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Bishop will not budge (Canada).

Fort St. John, BC--Immaculata Catholic High School will not be opened in September 1999 unless the school's teachers' union accepts the authority of the Catholic bishop as final, stated Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, BC, on June 8. The bishop took this stand after being advised of the difficulties by the local parish council.

At issue is the Catholicity clause in the teachers' contract. With 190 children and 17 staff, Immaculata is the only Catholic school in Fort St. John. Like other Catholic schools in British Columbia, it is a member of the Catholic Independent Schools Society, but unlike them it is the only school in which the teachers belong to a government union rather than to the Catholic Teachers Association.

The Catholicity clause requires teachers to abide by the teaching of the Church in the classroom as well as in their personal life outside the school. Common-law or homosexual "partnerships", for example, contradict such teaching. Some unhappy parents were grumbling about being victims of a power struggle, but others recognized that the issue goes to the heart of true Catholic education.

The union demands that differences over the Catholicity clause should be submitted to the Labour Board. The Catholic community, however, cannot accept a secular third party to rule on what it means to be a Catholic, a judgment which, in the end, must always be decided by the diocesan bishop.

Because the union continues to insist that discharge disputes must be submitted to the Labour Relations Board, Bishop Weisner announced that he was prepared to close the school.

Readers will recognize the similarity of this school dispute with the one described in Catholic Insight's June edition, "Catholic teachers union: leaping towards apostasy?", pages 16-19.

Please send your support to the bishop.
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Title Annotation:Immaculata Catholic High School: all teachers are required to follow Catholic principles both on and off the job
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CBRI
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Previous Article:FCP receives fewer votes (Canada).
Next Article:Catholic hospital sponsors "gays".

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