DAILY CATHOLIC - THURSDAY, February 5, 1998    volume 9, no. 26


Installment Fifty-seven

Wake-up Call to all Catholics the thirtieth clarion

installment fifty-seven

Beware of False Prophets in the American Church - part seventeen: Restoring Faith in our Faith through Education - part two
"Even so, it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that a single one of these little ones should perish."

Matthew 18: 14
     In honor of "Catholic Schools Week" last week we continue the thread begun last installment with the second of two parts of our "state-of-the-system" report as to what's right and what's wrong with our Catholic Schools system. As we indicated last week, government weaseled into the picture offering grants and exemptions which were enticing to money-starved schoools and diocese in the seventies and eighties. But with the outpouring of federal funds came stipulations that the receiver must follow. Without truly analyzing the consequences and because of the money issue, many bishops signed on the dotted line. Sex education was introduced into the schools, questionable books regarding history and science that denigrated the Church and altered events according to the "political correctness" of the times filtered into the curriculums. At the high school level Latin, which had been a requirement at most Catholic schools with the annual incentive of the prestigious Auxilium Latinum awards, was phased out. In its place came more secular subjects, moving farther and farther away from a Catholic education as we once knew it. Oh, lip service was paid to Catholic services on Holy Days of Obligation or important liturgical functions in some schools, but for the most part it was a no-no to bring up anything "Catholic" for fear it would offend the many non-Catholics attending a presumably Catholic institution. Religion classes became a joke as the CCD curriculums from various sources infiltrated the system promoting more and more liberal agendas, emphasizing peace and justice from a human point of view, giving little play to the spiritual and even less to the traditions and teachings of Holy Mother Church. Little by little CCD classes in each parish became a mish-mosh of the same. Children attended who didn't want to be there.

      As the years have passed it has become only too evident that the reforms in Catholic education enacted since Vatican II are not working. Ask any grade school child to tell you the Ten Commandments, recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, or list the Seven Sacraments and you're in for a big surprise. Most will go "duh!" in their best Bart Simpson imitation. They don't know what our faith is all about because it isn't important to them. That's a sad fact. It's also a sad fact that many parishes and parents have become partners in this crime. They don't emphasize the faith or the teachings, watering down everything and placing Catholicism on the back burner, so-to-speak. Programs such as Total Catholic Education have become a joke because the diocese, strapped for funds are relying heavily on government funding and grants, thus being dictated to what goes in the curriculum. Yet this program proposes to take education away from the parish level and spread it across the board including adult education. It may work in some incidences, but in the parish school our boys attended for two years in Dallas it wouldn't work because the parish school was so excellent and the pastor a strong advocate of a solid, traditional Catholic education. But this was the exception rather than the rule. No wonder so many concerned Catholic parents have turned to home schooling, enrolling in such stellar curriculums as Seton Home Study and Our Lady of the Rosary programs. They provide what the nuns used to provide: a solid, well-rounded Catholic education with the emphasis on "Catholic." As we described in our editorial last week during "Catholic Schools Week," the theme of "Catholic Schools Week" this year is "Restoring Faith in Education." If we're talking about the education standards in Catholic schools today, folks, we're in big trouble. The emphasis should be in "Restoring Faith in our Faith through Education."...in other words, "Put Faith back into Education. For only by re-emphasizing our Catholic Faith, by re-teaching our Faith to the generations - including many parents - can we truly restore faith in the Catholic education system. We can do this by disgarding the government programs and appealing to parishioners to help perpetuate the Faith by donating to the cause. We can do this by fostering vocations with an emphasis on sacrifice and commitment. To paraphrase a President, "Ask not what your Church can do for you, but ask what you can do for your Church." For by helping Holy Mother Church, Christ will greatly reward our efforts. That is the only way we can once again have total confidence in our Catholic education system. Without trusting in God and doing as He wants the education standards will drop to an all-time low. Gaging from the status of Catholic education today, it can't fall much lower, but it will unless we take the bull by the horns and say "enough" let's put Faith back in education. Then Faith will work for education and that education will sire Faith. It is a responsibility we cannot take lightly. It is a mission that we will be held accountable for. Afterall, as Catholics we have made a commitment to Christ to uphold His words in Matthew 18: 14, "Even so, it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that a single one of these little ones should perish."

To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.

Textonly Visitors to date in 1998