It must be a trend: Catholic bishops are laying down the law these days on the use of preferred pronouns, cross-dressing and other accoutrements of transgender individuals on their property.

Guess what? They’re not getting a lot of love from the media over it.

The latest fight is within the Archdiocese of Portland (Ore.), but the dioceses of Des Moines, St. Paul and Minneapolis and Springfield, Ill. have taken similar stands. Thus, I am curious as to why a decision by the Catholic archbishop of Portland has created such a ruckus. Could it be because of the ultra gay-friendly ethos of the area?

The Oregonian’s headline made it clear where the editors stand on this: “Portland-area Catholic schools are at a crossroads over transgender, nonbinary student rights.”

Hundreds of Portland area families whose children attend Catholic schools are protesting western Oregon Archbishop Alexander Sample’s guidance that schools under the church’s umbrella not recognize transgender and nonbinary students’ pronouns and identities.

Sample quietly released the 17-page document in January, when it was billed as a “teaching and formation resource” and not a mandate for the 41 archdiocesan schools, which stretch from Portland to Medford and include Central Catholic High School and 15 K-8 schools in Portland.

Nowhere in the rest of the piece is the statistic of “hundreds” of families supported, although I read elsewhere that more than 1,000 people signed a petition opposing the archbishop.

The news of Catholic resistance to Sample’s doctrinal stance was broken in the middle of Pride Month — a true insult in left-left Portland. (Note: I attended college there, had my first newspaper job in the Portland suburbs, have friends and family there and I swoop through town at least once or twice a year, so I have more than a glancing knowledge of the culture.)

But as the school year drew to a close, teachers and families around the metro area said some schools, including St. Rose School in Northeast Portland, began to treat the recommendations as requirements, including asking faculty members to pledge that they would uphold them. Rumors began to fly that more schools would be required to follow suit by next school year and that teachers who left as a result would not be welcome at other schools in the system.

Now it’s true the archbishop was going for broke by firing both the superintendent and assistant superintendent of his school system, so one could surmise that both people disagreed with the archbishop’s new strictures.

Also, note the requirement that school leaders would be required to honor this doctrinal stance. Question: Is this a requirement for some kind of doctrinal covenant? Is that new or have such documents already been in place?

At St. Rose School, a K-8 which experienced a boom in enrollment during the pandemic as families sought out schools that were open for full day in–person learning, at least three faculty members refused to sign off on the archdiocese’s guidance and their contracts were rescinded, according to an educator there who requested anonymity because they are seeking alternative employment within the Catholic school system.

Do read the whole thing, as a number of people have quit over this. An earlier Oregonian story set out what the recommendations are:

* Pronouns used at school must match biological sex.

* Schools should not have all-gender bathrooms beyond single-use facilities.

* Sports and extracurriculars “should be based on biological sex, rather than self-perceived gender.”

* Students who wear uniforms must follow the “code that accords with his or her biological sex.”

* “Catholic institutions should not post signage or display symbols in support of gender identity theory….”

Just months after Sample became archbishop in June 2013, he told St. Andrew’s, a long-standing LGBTQ-welcoming parish, that they were prohibited from attending a Pride parade as a community. This order was not heeded by the priest and parishioners, who attended the event anyway.

So, Sample has been in office 10 years. He obviously held legitimate orthodox Catholic views closer to his chest for several years, but is making them very clear this year. Why are people so shocked that he is finally doing so? Has it been only the gay-friendly outlets that understood him?…