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Catholic school heads may face sack for co-habiting

A spokeswoman says "it isn't about checking up on people," but new guidelines suggest a firm line may be taken against heads and governors living out of wedlock.

Catholic school heads may face sack for co-habiting
John Bingham
United Kingdom

January 28, 2013

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Head teachers and governors in Roman Catholic schools could be disciplined or even sacked for living with their partner outside marriage, according to new Church guidelines.

Anyone deemed to be in a “non-chaste” relationship outside marriage, which could also be interpreted to include gay staff in civil partnerships, could be subject to investigation and removed from their posts, it says.

Even those who had married in a non-Catholic church or a register office without official approval might also find their position under question.

The warning comes in a booklet by written by Monsignor Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ conference of England and Wales and co-published by the Catholic Education Service.

It argues that any “substantive life choice” which went against Catholic teaching could be incompatible with their work.

The booklet lists divorcees who remarry; those who marrying outside a Catholic church without canonical approval or those in openly “unchaste” relationships alongside those who had committed “apostasy” – or renouncing faith.

“Even the most committed Catholic frequently fails in the full expression of the practice of their faith through personal weakness and sinfulness on various occasions and at particular moments,” the booklet says.

“These failures in the practice of the faith are, however, distinct from adhering to and maintaining substantive life choices which are incompatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church and which prevent them from receiving the sacraments.

“These choices can give scandal potentially both to the Christian and wider community and bring the religious ethos and character of the school into disrepute.”

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said that the booklet was intended as guidance for those applying for senior leadership positions which are only open to Catholics such as potential head teachers, deputy heads or heads of RE as well as governors.

“This isn’t about checking up on people,” she said.

“It is informing people called to leadership positions in Catholic schools that these are the expectations of someone in a senior role.”

Details of the booklet first disclosed in the Catholic magazine The Tablet.

Full Story: Catholic church warns 'non-chaste' school heads could be sacked 

Source: The Telegraph

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