Pope Francis: educators must be “authentic witnesses” of Catholic faith

Papal message buttresses Cordileone’s efforts
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In his letter, Pope Francis cautioned that “the influence of an educator depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says.”

On May 4, 2015 the Holy Father Francis sent a letter to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, His Excellency Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko. The letter was an address to those meeting at the International Study Seminar on the topic: “Coaches: Educators of People” in Rome. The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

While the Holy Father’s letter was directed to athletic coaches, its applicability to all educators of the young is manifest. It is a papal endorsement of the position taken by San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as he attempts to ensure that the children under his charge in the Catholic High Schools of his Archdiocese receive a proper Catholic education. The Holy Father began:
I give you my cordial greeting and to all the participants in the International Study Seminar on the topic “Coaches: Educators of Persons,” organized by the Church and Sport Office of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Continuing in your path of reflection and promotion of human and Christian values in sports activity, in this fourth Seminar you have opportunely taken into consideration the figure of the coach, putting the accent on his role of educator, be it in the professional or amateurish environment.

All of us, in life, are in need of educators, mature, wise and balanced persons that help us grow in the family, in study, in work, in the faith.

Pope Francis: "we need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness” (Evangelii gaudium, 45).

Pope Francis stated that “we need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 45).

The presence of a good coach-educator is revealed providentially especially in the years of adolescence and early youth, when the personality is in full development and in search of models of reference and identification; when the need is keenly perceived of appreciation and esteem on the part not only of contemporaries but also of adults; when the danger is more real of being lost behind bad examples and in the search for false happiness. In this delicate phase of life, the responsibility of a coach is great, who often has the privilege of spending many hours a week with young people and of having great influence on them by his conduct and personality. The influence of an educator, especially for young people, depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says. Therefore, how important it is that a coach be an example of integrity, of coherence, of good judgment, of impartiality, but also of joy of living, of patience, of capacity to esteem and of benevolence to all, especially the most disadvantaged! And how important it is that he be an example of faith!…

Therefore, the coach can be a valid formator of young people, beside the parents, the teachers, the priests and the catechists. However, every good formator must receive a solid formation. It is necessary to form the formators. Therefore, it is opportune that you Seminar appeal to all the organizations that operate in the field of sport, the international and national federations, the lay and ecclesial sports associations to give due attention and to invest the necessary resources for the professional, human and spiritual formation of coaches. How good it would be if in all sports, and at all levels, from the great international competitions to the tournaments of the parish oratories, young people found in their coaches authentic witnesses of life and of lived faith!

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LGBT activist Billy Bradford (“Cordileone denies LGBT Families”), a frequent attendee at protests against Cordileone’s school initiative. Shown here at protests against the installation of Cordileone in 2012.

The Holy Father’s letter is suffused with the concern that teaching, and the lives of teachers, be informed by the Catholic faith. The word appears in each paragraph. The Pope is asking from coaches and educators exactly what Archbishop Cordileone is demanding from his teachers, his employees: that young people find “in their coaches authentic witnesses of life and of lived faith!” and again: “how important it is that he be an example of faith!” Finally, like Archbishop Cordileone, the Holy Father knows that the educator has great influence on youth simply “by his conduct and personality. The influence of an educator, especially for young people, depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says.”

While the Holy Father’s letter does not mention the two issues on which teachers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco are refusing to teach the faith: the sinfulness of sodomy and same-sex “marriage,” his statements on these issues have been crystal clear, despite efforts to distort them. In January 2015 he included same-sex “marriage” as part of the “ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family.” In March of 2015, he described “gender theory” as “pulverizing the family.” Even in the Holy Father’s deliberately distorted “airplane interview” his discussion of sodomy was within the context of sin and forgiveness. The public opposition to these teachings by the teachers of the Archdiocese is opposed to Pope Francis’s call to “authentic witnesses of life and of lived faith.”

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In his pastoral letter, Cardinal Wuerhl reminds us that “the Church is not a business, a club, or a special-interest group. The Church is not the result of like-minded people coming together and deciding to form an organization, nor are her moral teachings decided by popular vote or societal trends.”

[Editor’s note]: Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington has issued a pastoral letter, dated Pentecost Sunday, on “why it is so crucial that we reassert and strengthen our Catholic identity, and that our freedom to do so be respected in society and in law.” Blogger One Mad Mom has written a post here.

Excerpts from Cardinal Wuerl’s letter:

“A particular responsibility is incumbent upon the bishop with regard to Catholic institutions and their Catholic identity (Veritatis splendor, 116). His is the responsibility to see that our Catholic institutions are places where the faith permeates the culture. Our schools, for example, at all levels, should provide the environment where revealed truth, reason and charity are engaged in an ongoing effort to shed greater light on the human condition. In whatever area of endeavor, the Catholic identity of the effort should be found, for example, in a mission statement.”

“Those who agree to assist the Church in her mission and ministries represent the public face of the Church. Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, they should respect our Catholic identity and avoid behavior that contradicts the very mission of the Catholic institution.”

 

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Prominent ‘Catholics’,

    You LOSE!!!

    AB Cordielone WINS and more importantly the students will win in the long run 🙂

    I guess Mr. Singer is out of a job now!!!!

  2. Ms. Stiles and Elizabeth – How right you are! The so called, self appointed 100 prominent Catholics in the Bay Area can now find another cause to champion.
    They can now go silently into the night. May the good Lord and His Blessed Mother continue to watch over and bless our Archbishop Cordioleone. The $60,000 plus dollars spent on the full page ad in the S.F. Chronicle would have been better spent if it had been donated to a worthy charity such as St. Vincent de Paul in their names rather than a vitriolic attack on Archbishop Cordioleone. In Christian charity, we must pray for them and their conversion.

  3. St. Christopher says:

    Well, well, the Pope listened to the Holy Ghost. This is proof of God’s continued blessing on, and direction of, Christ’s true Church.

    But, not all is well. People like Cardinal Wuerl do not deserve praise, at least not yet. Why? Two reasons: (1) the desire to please the King/Pope; and (2) general words only. C. Wuerl still freely gives out Blessed Hosts to abortion-enabling politicians, and he has stated his favor of the nutty use of “discipline” to overcome dogma, as in not recognizing homosexual sexual rights. He is much more like Cardinal Kasper, who now believes that the Catholic Church needs to follow the bought homosexual vote to change its doctrine.

  4. ” Pope Francis: educators must be “authentic witnesses” of Catholic faith “.

    This re-affirms that a Catholic Bible,
    and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church. second edition” (aka CCC, 1997, dark green cover in the USA) – MUST be adhered to by ALL.
    Dioceses should not hire any employees who refuse to adhere to our beliefs.

    Keep praying for our Pope, and all other Clergy.

    And know your Faith – through the Bible and CCC so that you can accurately quote them to CORRECT those in error – even if they be Clergy or Nuns.

    “….. let us ask ourselves if we have actually taken a few steps to get to know Christ and the truths of faith more, by
    reading and meditating on the Scriptures,
    studying the Catechism,
    steadily…

  5. Dave N. says:

    So what is the date by when teachers in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco will be required to teach the authentic Catholic faith?

  6. Michael McDermott says:

    When you take Caesar’s Coin – You accept Caesar’s Valuations of… All sorts of stuff.

    We – As Catholics, need to support, educate and employ our own Faithful – instead of using the Donations on Sunday to finance the political causes of a few radicals the rest of the week.
    Many Churches & Schools are in great need of Repair and Upgrading – and we should be paying to Train Parishioners to do these Jobs and then Employ them on Rebuilding Our Churches & Schools at fair wages – and with Catholic Values.

  7. Abeca Christian says:

    “Remember that knowledge without morals is the souls ruination.”
    – Saint John Bosco

    “If I had to advise parents, I should tell them to take great care about the people with whom their children associate . . . Much harm may result from bad company, and we are inclined by nature to follow what is worse than what is better.”

    by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

    “Never read books you aren’t sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?”

    St. John Bosco

  8. Abeca Christian says:

    Reprimand and rebuke should be accepted as healing remedies for vice and as conducive to good health. From this it is clear that those who pretend to be tolerant because they wish to flatter—–those who thus fail to correct sinners—–actually cause them to suffer supreme loss and plot the destruction of that life which is their true life.

    St. Basil the Great

  9. I completely agree with the Holy Father on this point.

    People who express contempt for the idea that mankind has a custodial duty to the earth, make no effort to curb their sins by constantly being fat (flouting their gluttony), those who express contempt for the poor by ignoring the problems caused by economic inequality, and those who reject the sacramental validity of the Novus Ordo mass have no place teaching children.

  10. Michael McDermott says:

    How about that – a Radical Homosex Troll (Name anonymously hidden behind the disgraceful ‘John Jay’ Academic Propaganda pogrom that cost the Church $$ to pay for Garbage) – Allows the Pope to be in agreement…

    With at least some of the radical leftist / gender feminist / homosex political agenda incessantly pushed by the Trolls here…

    And then of course reverts back to the true ‘gospel’ of ‘Big-Happy Tolerance’ = Pander or Perish

    • Obedience isn’t just conforming to the parts that you agree with.

      If Abp. Cordileone wants to make sure teacher are providing a Catholic example, he must also enforce the above practices in teacher’s lives, or else Cordileone shows himself to be a hypocrite.

      Thus, if he allows Gluttons to flaunt their devotion to sin while still teaching at the school, he is simply showing he is a bigot against homosexuals rather than his devotion to Catholic doctrine.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the link to Cardinal Wuerl’s pastoral letter. I am giving it to my college age son to read. There are signs that he may be receiving the call to the priesthood. May I ask your prayers for him?

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