Did I sin by agreeing to this?

I recently enrolled in a Catholic college’s program for a teaching degree and I guess part of the process for becoming a student in the program is that you have to sign an agreement to be a type of good example during the program and there were a few bullet points that seemed perfectly fine to me such as respecting peers, participating in class, etc. But one in particular made me uncertain and that was having a “commitment to diversity”. At the time I was a bit skeptical thinking maybe it implied I was signing on to have a sort of moral relativistic stance on issues, but I felt it probably didn’t mean this (especially at a Catholic college) and gave them the benefit of the doubt thinking it simply meant to be accepting of different people and not unjustly discriminating in a teacher-student environment even if that meant not condoning behavior if it included things such as sexual orientation under the umbrella of diversity. Did I do something wrong by agreeing to this point not knowing for certain what was meant by commitment to diversity? or am I being a bit scrupulous on this? (I can tend to be scrupulous at times)

I would interpret that as promising to treat everyone (no matter what their race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political views or whatever) as an equally-valued person, and to show no bias or prejudice towards or against any individual, even if they have a completely different set of values to your own (which is important if you want to be a teacher). God made a diverse world, IMO.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have your own private views about subjects such as gay marriage, for instance, as long as you treat gay people with respect. So I’m sure you’ll be fine.

I don’t think you did anything wrong, but I don’t think it was too “scrupulous” either. I might be a little suspicious at that wording, too. But, it was never defined in any specific way. Diversity in itself is not bad thing. If they are trying to distort the meaning of diversity to include something less wholesome- well, that’s their problem. I think as long as you keep to the legitimately accepted definition of diversity, that’s fine!

You did not either know or have a reasonable reason to think that it was bad, ergo no sin.

Thinking that maybe some people somewhere might mean something that could be distorted to be bad when they use similar words is not the same thing.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to interpret the agreement that a Catholic college is asking you to sign to be in conformity with Catholic teaching. Sure, a lot of people can use “diversity” as a buzz word for all sorts of goofiness. But that doesn’t mean the word cannot be used in the right way. You described it well. That’s the definition I would go with.

And if anyone ever tried to call you out on it, they would be on far shakier ground trying to defend an interpretation of the agreement that runs contrary to Catholic teaching than you would be.

Unfortunately in today’s climate “commitment to diversity” does sound suspicious. You would have been within your rights to have asked for clarification about what it meant. If you feel you were negligent in not doing this, you can always discuss it with a prudent confessor.

You do not sin in agreeing to something that might have hidden meanings and interpretations, if you were not aware of those meanings and interpretations at the time of the agreement.

I think the problem, these days especially, is the package deals we are forced to take on. Even in Congress a bill has all sorts of add-ons, line items that don’t represent the main bill.
“What exactly am I signing?” is a good question nowadays. I have met people who don’t sign any of these things at school or work and claim a religious right not to sign (many are not religious but claim that right).

By the way, the issue of scrupulosity might be found in the study of anxiety. Anxiety afflicts the most creative, intelligent, sensitive, and imaginative people in our society who are frequently found in education, healthcare, entertainment as well as other fields. When the serotonin levels fall, there is a tendency for anxious behaviors, obsessions, compulsions, addictions, phobias, body image disorders, and other symptoms to heighten.

So a bright person who has insights into details like the potential abuses in contracts and agreements might occasionally lapse into an over analysis of details, especially if stressed. Their talent for insights should not be disclaimed. Try to discern the difference in yourself and have trusted loved ones tell you when they suspect you are getting too “picky”. Then take care of yourself. But don’t minimize your talent for sniffing out the truth on important issues.

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