I've spent part of the morning reading the comments section on the NCR interview with the lesbian couple whose two daughters were essentially aborted out of their Catholic school. It's funny to me how many excuses and ways the institutional Church has found to abort and abuse live children. I sometimes wonder if the Church hasn't misinterpreted Jesus's statement about 'suffer the little children'. That instead of putting these words in context with the whole message, they've just literalised them to mean make my children suffer. I guess in the long run it's for the good of their souls or their parents souls or the soul of the Church. The reality is, it's all used to protect power and keep people in their assigned place.
Here's a personal story. When my daughter was in Junior High we moved to the Salt Lake area. We were unsure of just what exactly the public school system was like in Utah. We had heard some real horror stories that it was really an LDS parochial school system and that 'children of gentiles' were constantly proselytized for the good of their souls. I did know that there were seminary buildings attached to all schools which were used for the LDS version of CCD. Non LDS students were given the opportunity to attend their own religious classes if they were available, other wise they had a free hour.
My ex husband and I decided to go the Catholic school route for two reasons. Both of us had been educated in the Catholic school system and this would be the first time our daughter would have had to opportunity to attend a Catholic school. The second reason was our concerns about the public school system.
I did have a personal concern though. Our daughter is a Type I diabetic and the Catholic school we enrolled her in did not have a full time nurse nor any special ed program. There was really no professional support for our daughter should she have a severe insulin reaction. So my ex and I brought a diabetic nurse practitioner into the school to instruct the pertinent faculty on diabetic management and to interact with her classmates so they would understand the need for my daughter to eat outside the normal routine. We did this at our expense.
It never dawned on me that rigid adherence to school regulations would preclude appropriate medical intervention. This very Catholic understanding of the importance of regulations and obedience almost cost my daughter her life. She had a severe insulin reaction at the beginning of the school day before the Pledge of Allegiance and morning prayer. She told her teacher she needed to get something to eat as she was starting to feel out it. Her teacher told her that she would just have to wait until after prayers. Jesus came first.
When my daughter fell to the floor, the prayer continued until it was finished, and then she was helped by her classmates who took her to the office where her emergency supplies were kept. She was given about ten minutes to get herself back together and then sent back to class. During that time my daughter called me at work and asked me to come and get her. I immediately went to the school because I couldn't tell from my daughter's conversation what exactly had happened and whether she had gotten hurt when she passed out. I could tell though, that she wasn't quite all there yet.
When I arrived at the school I went to the principle's office loaded for bear. I really wanted to know if the teacher had refused my daughter permission to treat an insulin reaction because of the school's insistence that all children must be present for morning prayer. The secretary answered in the affirmative. I immediately asked to see the principle. I was told in a tone reserved for impertinent children that "Reverend Mother is busy right now and will see you when she can. Please sit on the bench in the hallway and wait until she is available".
At this point a memory of my own first grade year flashed in my head when I sat on a bench in a hallway and waited on another Reverend Mother. It created the "perfect storm". As an adult, and now a mother, I would in no uncertain terms tolerate being treated like a disrespectful disobedient child when the issue concerned my daughter's well being. I was not going to sit on that bench stewing in my own juices and then be expected to apologize for my anger or excuse their mistakes.
Instead I instantly pulled my daughter out of the school and went down and enrolled her in the nearest public school. I never was allowed to see Reverent Mother, and the letter the school sent acknowledging the tuition reimbursement, blamed the entire misunderstanding on my impulsiveness as I didn't stay around to hear their explanation. And how could I not want my daughter to graduate from their school with all her friends?
I thought my daughter would be quite furious with me for taking her from her friends. I found out something else. She hated being at the school and she had no friends. She was generally treated as the uber smart outsider, the 'sick hick' from Elko, Nv. As time went on she recounted horror story after horror story about how she had been treated and how no teacher ever intervened even though they knew she was being totally 'othered'.
The ironic thing about this is that the good Catholic girl was totally 'othered' in the good Catholic school but totally accepted in the LDS public school system. She was one of the elite in a high school of 2000 and loved every minute of it. It was here that she received some healing for life dealing her a very hard blow. She frequently tells me yanking her from St 'Hell Hole' was the best thing I ever did for her and for the slim attachment she still has to Catholicism. She was never proselytized by her LDS friends. They instead spent hours critiquing, comparing, and contrasting the idiosyncrasies in both religions while staying chaste and college driven.
If I sometimes write with a tendency to cut the LDS church some slack, it's because I have reason too. At a time when a Catholic school had come very close to driving my daughter to suicide, the genuine openness of her new LDS classmates gave her a reason to 'keep on keeping on'. They gave her the 'bread of life' when her experience of her own Church school system had given her ashes, had given her a sponge full of vinegar and gall, rather than the waters of life.
What has happened in Boulder does not surprise me in the least. What surprises me is that the moms are acting with incredible forbearance. (Unlike me.) It's not easy to deal with this kind of betrayal of the very Christian principles you send your children to school to have reinforced. It drives home the the very pointed sword of official Catholicism's need to place obedience to the law before the pastoral needs.
No wonder in all the depictions of the Last Judgement only angels are allowed to carry swords. No wonder Jesus told Peter to put up his sword before He made Peter the keeper of the keys. Someone needs to tell Archbishop Chaput it's time to 'put up his sword' and go find his keys.