May 18, 2017 Print this article

News Release: 17K Support Catholic Teacher Punished for Quoting Saint on Islam

Catholic teacher Mark Smythe under fire for quoting St. John Bosco

Sixth-grade teacher Mark Smythe was reportedly threatened with dismissal after he used a catechetical text about Islam written by Saint John Bosco at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, Florida.

Dr. Jacquelyn Flanigan, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Orlando – instead of standing by Mark Smythe – reportedly reprimanded him for "disrespect" to Islam, claiming that his action was “not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Many Catholics are perplexed however. "I don't understand why a Catholic instructor at a Catholic school is being punished for quoting a Catholic saint," said TFP Student Action director John Ritchie. "This is not only troublesome, but also unjust."

So far more than 17,200 people have signed a petition in support of the teacher, urging the Catholic Superintendant of Schools for the Diocese of Orlando to respect Mr. Smythe's academic freedom.

Read the petition here:


The petition poses a series of questions:

"If Mark is threatened with dismissal for quoting Saint John Bosco, what other Catholic saints will be next? Saint Thomas Aquinas? Blessed Urban II who convoked the Crusades? Saint Pius V who celebrated the victory of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Catholic fleet over Islam at Lepanto? Saint Francis of Assisi who tried to convince sultan Al-Kamil of Egypt of the errors of Islam and bring him to the truth of the Catholic faith?"

Those who signed the petition are calling on school officials to serve "justice and truth by retaining Mr. Smythe as a teacher."