Eighteen teachers work at St. Theresa Catholic School in Kalihi. They are among the 800-plus teachers in parochial schools around the state who will be given a new and more detailed contract to sign.
"The clarification helps them to educate," Dr. Michael Rockers said.
Rockers is the superintendent for Hawaii Catholic Schools 36 schools statewide that teach children from early education through high school. He's discussed the contract in meetings with principals and pastors.
"Sometimes you have to be more specific about what the Catholic teachings, moral teachings are. People don't know them like they did 30 years ago," he said.
The old contract contained a section that dealt with morality in general terms.
"The teacher's personal lifestyle and activities will not contradict Catholic moral standards," it said.
The expanded 24-page contract spells out what the Catholic church means when it says "morally pure."
"It affects the sense of what the church teaches regarding what is a marriage. It teaches about adultery and its inappropriateness," Rockers said.
It also outlines the church's view on same-sex marriage. Rockers said the document will not be used as a tool to fire teachers.
"The church wants to be unambiguous about what the moral teachings are so those teachers can know what they're saying yes to when they say, 'I want to be a minister as a teacher in a Catholic school,'" he said.
Rockers said teachers in the state's parochial schools are role models, and students notice when instructors don't live what they teach.
"That dichotomy is bad for students. They recognize that and the unambiguous testimony is gone. We want to be clear and consistent about what we expect," he said.
Rockers said the contract doesn't specifically instruct teachers to live a Catholic lifestyle, but the Diocese hopes "they will embody those moral teachings in all aspects of the school setting and beyond, because it's a ministry."
Administrators at St. Theresa and other Catholic schools know about the contract change. Now teachers are beginning to hear about it.