Winnipeg: Catholic school principal faces dismissal for promoting 40 Days for Life

From Life Site:

Catholic principal faces dismissal for promoting 40 Days for Life

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, October 13, 2011 ( – The principal at a Catholic elementary school in Winnipeg faces possible dismissal after he considered allowing students to count the 40 Days for Life vigil towards community service hours.

Principal David Hood of Christ the King School advertised the local 40 Days campaign in a recent newsletter and then told the Winnipeg Free Press on Tuesday that he was considering allowing students to join the vigil to satisfy part of the 10 hours of community service required of grade 7 and 8 students.

The comments led to a media firestorm with calls for the school, which is independent and under the auspices of the Archdiocese, but receives 50 percent funding, to lose its public funding for promoting “political” activism.

Now Principal Hood’s employment is under review by the school’s board of directors, the CBC reported Thursday afternoon. Hood was asked to stay home Thursday.

After the Winnipeg Free Press broke the story Tuesday, the Archdiocese, headed by Archbishop James Weisgerber, immediately distanced themselves from Hood’s actions, insisting that “Catholic Schools in Winnipeg do not give community service or academic credit for participation in prayer vigils.”

“There are no Catholic schools in Winnipeg that give academic credit for political activity,” Robert Praznik, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg’s director of education, told the Winnipeg Free Press. “We’re very careful, we’re not a political organization. None of this is part of the curriculum, and none of this is done on school time.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Praznik insisted the Winnipeg Catholic schools strongly uphold the right to life, but said they “would never give credit to people for attending a prayer service,” just like they “wouldn’t give credit to people for attending Mass.”

“We respect the sanctity of human life. It would be individual parents, families that would make those decisions,” he continued.

Asked if the schools would organize a group to attend a pro-life event, like the Catholic schools in Ontario do by sending students to the Ottawa March for Life, he said, “We would have difficulty if it happened during school hours because of our funding.”

“It’s not that we’re not supporting pro-life activities, but we’re also politically sensitive to the political environment,” he said. “In terms of government regulations in terms of school hours and so forth. We walk a fine line.”


There is a lot more to read over there.

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  1. Supertradmum says:

    No school can remain Catholic and take government spending, in any country, in any state. I worked as a religious events coordinator, retreat coordinator, liturgy coordinator, etc. in Calgary for one year. The administration was made up of cafeteria Catholics, pro-contraception, etc.. I was reprimanded for teaching Dominus Iesus, having retreats where the speakers I chose talked about sin and repentance, etc. It was obvious that I could not work in such an environment and that was in 2000! One reason I got the Master Teacher Certification from NAPCIS, as that organization is made up of independent, private, real Catholic schools. Sadly, I am not surprised. Even in the United States, the corruption of Catholic schools has been systematic. As early as 1980, in Indiana, for example, the Catholic schools getting money from the state had to introduce sex-education including pro-homosexual and lesbian coloring books for the kids. Private schools and home schooling are the only way for a Catholic parent to insure that the children are getting a real Catholic education.

  2. albizzi says:

    …” because of our funding.”
    Hard choice for some bishops between money and the Church’s teaching.
    Money is an easy means to shut the mouths

  3. chcrix says:

    I can add little to what STMum had to say about the evils of state money. As Tolkien said through the mouth of Sauron: “If you sue for [Sauron’s] clemency you must first do his bidding. These are his terms. Take them or leave them.”

    It is also time for schools to reject, across the board, the so-called ‘community service’ requirements. If you want people (including youngsters) to do volunteer work – ask them to. And accept their negative if you receive it. Forced charity is not charity at all.

  4. Ef-lover says:

    I agree with cherix said ” that forced charity is not charity at all”

    The officals seemd rather quick to through this principal under the bus

  5. Sliwka says:

    Supertradmum, yes in a perfect world the first and foremost educators of children are their parents, however what I can see increasingly is that because of the disappointing state of school based Catholic Education in Alberta (and at least one parish in the City of Winnipeg) and how long the curriculum has been watered down there is not longer a knowledge in parents of the faith to be taught. I’d advocate more for another shift further right in the curriculum (the current curriculum as I understand is a shift right from the Jesus the Warm Fuzzy days, but still far left of the “Baltimore” days). I reference one parish in Winnipeg (do not know which diocese). A family member had said that for this parish’s confirmation classes, the priest was teaching the hunting and fishing were against God’s plan or desire or something. Competitive games were wrong (and competing in general) among other frivolous things. A school colleague of mine’s father is a deacon in rural Alberta, and to high school students in religion class he was speaking about the reality of sin, and the necessity of sacramental confession. Some were in tears. Parents called and complained to the principal. I am not sure if he was reprimanded or not. I do not think, by and large in Catholic schools, that we can fully rely on parents to be the primary religious educators of their children when they have no grounding knowledge in the faith as well. Are these things preached at Mass, nope. Were they taught in their school, nope.

    Another note: I find it very sad how quickly the media, parents, and other people with sometimes very little at stake can throw someone under the bus for “considering” something that may or may not be tactful or right. Does this idea really satisfy the public education requirement for “public/community service”? Probably not. Should the principal be sent home and basically made a pariah. Again, no.

  6. Supertradmum says:


    You comment is pertinent, which is why I am fanatic about adult education, a missed opportunity in most dioceses.

  7. APX says:

    It is also time for schools to reject, across the board, the so-called ‘community service’ requirements. If you want people (including youngsters) to do volunteer work – ask them to. And accept their negative if you receive it.
    While I don’t know if it’s a requirement in Winnipeg, the Catholic school division in Saskatoon requires students to complete something like 35 hours of community service work in order to graduate. It never sat well with me, but I wanted/needed to graduate, so I did it.

  8. rollingrj says:


    Isn’t that the city where the Canadian bishops came out in opposition to Humane Vitae?

    ‘Nuff said.

  9. rollingrj – While there are a number of people who share that resentment, including yourself, you should look at this post from one of the blogs I view on a daily basis, Vox Nova. Check out the actual Statement yourself, the footnotes for the references in the statement, and this seminarian’s posting on the matter :

  10. mrose says:

    So much for Bp. Aquila’s statements reproduced in an above post by Fr. Z. Apparently even relatively minor instances of promoting the faith earn reprimands from those “inside” the Church. Reminds me of the recent story of the priest in San Antonio diocese (I think) “transferred” for his “political opinions” on SSA and gay non-marriage.

  11. Joe in Canada says:

    realistically if there were no government funding for Catholic schools in Manitoba they would mostly cease to exist, and the few that would remain would be simply elite private schools, less Catholic than they are now. Manitoba just re-elected a socialist government, many members of which would love to see Catholic schools disappear.
    The real problem I think is that the media misrepresented (or misconstrued) what Mr Hood said. Community service hours are done outside of school hours, and all sorts of things are possible to fulfill them. This had nothing to do with taking kids out of school.
    The other problem is when diocesan officials confuse protesting abortion with ‘political action’. Mr Praznik was going in the right direction when he referred to government regulations; let’s hope he gets it right.

  12. heway says:

    My sons are grown men now, but we sent them to Catholic schools, through high school. In high school, they did 40 hours of work. One cleaned the Guadalupe Villa after the homeless men left in the afternoon after school. Never would we accept any funding from any government agency. Keep Cesar out of our classrooms at any cost….and the financial expense can be great, but very rewarding.
    In the late 40’s and 50’s when the Red Chinese were running rampant and our missionaries had to come home, the Reds took children between the ages of 4 and 7 for indoctrination.
    Thereafter, these children had no problem reporting on their parents. Bishop Aquila is probably close to the terrible truth. Let us pray for each other, our families, our priests and Catholic educators.

  13. everett says:

    While I agree with the premise that state funding can lead to problems, I don’t particularly have a problem with the stance that community service hours will not be received for prayer vigils. If you want community service for a pro-life cause, go work at a pregnancy crisis center, or another similar cause.

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