Sydney backs off on fidelity vow plans

Sydney archdiocese has withdrawn a proposal for school principals to make a public vow of fidelity to church teaching after planners decided it was not an appropriate way to proceed, Catholic Education chief Br Kelvin Canavan says.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sydney Cardinal George Pell had wanted to extend the oath of fidelity and profession of faith, a requirement of church law for bishops, priests and heads of seminaries, to all senior educational leaders.

The leader of the Sydney church had insisted that the church had every right to demand of its education officials a public commitment to the moral teachings and identity of the church, and was not an attempt at control.

But the controversial proposal, contained in a draft pastoral plan that was circulated for public comment, is to be withdrawn, the Sydney Catholic Education Office has confirmed.

Instead the office is to draft a standard statement in which all its school leaders will be asked to dedicate themselves to the church and its teachings without submitting to an oath of office with formal church law jurisdiction.

"People developing the pastoral plan withdrew the formal statement in canon law and it was decided that it wasn't the most appropriate way, so it will not be in the next draft," Br Canavan, executive director of the Catholic Education Office said.

The backdown comes as the church defended its new mission to revive Catholic identity in its schools among students and teachers, and maximise enrolment of Catholic students.

Catholic Church drops school fidelity vows (Sydney Morning Herald, 9/8/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sydney Archdiocese Draft Pastoral Plan 2008-2011 (PDF)
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney | Bishop Julian Porteous | Cardinal George Pell
Draft Pastoral Plan needs serious re-write suggests Academic (Catholica, 18/5/07)

Pell seeks hi fidelity vows from teachers (CathNews, 4/6/07)
Sydney draft pastoral plan "seriously flawed": ACU lecturer (CathNews, 18/5/07)
Sydney Planning Committee holds first meeting (CathNews, 16/2/05)
Pastoral plan for Archdiocese of Sydney (CathNews, 23/11/04)
Future Scottish cardinal yields to Vatican pressure (CathNews, 14/10/03)

9 Aug 2007