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Religious order vows to end paddling at New Orleans school

c. 2011 Religion News Service

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.

(Gordon Russell writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    EXCELLENT news. The church is right in their decision to put a halt to the paddling punishment, which was never correct in the beginning. Those that feel beating a kid’s behind makes them better need to have the top half of their body checked–the head.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    I’m not worried about paddling so much as getting guns out of the hands of young folk, let’s see if we can do that or if people actually care enough to pick a better battle guns kill paddling not so much.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    I would be willing to wager that a large proportion of the kids who carry weapons were paddled or physically punished as children. Paddling simply makes physical punishment seem like the only option. Guns are perceived as the ultimate physical punishment. Knock off the paddling and I think the “need” for physical punishment and even guns will diminish. Though not everyone who was paddled or spanked may be toting guns, but I expect a whole lot of the folks who carry guns were paddled.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    some of the most cold blooded killers jest were not paddled at all, as a matter of fact they were spoiled rotten and have to get their way. I’m not saying all paddling is right or that it is the best way but I am saying short-sighted is the person that thinks it is the worse thing that is done to a kid.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    I challenge your assumption. I have read a fair amount about all manner of violent criminals, and to a person they were physically punished and abused as children – taking it with them into adulthood. The correlation is real and cannot be ignored.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest you probably are right but I assert that not limited too, I just don’t know the ratio

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