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Conviction, Not Numbers

Feb 2, 2023

Catholic Education and the Rise of Disaffiliation by Editorial Board at Our Sunday Visitor. To strengthen the identity of Catholic schools, Pope Benedict calls every Catholic student and educator to ask the fundamental question: “To whom do I belong?” The strength of our institutions, according to Pope Benedict, depends not on numbers but on our conviction. Our belief in Jesus—made tangible in our schools by our commitment to the practice of the sacraments, to moral living, to acts of charity, to respect for creation and more—shines the light of the Gospel in our hallways. Read


Why Cutting Corners in the Admissions Process Can Be Catastrophic for Catholic Schools at Catholic School Playbook. Nearly 1.3 million students have fled government schools since 2020 because of COVID-related school closures and the rapid spread of dangerous ideologies against parents’ objections. Catholic schools were a natural fit for some of those families, but perhaps not all. Today, for the first time ever, many new families applying for admission to Catholic schools may be motivated more by what they don’t want in a school, than by what they do want.... That’s why it’s more important than ever that the leaders of Catholic schools take steps to discern whether families applying for admission will contribute positively to the school’s Catholic culture. Equally important, they must be willing to turn away those that threaten to destroy it. Read


Catholic School Teachers: Missionaries of Evangelization by David G. Bonagura, Jr. at The Catholic Thing. Many ingredients contribute to making a successful school, but in my experience, there is one feature that ignites a dynamic, faithful, and attractive school: an army of teachers devoted to teaching as a way to lead their students to adore the Lord. During this Catholic Schools Week, we would do well to focus this year on the teachers, the ones who make—or break—the experience for children in our Catholic schools. Of course, this includes children’s religious experience. In this regard, there’s a calculus that anyone can see: if teachers are not strong in their faith, there is no way that the faith will be passed on to the children. Read


‘Holiness Breeds Holiness When Hearts Are Open’: Vocations Sprout at Catholic High School in North Dakota by Patti Maguire Armstrong at National Catholic Register. A good Catholic education has the power to ignite vocations and set the world on fire. This is clear in the legacy of the Class of 2014 at St. Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, where the seeds of four religious vocations blossomed. In addition, their junior-year religion teacher became a priest, and many from the 94 souls in the class continue to live out their faith in the world and have committed to holy marriages. Father Josh Waltz, the school chaplain, opened his back-to-school open house with Mass in September 2010. “You have to choose sides,” he told the freshman students. “You can’t be middle of the road if you want to be an authentic Catholic.” Read


Our Greatest Social Injustice? By Michael Pakaluk at The Catholic Thing. If you were to ask Catholics today what they regarded as the greatest injustices in the United States, some would say legal abortion, where it exists.... But what you would be very unlikely to hear is “lack of funding for Catholic schools.” And yet it was not always so. Catholics in the 1960s, once segregation on the basis of race had been abolished, were prepared to cite discrimination against the entire Catholic population in schooling as the major lingering structural injustice in the United States. Read


Education Choice Should be Embraced, Not Feared by Shawn Peterson at ReimaginED. Why do millions of us support a parents right to educational freedom? Because parents, at a fundamentally more profound and intimate level than the state, have been given the responsibility of providing for the well-being of their children. They name their children, feed, clothe, and shelter them, play with them, care for them when sick, and raise them to adulthood. And at an even more fundamental level, parents love their children unconditionally, shaping their identity and their sense of self in an irreplaceable way. We would be appropriately aghast if the government tried to intervene and, for instance, name children or set itself up as a primary source of their existence and care. If we do not see that education with the direct control and determination of parents is required, it may be an indication that we do not value education or parenthood enough. Read


'School Choice Revolution': Utah Becomes Third State to Enact Universal Program by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed HB 215, the Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Act Saturday, creating the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which will provide students with $8,000 in state funds that can be used toward private school tuition and other education-related expenses. The program is capped at $42 million and 5,000 participants for its first year. Read


States See Flurry of Bills to Protect Kids from ‘Trans’ Agenda by CatholicVote. Utah last Saturday passed a law that bans inflicting so-called “transgender” medicine on children, including cross-sex hormones and surgeries. Meanwhile, legislatures in more than half of the rest of the United States will consider their own bills designed to protect kids from what advocates call the irreversible damage that “gender” treatments do to young bodies. Read


DeSantis Says Florida Will Cut Funding to All CRT, DEI Programs: ‘Wither on the Vine’ by Bradford Betz at Fox News. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday unveiled new legislation taking aim at critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in state colleges.... He said the reforms "must be grounded in actual history, the actual philosophy that has shaped western civilization." "We are also going to eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the state of Florida. No funding. And that will wither on the vine," DeSantis said. Read


Alabama Governor Adds Another Layer of Protection to Religious Freedom by Peter Pinedo at Catholic World Report. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed an executive order Friday to protect religious freedom in the state. The executive order ensures the enforcement of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment. Passed by the state Legislature in 1998, the amendment to the state constitution guarantees the freedom from government coercion in violation of one’s religion to all individuals and businesses holding state licenses as well as all state contractors, employees, and grant and benefits recipients. Read


In Victory for Religious Freedom, Student Will Be Allowed to Wear ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Mask at School by Virginia Allen at The Stream. Following two years of legal proceedings, a settlement has been reached between the Simpson County School District in Mississippi and the attorneys representing [11-year old] Lydia…. [Lydia’s mom] chose to take legal action against the school district because “this year is the mask; next year is the T-shirt. Eventually, you can’t say Jesus’ name in school.” Read


Missouri Schools Took Kids to a Drag Show Without Informing Parents. AG Bailey Is Working to Prevent It From Happening Again by Tyler O’Neil at The Daily Signal. “I want Missouri to be the safest state in the nation for children, which includes preventing school officials from taking schoolchildren to drag shows,” Andrew Bailey, [Missouri's] attorney general, said.... “That’s why I am asking the Missouri School Board Association to call on their members to adopt a resolution pledging to uphold Missouri law on what can be taught regarding human sexuality in schools.” Read


Lessons in Preferred Pronouns Should Start in Pre-K, Largest Teachers Union Says by Elizabeth Troutman at The Daily Signal. The nation’s largest teachers union recommends that educators begin teaching the concepts of preferred personal pronouns and gender identity starting in pre-kindergarten. Read


4 Ways to Safeguard Your Child from Radical Gender Ideology by Meg Kilgannon at The Washington Stand. When schools have policies that would seek to “affirm a gender identity” in children without the knowledge or consent of parents, we can protect our children—and ourselves—by being fully engaged in relationship with our children. One of the common rejoinders to efforts to enact policies to protect children from secret social transition in schools actually does have a grain of truth in it. Gender activists will demagogue: “If you want to find out what gender your child is, just ask your child; the school can’t hide that from you.” We can see the arrogance and dishonesty behind such a comment, but it makes a point too—never let anyone know your child better than you do. Read


Throwback Thursday


The Identity of the Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue by the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See on January 25, 2022. Since education is a right for everyone, the [Second Vatican Ecumenical] Council called for the responsibility of all. The responsibility of parents and their priority right in educational choices rank first. School choice must be made freely and according to conscience; hence the duty of civil authorities to make different options available in compliance with the law. The State is responsible for supporting families in their right to choose a school and an educational project. For her part, the Church has the duty to educate “especially because she has the responsibility of announcing the way of salvation to all men, of communicating the life of Christ to those who believe, and, in her unfailing solicitude, of assisting men to be able to come to the fullness of this life…. [T]he Church’s work of education “aims not only to ensure the maturity proper to the human person, but above all to ensure that the baptised, gradually initiated into the knowledge of the mystery of salvation, become ever more aware of the gift of faith.” Read

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