After reading this horrible, but unfortunately accurate, description of one of the books on the required summer reading list for Saint Ignatius High School, I sent the following email to both the President (Father William Murphy) and the Principal (Daniel Bradesca). The private Catholic grade school which my children attend currently has a 100% acceptance rate for its Eighth Grade boys who apply to Ignatius.
Dear Father Murphy,
I have always considered that St. Ignatius High School would be a great place to send some or all of my sons – I have six of them – assuming any or all could get accepted there. That was before I read this article in Catholic World Report, which literally sent chills up my spine. I question the judgment of a Catholic educator who would assign a book like this over the summer, a time during which a young person may not have a chance to discuss the moral implications of the many problematic passages with a responsible adult.I also question the choice of the book altogether, seeing that there are many books to choose from which do not contain such infantile blasphemy, praise for the act of self-abuse and tolerance for the deviancy of homosexuality. This assignment of Alexie’s book is an example of why many people whom I know and trust conclude that certain faculty members at St. Ignatius are actually intentionally leading young people toward a modernistic view of religion and morality.I realize that many of the classics contain adultery, fornication, prostitution, sacrilege, murder, bad language, prejudice, etc. – I’m neither a prude nor a naïf. Most of these same books show the consequences of such sins. When you read critically the quote page for Alexie’s book, you realize that this man has a relativist and cavalier attitude toward morality which epitomizes the hellish maxim, “If it feels good, do it.” I realize that the book won an award, but that is meaningless to anyone who believes in the possibility of gaining the world and losing one’s soul.Please consider dropping this book from your list and replacing it with something more worthy for a young Christian man to read. Also please consider having someone trustworthy verify the choices made by the person or committee which assigns books like The Privileges and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The Pope—who is also a Jesuit—recently attacked a tendency he said was rampant in our world which he called “adolescent progressivism”. These books seem to be illustrative of this tendency and assigning them to high-school kids over the summer can certainly endanger their souls. And those assigning them should not be teaching in a Catholic school.
I remember talking to a respected Catholic theologian who said to me "There is only one institution which is guaranteed by Christ to stand, and that's the Papacy—and it will barely stand." Then he quoted Luke 22:32, "... when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Saint Ignatius High School is an institution which appears to have a lot of good things going for it, but it needs to be pruned to be healthy. If you check out the English faculty page, you can pick out the professor who teaches the obligatory "multicultural" course. My sources say that he is one of the culprits behind material like The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie being assigned at St. Ignatius.
I advise anyone with concern for St. Ignatius to write an email to the President and the Principal of the school. See, I'm making it easy for you by linking their emails. And, of course, pray that the malevolent forces would be pruned out of our institutions. To protect what is good, beautiful and true in the world requires eternal vigilance.