LOS ANGELES, March 6, 2013, ( – A pro-abortion politician who sits on the board of a Catholic high school “taught a Social Justice class” to its students, according to the school's annual report.

Image reported yesterday that California State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell is on the board of advisors of Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles.

Since the story's publication, Verbum Dei has scrubbed Mitchell from its website's list of the school's Board of Advisors, and a reader e-mailed stating that “State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell has not been a member of the advisory board since her election in 2010.”

However, the school's 2011-2012 Annual Report lists “State Assemblymember” Holly Mitchell as a “Board member.” Both a Google cache and the most recently archived version of the website also include her name.

The annual report adds that the pro-abortion politician “taught a Social Justice class with Verbum Dei Students.”

During the same academic year Mitchell told the media, “When contraception and abortion are out of women’s reach, unhealthy outcomes go up.” She supported two bills backed by Planned Parenthood, one of which would have authorized nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physicians assistants to perform abortions in lieu of a trained physician.

Mitchell is endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, EMILY’S List, and the National Organization for Women (NOW). She also voted to ban reparative therapy for those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction.

Her dissenting views call into question whether a politician with such a record should be guiding young students in the process of moral formation.

Neither the school nor the Archdiocese of Los Angeles returned multiple phone calls from placed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The school's donors may share these concerns. Verbum Dei received $22,000 in “gifts from Jesuit communities” last year alone.

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The school's president, William Muller, S.J., wrote that the school's “increased stability” allowed its principal, Dan O’Connell, to refocus “the faculty and staff on our Jesuit, Ignatian heritage and pedagogy.” The school says it gives its students “extraordinary opportunities for personal, academic, and moral growth.”

Aside from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Verbum Dei's benefactors over the 2011-12 school year included the Catholic Education Foundation, the Knights of Columbus, the California Province of the Society of Jesus, Bellarmine College Preparatory Jesuit Community, Loyola House Jesuit Community, the St. Lawrence Ministry of Caring, Colombiere House Jesuit Community, Loyola Marymount Jesuit Community, a number of people identified as Jesuit priests, and innumerable Catholic laity.

Verbum Dei in Watts is also part of the Cristo Rey Network, a group of 25 schools in 17 states dedicated to providing “a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to young people who live in urban communities with limited educational options.” Cristo Rey's criteria require that a member school “is explicitly Catholic in mission,” “enjoys Church approval,” and “has an effective administrative and board structure.”

Catholic schools around the country continue to struggle to assure all their moral and ethical teaching is in accordance with the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa recently required all teachers at Catholic schools in his diocese to sign a statement condemning “modern errors,” including abortion and same-sex “marriage.”


Dan O'Connell, Principal
Verbum Dei High School
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 564-6651, extension 6000
Online contact form.