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The Financial Question of Catholic Schools

Feb 9, 2023

Catholic Schools Week 2023: The Financial Question by Peter M.J. Stravinskas at Catholic World Report. Parental freedom of choice in education has been an integral part of Catholic social teaching for more than a century, in a consistent line from Pius XI to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is a fundamental human right and not a function of the largesse of government. It is meaningless to assert that parents are free to choose the most appropriate educational environment for their children—only if they can afford it. A civil right penalized is a civil right denied, pure and simple. Now, let’s be clear: We do not want a single farthing to flow from the government to our schools; we want the money to go to parents, who then determine where they wish to spend that money. Read 

Denver’s Catholic Schools Embrace ‘God’s Work’ of Including Kids with Special Needs by André Escaleira, Jr. at Denver Catholic. “It is the joy of our Catholic schools to see and serve the image of the Creator in each student,” Kristen Lanier, Director of Student Support Services for the Office of Catholic Schools, told the Denver Catholic. “It is a matter of seeing students as perfectly created, just as they are, as children of God, and then meeting them in their unique needs.” Read 

Why Catholic Schools Matter by Bishop Robert Barron at Word on Fire. In his controversial Regensburg address from 2006, the late Pope Benedict argued that Christianity can enter into a vibrant conversation with the culture precisely because of the doctrine of the Incarnation. We Christians do not claim that Jesus was one interesting teacher among many, but rather the Logos, the mind or reason of God, made flesh. Accordingly, whatever is marked by logos or rationality is a natural cousin to Christianity. The sciences, philosophy, literature, history, psychology—all of it—find in the Christian faith, therefore, a natural dialogue (there is that word again!) partner. It is this basic idea, so dear to Papa Ratzinger, that informs Catholic schools at their best. And this is why the flourishing of those schools is important, not simply for the Church, but for our whole society. Read 

Catholic Schools’ Biggest Challenge? Boston Superintendent Says It’s a ‘Lack of Vision’ by Fr. Patrick Briscoe at Our Sunday Visitor. Given where the culture is, every single belief of the Catholic Church is controversial. I was asked at a public meeting at a school — well, actually it was a statement: “I don’t want my daughter being taught that God created man and woman. I don’t think it’s very inclusive.” That simple statement is considered controversial? Ten years ago, nobody would have thought to remark about it at all. My response was that we would talk about a lot of things that evening, but repealing 2,000 years of Church teaching would not be among them. But this is the culture that we are in right now, and I don’t know that this is the time to shy away. Read 

The Gospel of Architecture by Patrick Tomassi at First Things. After decades of slow growth, the contemporary classical education movement is experiencing an unprecedented boom. These schools, which often begin humbly in church basements and at dining room tables, are expanding. As they do so, many will need to renovate old buildings or build new ones. Since it is reasonable then to expect a classical school building boom, classical educators and administrators must ask themselves: What is the gospel these buildings will preach? And what gospel do we want them to preach? Read 

Let’s Really Read the Signs of the Times by Anthony Esolen at The Catholic Thing. You cannot have a healthy Church unless you have strong Catholic families, and you cannot have those families unless you have many traditions (such as those proms once were) that assume that men and women are for one another. And you cannot have those traditions unless you protect them with the moral rules that strengthen us when temptations are strong and our resolve is weak, and that guard us from our worst selves. And you cannot have those moral rules if you accept sodomy, fornication, divorce, adultery, and the production and consumption of pornography. Read 

Denver Archdiocese Defends Firing Teacher in Same-Sex Relationship by John Lavenburg at Crux. “Every Catholic school teacher in the Archdiocese of Denver, as a minister of the Church, signs a contract at the outset of each school year, and in that agreement they pledge to ‘personally [exemplify] the characteristics of Catholic living,’ which includes, ‘refraining from taking any public position or conducting himself or herself in a manner that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church’,” the statement said. Read 

Religious Bigotry Is Alive and Well in US Public Schools by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer at National Catholic Register. Public schools in America are facing a reckoning — and they so richly deserve it. From grotesquely politicized curricula and materials in school libraries to disturbing sexual “counsel” offered without their parents’ knowledge, life is getting more and more confusing for students of our nation’s public schools. It’s especially hard for Christians. Read   

America First Legal Demands Answers From CDC on ‘Abhorrent’ Transgender Activism in Schools by Tyler O’Neil at The Daily Signal. America First Legal has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding records related to the CDC’s “self-assessment tool” urging teachers, administrators, school health staff, and others to advocate LGBT causes in school. “It’s abhorrent that federal tax dollars are going to pay for a dangerous ideology that experiments on children and undermines the rights of parents, the vast majority of whom do not support this agenda,” Ian Prior, senior adviser at America First Legal, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. Read 

AP Teacher’s Guide Proves DeSantis Right in African-American Studies Clash by Stanley Kurtz at National Review. Last week’s rejection by Florida governor Ron DeSantis of the College Board’s pilot AP African-American Studies (APAAS) course has kicked up a controversy. Last Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre falsely accused DeSantis of trying to “block . . . the study of black Americans.” In reality, DeSantis barred only this specific and very biased APAAS course plan—while inviting the College Board to revise it. Florida’s Stop WOKE Act actually mandates the teaching of a series of topics in the history of black Americans, from slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination, to the overcoming of these injustices, and more. So there is no question here of “blocking the study of black Americans.” The issue is what specific sort of curriculum a given state should favor. Read 

Greg Abbott Tells Texas to Ban DEI in Hiring at Public Institutions Following 'Woke' Reports by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. "When a state agency adjusts its employment practices based on factors other than merit, it is not following the law," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s chief of staff Gardner Pate wrote. "Rebranding this employment discrimination as 'DEI' does not make the practice any less illegal. Further, when a state agency spends taxpayer dollars to fund offices, departments, or employee positions dedicated to promoting forbidden DEI initiatives, such actions are also inconsistent with the law." Read 

Mom Demands Investigation Into School That Hid Her Daughter’s Gender Transition, Provided Chest Binders by Reagan Reese at The Stream. A mom is demanding an investigation into a Maine school district that allegedly hid her daughter’s gender transition and provided the 13-year-old girl with multiple chest binders, according to a letter by the Goldwater Institute. Amber Lavigne allegedly found that Samuel Roy, a social worker at Great Salt Bay Community School, gave her 13-year-old daughter two chest binders to aid in a gender transition and advised her to not tell her mother, according to a Monday letter by the Goldwater Institute. The Goldwater Institute on behalf of Amber Lavigne is asking the school district to investigate the incident and institute a policy that mandates parental involvement in all decisions that affect a student’s mental or physical well-being. Read 

Throwback Thursday 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Neumann, and Catholic Schools Today by Peter M.J. Stravinskas at Catholic World Report on January 3, 2022. We cannot become academies for the wealthy; that is not our tradition in this country. The high school I attended cost $150 in my freshman year and $300 in my senior year; today, that is over $10,000! It is a tribute to the commitment of our parents that so many of them sacrifice so much to ensure the Catholic education of their children. However, I never tire of observing that the institutions built by penniless immigrants seemingly cannot be sustained by the most affluent Catholic population in the history of the Church. Indeed, our problem is not finance but faith! Priorities are way off. That having been said, we need to move beyond the tuition-based model. The Code of Canon Law is quite clear that the burden of supporting Catholic schools is the responsibility of the entire Catholic community, not simply of parents with their children in our schools or of a parish having a school on its campus. Thinking “outside the box” is necessary. The Archdiocese of Denver has moved in that direction. The Diocese of Wichita has been a leader in this regard for decades, offering a free Catholic education, from kindergarten through senior year of high school for decades. Read 

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