Prout principal will not resign after controversial assembly
SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Kathleen Schlenz of Peace Dale knew something was wrong when her daughter, Anna, arrived home from school Friday.
The Rev. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, a priest of Opus Dei, [I know him.] an orthodox division of the Roman Catholic Church, and executive director and radio host of Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio network that broadcasts on 33 stations in 13 states and online, had spoken to a school-wide assembly at The Prout School, where Anna is a junior. The speech was being taped to be broadcast on Relevant Radio at a later date. “She was most upset about the divisive and offensive language regarding divorce, homosexuality and even adoption,” Kathleen Schlenz [Follow her doings all through the piece. She’s really something.] said. “None of the parents or faculty knew it was being taped to be aired. They were essentially held hostage and told to clap after this man’s responses to questions, even when they didn’t agree with them.” Father Hoffman was on retreat and unavailable for comment before the Independent went to press Wednesday. On April 10, parents received a letter of apology from Principal David Carradini since Friday. [sigh] In the new letter, Carradini announced he would not resign.
“Many have questioned why I did not stop Fr. Hoffman when I sensed things were going badly,” Carradini wrote. “I have offered three explanations to various audiences; the truth is I do not know why I did not stop him:. Though I sensed, and shared, the distress of your daughters and sons, and of the faculty, [and Gaia] I did not see its depth, as I was in the front of the auditorium. I desperately hoped that things might right-end themselves, [?!? Really? Who writes public letters like that? ] and in that hope I did not stop him. [‘Cause that wouldn’t have added chum to the waters.] Parents who are crisis management professionals have instructed me after the fact in what I ought to have done. I am grateful for their guidance.” [He makes this sound like a school shooting. Were psychologists called into the school to help students deal with the trauma?]
Students discussed staging protests and pickets in response to the speech. On Monday, fliers that read “Homosexuals are bullied because of apathy. [Good grief. WHO’S being bullied?] Divorced people are bullied because of apathy. Adoptive children are bullied because of apathy. Are you apathetic?” appeared around the school. [What the heck did my old friend Fr. Hoffman say? Did he use… I can hardly bring myself to type this… The ‘S’ Word™?] Several Prout students and alumni tweeted about the matter. “Prout is now an unvibrant uncatholic community,” one said. [They are figuring that out?] “All the good things built up by The Prout School today just came crashing down around us with that assembly,” read another. [The party’s over, it seems. It all came crashing down. Was what Fr. Hoffman said as divisive and as bullying as this? Rom. 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”] Posts to Hoffman’s Facebook page appeared briefly, but were removed. In an email to Carradini, Kathleen Schlenz characterized Hoffman’s comments as “cruel, condemnatory, and wholly un-Christian.” [Could he have been harsher than the Bible? Lev 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” I’m just saying…] Beginning Friday, a number of parents, including Schlenz, went to Carradini with questions: Why was Hoffman asked to speak? Who approved it? Was he paid? Would the speech be aired? [Could his talk have been more challenging than Matthew 5:32 “But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”] Carradini referred a request for comment to the Diocese of Providence. [This is Bp. Tobin’s diocese, thanks be to God.] Friday evening, parents received an email from the school. “My intention in inviting him here was to have a priest articulate Church teaching in a manner that was pastorally appropriate, doctrinally sound, and deeply respectful of the trust the students showed in bringing these questions forward for answer. My prior knowledge of Fr. Hoffman and his program gave every reason to expect this outcome,” Carradini wrote. “My expectations, and those of the faculty and staff, were not met, and for that I am deeply sorry. Several of the answers provided were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues. [Oh? What did he omit?] Several members of the student body, faculty, and staff – including me – were personally offended by his manner of presentation.” [It may be that the little darlings heard it for the first time and had a reaction.] In the email, Carradini said he would “address these matters with the entire school and to apologize for the offenses caused.” [What did Fr. Hoffman say that was so horrible? Was it anything like what St. Paul said? 1 Cor 6:9-10: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”] That occurred Monday, in another school-wide assembly, during which school chaplain Rev. Joseph Upton, offered an address with a more welcoming message. [?] “You can imagine how very upset I was on Friday morning as I watched and heard Fr. Rocky’s presentation unfold,” [I am still waiting for a quote… in or out of context… so that we can know what happened?] Upton said, according to an email regarding Hoffman’s address sent to parents. “We know that many young people in particular struggle with participation in the life of the Church. And now a presentation seemed to provide more of a reason to give up on the Church? I was angry and I was sad.” [Oooooo.] Approximately 50 parents appeared at the assembly uninvited and met with Carradini after it finished. Schlenz was among them. When she reached Carradini by phone Saturday, she asked what he was doing to ensure the speech would not be broadcast and was told he had spoken to a board member of Relevant Radio. [So that no one can know what Father really said? What does that sound like to you? She doesn’t want people to know the truth.]