Orthodox at Catholic school?

Would you be bothered if an Orthodox Christian were a teacher at a Catholic school? That’s me. I used to be Roman Catholic but recently converted to Orthodoxy. Nobody at the school knows yet of my change, but I figure it’s just a matter of time. I don’t want to cause any kind of scandal by publicizing my conversion (since I used to be Roman Catholic) but I feel that I have to be true to Christ and cannot simply “revert” to what I don’t believe to be the fullness of truth (no offense intended).

I’m wondering if I should leave the school next year, due to matters of conscience. I don’t mind teaching at a Catholic school, since much of what Roman Catholicism teaches corresponds with what Orthodoxy teaches. But the school really places priority on its Catholic identity–on the fact that the vast majority of students and teachers inter-commune with one another at Mass. I’m not anti-Catholic and don’t mind attending Mass, but I can’t in good conscience commune (even though the Roman Catholic hierarchy has slid easy on allowing Orthodox to commune).

So, what do you think?

As the parent of a child in Catholic school, I think you should resign. By converting, you obviously deny something about the Catholic faith, which is what is the most important teaching in a Catholic school. On the other hand, it’s not a requirement to be Catholic to teach in a Catholic school (and even the teachers that are Catholic in my kid’s school have some “questionable” teachings)…but you asked, so I gave you my opinion. At some point, it will be discovered you denied the Catholic faith and converted.

That being said, I’m not currently the best Catholic and in the firmest way regarding my faith, so forgive me for being such a hypocrite (but, I’m not teaching in the school).

GladCatholic

It depends on what you’re teaching, really. If you’re teaching religion, then that might go into conflict with your Orthodox faith (and vice versa); however, teaching such things as science or math shouldn’t pose any problem.

I’m not teaching religion.

One of my son’s teachers, at a parish school, is Orthodox and there has never been a problem. Of course, she does not teach Religion. :slight_smile: The kids actually have a much better understanding of the East-West issues of the Church than I ever did.

That being said, in most of the Catholic schools here, all teachers who are Catholic sign agreements that they will not act in ways that are at odds with the Church. For a person to accept a job as a Catholic and then to leave the Church would be a violation of that agreement.

I don’t think it is a matter of whether you can teach at a Catholic school but rather whether you upheld the terms of your employment as set out when you were hired.

Then there’s no need to worry. :slight_smile:

I came to the school as a de facto Eastern Catholic. I had solely attended an Eastern Catholic church every Sunday for two years. I was about to canonically become Eastern Catholic, but I opted not to because I couldn’t accept Eastern Catholicism’s unique beliefs in relation to the Roman Catholic Church.

The only two areas where I discern potential problems in terms of the contract:

  1. Remaining in good standing with the bishop.
  2. Not causing scandal.

As regards the first, I’ve never been in bad standing with the bishop, and since Roman Catholics allow Orthodox to commune in the Roman Catholic Eucharist, I figure that I must be okay, especially in light of the spirit of ecumenism.

As regards the second, I haven’t told anybody and want to keep it on the DL.

There are conditions that Roman Catholic employees live the Catholic faith, but I did not see any provision that Roman Catholics remain Roman Catholic.

Magdalan, as long as you aren’t there to draw Catholic children away from the Church and into Orthodoxy, then I see nothing wrong with you teaching at the school. My old high school had Muslim teachers, Hindu teachers, Catholic, even a Protestant teacher of religion. As long as what you do within the school is in line with the Catholic ethos of the school, then you’re fine.

Originally Posted by LDNCatholic:

Magdalan, as long as you aren’t there to draw Catholic children away from the Church and into Orthodoxy, then I see nothing wrong with you teaching at the school. My old high school had Muslim teachers, Hindu teachers, Catholic, even a Protestant teacher of religion. As long as what you do within the school is in line with the Catholic ethos of the school, then you’re fine.

100% of what I say is very much in line with what Roman Catholicism teaches. Where I disagree, I keep silent.

I don’t support contraception, I don’t approve of abortion, I very much am against the inroads of secular culture. Where I run into problems is where I’m too traditional–and even here I usually run into agreement with traditional Latin Catholics although perhaps not the majority of Catholics today.

I emphasize the early Church Fathers, the Stylites, the beliefs of the Early Church, etc. I pray with the students the Hail Mary, since I believe in Mary as Theotokos. The Jesus Prayer, which is the the most ostensible Eastern teaching I promote, is by all means beneficial, and even is accorded a place in the CCC.

Where I disagree (filioque, papal infallibility, Purgatory) I keep silent; but these few issues are never raised in the classroom.

Well there you have it. Eastern Orthodoxy is the closest to Western Catholicism in terms of belief if not in terms of ritual and ceremony.

I pray the Jesus prayer occasionally and as far as I know the Church hasn’t forbidden it.

So once again, I’d say you’re fine and also I’d like to commend you for being sensitive enough to potential problems (of which I see none) to ask the question in the first place.

God Bless

Peter

it depends on the rules in your diocese and your parish, and what you are teaching. If your dioceses allows non-Catholics to teach academic subjects, yes, if not, no.

What is problematic is keeping your conversion secret from the administration and the pastor. That is information within their right to know as it relates directly to your employment qualifications in this context.

Originally Posted by puzzleannie:

it depends on the rules in your diocese and your parish, and what you are teaching. If your dioceses allows non-Catholics to teach academic subjects, yes, if not, no.

What is problematic is keeping your conversion secret from the administration and the pastor. That is information within their right to know as it relates directly to your employment qualifications in this context.

Agreed. If they do ask me, I’ll be honest.

Just to be on the safe side, check the application you filled out and any employee handbook/contract that might be applicable. If you indicated that you were Catholic at the time you were hired, you may have an obligation to inform the school if any of the information on your application has changed. If you wait until you are asked, you might find yourself fired summarily for failure to provide the information. The Catholic/Orthodox issue wouldn’t be the problem, withholding information would be.

I agree with this.

Originally Posted by Corki:

Just to be on the safe side, check the application you filled out and any employee handbook/contract that might be applicable. If you indicated that you were Catholic at the time you were hired, you may have an obligation to inform the school if any of the information on your application has changed. If you wait until you are asked, you might find yourself fired summarily for failure to provide the information. The Catholic/Orthodox issue wouldn’t be the problem, withholding information would be.

Good advice. At the time of application and hire I was Catholic. I received a verification sheet asking me if everything was correct. Several things on the sheet were incorrect and I made appropriate changes, but at the time I was still Catholic so I did not change that designation. I do not remember any indication that I would have to inform anybody of religious change… unless perhaps of course it would interfere with my ability to perform the job. But since I’m not teaching theology and because the change does not affect the religious atmosphere anymore than before, I don’t see a problem.

I would second carefully checking the contract, but from a moral standpoint, I don’t see any problem, especially since you’re teaching math and science. I can’t believe that papal infallibility or the Filoque would come up during a lesson on the quadratic formula.

It’s sounds like you’re handling it exactly as you should, though I agree with the other posters that you should double check the contract and I wouldn’t lie to your boss if he asks for some reason.

Hi Madaglan,

I feel that you don’t have to quit you job because of your becoming Eastern Orthodox Christian. I’m like you I left the Roman Catholic Church and I would never leave a job just because of that.

You many want to talk to a lawyer that works for your State. In Massachusetts one can’t be denied a job on ones race plus other reasons and one of them is religion.

I’m Orthodox Christian and I own a plot at a Catholic Cemetery some Catholic would have a hiss fit if they knew I own that little piece of land in a Catholic Cemetery. Well I told the woman at the Cemetery I purchased the land from if she had any problems with that and her answer was no. It was all do to the laws that we have here in Massachusetts.

Best advice is contact the law and find out your rights. This is the United States of America not the Vatican State.

Madaglan before you say anything I would check first your legal standing in law.

GOD bless you sister in Christ.

Your Orthodox Christian brother

Frank J

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