No Catholic Teachers, No Catholic School

I’m tired of hearing about how “we need faithful Catholic schools.” One, the term Catholic needs neither qualifiers nor modifiers. But more than that, I cannot stand half-baked ideas. If you want more butterflies, you cannot have them without first having more caterpillars. There are precursors without which certain things cannot be accomplished. You want more priests, you need more Catholic parents raising Catholic boys, who actually understand and value the priesthood. [Side note: we currently have one of the best ever priest : parishioner ratios in the U.S.]

Similarly, you don’t have Catholic schools without Catholic faculty. So, if we “need faithful Catholic schools,” then what we are really saying is that we need Catholic teachers, because they are the constitutive elements that make for a school which is Catholic. You know what’s not helping anyone, neglecting to correct the idea that one can be Catholic while disbelieving and not professing “all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

And this situation is remarkably bad because countless children and parents are exposed to a caricature of Catholicism in these schools, but they are under the impression that, since they’re parochial schools, “this is Catholicism.” The result is anti-evangelization. Few things are presently so damaging to the Church and her evangelical mission as the misrepresentation of Catholicism by faculty at nominally Catholic schools, under the implicit approval of Catholic dioceses.

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  1. Thank you for sharing. An additional comment. I believe in Catholic schools and my children attend. However, when I worked for the Diocese of ___ I could not afford to send my children to Catholic School (no discount nor scholarship). Sad. In addition, there seems to be a vision among some bishops that we need more Catholic schools even as we shutter so many. Honestly, in good, suburban neighborhoods our experience has been this. We had great public schools and most of our children’s teachers were Christian. Now, that being said I think there needs to be a strategy among Catholic schools and the officials that run and build them to think through where we need them and how to make them unique (affordability, small class size, strong religion / academics). Again, so many have become just another version of a public school. Catholic education, historically speaking, has been strong in academic and religious teaching with languages being part of the curriculum from the earliest stages.

    Now that my children attend I have made it my personal mission to assist our school to raise the necessary funds to continue its growth, uniqueness in academics with a strong religious influence that is faithful to our faith.

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    • Eric, the issue of financial compensation is another one that bothers me tremendously, but I did want to be focused with this small post. I would like to teach for a Catholic high school, but doing so would require that I take a second job in order to afford to feed and house my wife and children. With all the talk about the need to provide workers with a living wage, Catholic schools are far from hitting the mark.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Reply

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