Penn. Catholic School Apologizes for Using 'Poor Role Model' Ellen's Pic on Invitation

The principal of a Philadelphia-area school says Ellen DeGeneres's photo should not have been used on invitations to a graduation dance, as the entertainer is a 'poor role model' and lives a life outside of Catholic teachings.
By: Trudy Ring
May 21 2014 6:16 PM
Principal Nancy Matteo with the invitation

The principal of a Philadelphia-area Catholic school has apologized for the use of a picture of Ellen DeGeneres on invitations to a graduation dance, and she wants them all returned to be destroyed, reports Philly.com.

A photo of Ellen, this year’s Oscars host, holding one of the golden statuettes graced the invitation to the Hollywood-themed eighth-grade graduation dance to be held June 8 at St. Andrew Elementary School in Newtown, Pa. But in an email to parents yesterday, principal Nancy Matteo said she shouldn’t have let the invitations go out, as it was “completely wrong” to illustrate them with a picture of someone who “lives her life outside the teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the website, which obtained the text of the email.

Matteo wrote that she was “obviously NOT thinking” and that DeGeneres is a “poor role model,” but she did not specifically mention that the entertainer is a lesbian. She contended that the dictionary definition of a role model, “a person who is unusually effective or inspiring in some social role, job, position, etc.,” does not fit DeGeneres “at all.” She added, “I need every single invitation returned and I will personally destroy them,” and that new ones would be distributed.

Matteo declined to be interviewed by Philly.com, but a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said the principal apologized of her own accord, without pressure from church officials, after parents questioned the use of the picture.

The spokesman, Ken Gavin, issued a statement saying, “All Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are firmly rooted in Gospel-based values and the teachings of the church. As such, it is expected that any promotional materials developed by these schools would feature images and themes that correspond with their core mission and identity. That approach is logical and our school families have a right to expect it.”

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