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November 12, 2005

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Comments

Old Zhou

From a Sacramento station:

Marie Bain has agreed not to sue Bishop William J. Weigan, who ordered her firing. She also will not sue the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento or others responsible for her losing her job. In exchange, Loretto High School has agreed to compensate Bain an undisclosed sum for her lost income.

This is the chicken Bishop and his diocese covering their butts.

Katelyn is still left turning in the wind. I hope she is going to school somewhere, as she was expelled from Loretto two weeks ago.

The lesson in all this: Don't try this in California.

Mary Kay

Hear the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. That the school gave Bain any money seems to imply that Bain was right and the school and diocese wrong. But perhaps as Zhou says, it's chicken time.

Mary Kay

Amy, you're right about "where's the student's settlement." But that only shows which way the wind was blowing before this happened.

Patrick Rothwell

It's very possible that it was cheaper for the school to pay the teacher some or all of the teacher's lost salary than defend her nuisance suit.

Old Zhou

So, Patrick, are you saying that we are pro-life, that we are anti-abortion, that we stand for Truth, only when it is "cheaper?" That is thinking like a bishop!

And what has this cost the Sills family?

John P Sheridan

Zhou,

People and companies settle lawsuits all the time without admitting wrongdoing I wish the diocese had defended bcause I think Bain had absolutely no case, but it could have dragged out for a long time (and perhaps gone up on appeal), and lawyers fees accumulate very quickly. The important thing is that she is no longer teaching at the school. Perhaps the diocese though it was not the best use of resources to pay the lawyers.

reluctantpenitent

'Perhaps the diocese though it was not the best use of resources to pay the lawyers.'

I would have donated money to a defense fund. I'm sure that many others would have too.

NoProstitution

This is a crime. Pay off a pro abort?
I do not care if it cost $2,000,000 to fight the case, the Bishop should have fought this CINO.

The money should come from the Bishops own bank account.

Donald R. McClarey

A settlement this quick without a complaint filed in court? That is unusual. Perhaps it was done simply because the school administrators have been on the ex-teacher's side all along, as amply demonstrated by their failure to take any action against the pro-abort teacher until the Bishop intervened, and their vengeful expulsion of the student whose Mom revealed what was going on. Moral of the story: the school is to Catholicism as Planned Parenthood is to the pro-life cause.

Mary

If I remember correctly, Loretto is not a diocesan school. The bishop had some sort of control over hiring/firing - which is why he ordered she be fired - but not over most school operations. This story, which is slim on details, says that the school has reached a settlement with her. So right now, there's no evidence that the bishop or the diocese had a hand in this. Sure, the diocese may have been involved in these talks, but they're not paying the settlement because it's not their school and not their money. I certainly wish the school hadn't settled, but that shouldn't necessarily be a reflection on the bishop and the diocese.

Charles R. Williams

The school may have been right to settle for the remainder of her contract. If the school administration did not make it clear that a catholic school teacher cannot be publicly pro-choice or appear to be pro-choice based on public activities, they would be at fault.

I suspect that Marie Bain's position on abortion was of little interest to the sisters who hired her. This would explain their vindictiveness towards katelyn and her family.

Todd

"chicken Bishop and his diocese"
"the Bishop should have fought this CINO"
"their vengeful expulsion of the student"

How damned inconvenient the congruence of anger and CCC 2477-78. CINO, by the way, used to mean "Catholic," but now I guess the perjorative applies to any disliked person, no matter what their faith.

We all know that minors don't get severance packages; their rights aren't widely acknowledged by either secular society or the Church.

If Katelyn's mom had the good sense to suggest her daughter shut down the comment section of her blog a few weeks ago, she probably wouldn't have been expelled. I'm still putting my money on some anti-abort loony sending a threatening message to the school. As it is, the mom seems fine with pulling the "poor, oppressed us" routine than hiring a lawyer and getting some action. In this affair, being a victim is a choice, not an imposition. Likewise for pro-life folks who choke on their anger on the way to the 8th commandment. Get a life, people; this isn't helping the cause.

midwestmom

"Likewise for pro-life folks who choke on their anger on the way to the 8th commandment."

I don't get it. Please clarify.

Old Zhou

Sorry, Todd, I'm not feeling "nuanced" today. I think this is, so far, the worst of all possible outcomes:

(1) Bishop Weigand looks like a chicken, after dispatching Bain "with all speed" or whatever, and getting his picture in the national press as the Pro-Life Hero; then making the Public Letter with the (after the fact) canonical clarification about who can particpate in the Catechetical Ministry in the Diocese (burt what about all those pro-choice Catholics parents?), then after Katelyn got the boot, sending his stooge to tell the press, "Ummmm. we can't do anything...our hands are canonically tied." Now this, before he has to start paying attorney fees.

(2) The teacher gets paid, and doesn't even have to teach! Woo-hoo! Now she can work on her acting career without worrying about the rent.

(3) The Sills are left in the roadside ditch.

Can't we all just get along?

Rich Leonardi

If Katelyn's mom had the good sense to suggest her daughter shut down the comment section of her blog a few weeks ago, she probably wouldn't have been expelled.

For a guy who never ceases to claim "we don't have all the facts" when a mountain of them contradicts one of his progressive fetishes, that's quite a supposition. Ditto for the equally speculative sentence which follows it.

willy cook

We can solve this whole settlement issue by requiring those who lose lawsuits they instigate to cover all legal costs.

Funny, Loretto was the school (of the two Catholic girl high schools in Sacto) that at one time had the most volunteers at the Sacramento Life Center (www.saclife.org).

Mike Petrik

I have been following this saga with a fair degree of confusion, because there seems to be so many facts unknown.
First, while it is true that a diocesan bishop does not have ordinary operational control over a non-diocesan Catholic school, canon law does give him the ultimate trump card. Such a school may exist within a diocese only at the pleasure of the bishop. He can demand that it leave or shutter its doors.
Second, I am prepared to believe that this girl's mom behaved without a hint of measure or charity in this mess. Perhaps she is one of those abusive clinic screamers that Todd seems to think represents the norm at clinic vigils and protests. Perhaps she directed unreasonable and unfair threats at the school. Perhaps she is just a hostile person whose continued involvement at the school was too disruptive to justify. I don't know any of these things, but it certainly is possible.
But what troubles me most about this mess are the quotes coming from so many of the folks associated with the school, whether in the news articles or the blog threads. So many of them are completely (and I mean COMPLETELY, Todd) devoid of any understanding or acceptance of Catholic teaching on abortion. And many are downright abusive and hateful in their tone -- which is unlike the comments from the young student's supporters.
In the end I'm prepared to believe that the mother in question is a head case who drives reasonable people to distraction. Ok, MAYBE. But nothing can explain the bizarre rationalizations heard from the students, teachers and administrators of the school as reported in the MSM and as expressed on various blogs. At least nothing that shouldn't cause one great sorrow and at least a little righteous anger.

Old Zhou

In my little post-mortem above I mentioned the bishop, the teacher and the Sills. What about the School? I expect that Sr. Timothy, IBVM, will be promoted to manage the Loretto Center outside of Chicago where she can give Reiki and massage therapy to PP escorts stressed by their encounters with mean anti-abortion Catholics.

austin

Having worked in a diocese, I believe the daughter was expelled merely because her mother went against The Powers that Be. Nothing can make quicker enemies in many dioceses than being vocally orthodox among the long term lay bureaucrats. I can think of two people fired lately for having a big mouth.

Todd

I still think many of you are in need of Catechism lessons.

Be that as it may, the anger is evident in the many posters here and on other blogs when the topic is Sills, Bain, and Loretto. Why else would otherwise good pro-life Catholics violate the 8th commandment?

Nobody around here is denying hiring a PP supporter was a bad move, nor that there's a taint of unfairness about Katelyn's dismissal from school, nor that some people defending Bain just don't get it. Fair enough. But two things:

1. Name-calling and making insults about the players involved is childish and rude, if not sinful.

2. As a corollary, do you really expect to make converts when you make this so personal? Katelyn may well have been screwed. Fine. I saw it happen to a lot of my classmates in high school and college. Sometimes they were completely innocent; wrong place, wrong time, stuff like that. Sometimes the establishment had it in for them. Maybe that was true here. But if you don't know for sure, why are you bothering to say it? What, you don't think we can add single digit numbers?

If Katelyn continuing her education at Loretto was a priority, then keeping her head down and her blog clean could have been a consideration. She attracted an awful lot of attention after Bain was fired. People on the outside looking in might ask why. Bitter people in the school may well think the score is now Loretto 7, Sills 7. If the Sills want to take this to court to win in overtime, that's their game. But if Katelyn's supporters are trying to win support for a very just cause, I just think you're on the wrong field. And that's it.

Mike L

Am I wrong is assuming that Ms. Bain was a volunteer before she was hired by the school? Or was her volunteering done after she ws hired? In the first case, she would not have violated her contract and I would think has a good case. If the latter is true, and her contract forbid public non-Catholic behavior, then it would seem she had no case. Given that the bishop settled so quickly, I suspect it was the first. But maybe some one out there knows for sure just when she was volunteering.

Old Zhou

Just FYI, earlier discussions of this situation on this blog:

November 4
November 1
October 26

austin

My point is that if the child and her mother had some liberal cause and made a ruckus, they'd still be there. Heroes probably. If they protested the Iraq war in a rude way and claimed some teacher was a militarist, or if they were Marxist and criticized the school for being a tool of the multinational corporations....There would probably be a civil discussion with the principal before any talk of expulsion.

reluctantpenitent

Ah Todd is back! He's channeling the Loretta nuns again. What are the nuns having for breakfast tomorrow Todd?

SiliconValleySteve

The bishop wimped for sure but I still think that the Sills won something in Sacramento at a very high price. The catholic schools there now know that they better be more careful about who they hire. If they get it wrong, they will face an expensive settlement and bad publicity. Don't for a second underestimate how much it bothers them to have bad publicity regardless of who they blame for causing it.

Katelyn hopefully can be enrolled in the diocesan high school and put this painful episode behind her to some degree. For her it is an opportunity to be damaged or to learn some things about the world that few high school students get to. We should all pray that she grows from it.

Isabelle

Katelyn- beautiful Catholic and holy Soul willing to suffer for love of Christ and love of souls. Please remember us in your prayers. I am so very proud to know that you stood up against evil and became a friend of the cross for each of us.

I love you.

Charles R. Williams

Todd is right that we are operating largely on speculations and presuppositions and then proceeds to do this himself.

It may not be true that this is yet another instance of the abuse of orthodox faithful Catholics by heretical, power-hungry nuns. It may not be true that Loretto High School is yet another pseudo-Catholic high school that undermines the faith of Catholic children and peddles radical feminism.

These things may not be true in this case and we assume they are because as fiction the story we concoct out of the few facts we know is at least truthful fiction - it reflects real problems in the Church in North America.

It probably is best to keep the discussion at a hypothetical level, but we should not let the story die until the facts do come out.

reluctantpenitent

Here are some facts from the Bishop's office:

'Rev. McDermott did however provide key information shedding light on the disagreement between the family and the school. He told LifeSiteNews.com that "The mother approached Loretto high school about it quite quietly, as far as I understand, and asked them to respond to the situation." The school failed to act, and the matter was "eventually" brought to the attention of Bishop Weigand.'

(http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/nov/ 05110208.html)

It seems, therefore, that the school administrators failed to act after the mother had approached the school--'quietly' according to Rev. McDermott--and that the diocese saw it fit to intervene after that failure to act. It is difficult to construe these facts in a way that reflects positively on the school administrators' intentions.

Conservative Schooler

Everyone,

The situation with Katelyn Sills is not over. She has hired a very good lawyer, although they would like to settle their differences out of court if at all possible.

Quo Vadis

Ms. Bains did not sue the Bishop or the diocese because there was nothing to sue them about.

I bet Bains is just getting her contract payed out. Nothing more.

Anna

Conservative Scholar, thank you for that information. I'm glad to read that.

As far as the abusive comments in Katelyn's blog, the majority of them tend to come from either Loretto students and alumnae, or the more rare angry Catholic.

There have been some very good conversations going on, also. Only God knows what seeds were planted and watered in the process.

Fr. Brian Stanley

I'm with Quo Vadis on this one. I'm not sure of California law in this regard, but it can't be all that different from Michigan law. The lawyers can usually reach an agreement for the remainder of the teacher's salary, with an agreement not to discuss the matter further. As a pastor with a school, I've had some experience here. There's no admission of wrong doing, and it is the most effective means to end the services of an employee.

As to the student's status, I'm flummoxed as to the administration's reaction. I've come to expect irate parents of both "red" stripe and "blue" stripe to be part of the mix at any Catholic school. Dissenting parents have a way of moving along at their own discretion and discernment. The administration's action in regards to Katelyn only inflames the situation, and suggests a sort of relativism at work, or worse, an "eye for an eye" way of reasoning, with the goal being the achievement of some kind of "balance."

Katelyn's blog comes under "free speech" in my book, and contrary to some opinions here, she is not responsible for anyone else's comments in her comment box, not one of them. If Katelyn's blog were to publish something contrary to the Catholic mission of the school, I could see some request to Katelyn for self-restraint in free speech, in removing the blog. But I don't see that as the case here. I guess it is because as a pastor and administrator, one gives up on trying to control public reaction to school policy and decisions -- it is as futile as it is wrong. Attempting to placate various constituencies is not the mission of a Catholic administrator. Leading the institution according Christ's Gospel is the mission of every Catholic administrator. The better course, indeed the best course, is always to do the right thing rather than the practical thing or the expedient thing. I think it is the right thing to settle with Mrs. Bain out of court. I'm not convinced that Loretto's administration has done that in regard to Katelyn, and there are always, always, always consequences for failing to do the right thing: Kyrie eleison.

Todd

"Todd is right that we are operating largely on speculations and presuppositions and then proceeds to do this himself."

Aha! Somebody finally gets it. The difference between my speculations and most others here, however, is that I don't need to violate the 8th commandment or get insulting to do it.

Fr Brian, it is my supposition that Katelyn's blog was the catalyst, not the last straw itself. The school has publicly said it received threatening and slanderous e-mails. (No need to channel, there, rp; just an ability to read.) I don't have a reason to discount that, though it is possible one or a few communications were taken out of context as a more serious threat that they actually were. But schools tend to be jittery about such things these days.

I think it's also a fact that schools generally don't recognize the "free speech" of students, especially minors, and most especially when it challenges authority. I mention this as the messenger; I believe this attitude actually erodes authority no matter whom it comes from.

"It probably is best to keep the discussion at a hypothetical level, but we should not let the story die until the facts do come out."

Agreed and disagreed. Nearly everything on this blog is hypothetical. Yet is has engendered a great degree of ill will, not to mention outright insult. It might be that once the Sills's lawyer achieves a satisfactory settlement, the story will die and few, if any, of us will be any wiser. But I have no doubt the speculation and the uncharitable behavior will continue. Indulging the passions--little more than that is going on here.

Michelle K.

"The school has publicly said it received threatening and slanderous e-mails."

And if the school said it, it must be true. Exactly what constitutes "threatening and slanderous?"

Chris Sullivan

Exactly what constitutes "threatening and slanderous?"

That someone threatened to tell the bishop ??

That someone expressed an opinion that not everything the school did was in the Catholic tradition ??

Anyone seen any evidence backing up the schools claims?

Or are it's claims themselves "threatening and slanderous" ?

God Bless

reluctantpenitent

Todd says:

'The school has publicly said it received threatening and slanderous e-mails. (No need to channel, there, rp; just an ability to read.) I don't have a reason to discount that, though it is possible one or a few communications were taken out of context as a more serious threat that they actually were. But schools tend to be jittery about such things these days.'

The school has alleged that it received threatening communications from the Sills family. The Sills family have denied this. The school did not mention Katelyn's blog (in its completely inappropriate letter to students about Katelyn's expulsion) or emails received from bloggers. You may be offended by her exercise of free speech but the school apparently was not. It looks like the Sills' 'threatened' nothing more than to contact the Bishop once it had become apparent that the school would not fire Ms. Bain.

What makes me 'jittery' is the fact that Todd continues to make baseless allegations against the Sills family, despite the evidence. If Todd had bothered to read katelyn's blog he would have seen that the abusive posts were, in fact, from her detractors. The most typical post from her supporters was 'We're praying for you Katelyn.'

So unless Todd is channeling the nuns--in which case I'd still like him to tell us what they're having for breakfast tomorrow--he's just making things up to justify his inexplicable ambivalence about the Sills family.

reluctantpenitent

Here is an excerpt from the letter circulated to students posted by a Loretto student:

"However, for the past two weeks the focus of administration, faculty and students has been seriously disrupted by the Sills family. The family continued to meddle in the administrative affairs of Loretto High School by making demands and threats that created an atmosphere contrary to the mission of Loretto. The malicious language, taunts, threats, abuse towards members of our school community, gossip, rumors, unkind language and behavior continue. An email circulated on October 27, 2005, throughout the Sacramento region has slandered the reputation and integruty of Loretto High School. This letter is to inform you that it is necessary to dismiss the Sills family from our school community."

This excerpt from the letter was posted by one of a number of Loretto students who believed that Katelyn's expulsion was justified, so they have no reason to misrepresent the content of the letter.

No one representing the school mentioned at any point either Katelyn's blog or email sent by readers of Katelyn's blog as Todd alleges. Todd it looks like you are the poster here who ought to revisit the 8th commandment.

reluctantpenitent

The excerpt from the letter can be found here:

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/ktlovesguitar/113081302357280416/#27266

David Borer

Todd,

" The difference between my speculations and most others here, however, is that I don't need to violate the 8th commandment or get insulting to do it."

I guess perhaps pride is your preferred sin? I'm not judging your soul, but you sure do come across, pretty regularly, in an arrogant, condescending way.

Todd

"And if the school said it, it must be true."

I have no reason to discount it. Think about it. No school is going to endanger its relationship with tuition-paying parents unless something like that is true. I imagine parents have other choices for high school education. Lots of parents might think twice if they thought the school had PR problems.

"Anyone seen any evidence backing up the schools claims?"

Well, that's sort of the point. There's no evidence Katelyn was expelled in retaliation, either.

rp, perhaps you should consider reading more carefully. I also think that a lack of minors' civil rights recognition is unfortunate. But we all know that's how schools of all sorts think. They want control and discipline. Rights are irrelevant. I've said nothing against the Sills family, save that the mother might have done her daughter a favor by suggesting the blog comment boxes be shut down. But I didn't call her names for it. I think some few anti-abortion supporters crossed the line.

"The school has alleged that it received threatening communications from the Sills family."

That, as well as "malicious language, taunts," and "abuse" from the internet community.

rp, I'd also suggest you revisit the 8th commandment and decipher its true meaning. I haven't borne false witness, nor have I been insulting to players in this drama. I've suggested that the echo chamber is off-base in its wild accusations at this point. I've also presented speculation no less wild that calls into question the slanderous assumptions you and others continue to post.

I think being mastered by one's anger is a dangerous passion to indulge. But, hey, as they said in the 70's, do what feels right.

reluctantpenitent

'That, as well as "malicious language, taunts," and "abuse" from the internet community.'

That's not what the letter says Todd. The claim in the letter is that the "malicious language, taunts," and "abuse" came from the Sills family. The Sills family, in turn, have publicly denied doing any such thing and the Bishop's office statement appears to support their claim. Their claim is also supported by people who received the email from the Sills family. According people who received it, the email merely asked that people pray for the Sills family.

Chris Sullivan

Rick Lugari has posted the alegedly slanderous email sent by the Sills family over at his blog De Civitate Dei.

Now if the school thinks that email was slanderous then it doesn't give a whole lot of credibility to the rest of their claims.

God Bless

Eileen R

Todd:
I have no reason to discount it. Think about it. No school is going to endanger its relationship with tuition-paying parents unless something like that is true.

Err... no. People lose tempers all the time and interpret things as threats on a regular basis for no reason at all. It's only a situation I've seen about two dozen times in my life!

Any heated discussion is quite likely to end with someone saying hysterically, "I don't feel safe!" All common sense can go out the window that way.

Todd

rp, actually, you're wrong, The letter quote you posted said, "The malicious language, taunts, threats, abuse towards members of our school community, gossip, rumors, unkind language and behavior continue."

The four items are not attributed to anyone, actually. If they were to be attributed to the Sills family, grammatically they should've been included in the prior sentence. The letter only attributes "demands and threats" after Bain was fired. Why would the Sillses continue communication with the school after that point?

Speculation is a fine enough activity. But it can be done without malice and slander. I agree that letting Bain go was the right choice and that Katelyn may have been trampled. I can only imagine the treatment the school and Bain's supporters received at the keyboards of the St Blogozone and associated friends.

Time to cool down, people. I'm done.

reluctantpenitent

Todd,

The letter excerpt says:

'The malicious language, taunts, threats, abuse towards members of our school community, gossip, rumors, unkind language and behavior continue. An email circulated on October 27, 2005, throughout the Sacramento region has slandered the reputation and integruty of Loretto High School.'

The 'email circulated' is an elaboration of the claim that the 'malicious language, taunts, threats,' etc. 'continue.' This is how the letter has been understood by the Loretto community and by the Sills family, who have responded to this allegation. Katelyn's blog was never once raised as an issue either by the Loretto administration or by the Loretto students who supported Katelyn being expelled. It has been raised by no one except Todd. One wonders why, if the nuns have been so offended by Katelyn's blog they have not mentioned it. If they have decided to communicate their feelings about the blog through Todd they should tell us so that we know that he speaks for them.

Conservative Schooler

I am a friend of Katelyn Sills. I have seen the evidence, including things that have yet to be made public for legal reasons.

Let me just say that when all of the facts do come out, the comments and questions of all of her critics will be answered.

The truth is, the whole expulsion is basically based on evidence like the e-mail that has been published: grasping at straws.

Michelle K.

1. If the "slander, abuse, yada, yada, yada" came from the Sill's supporters, it is not Katelyn's fault. She just reported the facts. It's not her responsibility to protect the school's image by shutting down the comment box. You can argue that Katelyn's reporting was biased but then you'd have to acknowledge that the Bee's reporting was equally biased. Reporting the facts, whether by Katelyn or the newspaper apparently caused outrage on both sides. However, unlike the school, I didn't see the Sills sending out a newsletter to every student detailing the abuse they've had to endure at the hands of other Loretto students. This abuse, after all, was quite evident in reading the comments by her fellow students. Vicious, would be the appropriate word to describe them.
2. Todd, I think you're naive if you think that the administration would not or could not have the will to twist the facts to save face. I've personally known plenty of people, myself included, who've been ignored, shut down, or had worse things done to them by church officials angry that someone had the audacity to point out wrongdoing in "the system".

God bless Katelyn. She's a very brave young woman.

Peony Moss

Katelyn was supposed to "keep her head down"? IIRC, it was the Sacramento Bee that revealed their names. She doesn't reveal that she's the student involved until the Bee story comes out.

Rich Leonardi

Time to cool down, people. I'm done.

Translation: "You have exposed me for what I am -- a dissembling gadfly."

Judy

Anyone who has prayed outside an abortion clinic knows that the hatred and screaming comes from the pro-abort side - with very, very few exceptions. Yet, the public including many Catholics have the opposite perception because they accept the lies of the media.
Caitlen's good deed has not gone unpunished and her faith has cost her more than most of us are willing to pay.

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