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Chicago-area Catholic principal who defied mask mandate won’t return to school, pastor says

Christine Rousselle   By Christine Rousselle for CNA

(Image: Kelly Sikkema/

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Feb 17, 2022 / 11:13 am (CNA).

A principal at a Catholic school who was placed on leave after he defied the Archdiocese of Chicago’s mask mandate will not return to the school, it was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Father Martin T. Marren, pastor of Queen of Martyrs Church in Evergreen Park, Illinois, shared the news in a letter to the community of Queen of Martyrs Catholic School, following a meeting with the suspended principal, Jacob “Doc” Mathius.

Mathius was suspended from his position on Feb. 8, after he announced that his pre-K-8 elementary school could go mask-optional. This announcement came after a state judge nullified Illinois’ statewide school mask mandate.

At the time, Archdiocese of Chicago policy stated that children enrolled in its schools must wear masks, regardless of what local regulations dictated. That policy has since changed.

“[Tuesday] Doc Mathius and I met to discuss the events of the past week,” Marren in the letter. “I told him that, despite everything, I hoped we could agree on a path forward that would enable him to return as principal of Queen of Martyrs School.”

According to Marren, he informed Mathius that he would be welcomed back as principal, under the condition that he “take some fair and reasonable steps that would repair the breach his actions created in our parish and school community, as well as with our sister schools in the Archdiocese.”

Mathius declined to accept these conditions, said Marren, and “as a result, will not be returning to our school.”

“I am saddened, as I trust you are, by his decision,” wrote Marren. “I am sure you can understand that it is not possible for an organization to employ someone who will not abide by rules that apply to all. That is a lesson we teach our children, and it also applies to adults.”

Mathius did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for comment Wednesday. In a post on his personal Facebook page on Wednesday, Mathius said that he had been “exiled” from his school for over a week without any communication from the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools.

Mathius said that the conditions he was told he would meet upon his return to Queen of Martyrs to be “unreasonable in nature and extreme in scope,” although he did not elaborate as to what he was asked to do.

“I want to once again offer my humble and sincere thanks to so many of the family members of our Queen of Martyrs School community as well as other private citizens … many of whom I have never met … that gifted me their love and support through this very difficult time,” he wrote in the post. “I consider myself fortunate beyond measure to be the recipient of such kindness and affirmation.”

In a later post, he said: “We might be a small community, but my goodness, look at how mighty we are! Look at how this community came together in common cause to make a statement that you wanted heard! Look at how you stood shoulder to shoulder to carry your message forward!”

During Mathius’ suspension, parents of Queen of Martyrs students protested outside the school building on two occasions. Parents were in support of Mathius’ decision and wished to see him remain at the school.

After his suspension Mathius told Chicago media that he did not expect to be reinstated to his position.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is one of several bishops in the U.S. who has instructed clerics not to assist parishioners seeking religious exemptions from receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

Cupich also decreed that all archdiocesan employees and clergy must receive the vaccine for COVID-19, only allowing exemptions for medical reasons.

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  1. The Diocese of Chicago has the temerity to dismiss this man who is operating with the best interests of children in mind, while leaving in place the false messiah, Fr. Pfleger, whose Masses are an abomination, who spreads race hate, and who has been accused of smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and sexually abusing multiple underage males?

    Somebody should have a nice big beautiful millstone sent to diocesan offices as a gentle reminder.

  2. The cruelty and stupidity of the people running Catholic institutions are on display daily. A principal is fired for lifting the mask mandate at his school after the state order was overturned in Court and, apparently, two days before the archdiocese did the same thing. How many dissenters from Church teaching has Fr. Marren employed at Queen of Martyrs? But a man refuses to impose the medically worthless and psychologically damaging mask rule and is given the boot by this dictator who surely had the support of the epicene tyrant who rules over Chicago Catholics in the manner of Justin Trudeau. Finally, let all the nitwits who show up here and elsewhere declaiming on the moral obligation to wear masks refute the John Hopkins study that proved conclusively that these humiliating face covers do nothing to protect people from Covid or anything else.

  3. It would appear that once more, the cowards of the hierarchy win. They cant seem to bend low enough to accommodate the ruling class of leftists who are killing the church in slow degrees. And an effective school principal is told to hit the road. All that seems to matter is that you say yes to following orders. It would appear he would have to recant his very sensible decision position publicly. Isnt that what they do in dictatorial re-education camps?

  4. The Church has changed since I was in school; they wanted conformity but they respected people who could think on their feet. Is Common Core coming to a Catholic school near you?

    Unlock the world and let the oxygen flow, and relevant learning return in earnest!

  5. No one should be surprised by this happening in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the pastors in place are tied at the hip to Cardinal Cupich who has consistently been dictatorial. Having lived in the area 30+ years, you can see those priests who have “belittled” themselves and given up their rights to the Cardinal and no longer see those who have pushed back against him, they are suspended or removed. Some like Fr. Phleger can get away with anything simply because the Cardinal agrees with his thinking and approves. This is not about pastoral leadership this is about an agenda to change the Catholic Church and Archdiocese into what He wants it to be not what God intended for it.

  6. Of course Jacob Mathius warrants dismissal. As a principal of a Catholic school he sets an example. Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten the story of the Good Samaritan where the question is posed “Who is my neighbour?” And the answer is “anyone you are in a position to help.” Masks and other anti-covid measures are for the benefit not of self but of one’s neighbours. It boggles the mind that self-centered people, such that are currently rampant in Ottawa, are given any credence at all.

    • Please, M. Peringer, must we focus on your straw men? You lead me to suspect you have no argument.

      But the issue before us isn’t the generosity of truck drivers in Canada. It’s the efficacy of masking, combined with the magnitude of the threat to high schoolers posed by COVID.

      And the fact is, masking’s ability to prevent the spread of COVID is negligible. In fact, young children, because of their shallow lung capacity, are actually harmed by masking since it reduces their ability to absorb sufficient oxygen.

      And COVID’s threat to high schoolers is, at most, minimal.

      We may certainly disagree in good faith, M. Peringer, but your attempt to characterize those whose views differ from yours as morally inferior seems desperate and, frankly, a little pathetic.

    • By all means, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, stick to your discredited talking points. Trying to reason with the willfully blind is a futile exercise.

    • Masks used by most people are useless in preventing a virus from entering or exiting the human mouth or nose; nothing more than theater at best, A study recently released by Johns Hopkins is more than adequate to dissuade anyone who thinks otherwise.

    • I have heard this smug argument too many times and regard it as trash. Helping your neighbor does not include jumping every time the govt says to do so, especially when their mandates fly in the face of SCIENCE. I recall the Chinese dragging women out for abortions when they violated the one child per family rule. The reason? To help ones neighbors of course by tamping down the consequences of a “too large” population. Were they supposed to cooperate too? With the vaccine, people are also asked to put their own bodies on the line. Many of us have done so with some trepidation, but this was a calculated risk. With the low transmissibility of covid among children, masking is a red-herring, an absurd intrusion into children’s lives , if not an obscene exercise in govt overreach. “Helping my neighbor” is now entering year 3 of my life and I, like many others, have reached my limit. I am not the slave of the government, nor of the visibly frightened Cardinals.

    • Raymond, we know only N95 masks work if they are properly fitted. I’m in the agricultural processing business and every employee goes through 1 to 2 masks per day. However, the majority of masks used are cloth and they are WoRTHLESS! OSHA has known for 2 years they don’t stop transmission of the virus. It is posted on the boxes. So your comments are truly without merit.m

  7. Once again Cupich, the Godfather or the Church Mafia (or perhaps Fairy Godmother?) bullies and cancels a Church employee for daring to speak truth.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Chicago-area Catholic principal who defied mask mandate won’t return to school, pastor says – The Old Roman
  2. USA: Catholic School Principal Suspended For Defying Diocesan Mask Mandate - Norra Joke... - Catholic Truth

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