Religious order vows to end paddling at New Orleans school

June 21, 2011

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The religious order that runs the last remaining
Catholic school in the country to use corporal punishment says it will
no longer allow the practice, putting it in line with the Archdiocese of
New Orleans.

The new administration of the Josephites order also affirmed the
recent decision to transfer the Rev. John Raphael, the former president
of St. Augustine Catholic High School, back to Baltimore.

The announcements were made Tuesday (June 21) in a press release.
St. Augustine has been embroiled in controversy for months after the
Josephites' prior leaders imposed a temporary ban on corporal punishment
last July. The ban was supported by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory
Aymond, who called paddling inconsistent with Catholic ethics.

Parents and alumni have rallied in support of the practice, and
argued that it should be up to the school community to decide how to
discipline children.

Earlier this month, the Josephites' former superior general, the
Rev. Edward Chiffriller, ordered Raphael to return to Baltimore. Raphael
said he believed the directive was improper and declared his intention
to stay.

Parents, meanwhile, had hoped that a change in leadership in the
Josephites might mean Chiffriller's orders might be reconsidered.

The Josephites recently held new elections and installed the Rev.
William Norvel, who taught at St. Augustine in the 1960s, as superior
general. The news release suggests the order stands by Chiffriller's
position, and wants to "initiate as soon as possible dialogue with the
board of directors" of the school and its principal, Don Boucree.

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