Catholic principal fired after trying to promote the faith with new curriculum – LifeSite

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(LifeSiteNews) — Imagine the opportunity to make the curriculum of a Catholic school more Catholic, and with that the opportunity to excise pornographic materials from the school’s library. You’ve garnered the support of the pastor attached to the school, but then a select group of people managed to get you kicked out of your position. 

My guests on this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show are Douglas and Adele Darnowski, Catholic parents of 15 children. They discuss Douglas’ dismissal as principal of a Catholic school in the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, after he received blowback from a group of families opposed to a more Catholic curriculum and the removal of a pornographic book from the school’s library.

Douglas had previously worked in academia for nearly 20 years before becoming principal of the high school in 2022. Towards the end of his tenure teaching biology at a university in Indiana, he began discussing the origins of COVID, said that masks robbed students of their humanity and that they had the right to take them off, and said that Jesus Christ was the only solution for the world’s problems. This garnered him charges from the university, including charges of religious harassment.

After the charges were dropped, he prayerfully discerned to leave academia, established an online farming college, and later became a high school principal in the Diocese of Nashville.

Douglas, hired by the school to make it “Catholic classical,” a system whereby the Catholic faith would be incorporated into every subject, worked for free for three weeks in an attempt to “get ready for the school year ahead of time.” He also removed books that he thought were “spiritually dangerous” from the school library, including the Harry Potter series and book containing pornographic passages.

Describing the state of the school’s curriculum when he arrived, Douglas recalls finding LGBT materials for second graders on a website the school used. “And I thought … ‘If I can find this in two minutes … there’s other stuff in here,” he states. “I found something that was one-third the price, gave twice as many people access, and which I knew from personal experience to be very wholesome.”

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Catherine Arnett was harassed, jailed, denied access to Mass, and removed from active service with the Marine Corp because she refused to take an abortion-tainted COVID shot.

We MUST demand that the Marine Corps reinstate her and apologize for this cruel treatment of the 25-year-old.

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Arnett was a faithful and hardworking American Marine serving overseas in Japan. The unvaccinated Lance Corporal was subjected to torrid pressure however by her superiors in standing up for her Catholic beliefs when the COVID jab mandate was implemented. 

She objected to taking the shot because she considered it immoral to force someone to receive an abortion-tainted vaccine. The Marines then tried various ways of coercing Arnett to obey, such as harassment and arrest.  

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They took her license in May of 2022 for refusing to separate (a term referring to removal from active service). She was restricted to base for 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) until she had her community outreach access restricted in January 2023. 

 She challenged her self-professed Catholic Commanding Officer on his views and religious beliefs as he tried to tell Catherine that her religious beliefs were wrong. Because of this, he had her arrested on January 23, 2023 and jailed for 113 days until May 15, 2023. 

His specially crafted punishment for Arnett was to keep her away from the daily Mass that she had always attended. She was only able to receive Holy Communion once in the space of 80 days.  After 80 days they moved her to California. 

 June 23, 2023 was Catherine’s last day in the Marines Corp. At 4 am June 24th, they dropped her off at a random gas station with nothing but the clothes on her back, while her personal belongings are being withheld from her in Japan.

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At a school meeting with parents on July 17, however, he ran into fierce opposition from a select group of families over his proposed changes. 

“I told the parents at a meeting about [removing the books] … and they basically said, ‘Well, it’s not as bad as some of the stuff at the public school, they’re going to see it eventually anyway,’” he recounts. Douglas further explains that the parents were not happy that he was the first male principal of the school, and that he hired a male teacher. He also told the parents that he got rid of the website containing LGBT materials for the more wholesome one, and to his surprise “they were infuriated then, too.” 

The parents also protested his attempt to adopt a “Catholic classical” curriculum, claiming that he would “shove religion down the kids’ throats 24/7.” 

Meanwhile, before the meeting, Douglas was told by Baptists in the area that they were happy he was bringing the Baltimore Catechism into the school’s curriculum on account of them using the Apostles’ Creed. A woman came up to him informing him that she enrolled her children to the school, pleased by the changes. 

Having been told by a diocesan education official that he would “get [his] chance,” Douglas later learned that the following day two more diocesan officials had a meeting with the school about his position there, wherein he believes the decision was made to fire him. “I was terminated … ‘for no cause’ on the 19th of July,” he states. Douglas further recounts that when the pastor, a man who had supported most of his decisions for running the school, told him about his departure, he did so with a cracking voice, making Douglas think he was going to cry. 

“There’s this group of hardcore families that have been around for a long time, and they were not happy [with me],” Douglas adds. “And the previous principle had been put through a lot from what I found out for a year.” He also tells me that the school advertised the position for principal a week after his departure, calling for the principle to make the school “Catholic classical” – exactly what Douglas tried to do. 

When asked what could be done to help them, Adele said that Douglas needs a job teaching, and that their house in Indiana is still for sale. They would happily sell it to a Catholic family or to someone that would make it a Catholic retreat center. Douglas added that people could support the Catholic farm college, St. Therese and Isidore Farm College, and asks for prayer, especially to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. 

Adele, closing the interview, said that she was proud of her husband, and is grateful he stood up the way he did when he was still teaching at a university. “Had we stayed, what else would have come down the pike? … What else would we have had to give in to?” she asks.

“I think that it’s very important not to give in in small things,” she adds. Addressing priests and bishops, she says, “If you’re giving in now, stop … stand up for Jesus. You won’t regret it, [but] you will be beaten up. God bless the ones who [stand up].” 

LifeSite is currently hosting a LifeFunder for the Darnowskis, which can be found here.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

Help this Catholic couple with 15 children protect their family: LifeFunder