In the old days, the pastor took responsibility for the Catholic education of the children in his parish through eighth grade. After that (unless the parish also had its own high school) it was up to the various orders of brothers and nuns and priests who ran the Catholic high schools to take over this task. Some Catholic high schools were better than others, some had better reputations for academics or athletics or all-around prestige, but few parents argued over whether their children were better trained in Catholicism at one Catholic high school versus another. Brother Joseph died and was replaced by Brother Jonathan, Sister Mary Margaret finally turned the reins over to Sister Margaret Mary, but pastors and parents never bothered to check the religion teachers' credentials for teaching religion, to see if Sister Margaret Mary was more faithful to the Church than Sister Mary Margaret.
This scenario no longer exists, and yet two residual tendencies endure. First, many Catholic high schools continue to expect pastors and parents to place unquestioning trust in the fidelity of their religion teachers and campus ministry staff. (Just ask a few straightforward questions and poke around a bit and see how welcoming and open are the responses you receive.) Second, many pastors themselves consider it rather impertinent to meddle in the affairs of the nearby Catholic high school. Mind your own business. And busyness. There is enough occupying their attention around the parish for pastors not to stick their noses into another Catholic institution's business.
All of this is perfectly reasonable ... but who is overseeing the sound transmission of the Catholic faith to the high school students who, whether they know it or not, or like it or not, are still members of the parish and still under the pastoral care of their parents and their pastors?
Thank you, Fr. Baer, for caring. Thank you for making it your business and your busyness. You have inspired me to keep fighting in my own parish, school, and Catholic high school. Sometimes I just want to quit.ReplyDelete
As the wife of a wonderful, faith-filled husband, I trust his instincts. We continue to sacrifice to send our children to the parish school and the Catholic high school here in MI. Every year I tell him I want to homeschool and he insists that we will not give up. I know in my heart he is right. If we don't stay and fight the good fight in our Catholic schools then the secularization and lack of fidelity will only continue. We supplement catechism at home. We get involved. We are not perfect but we are seeking the Truth.
Thank you for being a light in the blogosphere. The Lord's light can even penetrate my computer! God Bless You!
My thanks, too, Father. Choosing a Catholic high school (and grade school) have been some of the most difficult decisions we've faced raising our kids. The question was, are we willing to make great financial sacrifices for a school that teaches contrary to the faith?ReplyDelete
We live near your current parish and ended up sacrificing even more when we chose schools that are farther from our home. We're not overly scrupulous and don't expect any school to be perfect. We'd love to bloom where we're planted. It's heartbraking not to be able to trust and become a part of our local Catholic schools.
We're praying for you, Father!
My thanks, too, Father. Choosing a Catholic high school (and grade school) have been some of the most difficult decisions we've faced raising our children. The question is, how can we make great financial sacrifices for a school that teaches contrary to the faith?ReplyDelete
We live by your current parish and ended up sacrificing more by traveling to schools farther from our home. We're not overly scrupulous and understand no school is perfect. We'd love to bloom where we're planted. It's heartbraking not to be able to trust and be a part of our local Catholic schools.
We're praying for you, Father!
Father: All of us have a responsibility to "meddle"-even those of us without kids-when it comes to Catholic education. The kids are our future family of faith. We all need to ask questions; who is teaching, what are they teaching. Tough questions but no one said teaching the faith is easy.ReplyDelete