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Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School

May 11, 2023

No Hyenas for Us, Only Saints by Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas at The Catholic Thing. John J. Hughes, the first Archbishop of New York, protecting his flock under siege from a vicious anti-Catholicism, causing him to declare, without fear of contradiction: “The days have come. . . in which the school is more necessary than the church.” John Lancaster Spaulding, Bishop of Peoria from 1876 until 1908, likewise contended: “Without parish schools, there is no hope that the Church will be able to maintain itself in America.”  The bishops of our nation understood this very well when, in their 1884 plenary council, they mandated the establishment of a Catholic school in every parish, with the goal of having every Catholic child in a Catholic school.  We never achieved that goal completely, but we did come close—until we lost our nerve and sense of direction. Read


What Made Harrison Butker’s Commencement Address a Great Speech? by Father Patrick Briscoe at Our Sunday Visitor. In a world where professionals, teachers and coaches are discouraged from bringing their faith to bear in the public square, [Harrison] Butker’s humble example shows how to insist that Catholics don’t share the same account of the universe as nonbelievers. By insisting our gifts are God-given and alluding to Scripture, his speech was open to the transcendent truths of faith in a way that simply encouraging people to be the best version of themselves or discussing vague values is not. Read


Parents Raise 'Epic' Book Problem in Catholic Schools at The Pillar. [S]ome parents and administrators are warning that an online digital library called Epic Books gives Catholic school children access to books that promote “gender ideology” and aim to “normalize” LGBT relationships…. [Lauren] Blair said she overheard her [5-year-old] son listening to a book which... seemed to raise questions about gender identity.... [She] said she told her parish pastor about the book.... “And he was really upset about that, but …. he had just gotten to the parish, and he said he recognized there were a lot of catechetical issues at our school, that started with the teachers. And he said the book was disturbing to him, but he couldn’t put out all the fires at once.” Read


Why Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Mother Refused to Send Her Children to Germany’s Public Schools by Jon Miltimore at Intellectual Takeout. A devout woman, she had a deep-seated (and impressive) distrust of the German public school system, refusing to allow her children to attend them at a young age…. This was of course decades before teachers were required to swear oaths of loyalty to National Socialism, but Paula understood the risks of educating her small, impressionable children in the state’s schools….. Unfortunately, a subsequent generation of German mothers would not have this luxury. In 1920, school attendance was made mandatory in Germany. This of course would play right into the hands of Hitler, who abolished primary schools ran by churches. Read


These Catholic College Students Dumped Their Smartphones for the Year. Here’s What Happened by Joe Bukuras at Catholic News Agency. As Franciscan University of Steubenville students wrap up their spring semester, a large group of its undergraduates will be heading into summer significantly changed after participating in the school’s invitation to drop their smartphones. “It had way more of an effect on me than I thought it would,” Grace Pollock, a sophomore nursing major at the private university in Steubenville, Ohio, told CNA May 3. Pollock has seen an improvement in her focus and productivity and spent more time doing outside activities and reading since joining the school’s “Unplugged Scholarship,” which began its pilot run in the fall semester of 2022. Read


Dozens of School Districts Embrace 'Equitable Grading,' Setting Up Students for Failure by Kaylee McGhee White at Washington Examiner. Several school districts nationwide have embraced this move toward “equitable grading,” a system in which.... homework is assigned but not emphasized… and tests come with multiple retake opportunities—that is, if they are given at all…. One student who experienced these grading changes for himself said they incentivized poor work habits and noted that even some of the highest-achieving students in his Las Vegas high school have stopped showing up to class unless there was an exam. Read


Judge Orders PA District to Allow After School Satan Club to Meet on School Grounds by Joe Bukuras at Catholic News Agency. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that The Satanic Temple must be allowed to hold its “After School Satan Club” in a public middle school in Pennsylvania’s Saucon Valley School District…. The Satanic Temple, which, according to its website, denies the existence of God and Satan, is a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces and mocking Christianity by offering “unbaptism” and hosting “black masses.” Read


'Big Plans for Next School Year': After School Satan Club Looks to Expand to High Schools by Asher Notheis at Washington Examiner. An after-school club connected to the Satanic Temple is looking to expand to high schools, and the club's campaign director said it has “big plans” for next school year…. [The] club is considering teaching some of the Satanic Temple's seven core tenets in the clubs, as well as expanding its clubs to high schools. Read


Families Sue School District After Daughters Were Allegedly Coaxed Into ‘Secret’ LGBTQ Club by Reagan Reese at The Stream. [The parents] allege that their sixth grade daughters were recruited by a teacher to join Wellington Middle-High School’s “Genders and Sexualities Alliance” (GSA) Art club in May 2021. PSD employees allegedly told the girls to keep the meetings a “secret” from their parents, including that the club has a “what happens at GSA stays at GSA policy,” the lawsuit stated. Read


Life After Detransition by Jonathan Van Maren at First Things. By age thirteen, Helena was depressed, self-harming, and had an eating disorder. On Tumblr, she was told that if she didn’t fit in and didn’t like her body, she was probably trans and that “if you transition, all of these problems will be fixed.” She changed her pronouns. Her parents opposed transition, but school staff—who hadn’t noticed her struggles before—were suddenly “bending over backwards to help me be trans.” She got prescribed testosterone after a single appointment at Planned Parenthood. Read


School Choice Opponents are Full of Double Standards by Colleen Hroncich at Washington Examiner. [A] common claim from school choice opponents is that public dollars shouldn’t be spent at private or religious institutions. Yet again, this claim is seemingly only made with regard to K-12 education. Public—i.e., taxpayer—dollars are used at grocery stores, hospitals, doctors’ offices, preschools, and colleges. Medicare and Medicaid are used at religious hospitals. School districts themselves use public dollars to purchase curriculum and supplies from private businesses. Why are public dollars flowing to private or religious entities OK in all these spaces but not when it comes to school choice? Read


DeSantis Signs $1 Billion Teacher Pay Increase and Makes School Board Races Partisan by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. The series of bills includes a number of changes to the state's K-12 education system, including… prohibiting unions from automatically deducting dues from members' paychecks, requiring members to be notified of the cost of union membership, and prohibiting unions from offering "anything of value" to public officials…. "For far too long, unions and rogue school boards have pushed around our teachers, misused government funds for political purposes, taken money from teachers’ pockets to steer it for purposes other than representation of teachers, and sheltered their true political goals from the educators they purport to represent," [said Gov. Ron DeSantis]. Read


North Dakota Governor Signs Bill Regarding Transgender Student Pronouns and Bathroom Use by Rachel Schilke at Washington Examiner. Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) signed a bill into law on Monday concerning guidelines on transgender students in North Dakota. Under the bill, students must use bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth. Teachers will also be required to notify a parent or legal guardian if their student identifies as transgender and are not required to refer to the student by their preferred pronouns. Read 


Throwback Thursday


How to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools by R. Jared Staudt at Crisis Magazine on March 28, 2017. The Catholic faith must be the heart and soul of the school, not an add on. A few accidental elements, however important they may be, are not enough to make a school Catholic. Catholicism should permeate everything the school does, not in an exterior and artificial way, but by naturally shaping the approach to education and formation. There are two general ways of conceiving this. First, the school should form a distinctively Catholic environment or culture. Second, the curriculum must flow from and lead to a Catholic worldview…. Catholic education is part of a long tradition. One of the first Christian schools opened in the second century, the Catechetical School of Alexandria, with teachers such as Clement and Origen, taught not only the faith, but also philosophy and mathematics.... The Church also founded the first universities. Catholics have access to an overwhelming educational, artistic, literary, and cultural legacy. But, graduates of Catholics schools generally don’t encounter this tradition much and if they do it will be remote and abstract. As Christopher Dawson argues in The Crisis of Western Education, we have to immerse our students in the living legacy of Christian culture so they can be formed by it, live it, and pass it on to the next generation. Read

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