A Catholic Education for Every Catholic Kid: A New Dawning for Catholic Schools

This is the seventh in a series of columns on the importance of giving all Catholic kids a Catholic education (Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part five, Part six.)  Over the last six columns, I have explored the idea that all Catholic kids deserve a thoroughly and authentically Catholic education.  The focus has been on what individual families can do to ensure this happens, regardless of the types of schools their children attend.  Here I'll expand my focus to the entire Catholic community because, like sunrise after a dark night, a beautiful possibility has arisen in my mind.

This dawning thought is simply that giving Catholic kids a Catholic education is not only the responsibility of individual families, but of the entire Catholic community.  A brighter possibility even yet is that educating our children in the ways of the Faith will benefit not only individual families, but also entire parish families.  And the brightest possibility of all: renewing our communal commitment to Catholic education could be the key to revitalizing the heart of Catholicism in each of our dioceses across the United States.

Now, you may think that I am a dreamer, that to suggest a dawning of spiritual renewal is naïve in light of the harsh reality that Catholic churches are closing all around us.  You may think that the sunny days of affordable Catholic schools have already hopelessly faded away, but I am not dreaming.  I am wide-awake with the hope of a "new springtime of evangelization" as Pope John Paul II referred to the great possibilities awaiting the Church in the third millennium.  In his 1990 encyclical, Redemptoris Missio, he wrote, "I wish to invite the Church to renew her missionary commitment.  For missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive.  Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!"  If I am but a dreamer in proposing that the key to wholesale renewal of the Faith in our diocese could be our communal recommitment to giving all Catholic kids a Catholic education, then let me dream with John Paul the Great who invites us to experience renewal through missionary zeal, self-discipline, and community giving.

Let me also dream with the United States Roman Catholic bishops of the late1800s who dreamed big enough to decree that every Catholic Church in the land should have a parish school.  They took on this Goliath-sized task because they believed that educating the immigrant Catholic population was the way to preserve the Faith and to help their flock survive in America.  Have our ideals for our children changed so much since the 1880s?  The current U.S. bishops do not think so.  In 2005 they renewed their commitment to the Catholic educational ideals by saying that, "The burden of supporting our Catholic grammar and high schools can no longer be placed exclusively on the individual parishes that have schools and on parents who pay tuition.  The future of Catholic school education depends on the entire Catholic community."

 Should the Pope, several bishops' councils, and I still be viewed as dreamers, let me reveal that about 2,000 miles southeast of the Diocese of Fall River, MA, where I live, some visionary Catholics have made the dream of community revitalization through Catholic schooling a reality.  Not only have the 120,000 Catholics of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas provided tuition-free Catholic schools for all children of active parishioners since 1993, approximately 70 percent attend Mass weekly, and 100 percent of the families with children in the schools are active in parish life.  I promise, I am not making this up.  In the county that contains the City of Wichita, the median family income is slightly less that that of Bristol County, MA, in my diocese of Fall River.  There are 91 parishes with 10,600 students enrolled at 61 schools in the Kansas diocese.  How does this compare with the Fall River diocese?  Catholics in my diocese number approximately 357,000.  We have 96 parishes with 8,700 students in 32 schools.  By the numbers, we should be able to supply three times as many students with tuition-free Catholic educations as Wichita can, but we are not.  Instead, unfortunately, student enrollment is dropping and Catholic schools are being closed.

The example of Wichita Catholics should make us all dreamers.  It should challenge Catholics across the country to ask ourselves, "If they can do it, why can't we?"  In addition to our local Catholic grammar schools and high schools, there are hundreds of Catholic colleges and universities, and even more Catholic organizations ministering to students at secular colleges and universities across the country.  Each of these places and people could use our financial support, too.  If a missionary-style commitment to giving all Catholic kids a Catholic school education was the key to revitalizing the faith life of each of our dioceses, and the faith life of Catholics across the USA, here's my final question, "What would we be willing to do, as individuals and as a community, to bring about this 'new springtime'?"

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  • Guest

    Even without Heidi's examples, her call to hope should stir us all. God blesses those who have faith in Him.  What could prevent Him from blessing our work to restore Catholic education?  And despair is still sin, after all.

  • Guest

    Anyone know where we can find information about how Wichita made this happen?  It is fantastic!

  • Guest

    Dear Heidi,

    Thank you for your spotlight on Catholic education.  We as Catholics need to focus on what is happening to our children. 

    I have a B.S. Ed, twelve years of teaching in Catholic schools and most recently 9 years of homeschooling.   In my experience I have seen almost all types of the Catholic education modes of which you wrote.  Unfortunately, with my own eyes I have seen Catholic schools (Elem.,H.S.,Univ.) innoculate students against Catholicism and turn them from the faith.  I have seen this in L.A., San Diego, Phila.  I venture to say it is happening elsewhere as well. Unless parents are ultra vigilant in their responsibilities to teach the Catholic Faith then most students will be lost.  Pray for them every day. Generally, your readers are very careful to bring the faith to their children. Praise God!

    Schools are mechanisms for change.  When the American Catholic schools were started a certain need existed to teach children the English language and the basic academic subjects.  The good sisters who staffed the schools also taught the faith which was supported in the home and in the community.  It eventually had the added disadvantage of giving parents a free ride concerning their responsibility as the primary teachers of the faith.  Along came the infiltration of the eroneous interpretations of Vatican II and both parents and bishops missed the boat on what was happening in the schools and now you have the chaos that exists today.    

    My generation, now parents, were not adequately catechised ourselves.  It is only through the Holy Spirit and perseverence in study that we learn what we should be teaching our children. This message needs to reach beyond this website to the place where parents are unaware. Do not abdicate your role as parent, teacher and defender of the faith.    

    Choose carefully the university you will be paying for your child's education.  There are less than two dozen (not hundreds)that will support the faith and values you are trying to instill.  

    The short term answer is pray, teach and share your faith with your children, connect with others who share your commitment within your community.  Pray to God fervently for the long term answer.

    Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

       

       

  • Guest

    Exceptional article.  Thank you so much for writing it. 

    It is amazing how easily we can all pay our state taxes (as part of the state community) to pay for our public system without blinking an eye.  As a state community we see the importance of investing in their children.  But as a Church we have forgotten.  Why?  Can you imagine if every family had to pay their own way to send their children to public schools.  It's un-American.  But if a Catholic family wants thier child to get a Catholic education…they'll have to find their own money.  It is difficult to say this, but our "state communities" are more generous and committed than our "Church communities". 

    It is not a lack of money – there seems to be plenty of that around.  It is quite simply a lack of faith.  It is no longer important. 

    One of the aspects of this forum that continues to drive me crazy is the extraordinary amount of "Catholic school bashing" that takes place.  This is not the answer.  Please…fight for your Catholic schools.  They are worth fighting for.  And that fight includes not only funding, but please be bold in helping your Catholic school to become authentically Catholic once again.  Our Bishops conference is leading the way.  Watch – the tide is turning.

  • Guest

    Greg,

    If you think the truth is "bashing" then Christ also must have been a "basher". 

    Concerning the Bishops Conference, the USCCB is voting this weekend to approve the teaching of "human sexuality" in kindergarten through 12th grade. No thanks Your Emminences. As the defender of my daughter's innocence NO ONE but her father or I should speak to her about this subject.  We are the only ones who can best determine when discussions like this are appropriate.  NEVER in a classroom with both sexes in attendance.  

    As a parent I refuse to jeopardize my child's soul to help a Catholic school become "authentic".   My parish school which we support with money and prayers is currently 90% non-catholic.  After years of being run by liberal nuns the school has almost no chance of turning around in the next few years.  The one truly Catholic school in our area is private and costs $10,000 per year. By the way, in our Archdioces they are not even allowed to call themselves a Catholic school. 

    If I do see anybody leading I will be sure watch.        

  • Guest

    Our parish offers free tuition to the children of active parishioners. It's in Montgomery, Al.

    http://www.olqm.org

     

    God bless you guys.

  • Guest

    I will not comment on the state of Catholic schools.  But I am glad to see hope out there.  I will pray.  Thanks for this ray of hope Heidi.

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    I could tell a few horror stories about some home-schooling families (and I truly can) – and then proclaim that all home-schoolers are worthless and should be closed down.  But I won't do that because its not true.  Catholic schools have made some huge mistakes these past 30 years (I would bet I know more horror stories than you do).  What shall we do about it?  Close them – or change them? 

    Two very simple questions are worth asking:  

    1)  What does the Church say about Catholic schools?  The answer is that the Church is very, very pro-Catholic schools. 

    2)  Would your parish benefit from a great Catholic school?  If the answer is yes, then why not work to get one.

    Why are we giving up so easily?  Be bold!  Fight to help make your Catholic schools authentic.

  • Guest

    Thank you for your articles on Catholic Education. I am a priest of the Diocese of Wichita. I am in Kingman, 40 miles west of Wichita. We have 390 families in the parish and 165 kids in our grade school. It is difficult to support the school, but it is a parish wide mission. The older people know that someone else built the school and funded it when they were just starting out. Now they can help the younger families. our annual budget is $850,000.

    The best thing about a good Catholic School is the involvement of the parents. They desire the best for their kids and they often tell me when something is falling short of orthodoxy. Our kids go to Mass 3 times a week and confession 3 times a semester. We pray the rosary and have time for adoration. However, all these good things can only be built on the faith and devotion the child experiences at home. Parents are indeed the first teachers of the faith. Our Catholic school strives to compliment the efforts of the family.

     peace

  • Guest

    Fr. Francis.  God Bless you!  Please pray for the rest of us!

  • Guest

    Please tell me where it says that the Church is pro-Catholic schools.  I looked at every site to education in the catechism and did NOT find even a single reference to Catholic schools. I did find passages that speak of the parents' right and duty to educate their children.  Also, that the HOME is well suited for the teaching of virtues(CCC 2223).

    Exactly who are we supposed to fight to get good Catholic schools?

    I appreciate your patience with my questions.   

  • Guest

    School is school. Catholic school is still school. A good school is still a school. School is an artificial, institutional, environment that has never been shown to be the best place for any child to learn anything and could not possibly be the best place for every child to learn all academic subjects. Take that back — it may be the best place for children to learn bullying and being bullied and how to be part of a herd (since 30% at least of any school day is consumed with crowd control).

  • Guest

    Here another question:  Exactly what is meant by "Catholic School" and "support Catholic Schools"?  What is the proper definition?  Is there one?

    Isn't Seton a "Catholic school".  How about "St. Thomas Aquinas Academy"?  There is an independent Catholic school in our area that I occasionally donate to.  Our parish does not have a school, but we donate to our parish and Eparchy both, and I assume some of that goes to various Eparchal schools.  I have occasionally purchased Christmas wreathes in order to support one of the local Catholic schools, etc, etc.

    I get the impression that when some people talk about "Catholic Schools" they ONLY mean the Diocesan (or Eparchal) schools, that Catholic homeschools and independent schools are not quite the real thing and "steal" resources (and people) away from the Diocesan/Eparchal schools, hence homeschool and the independant ones are not quite legitimate.

    Here is another question:  Why must I send my kids to another adult (and pay him or her) to teach them if I am capable of doing so myself?  Perhaps said adult might do a better job than I.  But what if said adult is limited in the time and materials s/he is able to use.  Maybe said adult is completely incompetent, even if well-meaning.

    I do not have a problem "supporting" Catholic schools (by the way, what is meant by support?  Money, prayers, good recomendations?), and I understand the need and the right of the Church to insist I give my children a Catholic education.  That is reasonable.  I have no problem with the Church telling me I "must support" Catholic school.  Again, I think that is reasonable.

    But I don't think the Church has the right to get into the specifics on exactly how to go about that: I don't think the Church has the right to tell me:  "When your child reaches the age of 6, you must send him to this particular school and pay these particular adults this particular 'just salary' wage so they can fulfill their teaching vocation."

      

  • Guest

    Dear Mary,

    I do support whole-heartedly those who homeschool their children. However, it isn't a viable option for many people. I love helping my children learn and seriously considered homeschooling, but my older son learns better in a structured environment where someone other than mom is introducing concepts and mandating work to be done. Then, he is willing to sit down with me after school and I help him learn more. I do believe much learning takes place outside the classroom, and my study of homeschooling helped me realize the importance of such learning and gave me a much better understanding of how children learn. I will never give up my responsibility as his primary teacher, but my son has a wonderful 1st grade teacher and is very happy at school this year. That means a lot to me.

    School is not perfect, but we do need to support and work to improve the Catholic schools we have. I am a product of Catholic education and am thankful for the education I received. 

  • Guest

    I didn't say that any parent did not have the right to send his or her children to any particular school. I didn't even say that some children are not happy in school.  A child being happy and a child learning are not always concurrent nor always opposed anyway so that is irrelevant.

    One of the reasons that homeschooling is not a viable option for so many is because moms have to work outside the home to afford a house in a decent neighborhood. Plus it is almost impossible for a family that is not intact due to divorce. It is also expensive, so that many parents who would otherwise do it balk at the expense.  I am not saying this in disregard of the fact that there are many happily married people with good incomes and a stay-at-home mother in the house who choose for perfectly good reasons to send their children off for the better part of most days to an institution to be educated.  It is what it is.  Many of those kids will turn out jsut fine and be very productive citizens. My daughter who is a Marine graduated from a public school in Georgia.

    Home is not perfect either.  That is because parents are not perfect.  But home is not an artificial, institutional, environment, either.

  • Guest

    The Catholic CHurch on CAtholic Schools – some resouces: 

    1.  "Declaration on Christian Education".  A major document of the 2nd Vatican Council.

    2.  "The Catholic School"

    3.  "Lay Catholic in Schools:  Witnesses to Faith",

    4.  "The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School",

    5.  "The Catholic School on the Threshold of the New Millenium".

    I am a strong proponent of Catholic schools.  This isn't an either-or proposition.  I am just trying to understand the venom against Catholic schools.

  • Guest

    Sorry…sent that last one a bit too soon.  I meant to say that I am a strong proponent of home-schooling.  I just also happen to be a strong proponent of Catholic Schools.  I have to be.  The Church insists on it.

  • Guest

    Since it is a fact of life that most children are going to be educated in some school or other, charity and justice demand that these should be the best schools they can be.  This means that as citizens of a particular nation, state, county or city, Catholics should be concerned about the quality of the public schools, private schools, and the Catholic schools.  The best way to improve the quality of ALL SCHOOLS is to give parents a choice.

    CHOICE=MONEY

    When I can get $8000/year per child that my state and county budget for the educaion of my child and CHOOSE for myself to give it to a private school, Catholic school, or to use it to homeschool, then I will have a true choice.  Slapping "Catholic" on something does not make it great. Catholic schools are just as likely to improve with parental choice and competition as any other school. And a vital part of the competition for all of them are homeschoolers. 

  • Guest

    I completely pro-choice when it comes to education :).

    Please take the time to read what the Church wants of "Catholic Schools".  It is a truly beautiful and inspiring perspective…and once again, worth fighting for.  I am not interested in fake Catholic schools anymore than the rest of you.  But there is not doubt that Satan would love to see all Catholic schools close. 

  • Guest

    The cause of the venon against Catholic schools is anger that is mostly justified. This anger is based on personal, family or friends experiences. Some may have nothing to do with the religious aspect of the school. Those usually involve differences of opinion, unresolved bullying or poor academics/teachers. 

    However, when it comes to matters of faith most people are upset over important issues that remain problems despite repeated attempts to fix.  These include heresies in textbooks, teachers who dissent from the magesterial teachings of the church, mandatory sex education and poor sacramental preparation.  I'm sure there are a multitude of other reasons. Everyone has a story to tell.  Unfortunately, each of these stories involves human beings with immortal souls. 

    Adults may not want their children to receive the same dumbed down catechesis that they received. (One of my main reasons for homeschooling.)  

    I agree that prolonged anger against schools does not do anyone any good.  But those who have tried and tried to "fix" a problem in their local Catholic school and gotten nowhere because of some heretical DRE may hold longlasting grudges. We all need to pray for forgiveness. As for me and most of my friends we will forgive then homeschool.  

    Until the faculty and staff of each school believes and teaches the Truths of the Church then support will be difficult.  When this great goal is accomplished then there is the issue of other students who are not being raised with Catholic morals.  They will tend to bring their worldly views into the classroom or at least into the recess yard.

    How can these goals be realized?  In this day and age I don't see how they can be.      

         

  • Guest

    Personal experience of my Catholic Education.  Parents didn't have enough money to send me or my siblings to Catholic Grade School.  I really wanted to go, but Couldn't. So, my parents said I could go to a Catholic HS if I paid half.  I got a job and paid half of the tuition to go to a Catholic HS.

    While there I was taught that masturbation is not a sin or even bad at all, among other things (by Catholic Viatorian brothers).  I also lost my understanding and belief in the True Presence.  I paid for that faith-destruction with my minimum wage part time work at Denny's.  It took me half a decade to get back my true understanding of the faith.  None of my high school buddies still attends Sunday Mass (22 years later), other than me.  They figure why go.  And if all I had was my HS formation, I'd also not go.

    So I figure, why pay money above taxes to get bad Catholic information from "Catholic authority figures" when my kids can get bad Catholic information at a public school from non authority figures?  This way they aren't Catholic authority figures and I can easily explain the real deal to my kids.  And also find other Catholic sources that will support their faith as well.

    (I didn't want to write that but greg you asked …) I'd rather build up the good Catholic School and hope the bad ones fall apart.  And forget about the past.

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    I am a product of Catholic schools as well.  Just to give you perspecrive, honestly my story is worst than every story thus far.  You do not have to convince me that Catholic schools went through (and continue to go through) some difficult times.  In fact, they entire Church is going through a difficult time.  

    So, shall we abandon it?  Do we abandon the Church?  Do we abandon the schools?  Is that what Christ would want?  During His passion, many apostles and disciples abandoned Him.  When His Church is going through its passion, the same happens.

    There seems to be a very close correlation between home-schoolers and anti-Catholic school setiment.  I would argue that even if you have great Catholic schools, homeschooling is a very good option, if it works for you.  Please don't feel that you need to downgrade every Catholic school in order to justify homeschooling.  These two great Catholic educational movements that are NOT at odds with each other.  In fact, they should be embracing and helping each other.

  • Guest

    Homeschool will be at odds with Catholic and private and public school, and Catholic and private schools will be at odds with public schools as long as there continues to be government monopoly on the taxes marked for education.  You want to see cooperation of Catholic and public schools with homeschoolers? You want to see homeschoolers helping to build up Catholic schools and neighborhood public schools? It is very easy to obtain that — let the education dollars come under parental control.

    Plus, remember that Catholic has nothing to do with it in some instances. Some people just dislike the concept of school, period — when it comes to their own family and children. I happen to be one of them. I respect the right of other parents to make that decision for themselves.

    However, the parents who send their kids to public school expect my family to pay for that in taxes and the parents who send their kids to the Catholic schools expect my family to pay something to the diocese toward that and the little private Catholic school (started by parents in my parish and that the diocese won't allow to call itself Catholic even though it is) also wants to stake a claim on financial support from my family. Meanwhile I homeschool and cannot reach into anyone else's pocket for help for that. (Or couldn't until this year when one of the virtual K12 academies opened up in Georgia.) The bottom line is that homeschoolers generally  pay twice as much as everyone else for education.

    I'd like to get back to the very direct and concrete questions posed by gburns and tednkate above.  Let me paste them in here for clarity:

    Exactly who are we supposed to fight to get good Catholic schools?

    Exactly what is meant by "Catholic School"?  What is the proper definition?  Is there one?

    What is meant by "support Catholic Schools"?  Money, prayers, good recomendations?

    Why must I send my kids to another adult (and pay him or her) to teach them if I am capable of doing so myself?

  • Guest

    mkochan:

    In the above mentioned Church documents, you will find a very beautiful basis for what a "Catholic School" should be.  Honestly, I have never met a Catholic school that matches up to what the Church asks.  I've been involved in various forms of education for over 25 years – everything from 7th grade through and including college level teaching.  I've taught 15 years in public schools and the past 11 years in a Catholic school.  I personally know several home-schooling families that I try to support whenver I can.  I have a masters in education. 

    I have never read anything that is as beautiful and as visionary as the Church documents on education and the Church documents on Catholic schools.  I have read all of the documents (some several times) as I have worked to develop Mission statements etc. for our local Catholic school.

    To say that Catholic Schools and Public schools are the same concept of a bad idea is frankly…not Catholic.  Read the Church documents on education and you might be suprised that you are in fact at odds with the Church.  Most folks in this forum would call you a "cafeteria Catholic" (I don't mean to be trite.  But until you read the Church documents on education, I really don't know if you recognize that you are truly at odds with the Church on this).

    Catholic schools are the only schools capable of a "true education" because Catholic schools are the only schools capable of understanding "who man is".  And on it goes…far too much for this venue.

    The Church is very much pro-education in all forms.  Everyone (including home-schoolers) eventually need to learn from somebody besides Mom and Dad, because most Moms and Dads are incapable of the rigor of every subject (I would say from high school on up generally, although there are obviously exceptions). 

    The other obvious problem with your (what I would call narrow) view is giving good options to children of parents that in fact can't and won't teach them at home.  Every child deserves to be educated in light of the faith.  Every child.  Your child, my child…every child.  We have to look past just our own little family and consider the child of every family.

    More to come.

  • Guest

    Excuse me. FWIW, I am familiar with the Church documents on education. Those questions were not mine, as I indicated.

    (And BTW, did you observe within those Church documents that adolescent boys and girls should not be educated together?)

    I am not "at odds" with the Church. I did not say that public and Catholic schools were the "same concept;" I just related that both of them want my familiy's money to educate other people's children but make no money available to me to educate my children. That is hardly the same as saying that they are the "same concept." I am not even "against" Catholic schools. I have a grandchild in a private Catholic school at the moment at considerable expense and trouble to myself, I might add.

    A school is not capable of understanding anything because it is institution. It has no soul. PERSONS who found, maintain, administer, and staff said institution may or may not have any particular understanding. Since the understanding in question inheres in a person, that understanding may also inhere in a parent.

    Let's see. I think that parents who want to rely upon Catholic, private or public schools to educate their children have the right to make that choice and that the tax money for every child's education should be designated by the parents for whichever school choice the parent makes including homeschool. While on the other hand you want parents not to have the option of homeschooling because some of them may do a poor job. And my view you call "narrow."

    There is one paragraph in your little essay above that demonstrated such a complete and utter ignorance of homeschooling that you have lost every shred of credibility in even making mention of the subject.  Can you guess which one it is? Please ponder that for a while and I will come back later and tell you.

  • Guest

    Sorry…not sure what FWIW means…or BTW.  Where have I ever said I am against homeschooling?  Are we reading the same thing?

  • Guest

    I'm assuming the "paragraph that demonstrates a complete and utter ignorance of homeschooling" is the paragraph where I began my explanation on why "CAtholic schools" should not necessarily be lumped into the same category as "public schools".  THat was my point…that paragraph was not meant to state that "only Catholic schools can teach".  Public schools will always be inherently weaker due to the athiestic influence, they can't truly understand who man is (made in image of God, fallen, redeemed, etc.).  The salvation of public education is the extraordinary Christian teachers that teach.

     

    My apologies for mistaking your questions for others.  If you didn't want them answered, why did you ask them?

  • Guest

    I think the point of disagreement (for some of us anyway) is that "Catholic" schools are not always very Catholic.

    If the "Catholic" school is just a run-down poor cousin of the public school with hand-me-down public school secular government textbooks and just happens to have CCD class built-in so that the parents, er, of course I mean children, do not have to put in an extra hour on Sunday — sorry, that is not a Catholic school. Even if it's on the parish property.

    If the staff and especially teachers are not Catholic, or at least capable of presenting the Catholic faith sympathetically in every subject, then, sorry, it is not a Catholic school.

    If bullying is tolerated, if the liturgy and the sacraments are not celebrated, if math, science, history and reading are not built on the heritage of Catholic intellectual thought and rigor which is our birthright, then it is not a Catholic school.

    If the library is not stocked with good, solid Catholic literature for every grade level, but instead has the secular Scholastic books of Captain Underpants/Spongebob and dragon/serpent fan club-style books, then sorry again.

    So I think many more people are ready and willing to fight for Catholic schools.  We are not willing to fight for "Catholic" schools.

  • Guest

    Since answering any of the other questions will probably just be interpretted as another attack on home-schoolers, maybe I should just finish with the following:

    1.  I am a strong supporter of home-schooling.  I have re-read my posts and continue to be amazed at how people just frankly read what they want to read.

    2.  I have experienced personally the depravity of the Catholic school system over the past 40 years.  I do not deny it existed and continues to exist in places.

    3.  Reguardless of #2 above, I think that the Church is clear in teaching that we are to support our Catholic schools.  I agree with the Church that they are worth fighting for.  So…that's what I'm going to do.

    4.  I too would love to see vouchers…who wouldn't?  Until then…

    God Bless!

  • Guest

    The other point of disagreement I think is our response to the "not very Catholic" schools.  Roll over and die?  Let the secularists and private schoolers take them over?  Not without a battle…at least not here!

  • Guest

    We have nine children.  We do not homeschool at this time, although we have in the past. We have two of them in the Catholic school and three in the public school.  One is at a Catholic college; the others are still too young to be in school.

    I myself am a beneficiary and victim of various public schools, Catholic school, and "Catholic" school.

    I don't think the spectre of private secularists "taking over" a Catholic school is very shocking — it happens all the time without a whimper.

    I think it was Bishop Sheen who said he would rather his nieces and nephews go to a government school and have to defend their faith than to go to a Catholic school and lose their faith.

    I realize it's not easy.

    But it is worth it.

  • Guest

    "For what it's worth" and "by the way."

    Nope the paragraph was this one:

    The Church is very much pro-education in all forms.  Everyone (including home-schoolers) eventually need to learn from somebody besides Mom and Dad, because most Moms and Dads are incapable of the rigor of every subject (I would say from high school on up generally, although there are obviously exceptions). 

    Its that silly idea that homeschoolers deprive their children of being educated by others as though they don't make use of outside cirriculum and various kinds of classes and are solely reliant upon themselves.  You can claim to be a strong supporter of homeschooling, but you don't even demonstarte that you know what homeschooling is or how it can function advantageously to a child in upper grades. How can you support something that you do not even understand?

    Once again you have thrown forward this "battle" language.  But you have not explained WHO the Catholic layperson is supposed to be fighting here or HOW. Nor have you acknowledged the primacy of a parent's and grandparent's responsiblity to his or her own children and grandchildren and that it may simply be a physical and financial impossiblity to both provide for the education of his or her own family's children and try to "fight" for Catholic schools at the same time.

    Who wouldn't love to see vouchers? Hmmm… are you or are you not a member of a teacher's union?

  • Guest

    Subsidiarity is a basic principle of Justice. That which can be done at the local level, ought to be done at the local level.

    The government will always try to usurp power. It will always be a battle to protect yourself from the government. As a pastor of a catholic school I love that we can operate independently of the government. It is a great expression of freedom, only surpassed by the family.

    The first local level is the family. This is the first place of education in everything. The parish Catholic school exists to assist the parents in their duty to educate their children. If they can do it completely on their own then God bless them. If they need or want help then the Catholic School ought to be there to help them. I went to Catholic School 1st -12th, but my parents also made sure to reinforce the faith. Many fellow classmates no longer practice the faith. Perhaps the faith was not lived at home, perhaps the family naively relied on the Catholic School to do their job.

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    WOW!

    I could say much – here’s some few –

    As long as schools are for the teachers and the hospitals are for the doctors – vis-a-vis ‘student’ and ‘patient’ – both stink! I’ve known and said that since I was in my early twenties. And, I ain’t no prophet, just an observer. And, yes, things in both institutions have only grown worse as well as more expensive. And, I notice that teachers and physicians as less pleased, satisfied or happy, as well.

    Catholic schools have been sliding ever since parents became more and more ‘like everyone else’. Catechetics has long been mere another-class-another-textbook curriculum, too often foisted by drivel-headed know-betters. Even so, over forty years ago, forced into a public middle school for lack of space in the Catholic school, I (and my brother, the two eldest of five) couldn’t wait to spend my/our own hard-earned savings to go to an all-boys Catholic high school. I paid all my own tuition, fees, etc., as I worked to be as much ‘away from public-school’ as much as being in a Catholic – private – all-boys high school. NO – not a one – NADA – regrets on our parts.

    When my daughter, five years old and already an avid reader of Good Housekeeping Magazine and ready listener to Daddy’s bedtime readings, went off to Catholic-school kindergarten I held out this hope to my wife: “Well, let’s see how they’ll screw up what we started.” I shoulda homeschooled our greatest treasure, quite frankly and without doubt.

    Education is keyed to family – parents with children – supported by every community which benefits from well-educated, well-adjusted families [YEP! Mom and Dad, too] providing the next generation of leaders, workers, etc. As Madame Kochan hits it square on the head – get government out of it, communities into it, the money-power and education-drive in the families’ hands – and HEY! PRESTO! Get out of the way of positive change.

    Catholic catechetics? Maybe we need a lay-founded (as in ‘family-directed-and-focused’) catechism of catechetical education? . . .

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In the Suffering of Christ, and in His hope of His Resurrection,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    There still is a beautiful ray of hope in Heidi's article.  We cannot let it be buried under our many disagreements.  Our human logic guarantees failure.  Why else would it lead us to statements that separate us instead of uniting us.  I do not scold anyone but myself if my words do not, through God's heart, help us see past our frailty.  Is not our only hope in Christ? 

    Is not our hope that the Holy Spirit enables us children of God to allow Him into the shell of the Catholic schools that we feel we have built and must maintain to our standards? 

    Even though we get in the way, there is hope and love supreme.  I will continue to pray in the knowledge that Truth has come to us and is with us now.  Come Holy Spirit …

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Well said, gk. There is every reason to hope in the Lord.

    I think we are in agreement in that we support making a Catholic education available to children for that exact reason — to pass on the faith at our heavenly Father's command through the Church established by His Son with the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Where we disagree so much is how we do it. Handing a child a token and calling it the coin of the realm doesn't quite measure up.

  • Guest

    I'm a home-schooler!

    I didn't realize I was until about 5 years ago when my children and my brothers children both entered high school age.  My brother's children are homeschooled.  When my brothers children entered high school, they took classes at the local Community College, volunteered at a local Adventist hospital, they took music from the Adventist High School, and they did their sports at a small town about 20 miles away (their kids had a better opportunity to play their than at the large local public high school).

    That's when I realized – I'm a high-school home-schooler as well.  The only difference between my kids and my brothers kids was that I send my kids to the Catholic high school for academics, I send them to the Catholic high school for music, and we do sports at…you guessed it, the local Catholic HIgh School.

    See Ms Kochan…I know a bit about homeschooling – since I too homeschool! 

  • Guest

    Fr. Fancis – excellent comments.  Thank you for your wisdom.

     

    Truly we need to realize the danger of the socialist agenda which tries to usurp the family with institutions like schools.  The principal of subsidiarity has a beautiful application in education.  THis is another reason why (at least in principal), the Catholic school is fundamentally different than public schools. 

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