THURSDAY

January 29, 1998   vol 9, no. 21    

SECTION ONE



Restoring Faith in Catholic Education

      Today, in our on-going feature megaseries on the Church today, we tackle the education issue in the first of a two-parter on the "state-of-the-system" as part of covering "Catholic Schools Week." We review what we once had in Catholic education and how it eroded over the past thirty years, pinpointing the problems and offering solutions. For the fifty-sixth installment and thirtieth clarion wake-up call to all Catholics, click on WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?

Wake-up Call to all Catholics the thirtieth clarion

installment fifty-six

Beware of False Prophets in the American Church - part seventeen: Restoring Faith in our Faith through Education
"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" we devote this installment and next week's to what's right and what's wrong with our Catholic Schools system. This would have been a mute point thirty or forty years ago. As obedient Catholics we belonged to a parish which we supported through ours or our parents' tithing. By this membership in the parish it also entitled the children to attend a Roman Catholic school at the parish, usually first through eighth grade. The costs were minimal compared to today. Why? First of all, cost of faculty. The administrators and teachers were the parish priests and the order of dedicated nuns assigned to the parish. Living on parish grounds in a sizeable convent, they committed their day to the children. They were tough because they believed in the addage that a "tree needs a lot of wind to make it grow strong and tall." They were tough because they knew the importance of instilling a solid faith in the children. But most of all, they were fair and loving in giving of their time and talents. They didn't have to worry about politics, they didn't have to deal with parental pressure or special group blocs or political correctness garbage. The Church said it, they believed it and taught it, that settled it! Vocations flourished as young girls visualized doing the same as Sister Honorata or Sister Josephine. Young men saw themselves doing the same things as young Father Joe or someday being a pastor like Father William. So what happened to this idyllic setting?

     The answer is the end of the age of innocence which ushered in an increase of divorce, two-parent employment, abandonment of the faith by the young people once they reached the collegiate years, and a rebellion within the ranks in the aftermath of Vatican II. Religious orders relaxed their rules and where once nuns obeyed without a whimper, now they challenged everything. They tasted worldly things and shed the habits and veils of their commitment, opting for dresses, blouses, hairdoes. They started to be concerned about money, the time they put in to their "jobs" of teaching as infringing on their free time. What they willingly gave of their heart before Vatican II, now the sisters and many priests begrudgingly ministered to their flocks while keeping one eye on the clock, not wanting to miss some of their new-found freedoms of the world. As this attitude began to permeate through the rank and file members of the Church, tithing decreased. Why should we support them when they're not giving as much time as they used to? hard-working parents would rationalize. As divorce and modernism came more into vogue in the seventies and eighties, religion became less important to them and consequently their children. Why pay twice for an education? They could just as readily send their kids to the public school down the street since they were already paying taxes for it. As this exodus from the Catholic schools continued, more and more nuns grew old with few to take their place. This forced parish administrators to look outside religious orders for teachers. While the Catholic schools had always had fringe lay teachers assisting in certain areas or heading departments such as coaching, science, etc. because of their expertise, now the laity began taking over. But, unlike the nuns who taught without pay because their order supported them in a communal mode, the lay teachers had to be paid. Schools began charging tuition. For many dedicated Catholic parents it was too much. As much as they would have liked to send their offspring to a Catholic school, they couldn't afford it. With the enrollment dwindling, parishes began to regroup, looking for other ways to fill their quota of students. They began advertising to all faiths. No longer, they claimed, was Catholic school just for Catholics but rather for all who wanted a solid education. The money started to pour in as well-to-do children of all faiths, too good to attend public school, began attending Catholic schools. But with the money comes clout and the parents started demanding what should be taught, primarily not the faith for that would offend their children. Never mind it was a Catholic school. Money dictated the curriculum. Slowly but surely statues were removed and crucifixes were taken down since that would be too traumatic on the children. That's a fact. We were told by a teacher at a Catholic grade school years ago where we enrolled our boys in the early grades. Immediately after that revelation we pulled them out and began home-schooling our sons in the true faith. Convents once teeming with vibrant, dedicated nuns became deserted. Parishes turned them into warehouses for storage, extra classrooms, what have you. What few nuns were left were forced to scramble for a nearby apartment down the street. Bishops became more and more demanding of the parishes that they account financially for their schools. When they didn't, schools were closed, parishes consolidated. What once was taken for granted that the parish in your vicinity would take care of all your needs, now became a rare privilege. With the decrease in schools, dioceses began taking over the administration, centralizing the focus away from the parish level to the diocesan level. Government programs came into play and with it restrictions that further diluted the Catholic faith and introduced programs totally alien to the faith.

Next week we will continue this thread as we delve into how State interfered with Church and greatly hurt the Church on the primary, secondary and collegiate levels.


How many would vouch for vouchers?

      Today's commentary continues in the same vein as the feature above and yesterday's editorial on "Catholic Schools Week." Today's commentary poses the question raised from Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in his rebuttal to Clinton's state-of-the-union speech Tuesday night about offering parents a voucher so they could send their kids to the school of their choice. We take it a step further, gearing his remarks toward Catholic schools and a chance to escape the doldrums. click on TODAY'S CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Let's vouch for the vouchers to restore Faith into education!

      As we continue to commemorate "Catholic Schools Week" a suggestion by the President in his state-of-the-union speech and even more so by Senator Trent Lott in the Republican's rebuttal afterwards sparked a glimmer of hope in helping turn around the Catholic education system in America. Right now, as we indicate in the first of a two-part feature on the state of the Catholic Schools system in the United States in WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM? in today's issue, federal government money has contributed to the watering down of the Catholic Faith in education because of stipulations they put on programs who accept funding and grants. These demands many bishops have agreed to and it has introduced a plethora of programs into the Catholic Schools education curriculum that contradicts the true Faith and further dilutes the product. What Sen. Lott offered are something we have long lobbied for, vouchers for parents to use in sending their children to a school of their choice. While Lott wasn't referring to Catholics specifically, we are! Whoa, you say, isn't government involvement how many Catholic schools got themselves into many of the problems they face today by allowing students of any faith to enroll? Well, yes, but that was because Catholic parents couldn't afford tuition in addition to tithing once parish-funding support had dried up. With these vouchers Catholic parents could more easily afford to send their children to Catholic schools. The schools, in turn, could begin to weed out the curriculums enforced by the Federal government and return the schools to the Catholics, reinstating a solid catechetical program and reinforcing the sacramental life of the Church in alignment with everyday life and education. True, some schools would lose the support of big money from non-Catholic parents who were sending their kids to a Catholic school because of status, but that would be balanced by more Catholic parents able to enroll their kids through the use of vouchers. Within a decade all Catholic schools could return to a total Catholic curriculum for Catholics and taught by Catholics. The statues and crucifixes could go back into the classrooms and who knows, maybe even vocations would bloom from this environment - vocations vital for the next millennium and future generations.

      True there are a lot of problems inherent with transition back to the way it used to be, and in most cases it will never return to the "good ol' days" but anything is better than what we have now in many Catholic schools. Over time we can use the government to eliminate the government influence that has choked the One, True, Holy and Catholic Faith out of so many institutions from primary to university level. With the voucher system hopefully parents can bring Catholic education back to the parish level, eliminate the diocesan interference of the ambiguous and liberal-oriented Total Catholic Education program. By vouching for vouchers it will definitely help parents to restore faith in education by restoring the Faith into education.

Michael Cain, editor

Our Lady longs to educate us to her Divine Son's Will

     The Blessed Mother does this through the Church of which she is Mother of the Church, she does it through reminding us of Divine Revelation, and she does it through private revelation. Such is the case with her messages to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in which today we bring you Messages one-hundred seventeen and one-hundred eighteen. Click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."

Message One Hundred Seventeen and One Hundred Eighteen

Message One Hundred Seventeen: October 17, 1991

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
     Beloved Hidden Flower, my dear child, I come to comfort, to console, to guide all my children.

      You must tell them again how much I love them. And you must ask each of them, beginning with yourself, to tell them that love is born of the soul, and matures in the heart. This is why for ten years I have spoken of conversion of heart. Many still do not understand what this means. It is very simple: Love. Not man's love which seeks after human affection. Love of and for God alone, which is the most sublime love, which makes all human love holy and pleasing.

      My children want to put aside the cares of the world, but they do not know how. Over and over I have told you, In my life on earth as Mother of God I showed you the way. You cannot forsake the responsibilities of your earthly life, but only when they are totally centered on God shall you have forsaken them in a way which breaks all the bonds of satan and his snares.

      You are very weak, little ones, and that is why God has sent me to mother you in a holy way, to point out the true way to Jesus and to take you there.

      You are so easily led astray. You believe that even when you strive to be good, strive to awaken your spouse, your children, your neighbor, even your priest to a holier, better way you serve and please God. But you are in error if by such efforts you feel chaos within yourselves and cause others to fall further from the Truth.

      Yes, the times are urgent, grave. They are vital for all mankind. But if you possess God, you are gentle and kind, even to those in error. You pray and act in accord with the Holy Spirit. You are not clashing cymbals, but the voices of angels loving one another as my Son loved.

      Read Scripture. O! Please read again and learn how my Divine Son treated the poor wretches who were diseased in body and soul. He rejected no one. He loved and forgave, He prayed and atoned. He, the perfect one, was tireless not in demonstrating, but in loving.

      Hear my words clearly. I am not speaking of human pacifism which is blind to evil and therefore condones it. I am showing you how by a faith-filled life you, in union with my Son, can bring to all men the Kingdom of God.

      Do not be deceived. It is not an easy task, a road strewn with flowers. No, it is my Son's Way--The Way of the Cross. And for many, many even that way of suffering is hidden from the world. Be not saddened. God sees. My Son sees. I see. We are there to help at every instance, and your faith and trust support the love which carries you forth.

      Let everything become prayer, beautiful and holy because it is an act of the will and a sign of perfect love. Only in this way does the Holy Spirit infuse the knowledge and wisdom to help you accept suffering and, yes, to long for it.

      I repeat again for all my children. Look to the Heavens constantly. God's signs are written there. To those who believe, they are visible within yourself. Grow still. His words are constantly given to you. Look to the world through the eyes of the world. You will see that it is void of God and swirls with demons who divide, destroy, incite to hatred disguised as holy righteousness. Then you will become the meek lamb. Then you become one with my Son. Then do you work in union with God's plan.

      His Holy Plan cannot be conceived. Yet I warn you it is the great moment before the Justice descends. Grow now in faith. Trust without reservation. Love with an open, generous heart the Triune God. Then you shall know that all I have spoken is the Truth, but you will clearly discern the Truth as God speaks it, not as man interprets it.

      Pray in humility and I will help you. Thank you, my little ones for responding to my Call!


Message One Hundred Eighteen: October 21, 1991

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
     Beloved Hidden Flower, tell my children that the Golden Door has appeared as God's promise of His covenant. This sign has been given as hope, and my Son's glorious return shall open the universal door of my Son's Heart.

      The signs of confirmation are in the sky. My Son will come in Glory to judge, and time will be no more. Be not deceived. The hour is known to the Father, but to you I say: Convert now!

      Beware the mid-east peace conference!

      Thank you for responding to my Call!

NEXT WEEK: Messages One Hundred Seventeen and One Hundred Eighteen


Ordinary Time doesn't have to be ordinary

     Sandwiched between two great educators of Catholic education during "Catholic Schools Week" - Saint Thomas Aquinas yesterday and the feast of Saint John Bosco on Saturday, we have two days of Ordinary Time when the priest dons the green vestments. With less than a month until Lent begins we can take these times of Ordinary time and treasure the readings from Samuel and St. Mark. Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

THURSDAY, January 29, 1998


FRIDAY, January 30, 1998


PRAYERS & DEVOTION

Today we bring you the words of another beautiful prayer composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, also sung at Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament - O Salutaris Hostia

PROVERB OF THE DAY

"Hatred stirs up disputes, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of the intelligent is found wisdom, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence."

Proverbs 10: 12-13

Medjugorje Monthly Message for January 25th

    Dear children! Today again I call all of you to prayer. Only with prayer, dear children, will your heart change, become better, and be more sensitive to the Word of God. Little children, do not permit satan to pull you apart and to do with you what he wants. I call you to be responsible and determined and to consecrate each day to God in prayer. May Holy Mass, little children, not be a habit for you, but life. By living Holy Mass each day, you will feel the need for holiness and you will grow in holiness. I am close to you and intercede before God for each of you, so that He may give you strength to change your heart. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

701 and counting...


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

POPE COMPARES TRIPS TO CUBA, POLAND

     VATICAN (CWN) -- At his regular Wednesday audience today, Pope John Paul II assessed his recent trip to Cuba, and told the 8,000 pilgrims who were on hand at the Vatican that it was a visit marked by "reconciliation-- spiritual, cultural, and social."

      Like many observers, the Holy Father compared his visit to Cuba with his 1979 trip to Poland. To a group of Polish visitors in St. Peter's Square, he said, "I conveyed to the people of that beautiful island my wish that the fruits of this pilgrimage will be like those of my earlier pilgrimage in Poland." The Pope's 1979 trip to Poland is widely viewed as having opened the final drive toward the collapse of Communism in that country.

      "I thank the Lord for the unforgettable pastoral visit which he has allowed me to make to Cuba," the Pope said, speaking in French during one portion of his weekly audience. I am full of gratitude toward the Church in Cuba and toward all of the Cuban people and their leaders."

      The Pope placed special emphasis on the final Mass he celebrated in Cuba, in the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana. There, he said, "the successor of Peter took a historic step, proclaiming the Gospel message of freedom and truth, which the Church expresses particularly in her social doctrine." He said that the Cuban people are "profoundly marked by Christianity," and that he drew great hope from the young people and their enthusiasm for the Gospel.


RUSSIAN ORTHODOX SAY POPE STILL NOT WELCOME TO VISIT

     MOSCOW (CWN) - Pope John Paul is still not welcome in Russia despite his recent success in visiting Communist Cuba, said a spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church on Tuesday.

      "It's not that (Cuban leader) Fidel Castro is good and the Russian Orthodox Church is so bad," said Father Ilarion Alfeyev, a patriarchate official overseeing relations with other Christians. "The Roman Catholic church did not seize churches in Cuba, there wasn't this violence, this atmosphere that has developed here, and so in some ways it was easier." Father Alfeyev cited continuing disputes between Catholics and Orthodox over Catholic property in the Ukraine seized by the Soviets and handed over to the Orthodox.

      "As long as this tense situation continues, such a visit by the head of the Roman Catholic Church to Russia would be extremely undesirable for us," said Father Alfeyev. "It would spark protests from Russian Orthodox believers, so instead of being a holiday of Christian feelings among people, it would testify to the fact the wound inflicted on our Orthodox brothers in Ukraine is still bleeding."

      Ukrainian Catholics have repeatedly invited Pope John Paul to visit their country, an invitation the Holy Father has said he wants to accept, but Russian Orthodox opposition has consistently scuttled any plans.


CUBA CONSIDERING RELEASE OF PRISONERS

      HAVANA (CWN) - The head of Cuba's National Assembly said on Tuesday that the Communist government is seriously considering Pope John Paul's request to release hundreds of political prisoners in the country.

      The Holy Father called on the government to release prisoners of conscience during a Mass in Havana last Sunday, the last day of his landmark visit to the Caribbean island. "The request will be considered in all seriousness, above all given the way in which it was made and who made it," Speaker Ricardo Alarcon told the state-run Prensa Latina news agency. The Cuban government has consistently denied detaining any political prisoners, but referred to the request as an "appeal for clemency by the pope similar to those he has made in many places." The Holy Father asked that the prisoners be released into Cuban society and not expelled from the country as they have in the past.

      Alarcon suggested that there could be sentence reductions or early releases on humanitarian grounds for aged or ill prisoners convicted of common crimes or other offenses. The Vatican indicated it has received no response to the Pope's plea from the Cuban government. Human rights activists and dissidents have said they are hoping for the release of as many as 200 prisoners.

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January 29, 1998 volume 9, no. 21          DAILY CATHOLIC


January 1998