Catholic school removes statues of Mary and Baby Jesus to be more ‘inclusive,’ less ‘alienating’

Holy mother of Jesus, what is going on in America?

An independent Catholic school in the San Francisco Bay Area — where else? — has removed a statue of Mary and Baby Jesus from its campus in an attempt to be more “inclusive.”

A number of statues and Catholic icons have been removed from the campus of San Domenico School in San Anselmo, the Marin Independent Journal reported. A move that is part of a “new strategic plan” to appeal to more potential students.

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Sister Maureen McInerney, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, told the newspaper “if there has been a reduction in the number of statues but there are still many statues around the campus, I think that would be fine.”

“San Domenico is a Catholic school; it also welcomes people of all faiths,” she added. “It is making an effort to be inclusive of all faiths.”

Baby Jesus may not have been up to the school’s standards, but it appears that St. Dominic did make the cut.

Amy Skewes-Cox, who heads San Domenico School’s board of trustees, told the Independent Journal at least 18 icons remain on campus, including a statue of St. Dominic.

“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,” Skewes-Cox said.

Despite the timing, she said this is a “totally different” issue than the controversy in Charlottesville over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, insisting there is “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change.”

But parents and alumni are not too pleased with the move.

“The one main statue that has everyone fired up is the baby Jesus and Mary one,” said Kim Pipki. “It was at the center of the primary school courtyard.”

Pipki, whose daughter left San Domenico two years ago, explained that the school had a ceremony that allowed children to place a crown on the statue of Mary.

“It was less about God and more about passing on some traditions,” she said. “People were shocked that the statues were pitched in the basement.”

Shannon Fitzpatrick, whose 8-year-old son attends San Domenico, went even further in her objection.

“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,” she wrote in an email to the school’s board of directors.

“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,” Fitzpatrick continued.

Social media users were in full agreement with the parents… here’s a small sampling of responses from Twitter:

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