Here Is The Loyalty Pledge Philly Catholic Schools Are Making Parents Sign

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia instructed its schools to have parents sign a “memorandum of understanding” declaring support for Catholic beliefs.

Philadelphia archdiocese memo

The “Memorandum of Understanding” Philadelphia archdiocese schools sent out to parents this year. (click for a larger version)

“Attending a Catholic school is a privilege, not a right.”

So begins a list of six statements the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is requiring the parents of all of its students to sign this year. The six-statement “Memorandum of Understanding” says Philadelphia Catholic schools “are not simply private schools offering a positive moral code” and that every Catholic school has “the responsibility to ensure that Catholic teaching and moral integrity permeate every facet of the school’s life and activity.”

It’s not clear if schools are enforcing the requirement that students’ parents sign the memorandum. One parent Philadelphia magazine spoke with simply declined to respond to the pledge. Students at archdiocesan schools do not need to be Catholic to enroll.

“A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ has been distributed to all Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools via the Office of Catholic Education,” Kenneth A. Gavin, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese, said in a statement to Philadelphia magazine. “The purpose of the memo is to simply inform parents that we are Catholic schools, that we will teach the doctrine of the Church, and have them sign that they understand and are in agreement.”

Gavin added that the Archdiocese asked all schools to include this memo in all entrance applications and school handbooks.

Catholic “loyalty pledges” are not new. Many dioceses and independent Catholic schools have required at times some mix of parents, students and teachers to sign similar pledges to the ones in Philadelphia. For example, Saint George Catholic School in Erie has its parents sign virtually the same pledge. The Diocese of Altoona has, in the past, asked parents to pledge to attend mass weekly. Last year, Delone Catholic High School in McSherrytown brought up the memorandum of understanding when enforcing a policy that required the pre-approval of girls’ prom dresses.

Last year, teachers in Cincinnati, Oakland and Hawaii forced teachers to sign similar loyalty oaths. Two Catholic schools, Holy Ghost Prep and Waldron Mercy Academy have fired teachers for being in gay marriages in the last two years.

The archdiocese told the Inquirer the pledges were not in response to the recent controversy over the firing of Margie Winters from Waldron. Both that school and Holy Ghost are independent Catholic schools not under the archdiocesan umbrella. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has praised Waldron’s firing of Winters.

“As a parent/guardian desiring to enroll my child in a Catholic school, I accept this memorandum of understanding,” the memo concludes. “I pledge support for the Catholic identity and mission of this school and by enrolling my child I commit myself to uphold all principles and policies that govern the Catholic School.”

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  • Copper34

    LMAO … Chaput is such an ayy-hole.

    • jim

      Its it the lil guy syndrome.

      • Copper34

        Small brain. Hard heart.

      • Copper34

        Small brain. Hard heart. Bad combo.

      • mrsm117

        The Archbishop is a much bigger man than you will ever be!

        • Copper34

          You have a tape-measure in your mouth, son?

  • Earl J

    When you have to tell people you’re in charge you’re not.

    • Notamiso

      Oh, they very much are. Read up.


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  • PetrusRomanus1

    Most parents and guardians of Catholic school students, Catholic or non- themselves, already know and expect their Catholic school to teach Catholic doctrine. The Memorandum tries to gild the lily, which is one more way to destroy it.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      key word…..”most”….thank you for pointing out the key word….”most”…this document is for the others.

  • RandlBackScrambln

    ZOMG stop the presses! Catholic schools want parents who choose to send their kids there to know that the schools are actually… CATHOLIC?!

    Thank you, Dan McQuade for this hard-hitting journalism. Hot tip for your next story: I hear there’s something bears do in the woods.

    • Copper34

      Stop … This is nonsense.

  • Kevin

    Every day the Catholic Church finds a way to alienate the vast majority of people who have long supported its mission. Abusive priests, aggressive attacks on the victims, o tolerance for anything…. It is supposed to be an inclusive organization that looks to help the less fortunate

    I have 16 years of Catholic education in my past and Chaput is making me wonder why

    • Copper34

      Don’t forget the abuse they heap on the Nuns.

      • iswho

        Nuns aren’t that innocent. TBH, they are a pain in the A$$.

        • Copper34

          If you say so …


      • Phil Steinacker

        You MUST be kidding?

        You mean all those apostatizing, heretical women in pant suits flouting their vows, advancing Left-wing socialist agendas, and undermining Church teaching?

        Those “nuns?”

        Most of the good saintly ones already have passed on, and the few left suffer to know what has happened to their religious order – my own sister among them.

        • Copper34

          Hate much?

    • Redbird25

      Liberals believe that being “inclusive” means the Church abandoning its very basic principles on the left’s favorite causes…gay marriage and abortion. Ain’t gonna happen, regardless of the weekly idiotic statements made by Francis.

    • Phil Steinacker

      Since when did the self-serving rhetoric of the Democratic Left insinuate itself into the language of the Church?

      Inclusiveness is NOT a Catholic principle, no matter who misled you on that point. it does not even rise to the level of the lowest of virtues.

      As for helping the less fortunate, there is no other private organization in the world who has helped the less fortunate for as long as the Church has (She started it all, in fact), nor is there one which has outperformed Her in that arena.

  • Notamiso

    “Loyalty Oath” is pretty inflammatory; obviously, you’ve used it on purpose. Absolutely nothing in the document is news to any Catholic. The Church, no matter how much we might wish it, isn’t a democracy. Any idea that the Church will simply scrap its fundamentals is ridiculous, even though those fundamentals increasingly contradict our expectations of how institutions in our society should behave.

    People who send their children to Catholic school are making a choice. They are agreeing that the Church has primacy over how Catholic schools are run and what (religious content) is taught. If one doesn’t agree, one is under no obligation to send one’s children; other schools that might be more flexible are certainly available. Essentially, parents have to decide if the opportunity cost of Catholic education is worth it. When principle confronts religion, only one bends.

    • Copper34

      YOU are ridiculous.

      • Notamiso

        That’s what you have? I left the Church long ago, but you are out of your mind if you think that little protests over individual gay people who teach at Catholic schools are going to change anything. The Church isn’t liberal. It isn’t secular. It’s got a protected right to discriminate against people who don’t follow its doctrine while in its employ.

        I don’t know of any religions that are democracies. If the Church doesn’t reflect your values, do what I did: leave.

        • Copper34

          Right. They are more like businesses than democracies. People still have to give a shut for “the Church” to be viable.

          Does “the Church” have a “protected right” to protect pedophiles too?

          • Notamiso

            Obviously, the Church didn’t have a right to protect pedophiles. How about the Jews, who have also had that problem, or various American Protestant Sects which have had it too? How about Muslims who circumcise their girls in America, or Hindus who arrange marriages of their young girls?

            Power will always corrupt. Any idea that people with a presumed religious vocation are immune is naive. Although the Church has been held to account in some jurisdictions, it’s appalling that they claim poverty when one painting from the Vatican would likely generate enough revenue to settle every suit in America.

            Don’t hold Catholicism up as some beacon of reprehensible doctrine. As I mentioned above, many, many religions make the the Church’s misogyny look like a sewing circle and its homophobia look like an editorial in the Advocate. There are 5 major world religions, and they ALL treat women and gay people horribly. You might point to anecdote, some liberal Protestant church or sect, or some reform Jews, but in the main, the major constant of the most popular religions in the world is a combination of misogyny, homophobia, and resolute belief that they are each, individually, the one true religion, ordained by whatever manifestation of the Supreme Being is relevant.

            So, I don’t care if the Church loses people. I don’t care if any religion fails. It’s not for me to tell them to change course and teach what I believe, to respect the people that I think deserve respect. Religion isn’t a public accommodation; society can’t force any religion to admit everyone or to stop teaching a morality that lost its currency long ago.

          • Redbird25

            LOL, the church’s “homophobia.” You idiot, it’s in the Bible. Be sure to tell God that He’s “homophobic” when you stand before Him.

          • Notamiso

            How many gay people does God have to make, before you dopes get the idea that he might want them around? (Paraphrasing some mid-west legislator) I always love it when idiots like you cherry pick. Do you have more than one wife? Ever owned a slave? Stoned anyone? Sacrificed an animal, or better yet, a first-born?

            God also gave us science, which gave us carbon dating and biology. If you don’t believe in contradicting the story of creation (which I assume you don’t, since you are an Old Testament literalist) is all the science God gave us wrong with regard to oil? How do you justify driving? We’re th e dinosaurs a ruse?

          • Phil Steinacker

            I always love it when idiots like you pretend you know how to read scripture! There were reasons for various prohibitions, laws, and practices mandated for the Jews which did not apply outside the particular times and situations described. If you had some years under your belt studying scripture, you’d know that very basic fact.

            Instead, you look foolish, which undermines the credibility of your smart-ass comment.

            A major disadvantage to not understanding scripture when opining on it is that it’s clearly obvious to those who have studied it at length. There is so much to learn no one ever finishes that study, btw. In your case, you’re not even in kindergarten.

          • ntznomad

            Homosexuality as a sin is mentioned more times in the New Testament than the Old.

            someone who read the book

          • Notamiso

            I’m in agreement with this guy, and both of us have read the book:

            “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means.” – George Bernard Shaw

          • ntznomad

            LOL, it’s pretty hard to argue semantics when words like abomination are used. Then there’s the bit in Revelations.. I’m a convert who used to identify as bisexual. I tried finding the workarounds and loopholes and became convinced from my own study that there just aren’t any. I don’t think it’s a special sin, but it is a sin.

            I think given that you’re the one who’s view is ignoring multiple verses in both the OT and NT, the quote is best applied to yourself. You are the one trying to explain away words in black and white.

          • Jim Jones


          • ntznomad

            Start with Romans and Revelations. If you’re good with Google you’ll find something. Why should I give you for free what it took me months to read and research?

          • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

            We are filled with broken psyches. They will die off soon enough, sans progeny, thank God. It’s like a self-purging of the race. Funny they are the first to cry “Nazi!” but there you have it.

          • Jim Jones

            > You idiot, it’s in the Bible.

            Nope. You’re making it up.

          • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

            Well, for a really screwed up person, you are making a good go of making sense.

            Lose the hate. Embrace normalcy, not deviancy.

          • Phil Steinacker

            Not so. When we need YOU, we’ll call you.
            BTW, when will you attack the pedophiles in the public school system, which a 2005 U.S. Dept. of Ed study revealed tolerates child sexual molestation at levels 100 to 1 more often than in the Catholic Church?

            Yep, you read it correctly. Teachers’ unions, PTAs, school boards, and district superintendents masquerading as “educators” protects these monsters in far greater numbers than the Church ever did.

          • Copper34

            Yeah … No … Catholic Church was a haven for pedophiles. It was like Club Med for perverts.

          • Jim Jones

            > revealed child sexual molestation at levels 100 to 1 more often frequent than in the Catholic Church?


            Australia’s worst paedophile priest ‘molested every boy’ at school in Victoria, Australia (link)

            Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse was told that senior Church leaders were aware of the crimes of Father Gerald Ridsdale and an “evil” paedophile ring that he operated for decades.

            A royal commission into child sex abuse heard that Father Gerald Ridsdale abused more than 50 children over three decades, including all of the boys at the school in Mortlake.

            In 1971, each of the male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school was molesting children.

            Philip Nagle, who was abused at the school, held up a photograph of his fourth grade class and said that twelve of the 33 boys had since committed suicide.

          • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

            Sez idiot Copperhead: Whaaa whaaa! Someone make me feel better about myself!!!!

          • Copper34

            Your wife just made me feel a little better ….

      • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

        Copper34, why do you Social Justice Warriors hate everything you can’t destroy?

        Is it because you are such complete losers in life and this is the only way to feel less a loser?

        • Copper34

          Your wife thinks I am a WINNER. Tell her not to spend the $10 I just gave her all in one place.

  • mrsm117

    Sadly, many so-called Catholic parents and students, are the first ones to object to Catholic teaching referring to it as discriminatory or outdated. The Archbishop is to be commended. It is vital that Catholic students are taught what the Church teaches. No teaching should ever be “watered down” or eliminated because someone finds it devisive or discriminatory. No one is forcing a student to attend a Catholic school but every student attending is entitled to authentic Catholic teaching. The Archbishop is rightfully concerned that every student be taught properly. That’s his “job”. We should be grateful that he is. It means that young people will be formed properly in the Catholic faith and not have a misinformed conscience.

    • Copper34

      LMAO … “It is vital that Catholic students are taught what the Church teaches.” Young people being “formed” …. “misinformed conscience” … GET A CLUE.

      • Phil Steinacker

        We wouldn’t expect a pagan to understand.

        We wouldn’t expect a pagan to understand.

    • TaxTired

      The Bishop should follow the Pope. The Pope is clear…Do as Jesus would do. Jesus reached out to and embraced the outcast, the downtrodden and the “dirty”. This Bishop is far more similar to the Sadducee and the Sanhedrin. They failed to see the Christ in front of them caught instead in the minutia of the law. His message instead should be… Live joyfully, seek first the light of Christ in every eye you see, pray daily and celebrate the gift of Faith and the freedom to live that Faith.

  • Ablejack Courtney

    Seems the Archdiocese does not know the very definition of the word catholic. It is literally and expressly inclusive, not exclusive. This Memorandum of Understanding itself is not in line with the teachings of Christ and the Church. This is merely the tyrannical and frankly heretical dream of a rogue bishopric for what reason I cannot imagine.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Thank God we have a few Bishops willing to hit Satan straight on and defend love, life, and the one Holy Catholic Church…..

      This simple agreement is self examination for those asked to sign….some will fail, other will be strengthened.

    • Phil Steinacker

      You are twisting the word out of shape. Catholic means whole; though its more frequently translated as universal.

      Neither is a synonym for inclusive, which is merely a buzzword for progressives ignorant of authentic Catholic teaching or practice..

      • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

        She’s an angry, hate-filled Social Justice Warrior. I wonder why she isn’t at Army Ranger school.

      • Ablejack Courtney

        Uh, Universal is pretty inclusive. Popes John 23 and Paul 6 make it very clear that the Church and Salvation is equally for all people of the world. And yeah good guess, I am progressive. Just as is our Church and the current Pope.

    • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

      I am a Protestant descended from aristocratic French Huguenots and English Reformers, meaning I have no particular love for Rome and its imperial church. Having said that …

      Go shove your whining where the Son doesn’t shine.

      • Ablejack Courtney

        I wasn’t referring to Protestants when I mentioned “heretical”, but I understand your confusion.

  • AimR

    As a former teacher of the Archdiocese, the reason they have these “guidelines” for parents to sign is because parents whose children aren’t Catholic will try to have them not participate in Religion class and/or go to weekly mass. In the city, parents would rather send their child to Catholic school than to the public schools but they don’t want their child participating in the religious education. This document prevents parents from refusing their child’s participation in certain activities and education. I don’t, by any means, agree with the decisions that have been made by Catholic schools or comments and/or beliefs of the Archbishop. I was always raised we are all created equal and should be treated that way and should be treated with respect.

    • ES

      If that’s the real reason, and I have no problem with this requirement, they should just limit the Memorandum of Agreement to the requirement to attend religion class and weekly mass. I do concur with the church on that one sole point, if you want to go to Catholic School, you have to take the religion lessons along with it. ALL the other stuff is pure BS and think it’s no more than a way to get rid of parents and kids who voice opposition to things like the firing of the Nun at Waldron Mercy. Not a coincidence that this came out a few months after that controversy.

  • Sean Indignado Kitchen

    How can this be taken seriously? It’s in Comic Sans!

    • Steve



    I could be wrong, but is there a spelling/grammatical error in the very first paragraph?!

    • MoBust


      Obviously not written by either a teaching sister or a Jesuit! They actually care about correct communication.

      This is clearly a scam. No one with substantial Catholic education would ever let it see the light of day.

  • Joe

    As the parent of two children, I would not send them to an institution that has condoned the sexual abuse of children in its care. Two can play this game.

  • Littlejim1

    This pledge is so offensive to me as a practicing Catholic, i cannot even respond in a Catholic like way.
    As a parent with children in catholic schools, i will not sign this “pledge”. In doing so I would be agreeing to NOT love ALL persons the way God wants me to. Currently the Philadelphia Archdioces is selective in who is a child of God.

    • Phil Steinacker

      Keep practicing…one day you might actually become Catholic.

      • TaxTired

        Phil, Phil, Phil…… Jim is CATHOLIC. Jim is doing just what we are called to do. Bring sight to the blind, free the oppressed, proclaim liberty to the captives and announce the reign of God is at hand. Jesus was pretty clear that He did not hold the Sadducee in high regard. This Bishop is a sad little bureaucrat too bogged down in the letter of the law to embrace the simplest of all… Love one another as I have loved you. Jesus loved the Samaritan woman and the “unclean” and the tax collector. HE DIDN’T JUDGE.

    • ntznomad

      Love isn’t shown by celebrating sin and being disobedient to the teachings of the Church.

  • Littlejim1

    Thanks for the insight, however that probably wont be likely when we so blatently exclude people.

  • Shakes_May

    My favorite part is where Chaput declares himself the final arbiter of every thing regarding Catholic teaching, morals and Church law. I didn’t realize Chaput was made Pope. I wonder if the Pope knows.

  • CharlemagneIsMyGrandDad

    This is very sensible and American in the sense of the free-market.

    which is exactly why SJW zealot extremists will try to shame and blame the school into submission or death, whichever comes first.

  • TaxTired

    The final Authority does not, should not and will never rest with any Bishop. Chuck would love to think he is the Moral arbiter of all things Catholic, but the Cardinals elected Francis and HE has final say.

  • Rick

    Did Jesus make the apostles sign a “loyalty pledge” ? I don’t remember Jesus asserting his authority as a priority.

  • 1Myles1

    Brain-washed parents only want to ensure their children are brain-washed to the same extent.
    Religion has no place in any decent society and especially not in a place of learning.

  • Ann Margaret Lewis

    This isn’t a loyalty pledge. It’s an agreement that one understands what they’re signing their kids up for. Your kids will be taught the Catholic faith (that means everything about it) in a Catholic school and some of it might not be something you like. If you don’t want that, send them elsewhere. This has become necessary because of lawsuits. Catholic schools are Catholic schools.

    Seriously, that’s all this is. It’s an agreement of full disclosure. It’s an agreement that makes the parents understand what their kids will be learning. If you don’t want your kids taught that, send ’em to public or secular private institutions. I fail to see what the issue is.