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US bishop requires lay people to sign oath

Bishop Robert Vasa of the Oregon Diocese of Baker has issued a two-page "affirmation of faith" which requires lay ministers and cantors to sign an oath if they wish to continue in their roles on the altar.

The oath indicates acceptance of church teachings opposing abortion, contraception, gay relationships and other issues.

Spokesman Fr James Logan said the bishop's aim is to make his expectations for lay ministers clear.

"What he's asked for is not a public proclamation but an internal checklist they would read through," Logan said.

Before lay ministers and cantors are certified or recertified, they are required to read the document. People already holding the positions, and candidates for the positions, are expected to withdraw if they disagree with the document.

The Baker Diocese is not the only one putting a new emphasis on making sure that lay ministers are following church teachings. In Chicago, Cardinal Francis George sent a letter to Chicago parish priests reminding them that a policy on fitness for lay ministry established in 1994 is still in effect.

Bishop Requires Lay People to Sign Oath (The Guardian/Associated Pr>ess 31/7/04)

Diocese of Baker

2 Aug 2004