In a formal email apology, Nancy Matteo told the parents of St. Andrew Elementary School children that it was she was “obviously NOT thinking” when she sent invitations to the 2014 Eighth Grade Graduation Dance, adding that it was “completely wrong” to use an image of Degeneres because she “lives her life outside the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Matteo went on to claim that Degeneres is a “poor role model,” going so far as to include an actual definition for “role model”:
“A role model, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is a person who is unusually effective or inspiring in some social role, job, position, etc.. This does not describe her at all. We work so hard to be good role models and then I go and do something stupid!”
Philly.com reports that the apologetic email also requests that all invitations be returned to the school at once. “I will personally destroy them,” Matteo writes.
Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, released the following statement, claiming that Matteo apologized on her own after receiving complaints from parents:
“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.”
Keep on doing the Lord’s work, Nancy!