Parents' dismay as Californian Catholic school removes religious statues on grounds they could 'alienate' people

(Pixabay)A statue of the Virgin Mary.

Parents of pupils at a Catholic school in California have expressed dismay after the institution removed several religious statues because of concerns that they would 'alienate' prospective students and their parents.

The San Domenico school in San Anselmo reportedly took away the sculptures, including one of Mary holding the Child Jesus which had previously been the focus of an annual ceremony in which children crowned Mary.

The Catholic Herald cited a report in a newspaper, Marin Independent Journal, which quoted an email to school authorities from a parent, Shannon Fitzpatrick, saying: 'Articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico's 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one's heritage and beliefs.'

Fitzpatrick said that she and other parents were concerned that the school was abandoning its Catholicism, having also ceased to offer catechism and preparation for First Communion and Confirmation, according to the reports.

But in response, the chair of the school's board of trustees, Amy Skewes-Cox said: 'If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St Dominic or St Francis, it could be alienating ... we didn't want to further that.'