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AFTER complaints were lodged by some pupils at North Catholic High School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, administrators decided that crystals did not fit in with approved Catholic tchotchkes.
So they decided to ask the counselor, who has asked not to be been identified, to resign.
The ridiculous saga began when three Wiccan high priestesses—owners of Elemental Magick (motto: “For all of your metaphysical needs”)—were invited to talk about their enterprise by the careers counselor, who has not been publicly identified.
Their appearance was part of marketing a course held at the school, and the three store owners—married couple Tabitha and Tamara Latshaw and their sister-in-law Kari Latshaw—handed out crystals to pupils.
In an interview with KDKA-TV, Michelle Peduto, above, a diocesan school administrator, explained that educators at diocesan schools are required to sign a statement saying that their instruction will align with Catholic teachings.
Both the visit and the crystals were not a “good fit,” she said.
“It is because, as we know, our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in objects necessarily,” Peduto said in a separate interview with KDKA. “Rosary beads? Yes. But crystals, no.”
Reacting to this silliness, Tabitha Latshaw said in a video statement posted to Facebook:
We sell crystals, if we sold gum, we would have handed out a pack of gum.
Image via YouTube/Fox 5
The school, founded in 1939, was formerly known as Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, after the former bishop and archbishop of Washington, DC, above.
But the school removed the cardinal’s name in 2018 at his request after he was criticised for his handling of sexual abuse cases there.
Parents told to get rid of the crystals and pray
According to the KDKA-TV report, the school sent letters to the parents of kids who accepted the crystal gifts, telling them to dispose of them and to cleanse their home by saying a prayer to St Michael the archangel.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh reportedly labeled the employee’s actions “inappropriate” and, in a letter to the former employee, “egregious.”
“Crystals are everywhere and are exclusive to no religion, including Wicca,” said Latshaw in the Facebook statement, pointing out that in the jewelry industry, crystals are more commonly known as semiprecious gemstones.
The Latshaws say they weren’t there to talk about witchcraft or religion of any kind. Tabitha Latshaw told Religion News Service.
We went to North Catholic High School to discuss being entrepreneurs.
Of the crystals she said:
God made these. They come from the earth. That’s all I can say.
The former school employee told a local reporter that she did not believe that the crystals or the owners’ religion would cause a stir.
In hindsight, she recognised she should have thought the visit through more carefully, but she was surprised that the situation “Was not used as an opportunity for me to grow and develop as a professional and as a Catholic.”
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