Monday, February 19, 2007

St. Charles School

There were several letters to the editor in the Herald-Times on Saturday regarding a controversy at St. Charles Catholic school. (See previous articles from February 7, February 10 and the staff editorial.)

I understand that some students and parents were upset at the terms that Father Chesebrough used for some students. All indications are that there was no intent to demean or ridicule these students. It is reasonable for parents to wish to speak with school officials to address the issue. What is not reasonable is to expect that children should not have to attend Mass if Father Chesebrough is leading it.

While the letter sent to the parents by Father Chesebrough is less diplomatic than it could have been, I firmly side with the church on this matter based on the facts presented in the newspaper. The parents should have either submitted to church authority or left the school. Taking it to the Herald-Times was a very un-Christian thing to do and the parents should repent of this behavior.

The important principle to apply here is I Corinthians 6:1-8, which the parents have flagrantly disobeyed. While this passage of Scripture does not directly apply, as there is no lawsuit, the parents are still going into the "court" of public opinion to resolve the dispute rather than dealing with the matter through the authority of the church as directed by the Bible. With no crime committed, this problem should never have been brought to a pagan society for a resolution.

Below is an e-mail I sent to Herald-Times Editor-In-Chief Scott Schurz.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs <>
Subject: Saturday editorial
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 19:12:04 -0800 (PST)

Mr. Schurz,

While I found the Herald-Times staff editorial regarding the situation at St. Charles Catholic School to be mostly even-handed, I do believe that the newspaper crossed a clear boundary of civility with the comparison to the sexual abuse scandal involving a tiny minority of Catholic priests.

Whether one agrees with the way St. Charles has handled this or not, it is beyond despicable in my opinion to compare a fairly minor intra-church disagreement to sexual abuse of young boys and the cover-up that followed. Such a comparison unfairly casts a negative light on the church and trivializes the very real pain and suffering of sexual abuse victims. I believe the Herald-Times should apologize for this lapse in judgment.

I am not Catholic, but I do think the Catholic Church understands the Biblical church authority in a way that many Protestants do not. The Bible establishes church authority for a reason. While I do not wish to turn this e-mail regarding the H-T's coverage of the event into a theological discussion, I do think that the H-T would do well to understand these issues.

Scott Tibbs