August 25th, 2017

The war on statues…

…continues in the most unlikely of places.

I say “unlikely” because one would think a Catholic school to be the last bastion for the defense of its Catholic statues. But then again, this particular Catholic school is in San Anselmo in the heart of Marin.

Amy Skewes-Cox, who heads San Domenico School’s board of trustees, said the relocation and removal of some of the school’s 180 religious icons was “completely in compliance” with San Domenico’s new strategic plan, approved unanimously by the board of trustees and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael last year. She said at least 18 icons remain, including a statue of St. Dominic at the center of the campus.

She noted that it was unfortunate the removal of the statues occurred at about the same time as the unrest in Charlottesville over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and that the issues are “totally different” and have “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change.”…

“San Domenico is both a Catholic school and an independent school,” said Head of School Cecily Stock, “but what we were finding after doing some research is that in the broader community we are known as being a Catholic school and are not necessarily known as an independent school. We want to make sure that prospective families are aware that we are an independent school.”

In other words, they need more students and are looking to the non-Catholic community to supply them, and getting rid of a few statues seems a small price to pay. But at this point it seems that San Domenico is on its way to losing any identity at all and becoming neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring.

Amy Skewes-Cox may not see the connection to what happened in Charlottesville, and I’m pretty sure the statue removals at San Domenico’s had been planned before Charlottesville ever happened. But I think there is a broad connection nevertheless. It consists of the emphasis on symbols, the desire to not offend anyone with those symbols, and the decline of a tradition. Pulling down statues is something I don’t remember from my youth, except in the Soviet Union and/or in the aftermath of a revolution (often against Communism). As far as I can recall, quiet peacetime removal of a statue that used to be considered totally acceptable just wasn’t done in this country, even during the turbulent 60s.

[NOTE: See this from Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club.]

31 Responses to “The war on statues…”

  1. Ann Says:

    The website of that school gives the impression that there really isn’t much Catholic about it any more, other than a nod to its historical significance:

    Dedicated to being California’s leading independent school, serving Kindergarten through twelfth grade students of all faiths, San Domenico is committed to excellence in education, preparing the next generation of global leaders.

    Founded in 1850 by the Dominican Sisters, San Domenico reflects our Dominican Catholic heritage which calls us to uphold the values of study, reflection, service and community.

    That linked Marin newspaper article says it doesn’t even teach the Catechism any more, for heaven’s sake.

    Compare its website with that of a real Catholic school in Los Angeles, St. Mary’s.

  2. Mike K Says:

    Marin is the county that prompted a lot of good movies about silly leftists in the 90s. Also, the source of that great American leader Barbara Boxer. She was a county supervisor when she was elected to the Senate.

    I am also suspicious of women with hyphenated names, They always seem to be angry at something.

  3. Sharon W Says:

    History…the only subject God requires of his people.

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    Catholic schools used to attract non Catholics precisely because they were a real Catholic school. Learning about Catholicism was the price of admission.

  5. AMartel Says:

    Don’t worry, the school’s in San Anselmo so all the catholic has been drained out of it already. Sanitized for your protection, and … for the children.

  6. huxley Says:

    My Catholic high school effectively became one of the top prep schools in Florida. I don’t know how much Catholicism kids get there, but they don’t get there unless their parents can pay high tuition.

    In my day Catholic school was for Catholic families, even poor ones.

    The last fundraising letter I received around 1995 talked about how well the new golf team was doing and the photos showed a lot of students who looked Asian or Jewish. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s a different kind of Catholic school.

    I’d be surprised if half of my schoolmates could go there today.

  7. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more when you observe that the school is on its way to losing its identity and becoming “neither fish or fowl” through this pandering to the wider, secular community.

    I’m reminded of a very valuable lesson I learned about what happens in the market place of ideas to people and organisations who lose sight of, or worse, conceal their identity.

    The lesson came from a couple who were clients of mine at the time. This couple operated a small introduction agency.

    They observed over coffee one day the counter-intuitive truth of their business was that those who tried to maximise their appeal to potential partners by pretending to be all things to all men by describing themselves on their dating profiles as generically, broadly and non-controversially as possible and who ruled out from consideration as dates on these same profiles no attributes at all drew by far the lowest number of responses. Sometimes none at all.

    On the other hand, to their initial surprise, the clients who “nailed their colours to the masthead”, as it were, by describing themselves most clearly, (faults and all), and who were most specific in outlining the type of person they wished to meet and not meet, always elicited the most responses.

    The lesson I took away from this is that when you stand for nothing and are looking for nothing and no-one in particular you are essentially a person-out-of-focus. A sort of blur. No-one recognises you or sees themselves in you.

    Yes, you may draw no enemies that way, but you should not be surprised that you also draw no allies to you.

    I can’t help but think this approach of watering down their views and/or their appearances, followed by most christian denominations over the last few decades, is largely behind the steep drop in vocations and support.

  8. huxley Says:

    Another big change in Catholic schools is the disappearance of nuns, priests and brothers. The teachers are now almost entirely lay people.

    The priests and brothers became too risky because of the pedophilia scandals.

    American nuns are like whooping cranes — an endangered species. The average of a nun is now mid-to-late seventies!

  9. F Says:

    I am waiting for the day a member of one sex (from birth) announces s/he identifies as a member of the opposite sex and asks to join a religious order reserved to women, or to men. It will happen in CA, obviously, and very likely Marin Co. And the church will have to decide where their allegiance is — God, or political correctness. And it will make the cover of Time, but no one will read it anyway.

  10. Sean Says:

    I was waiting for a post like this.

    I’m not interested in aggravating the Christians here, because any conservative is an ally, but this recent statue business has me in mind once again of the parallels between 4th century Rome, when they converted to Christianity, and 21st century America, which is converting to the religion of victimhood/multi-culturalism.

    One of the most visible aspects of Rome’s conversion was the widespread destruction of its pagan statues by Christian mobs, much to the anger of the pagans. Pagan, as we all know, being the Roman equivalent to ‘redneck.’ The Christian mobs -and the statues they tore down- were located in the big cities, while the pagans tended to be located in what we would call flyover country. Said mobs were often inspired or condoned by urban intellectuals; not necessarily the Church Fathers, maybe their ecclesiastical functionaries. And the purpose of the destruction was to erase the past. It was the rabble’s nihilistic impulse boiling over.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Obama is our Constantine. I have a bad feeling Trump is just our Julian the Apostate, the guy who tried to stop the profound transformation taking place around him, but ultimately failed.

  11. Sean Says:

    The real question here is: Why aren’t any conservatives tearing down statues of figures venerated by the Left? Surely, if we can’t have nice things, neither can they.

  12. parker Says:

    XX is XX. XY is XY. Never will that change. Anything else imagined is a symptom of mental illness and needs therapy. placating this is cruelty. Every cell of one’s body says XX or XY..

  13. Sean Says:

    Maybe, just maybe, Amy Skewes-Cox wants the school to have no identity. To have an identity would be exclusionary.

  14. Dave Says:

    Because christians don’t value statues over people so they are willing to take down the statues when some people claim it has offended them. On the other hand christians don’t believe in idol worshipping and any statue truly has tangible meaning they won’t make demand to have leftist statues taken down as they don’t care if some stupid Lenin statues are standing somewhere.

    Christians are the people taking the high road, it has always been. the only problem is taking the high road will not earn respect from the left because they can’t recognise that you are taking the high road and giving them respect, their minds were closed by propaganda.

  15. Dave Says:

    Why do we do good deeds? it’s because good deeds can earn us favours to be used in the future, either something tangibles from other humans or something spiritual from the lord. Survival of the fittest is still the rule make no mistakes about it, it is only that in this day and age being a “good” and virtuous person is much more beneficial than being a “bad” person. Many of the most outwardly virtuous people are actually the calculating people because to survive and live the best life as you can today in the age of peace bought by the western capitalist civilisation is to be recognisably virtuous, these same people will have no problem becoming the deadliest murderers in an instance if the time changes such as upon an apocalypse when being killers is most beneficial for survival.

  16. Cornhead Says:

    Kindergarten tuition is $30k. That’s all you need to know about that school.

    Six hundred kids at $30k and that’s gross revenue of $18m. Divide by 100 for teachers and staff and that’s pay of $180,000. And the building is paid for and the school surely has an endowment. Racket.

    Huxley:

    You hit on an important point. Catholic school education has not faired well recently. The monopoly of the public schools and the flat wages for 20 years is a real problem. In Omaha, it has faired better than most. My Jesuit high school was affordable then and the Board has worked hard to keep it so. $20k less than that fake school in Marin. Who knows what went on there, but I suspect the nuns lost control of the place and a couple of lay people lined their pockets. That’s what happened to the nuns and hospitals.

    Education in America today is a depressing topic.

  17. Julia Says:

    huxley – the average age is skewed upwards because they are the pant-suited, non-habited, pro choice, pure Dem, ‘nuns on the bus’. They are post-Christian in many orders!

    The orthodox believers, the ones who wear habits, etc. and are faithful to the Church, are much younger and are actually thriving.

    These orders – pfft – none of this surprises me. The Land of Lakes statement in 1967 marked the beginning of the end:

    It was 50 years ago, on July 20-23, when Notre Dame’s Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., gathered his peers to draft and sign the “Land O’ Lakes Statement,” a declaration of the independence of Catholic universities from “authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.”

    Over the course of just a few years following the statement, most Catholic colleges and universities in America shed their legal ties to the Church and handed their institutions over to independent boards of trustees. In the quest for secular prestige and government funding, many went so far as to remove the crucifixes from their classroom walls and to represent their Catholic identity in historical terms (such as, “in the Jesuit tradition”).

    The wound of secularization deepened over the next few decades: many Catholic colleges and universities weakened their core curricula in favor of the Harvard model of electives and specialization, adopted a radical notion of academic freedom, embraced relativism and political correctness, and largely abandoned the project of forming young people for Christ outside the classroom.”

    https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/land-o-lakes-statement-caused-devastation-50-years/

  18. Cornhead Says:

    That fake Catholic school owns over 500 acres in Marin county. I say sell it to Google or Facebook.

    Julia:

    I think Fr. Hesburgh was correct. Part of that separation was necessary for legal reasons. If the Seattle Province of the Society of Jesus still legally owned Gonzaga and Seattle U, the child sex scandals in Alaska would have bankrupted both colleges.

    Creighton has done a good job of retaining its Catholic identity despite the separate corporate existence. And the numbers were such that the lay people had to take over the Boards. Lay support was essential for fundraising. Still a good number of Jesuits on campus and the President is a Jesuit. Not the case at Georgetown and others.

  19. Cornhead Says:

    One final point. If Catholic schools like Creighton only admitted Catholic kids and only employed faithful Catholics, it would be sunk. Creighton has to compete on an academic and financial basis with larger schools in the region. It has done so with much success. The Catholic and Jesuit identity will always be the core at Creighton but it can’t be the sole identity. Kyle Korver, one of our best basketball players, was the son of a Lutheran pastor from Iowa.

  20. Sean Says:

    “in the Jesuit tradition”

    Ahhh now I know why First Things mocks that phrase so much.

  21. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, also had wars against statues. It was an issue involving political religions and Iconoclasm.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Pagan, as we all know, being the Roman equivalent to ‘redneck.’ The Christian mobs -and the statues they tore down- were located in the big cities, while the pagans tended to be located in what we would call flyover country. Said mobs were often inspired or condoned by urban intellectuals; not necessarily the Church Fathers, maybe their ecclesiastical functionaries. And the purpose of the destruction was to erase the past. It was the rabble’s nihilistic impulse boiling over.

    Sean seems to have a basic grasp of the situation, but also a lot of the details are wrong.

    Rome has always been more anti Christian, than Christian. And by that I don’t mean “churches”, I mean with respect to the mortal avatar of a god that said he would come down to Earth and replace all the kingdoms of man and the angels, with his own divine rule. That no followers of his should obey the kingdoms of the world in contradiction of his own divine commands.

    Constantine just wanted Christianity to counter paganism and abortion, which was splintering the empire. Constantine was quite past his limits on Roman paganism and all the negatives attached to it. Even if it was the official state religion, it was still a problem for his Empire. Constantine would thus be Trum. Constantine didn’t care exactly what people believed in, he just wanted them to agree on matters and stop attacking each other. At the time, all christian churches had legal problems and were if not illegal, not extra legal or gray area.

    Constantine abolished crucifixion as a punishment, provided tax free status to christians, and stopped the persecution of said christians.

    Julian the Apostate came later, tried to revive the ancient gods of Rome.

    But it wasn’t until Theo that modern christianity was born, what is known as the State Religion, before the Vatican even.

    Hussein is Julian the Apostate, trying to transform America back into some Indian, Islam, pagan worship.

    The guy that is going to make Islam or the Vatican/Pope or some other brand of christianity a state religion, is still far into the future.

    When a state enforces a state religion, everyone will convert to it. Then pagans will be running the christian churches. What persecution did not accomplish with christians, marrying the world did. Becoming a state religion was in fact the beginning of the “trials and tribulations” that led to the dark age.

  23. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Vatican routinely builds their churches on top of ancient ruins. This has the effect of “erasing the past”, especially for giants and ultra advanced ancient high tech civs. It also lets the Vatican access a lot of these ancient ruins.

    But it also means that at a certain point, christianity was no longer the original 1st century AD version. Because all these ancient ruins and stuff, had ancient gods and powers. Powers which anyone could access once they built another building on top of it.

  24. AesopFan Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    August 27th, 2017 at 8:16 am
    The Vatican routinely builds their churches on top of ancient ruins. This has the effect of “erasing the past”, especially for giants and ultra advanced ancient high tech civs. It also lets the Vatican access a lot of these ancient ruins.

    But it also means that at a certain point, christianity was no longer the original 1st century AD version. Because all these ancient ruins and stuff, had ancient gods and powers. Powers which anyone could access once they built another building on top of it.
    * * *
    Same reason the Muslims build mosques on top of cathedrals and synagogues, and blow up Buddhist statues.
    I agree that Christianity-as-an-institution is no longer the Primitive version (lots of spin in that appellation, isn’t there?), and required a Restoration (you knew I would say that, of course).
    That last bit, though, is getting into Dresden Files territory.

  25. AesopFan Says:

    Stephen Ippolito Says:
    August 25th, 2017 at 9:05 pm
    Couldn’t agree with you more when you observe that the school is on its way to losing its identity and becoming “neither fish or fowl” through this pandering to the wider, secular community.

    I’m reminded of a very valuable lesson I learned about what happens in the market place of ideas to people and organisations who lose sight of, or worse, conceal their identity.

    ***
    This is what we are seeing right now with the Republican Party, is it not?

    The Democrats, on the other hand, are emerging from concealment.

  26. GRA Says:

    Besides war on statues there’s also a war on athletic identity. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign athletic department has decided to ban a musical number called the “War Chant”, which has no words, due to it being perceived as racist because of the now “retired” athletic symbol – Chief Illinwek. Another reason was to promote inclusion. You can tell the department is just copying the lexicon of other public university statements without putting much thought into it. They want to promote inclusion by banning a musical number. Okay then.

  27. Ymar Sakar Says:

    That last bit, though, is getting into Dresden Files territory.

    It’s all about whether supernatural power exists. If it exists, does it interfere with mortal affairs? If it interferes with mortal affairs, how many entities and factions exactly are involved?

    What’s been hidden form the West is in the smoke and mirrors called “polytheism and monotheism”. Both terms created by Romans and pagans and church politicians many centuries after the ancient Hebrews of the 2nd Jerusalem temple period or the ancient followers of the human messiah once known as The Christ.

    Years ago, I didn’t pay attention to anybody talking about their sky god dogma. For the atheists and agnostics, it was a pretend sky good, who is at best, a random sociopath in the Old Testament that is “angry” all the time. For the Deists like me, whether a creator existed or not is wholly independent of whether divine intervention and divine revelation exists.

    Should be obvious that recent research has adjusted my perspective mightily. Once proof of the supernatural was given to me, I analyzed it and used my original triangulation method.

    It means that the Vatican outlawing books, irrespective of whether anyone agreed with their inquisition burning Christians for translating the bible illegally, had a practical motivation. To keep the “magic” grimoires out of the hands of Normals. Power, in any form, is the monopoly of the State Religion, nobody else. If you tried to contes tit, you’ll end up like the Waldensians, the Albigensians, the Jean De Arc Christians, or any other Christian. Want to know the funny thing? Catholics today, conservatives even, tell me that the Albigensians were devil worshippers, not Christians, so heretics or apostates… Really.

    That’s interesting. So the “Vicar of Christ” determines whether you are a Christian or not. That’s more of a loaded term these days than the other versions.

  28. GRA Says:

    @ huxley: Due to the hiring of laymen, the tuition has increased. There are several theories on why there are a lack of vocation, but I bet due this this steady decline Catholic schools have had little choice but to hire laymen. Hesitation to hire the religious brothers and sisters due to past abuse scandals may be another reason, but I don’t think that’s a major one.

    Ironically, the you’re-a-grandma-in-yoga-pants-Sister-Mary-Ann types aren’t seeing much of an increase in their particular communities because those who seek out a religious life tend to favor communities who wear their habit, at least from what I gather. There is more interest in the penguin types than the social justice/save-the-world-from-global warming counterparts.

    The downfall of Catholic vocations has a complex history which is tied to the dwindling Catholic schools. In my observations they are linked – bad decision made by Catholic leadership and bad decisions made by the Catholic layman.

  29. Ymar Sakar Says:

    After Tower of Babel shattered, the nations of humanity, the 70, were divided up according to the Sons of God (the angels, not Sons of Israel since Israel wasn’t even around at the time).

    Each nation was ruled over by a representative Grigori or Watcher. These are special status angels, with shapeshifting powers. That’s why Lucifer is said to be capable of appearing as an angel of light or a man, as angels were witnessed to be seen in Lot’s days.

    The term “Watcher” means an entity that doesn’t sleep, and is always watching over something, like a spiritual totem guardian.

    In other cultures, they would have called them gods. What came afterwards were the half gods, Hercules and other nephiliim. These are the products of matings between humans and gods.

    Normally, one would think that is paganism or something from the human sacrifice religoins right?

    Except it is stated in Genesis Six that the angels descended on Mount Hermon (same place as the transfiguration and speech to the disciples about gates of hell) and mated with human women to produce nephiliim.

    Still polytheism? That term had no meaning in the 2nd temple period. Everyone had pretty close idea of what the origin was, they just disagreed about whether the Watchers were good or evil. The Sumerians/Babylonians had one hybrid or Watcher per king, and they thought this knowledge was great.

  30. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Aryans, btw, were an ancient race spoken of by the Iranian Zoroastrians and Indian ancient gurus, as a hybrid race of human mortars and divine gods.

    Superior technology. Germans had superior technology before WW2 too. They just wanted to “hurry” the plan along.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    August 27th, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    That last bit, though, is getting into Dresden Files territory.

    It’s all about whether supernatural power exists. If it exists, does it interfere with mortal affairs? If it interferes with mortal affairs, how many entities and factions exactly are involved?
    * * *
    Good questions, and thanks for the discussion.
    I’m not sure how far I buy into the “multiple mystical powers” theories, especially since there are so many disparate pantheons, but as someone who already believes in 5 supernatural (supranatural?) beings, what’s a few dozen more?;)

    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-supranatural-and-supernatural

    “Carlos Pruitt, a curious skeptic with a background in medical laboratory and computer science.
    Updated 26d ago
    I consider supranatural and supernatural to be one and the same.

    From my understanding, the usage begins with the spiritual world surrounding the natural world. The spiritual world is the unseen part. The supranatural is the transcendent and good spiritual parts of this spiritual world. While the supernatural is more associated with the evil parts an non-transcendent parts of the spiritual world. The supranatural is associated with white magic.

    With that said, I do not think it really matters. We only know the natural world around us. Once we start talking about something outside of the natural world, we enter the realm of supernatural thinking. After that, there are no rules. One can make up anything and declare it supernatural. In this case, some people want to try to distinguish a higher transcendent form of the supernatural and call it supranatural. Nobody can argue against this point. If I wish to stake out my part of the supernatural realm and call it Tol Eressëa, the undying lands, there is no argument against it. Once you leave the natural world in which we live, any rule is just as valid as any other rule.

    Personally, I think the only part of the supernatural world that really exists is the dragon in my closet. He is invisible and non-corporal. He has claimed to have eaten the rest of the supernatural world and chose my family to hang out with until he dies.”

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