Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catholic Schools Produce Apostates?

Catholic Vote has  an interesting post on a new study about protestant and Catholic schools. The key conclusion seems to be that protestants are better at producing graduates who pray, read scripture and actually live their faith while Catholics...well... we get into college. But that is ok, because with our superior education and catholic identity we get to rise to the top of society and become politicians who... support grave evils. Yipee?

Here's the deal. I know a lot of Catholic schools are struggling. I know our local schools is. Bishops are making appeals for support, Pastors are running around trying to find money and (some) parents are making desperate bids to "save their school", but why? Catholic schools are a tool. They aren't divinely instituted. If the tool you are using breaks, you get another one. If the tool doesn't do the job, you find one that does. Catholic schools can be great, but great Catholic schools don't need to be saved (except for extreme circumstances). Great Catholic schools bear fruit and that fruit is life. Bad catholic schools die, as they should.

In many of these bad schools, even the administration admits that the point isn't to form students in thier Catholic faith, but to produce college graduates (as if we couldn't do both). Someone in my area recently told me that discussions about whether our school was primarily "Catholic" or "private" were becoming more frequent. (The issue was whether we shouldn't tone down the faith to get more non-Catholic students and increase revenue.) If we are even having that discussion then we have already failed. Unfortunately, for every family that wants a to instill a solid Catholic identity in these dying schools there are 10 more and 2 faculty members that are practically atheistic.

If you have a great Catholic school then you are blessed. Support it. For those of us who do not, I think Catholic homeschooling associations are the next great tool for Catholic education. First, in order to homeschool, every parent MUST be dedicated. Secondly, there are no heterodox teachers or faculty members to worry about. Third, you know exactly what your child is getting. And Finally, you can still have the support of a community.


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