While there is a great deal of talk about statues these days, the controversy most people are thinking of makes some sense. If we were talking about religious statues on public property, again, it would make some sense. Whether you agree with it or not, people kind of understand at least why it’s an issue, even if they think the arguments are bogus.
But what about statues of Jesus and Mary at a Catholic school? Should that be a problem?
A Catholic school in California thinks that it is, so they removed them.
An independent Catholic school in San Anselmo, California, has sparked the ire of some parents after officials removed and relocated a large number of religious statues, reportedly including those of Jesus and Mary, in order not to alienate children of other faiths.
Amy Skewes-Cox, who heads San Domenico School’s board of trustees, said at least 18 of the 180 religious icons still remain at the school as part of a plan approved unanimously by the board last year, the Marin Independent Journal reported.
Ms. Skewes-Cox said the timing of the statues’ removals and the national statue debate spurring from the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an unfortunate coincidence and have “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change.”
“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.
Um…it’s a Catholic school. If you think statues of important people to the faith of the school are out of line, you’re probably in the wrong place.
Now, I understand that the school is independent, meaning it’s not owned by the parish or any religious order, but it still claims to be a Catholic school on some level. Religious iconography pertinent to Catholicism makes perfect sense…unless the real problem is that they don’t want anyone to associate the school with religion.
A quick look at the school’s website finds remarkably little mention of its Catholic roots. While they don’t hide their founding by the Dominican Sisters, the word “Catholic” is scarce. Why is that?
Frankly, it sounds like a step some religious organizations are taking to secularize themselves a bit in order to be more attractive to the non-religious. However, I have to ask: What good is it to attract non-religious people if you’re not going to actually do what God has called you to do? How can you be fishers of men if you don’t actually reel them in?
San Domenico may attract students, but based on who founded the school, I can’t help but believe that the mission was intended to be about more than secular education and enrollment numbers.