Sep 6, 2017
San Domenico School in San Anselmo, Calif., has voluntarily chosen to remove or relocate most of its Christian statues and artwork to appease non-Catholic students. Many Catholics are horrified, but sometimes it’s entirely appropriate for a Catholic school to remove all Catholic imagery. Like when it’s being decommissioned as Catholic – which is precisely what ought to happen in this case.
When the Catholic Church decommissions a church building, the adornments are properly disposed of and, hopefully, sent on to other parishes that are still able to fulfill their mission. And when a formerly Catholic school converts to a government-funded charter school, all Catholic imagery is removed before the new school opens.
Clearly San Domenico’s Catholic identity has been in decline for some time. Its mission statement could belong to any secular school: “preparing the next generation of global leaders… [and] to uphold the values of study, reflection, service and community.” If San Domenico finds that not enough Catholics are willing to spend $42,825 for a year of high school, it can keep most of its current mission and curriculum and transition to a public charter school without a hitch.
The philosophy animating the school doesn’t seem to reflect Christian anthropology or metaphysics. The school’s director of philosophy, ethics and world religions told the Marin Independent Journal, “The Dominican teaching philosophy is not to teach there is only one truth.” Surely the great Dominican theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas, would disagree!
Even before the recent news of San Domenico’s purge of Christian imagery, the school had removed Christian references from its very extensive website. The words “Jesus” or “Christ” or “Church” are noticeably absent. The word “Catholic” appears a couple times.