that they are not called out on it more. I wish we could say you can only force teachers to sign this when you have turned over all the pedophiles and compensated the victims. And the church has to admit when they have been wrong in the past 2000 years

  4. FresnoBob says

    It’s a pity the priests’ contracts aren’t as explicit with regard to raping and torturing children.

    Maybe that’s why none of them got fired.

  5. says

    “Support” can mean a lot of things. Beyond just publicly announcing that you are pro-this or pro-that (such as on social media or by attending a rally), wouldn’t simply socializing with people who cohabitate, are openly gay, etc count as support?

    It seems you could be fired for not disowning your own family members or shunning anyone who doesn’t abide by these rules themselves. That’s quite a lot to demand of an employee; more like joining a cult.

  6. Shatterface says

    If they explicitly say that the Roman Catholic church is wrong on the subject, they might indeed. Or that the Mass is best said in Latin, etc.

    Since the Catholic Church opposes the death penalty I’d happily support the sacking of a teacher who said they were wrong about that.

    If you think the Church’s restrictions on social media are harsh you should see the Civil Service ‘Electronic Media Policy’ here in the UK: they’re not even supposed to say who they work for.

  7. Omar Puhleez says

    ‘”You can’t support “sexual activity out of wedlock” and you also can’t fuck someone you’re not married to. You can’t support “homosexual lifestyle” and you also can’t be lesbian or gay or bi. (I don’t even know what the Vatican thinks about being trans. Maybe it forbids itself to have an opinion.) “‘

    EXCEPT where the sexual activity out of wedlock (etc etc etc) is performed by priests and other clergy. Then it is OK, but only as long as it is not reported to the police.

    ‘”Well of course only where required by law. You don’t expect them to do the right thing even when not forced to do you?! Don’t be silly. They’re human. They’re not going to rat out a friend and colleague just because some snotty little kid whines about being fucked up the ass.”‘

    Anything that must not be reported to the police must, by definition be OK. You don’t have to be a Jesuit theologian in order to work that one out. Any old theologian could do it.

  8. says

    If this was really about purity of Catholic doctrine, couldn’t they just say “You will not engage in or publicly support any behaviors or ideas prohibited by church doctrine. Valid sources of church doctrine are…” and then list the relevant documents.

    Granted, that would still be horrible, but it would be so much simpler and more effective. No risks of accidentally contradicting church doctrine, no need to update the contract as church doctrine evolves, no risks of forgetting an important bit.

  9. sailor1031 says

    As far as I recall that catholic catechism doesn’t specify anything against raping children so they’ll still be able to do that without violating their contracts. Besides everybody knows it’s the fault of those horny little kids tempting their elders. And as long as the bishop gets to hear about it while exercisng his “ministry” (i.e. administering the bishoprick) there’ll be no reporting to police. Win – win!

  10. sailor1031 says

    no need to update the contract as church doctrine evolves

    RCC doctrine evolve? No worries there mate! not since Tomaso di Acquino.

  11. iknklast says

    A couple of years ago I was reading the rules for schoolteachers in the public schools back in the early 20th century. This sounds similar. You can’t be independently alive. You must be a nice zombie conformist that is exactly like all the other zombie conformists, because we don’t want our little kids being led astray from the “Catholic identity” by being made aware that there are other acceptable ways to think and act in the world (to some of us, more acceptable than these regressive Catholic ideals). I thought it was bad that I can’t say damn in my public college classroom, where the students are allegedly adults, but complain if their tender ears are assaulted by an adult speaking in ordinary language. At least I know not to go to work for a Catholic school.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend, Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I note that they [apparently? incomplete quote problem?] failed to include contraceptive use.

    I wonder why that is?

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