The controversy over the New York Board of Education has unnecessarily drawn attention to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s decision to send his children to a Catholic school. Noreen Connell of the Educational Priorities Panel said yesterday that the Mayor’s decision made the public school system an “abstract” institution for him. Her statement was made in reference to the Mayor’s desire to impact on the selection of the next school Chancellor. Mayor Giuliani was incensed by the comment and said that he thought it was “unfair” to constantly make an issue of his decision to send his children to a parochial school.

William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League, offered the following remark regarding this incident:

“The effect, if not the purpose, of Noreen Connell’s comment was to question the legitimacy of Mayor Giuliani’s decision to send his children to a Catholic school.   The Mayor’s decision no more disqualifies him from addressing issues that bear on the public school establishment than it would disqualify a female Senator from addressing issues that bear on combat in the military.  Connell’s Catholic-baiting remark should bring disgrace to her reputation as a spokesperson for the public good.

“When Mr. Giuliani ran for Mayor in the summer of 1993, he was assailed for attending Catholic schools by City Councilperson Ronnie Eldridge.  The Catholic League defended Giuliani from Eldridge’s bigoted remark and is glad to defend him again today, this despite our disappointment with his decision to allow the Gay Pride Parade to proceed past St. Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday.”

The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization.  It defends the right of Catholics–lay and clergy alike–to participate in American life without defamation or discrimination.

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