SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Angry parents at a San Francisco Catholic school say they’ve had enough and two controversial leaders of their school’s church must go.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported over 100 parents from the Star of the Sea School in the city’s Richmond District crowded into a meeting with representatives from the Archdiocese of San Francisco Wednesday. Their message was clear: Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor at the school’s church since August and Father Patrick Driscoll, the parish’s parochial vicar, should be removed from their posts.
Illo and Driscoll gained attention earlier this year when they initiated new policies at the school that instantly upset parents and attracted the media. In January, Illo decided girls would no longer be allowed to act as altar servers during Mass. He also excluded non-Catholic children from receiving blessings while their classmates received communion. He later reversed the second decision.
Driscoll was criticized for handing out pamphlets about confession that made reference to sodomy, masturbation and abortion. Some of the kids who pocketed the hand-out were as young as 7 years-old. Ilo later apologized for the pamphlets, saying handing them out to grade-schoolers had been an ‘oversight.”
Parents from the Star of the Sea were emotional as they addressed the two men last night, according to the Chronicle. The report said most focused on the same idea, that the school’s new message was one of “intolerance” and “hate”… a direction they wanted reversed as soon as possible.
One parent was more diplomatic. “They are just not a good fit,” said Brenda Kittredge, according to the report.
This controversy erupted at the same time the Archdiocese of San Francisco was already under fire for introducing morality clauses in teacher’s contracts at four Catholic high schools. That idea was criticized by many, including the teachers’ union and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Neither Illo or Driscoll spoke during the public forum but afterwards Illo told the Chronicle, “it’s important to hear their perspective.” He says there have been misunderstandings but now he’ll leave it to the archbishop to decide what happens next.