San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has stirred an uproar in the Bay Area by amending a handbook for the diocese's four high schools to bar teachers from publicly challenging Catholic doctrine on issues such as homosexuality and contraception, writes The New York Times. The changes also include designating faculty as part of the church's ministry, a move critics say is aimed at putting teachers out of the reach of federal anti-discrimination laws.
Archbishop Cordileone said the new rules, due to take effect Sept. 1, do not represent a drive to "terminate teachers" and that faculty members' private lives would stay private. He said his concern is that teachers' public activities "don’t do anything to compromise the mission of our schools." The changes have sparked candlelight vigils, a petition drive, and calls from state legislators for the archbishop to withdraw the changes. Catholic groups have also collected signatures online in support of the archbishop.