In the unattainable quest for leftist-deemed inclusivity, a Catholic school in California is purging itself of all remnants of Catholicism, including a statue of baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
On Thursday, Marinij.com reported that San Domenico School in San Anselmo, California, had removed and relocated a number of Catholic statues in order to be more inclusive of other religions, sparking strong reactions from parents of students who attend the allegedly Catholic school.
Thus far, the school has removed and relocated all but 18 of their 180 Catholic icons and statues. The head of the school's board of trustees, Amy Skewes-Cox, claims such removals are “completely in compliance” with school rules, which were approved by the board and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael last year.
Kim Pipki, whose daughter used to attend San Domenico, recalled the removal of the statue of baby Jesus and Mary as particularly contentious.
“The one main statue that has everyone fired up is the baby Jesus and Mary one,” said Pipki. “It was at the center of the primary school courtyard.”
“It was less about God and more about passing on some traditions,” the mother noted. “People were shocked that the statues were pitched in the basement.”
Shannon Fitzpatrick, whose eight-year-old daughter currently attends Domenico, wrote an email to school officials and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael expressing her disapproval of the so-called inclusive changes, suggesting their version of "inclusion" apparently means gutting Catholicism from the school altogether.
“Articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico’s 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one’s heritage and beliefs,” wrote Fitzpatrick.
“In our time here, the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic," she continued.
The mother said she first became alarmed by the school's changes last year, when San Domenico removed “first reconciliation and first communion from the second-grade curriculum."
In a follow-up email, Fitzpatrick noted that she was not the only parent disturbed by the "inclusive" changes.
“There are other families having the same concerns I do. Many parents feel if the school is heading in a different direction then the San Domenico community should have been notified before the signing of the enrollment for the following year," she wrote.
“I am extremely disappointed in the school and the direction they’ve been going," said Cheryl Newell, a mother of four children who've graduated from San Domenico. "This isn’t a new thing that they’ve been intentionally eroding their Catholic heritage. They’re trying to be something for everyone and they’re making no one happy."
San Domenico is not owned or operated by a specific parish, but, rather, was founded as an independent Catholic school. Head of School Cecily Stock explained that this is precisely why the school has acted to become more inclusive; many know the school is Catholic, she said, but neglect to realize it is also independent.
“San Domenico is both a Catholic school and an independent school,” said Stock, “but what we were finding after doing some research is that in the broader community we are known as being a Catholic school and are not necessarily known as an independent school. We want to make sure that prospective families are aware that we are an independent school.”
“If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling," she said.