Teachers at four Catholic high schools, under pressure from the San Francisco archbishop to adhere to church teaching in their personal lives, narrowly accepted a union agreement with the archdiocese.
An assemblymember called the hearing because he said he is worried about the impact of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's proposed changes on the schools.
The U.S. bishops gathered in St. Louis for their spring general assembly heard presentations on the pope's upcoming encyclical on the environment, the U.S. church's ongoing work in promoting traditional marriage and the need to remain vigilant in protecting children from abuse.
On the first day of their meeting Wednesday, there also were reports on the bishops' efforts to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and their help in rebuilding work in Haiti, which is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.
As the institution of marriage faces unprecedented challenges, the Catholic church continues to promote and defend marriage as being between one man and one woman, said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
As chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Cordileone gave bishops at their spring general assembly in St. Louis an update on the U.S. Supreme Court's impending decision whether same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide as well as related public policy and the church's catechetical efforts.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's supporters, however, agreed with him that transgender identity is a disorder.
Amid the national buzz over transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, revealing her new female identity, a leading culture warrior in the Catholic hierarchy on Wednesday denounced the spread of "gender ideology" and said it threatens the very foundation of the church's faith.
The union said the new language "makes ... a stronger claim that all faculty and staff are 'ministers', regardless of the fact that the term 'minister' has been removed."
"Bold," "brazen," "courageous," "combative," "timely" and "bombshell" were among descriptions that greeted the appointment of Salvatore Cordileone to San Francisco.
"The religious fabric of the San Francisco archdiocese has been torn, and it did not need to happen. Intentionally or not, it has been wrenched."
Updated: "The language is softer, but the message is still hurtful and wrong," said a student at one of the archdiocesan high schools.