In a number of Catholic high schools in the archdiocese of San Francisco, the departments of religious studies are populated by, and in some cases chaired by, teachers who not only do not adhere to but are active enemies of the faith.
At Woodside Priory in Portola Valley the chair of the department of religious studies is a man named Matthew Nelson. Nelson has been with Woodside since August 7, 2007. He also runs a blog called “Theological Derring-Do.” He describes himself on the blog: “I’m a queer bohemian living in San Francisco Bay area. I’m also Chair of the Theology Department at the Woodside Priory School, a Benedictine boarding school in the Silicon Valley…” A 2011 video on the Woodside Priory YouTube channel shows Nelson’s classroom—with a rainbow flag front and center. Some quotes from his Facebook page:
“If you oppose marriage equality, you need only look at this video of the Millennial generation shouting the Civil Rights anthem of these contemporary times to know that you are a swiftly dying breed.” –August 25, 2013.
“On gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, conservative Christians find themselves on a one-way train to the land of irrelevance and self-marginalization. No one is listening to you!” -June 29, 2013
Regarding San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s DUI: “Schadenfreude is not an attractive adornment to anyone’s disposition; however – though I don’t wish Company Man Sal any ill-will – may this get his ass booted from the Bay Area”. –August 27, 2012.
His Facebook page also contains photographs. One is with three members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, dated May 24, 2008—after his employment at Woodside had begun. The photo was appears to have been taken at the May 23, 2008 Equality Ride at the Great America amusement park.
According to the Governing Board’s page on the school’s website “The Priory is an independent, self-supporting, non-profit school, owned as a corporation by the Benedictine monks of the Priory and St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. The owners are not directly involved in the school, but maintain a policy oversight involvement through a five-member board of directors, two of whom are Priory monks and all of whom have spent part of their careers at the Priory.”
Current Directors include: Abbot Mark Cooper and Father William Sullivan at St. Anselm Abbey, 100 Saint Anselm Drive Manchester NH 03102, and Father Martin Mager at Woodside Priory, 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley CA 94028.
Maureen Huntington, superintendent of Catholic Schools; Laura Held, assistant superintendent of Faith Formation and Religious Instruction; and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, all at the Archdiocese of San Francisco, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco CA 94109.
Most important is to contact the principal of your local Catholic elementary schools. Almost all enrollment to Catholic high schools come from Catholic elementary feeder schools.
Tuition for Woodside Priory is $37,250/year for day students, $54,850 for boarding students.
To read part 1 of this series on Notre Dame de Namur school, click here.