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The Archdiocese of San Francisco, California, has reached an accord with a union representing Catholic-school teachers—an agreement that became controversial because of a clause stipulating that teachers in parochial schools would be required to respect Church teachings.

The preamble to the final agreement retains that essential point on which Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone had insisted: “Teachers are expected to support the purpose of our Catholic schools in such a way that their personal conduct will not adversely impact their ability to teach in our Catholic high schools.”

The archbishop said that a heated debate about this requirement had produced “a rich discussion about the mission and purpose of Catholic education and vital role that our high-school teachers play in carrying out that mission.” But he observed that the debate also called attention to the increasing pressure on Catholic institutions to downplay their distinctive Catholic identity. Archbishop Cordileone told the National Catholic Register: “I will not accept that the schools have to renounce their right to hire and fire for the sake of their mission.”