Dr. Clark was weaned on both the Faith and the importance of education and family values. Born Mary Katherine Lynch in Washington, D.C. on December 4, 1939 the first of nine children, she learned responsibility and concern for others at an early age and, like a sponge, soaked up all her parents imparted and did. While she was still fairly young the family moved to Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of the nation's capitol. Her folks were actively involved in the Republican Party campaigning for better legislation for education and family matters. Her father was also intricately involved in bettering the state of the school system, running for the local school board. Besides their interest in secular family concerns, her parents were extremely active in Church activities and the parish school system. As early as the 50's her mother and father were instrumental in fighting pornography and giving lectures to parental groups in helping children. The importance of all of this had a profound effect on Mary Kay.
Her father, an attorney, got an offer he couldn't refuse with a law firm and the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the fifties where Mary Kay matriculated through Catholic High School and then enrolled at Ursuline College in Cleveland where she graduated in June of 1961. That same month she married a young man Bruce Clark whom she had met during her college years. He was serving in the celebrated Green Beret unit of the Marine Corps and their marriage bliss was interrupted for a while since Bruce was dispatched to the Berlin theater in Germany and then the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. But he returned to the love of his life and their first child Ken was born in 1962. Ken, a lawyer today, is very active in Seton Home Study School. The couple would be blessed with six more boys - Kevin, today a computer specialist; Daniel, who works in government; Paul who received his PhD from Catholic University; Jim, who also is involved with Seton; John, who owns his own investment firm; and the youngest Timothy, who has joined the Seton staff after graduating from Christendom this past May. That's the Clark clan, a family of high achievers! And all seven boys, with high grades and college degrees, began that journey at home with home teaching!
The seeds of this excellent method of training began early in the Clarks' marriage. Even as a young mother Mary Kay felt the need to learn more and achieve and so she pursued a Masters at Cleveland's Western Reserve University, graduating in 1965 with a degree in Library Science. This was followed by a Masters in School Administration at Grace College and a PhD in Education from Assumption University. During the turbulent sixties, Mary Kay and her mother teamed up to unmask the crisis in the Church, refuting the liberal elements that wanted to introduce feminist ideology, socialism and liberation theology into the Church. The family moved to Columbus, Ohio in the late sixties and Mary Kay continued to research the new concepts being perpetrated on Catholics by new religion texts influenced by the so-called reforms of Vatican II. They had been adopted by many of the parish schools and CCD programs and Mary Kay was alarmed, so much so that she began pouring through Church doctrine comparing what has always been solid Church teaching to the newer versions. She discovered a watered-down compromised version emanating from giant publishers that were infiltrating the Church and confusing the faithful. Mary Kay went into action. She began contacting other parents and discovered they had the same concerns. Because of her background, a parental group in Columbus requested that she analyze a catechism series and form a group who would fight against sex education and meet with pastors and Catholic educators to curb this runaway trend to change the meaning of what the Church intended. She met with Diocesan Boards and bishops, but still couldn't make the impact she felt was needed as modernist methods infiltrated the schools even further.
She realized the only way to preserve the Faith and teach the children right was to form their own Catholic school. Thus, in 1971 Mater Dei Academy was founded with Mary Kay serving as the first principal. It grew tremendously as more dissatisfied parents enrolled their children throughout the seventies and is still flourishing today. As the eighties dawned Bruce and Mary Kay moved the entire family to Front Royal, Virginia where Ken and Kevin were enrolled at the renowned and respected Christendom College. It was during this time that a new venture would evolve. Anne Carroll, wife of Christendom College's founder and noted author-historian Warren Carroll, had begun Seton Home Study School in 1982 as a private parent-operated school in Manassas, Virginia. Mary Kay joined the school as Assistant Director that same year and shortly thereafter she became Director. From that time an enrollment of 50 students taking home studies has mushroomed to over 10,000 students worldwide. In addition to the home schooling, Seton has operated a day school that has doubled since 1982 but remains at 200 for quality reasons. The Seton organization began in one-room of the Seton School building and in 1991, because of its phenomenal growth, split as a legal entity with the day school. Today the Seton Home Study School has a ten-thousand square foot two-story building employing 100 men and women as well as operating a warehouse that houses books and educational materials sent to students all across the country and overseas.
A year after becoming Director, Dr. Mary Kay was instrumental in founding the Home Educator's Association of Virginia where she served as Executive Secretary for several years. Eventually her husband Bruce joined Seton as a family counselor as well as teaching high school history, government and current politics. Bruce himself is somewhat of a local celebrity, having recently penned a historic novel, The Custer Legacy, as well as co-hosting a radio talk show. As Seton's reputation has grown, Dr. Clark has been more in demand as a frequent speaker at home education and family conferences. Speaking to countless parents, she has discovered that, whether they are in the U.S., Canada or Australia, all have the same grave concerns. It is an alarming pattern that Seton Home Study School is striving to alleviate. It begins with families first going to Church authorities with their concerns; then when they realize their complaints have fallen on deaf ears, they take matters into their own hands by pulling their children out of schools that are "Catholic" in name only. The alternative is to teach them at home and Dr. Clark and Seton Home Study School have the tools to help them. No doubt as more parochial schools cave to modern demands for a more liberal curriculum, a secular philosophy where Catholic principles are sacrificed for the sake of non-Catholic students with money, and catering to government standards in order to qualify for funding at the expense of compromising the Faith, more parents will gravitate toward the excellent curriculum Seton and a handful of newer Catholic Home Study organizations are offering.
We personally know this problem first hand for when our oldest son Kevin was in first grade at a San Diego "Catholic" school we realized there were no crucifixes in the classrooms. When we asked the teachers and principal why such a vital sacramental of our Faith was sadly and noticeably missing we were given the feeble excuse, "A cross with the tortured Christ on it would be too traumatic for the little children." Talk about a flimsy reason! We replied strongly that children should be weaned on the Crucifix as a reminder of why Christ died for all His children. When that was met with an apathetic "oh, well" we pulled him out and enrolled in the Seton Home Study program which we can endorse heartily as an excellent Catholic curriculum. Both boys remained with Seton until our move to Dallas where our new parish of St. Pius X provided what Catholic education should be at a parish parochial school. For those who are not blessed with a thorough and true Catholic curriculum at their parish school or Diocesan High School, we highly recommend you look into the Seton courses by going to Seton Home Study School on the web. You might also be interested in her best-selling book, Catholic Home Schooling: A Handbook for Parents.
Dr. Clark has met with bishops and cardinals and made several trips to Rome, conferencing with the Congregation for Catholic Education headed by Cardinal Pio Laghi, former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. She has also met more than once with His Holiness Pope John Paul II who gave an enthusiastic endorsement in which he praised her for her "good work" when she presented him with materials from Seton. She emphasized to the Vicar of Christ that today's parents are more concerned with their childrens' souls than their minds and therefore, are taking advantage of their God-given privilege and grave obligation to be the primary educators of their offspring as Pope Pius XI's December 21, 1930 encyclical Casti connubii "On Christian Marriages" where he wrote, "The blessing of offspring, however, is not completed by the mere begetting of them, but something else must be added, namely the proper education of the offspring." John Paul II himself has spoken and written often about the parents' God-given rights to educate their children in the Faith and endorsed orthodox Catholic home schooling. Traditional values should be paramount for all parents, Catholic and non-Catholic, but Catholic parents are blessed with the additional precious gift of the Faith and the spiritual way of life Catholicism provides through the adoration of Jesus and the veneration of His Blessed Mother Mary and the various devotions that are traditional in the Church through the sacramental life which is established in the home. Not a bad place to continue these traditions!
As pagan ideas cloud our society today, more parents are concerned how the media and the actions of our leaders are perverting our children's minds, hearts and souls, not to mention their bodies. Too many children are either losing their faith through the influence of the world or through the confusion of compromised Catholic teaching of which so many Dioceses are guilty. Parents are realizing just how important their roots are and the uncompromising love their parents and grandparents extended in assuring they would have a solid Catholic education. They want the same for their children and, until bishops wake up to the undermining going on in their dioceses by modernists and dissident groups like Call To Action and that ilk, Dr. Clark will continue to provide the perfect alternative to giving families the kind of Catholic education the Church was famous for in the 40's and 50's when dedicated nuns ruled with rulers and exhibited genuine concern for their subjects' welfare. Dr. Mary Kay Clark, a product of a large loving family who has produced a large loving family of her own, realizes the God-given talents she's been given and is striving to use those gifts in maintaining strong Catholic families preparing new leaders in the Church for the new millennium. The family is the heart of a strong Church and Dr. Mary Kay Clark is helping pump up family hearts, aflame with love for their children and the Church, with an orthodox curriculum that will not be compromised. Mother Seton must be pleased!
What would changing the flag do? And what of the people who sponsored it? Wouldn't one be concerned that they would invest it with what 'they' thought America should be? I mean, one wouldn't trust a contest sponsored by the KKK or the Communist Party of America would they? In fact, it would be doubtful that 'any' group in America would be trusted in 're-creating' the American flag.
So why would anyone think that creating a 'new Jesus for a new millenium' would be any different? And considering that it's the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) sponsoring it, why would anyone think that the 'new' Jesus wouldn't be according to their vision?
On Thursday the 19th of August, on the Today Show, the NCR reported a contest for a 'new' Jesus.
The first question, of course would be, "What's wrong with the One we have?"
"One could go on to argue why this is so, or why people are looking elsewhere for solutions and solace and ultimate meaning, why so many churches, once full on Sundays across the world, are closed or nearly empty now. There are various reasons why Jesus is perceived to be less central to the culture than in the past. Today, He seems remote, elbowed aside in the secular world's hectic pursuit of success and good times. The popular image is vague, not compelling as He must have been on Galilean hillsides or at the Last Supper. If the Christian religion is, as we insist, some amazing relationship with its founder, with this Savior whose 2,000th birthday anniversary, approximately, it is, then the picture we have of Jesus becomes paramount. But we have lost touch with this Jesus, a down-to-earth person who at the same time incarnated divinity and pointed to a transcendent world."
On the surface, this seems logical, except when we consider that a Jesus on Galilean hillsides or at the Last Supper wouldn't have been very compelling to the Romans or others outside of Israel. It wasn't even very compelling IN Jerusalem. As before, we see the image of empty pews and closed churches as the reason we need this 'new' Jesus. But again, isn't it the teaching of the NCR and their parent organization, Call To Action, that essentially encourages these empty pews and churches? I mean, if we are free to create our own theology and worship, what do we need pews and churches for? Again, we see the Church portrayed as a populist organization.
"Scripture scholars and theologians have written endlessly about this Christ. Millions of words have been published. Yet the image is fading."
Is it because of a picture that the image is fading? Or rather that the image is being eradicated? Replaced with a false notion of Christ? It's amazing that Call To Action and NCR are among the first to belittle anyone who writes about Christ and doesn't follow their manifesto.
"Can it be that the spirit of the age excludes messiahs and saviors? Or that the mainline churches, wrestling with their various demons, have smothered the founder? Perhaps that is why our world fails to link the millennium to the person of Jesus Christ."
Or is that the 'spirit of this age' wishes to remake the Messiah and Savior in their own image? Is it that they hope to smother the founder emphasized by the 'mainline churches' in favor of heterodox messiah that 'they' want?
"While the project is, first and last, a visual art competition, its nature and purpose require that the theme be paramount. There are theological and philosophical considerations in this search for an image that will capture the hopes of a hankering humanity as we walk over the threshold toward another thousand years together on earth."
An image capture the hopes of a hankering humanity? Christ does that already? The image of Christ does that. His birth, death, and resurrection does all that! However, we see that this contest must fit a set theological and philosophical criteria. Again, whose?
"Entry in the competition implies submission to the rules and decisions of the judges and NCR,"
The NCR and their judges will set it. Now, normally, this wouldn't cause much concern. But we have to recall, this is sponsored by a group and their publication that openly teaches that the laity, as the 'People of God' are the teaching authority of the Church, that called for an end to the Curia and a co-papacy. Who advocate radical feminists issues such as women priests, and the notion of Father/mother God or the God/dess. Contributors to the NCR are a who's who of Catholic dissent:
Fiedler struck the convergence theme in a homily. She predicted changes under the next papacy but warned that these changes may come with strings attached. "The acceptance of a married clergy is very likely to be one of the first changes," she said. "I will be among the first to applaud and celebrate this step toward resurrection as long as -- for example -- those who accept such a priesthood are not required to reject the idea that women can be priests... By the same token, if women are ordained, we cannot accept a requirement that we exclude our gay brothers or lesbian sisters, or that we refuse Communion to those of other faith traditions, nor can any of us take stands that exclude whole classes of people from church or priesthood."
Nuff said? Who is really responsible for the 'tearing of the body of Christ'? Who is really responsible for so many having lost touch with this Jesus? Is Jesus changeable to the times? Is He different from the hillsides of Galilee, from the hamlets of medieval Europe and the streets of modern America?
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents" (Hebrews 13: 8-9).
What has the NCR and Call To Action lost sight of? Christ! The same Christ who built His Church on Peter. The same Christ who gave the Apostles and their successors the authority to teach in His name, to guide His Church. And they reject that Church and her Councils, including Vatican II, in favor of a more pliable, changeable Christ and Church. We don't need a 'new' Jesus for the new millenium, we need a return to Christ and the teachings He has given His people through His Church. We need to re-evangelize. Not just non Catholics and non Christians, but Catholics as well. One doesn't repair a broken porch by simply repainting it, and one doesn't recover their faith with a 'new' image of Jesus. One doesn't change the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo's David just because it doesn't inspire awe as it once did. One tries to show why we should be awed by them.
"For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, 'How shall we return?' "(Malachi 3:6-7).
A new Jesus? No, what we need is a return to Jesus. A renewal in Him and His promises. " And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19) [The Papacy].
" Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age' (Matthew 28: 16-20) [The Magesterium, the teaching authority of the Church, teaching with His authority for all time].
And while under their guidance, and faithful to it, we are "the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).
Or as Vatican II taught:
Pax Christi, Pat