One Email. Once a Week.
All the best news and insights about Catholic Education
The Light is a collection of articles, videos, and podcasts delivered right to your inbox every Thursday. There's no easier way to stay on top of the ideas, events, and trends shaping the world of education and the future of the Church.
Sign up below.
Jun 23, 2022
Supreme Court Upholds School Choice and Religious Freedom
On Tuesday morning the Supreme Court once again voted to defend religious freedom—this time by upholding the rights of parents to choose a Christian education for their children. In a 6-3 decision, the court held that the state of Maine violated the Constitution by preventing families in areas of the state that lack a public high school from using state aid to send children to schools that provide what it calls “sectarian” instruction. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, explained that Maine’s “nonsectarian” requirement violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
"Supreme Court Upholds School Choice and Religious Freedom in Carson v. Makin" by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer at National Catholic Register
Jun 16, 2022
The Teaching Credential the Church Has Been Asking For
Mary Pat Donoghue, the executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Crux that the program is an answer to an expressed need from Catholic bishops, superintendents, and principals: finding well-formed Catholics to fill leadership positions in Catholic education. Donoghue noted that Catholic schools often require state certification to have a measurable way of ensuring quality, even though those certifications sometimes contain elements that “contradict or undermine the faith.” “This program will assist bishops in [ensuring quality], but in a way that’s fully consistent with the church,” Donoghue said.
"New Program Offers Alternative Credentials for Catholic School Teachers" by John Lavenburg at Crux.
Jun 9, 2022
Training the Will to Want the Good
One thing that has struck me about the classical model of educating young people is how it involves the education of the will. It’s teaching young people to want the good and to pursue the beautiful. The way I was raised—I went to public schools and received a progressive education—if morality was taught at all, it was just a list of rules that you would follow…. There was no training of the will to want the good. How do you think we can train people to have our wills be aligned with Christ’s wills? What does that look like as a pastor, teacher, parent? How do we train the will? (Brandon Vogt speaking to Bishop Barron)
"The Christ Who Knocks" by Brandon Vogt and Bishop Robert Barron on Word on Fire Show (episode 336)
Jun 2, 2022
We Were Made for These Very Times
God made each one of us, in his own image and likeness, for truly extraordinary lives. He made us for greatness of soul, and mind, and heart. In the Diocese of Lincoln, we strive to prepare students to face a world that is often hostile to the Christian faith. We no longer live in a culture that supports our values and respects our Christian worldview. Therefore, our students need to be prepared to deal with these challenges. To be authentically Catholic today, is to necessarily be countercultural. There is no other way around it. We shouldn’t be at all surprised when we meet resistance in our society. But we should face that resistance with joy, confidence, and, above all, deep charity—the love of our neighbor. For we were made for these very times. God wants to use each one of us, with all our gifts and all our shortcomings, to bring the light of Christ and his hope, peace and joy, to a world that is filled with division, hatred and hopelessness.
"Our Principles of Catholic Education" by Bishop James Conley at Southern Nebraska Register
May 26, 2022
Chipping Away at Parental Rights
The next frontier of the sexual revolution is parental rights. That might initially sound hyperbolic. Governments are not, after all, removing children from their homes in any sort of systematic way. The problem, banal as it may seem, is that the intellectual superstructure is already in place to chip away at parental authority over children’s lives…. In Ohio, a child was removed from a home (and placed with grandparents) where Christian parents did not affirm the child’s gender transition.
"Parental Rights: A Christian Natural Law Primer" by Andrew T. Walker at Ethics and Public Policy Center
May 19, 2022
Crowning Mary: A May Tradition
For many decades, the lovely words and melody of the hymn “Bring Flowers of the Rarest” have been gracing the beautiful traditional crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The ceremony has been held in countless parishes, schools and homes throughout the world. “The crowning is symbolic of Mary as Queen of Heaven and of our lives,” Father John Broussard, rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin, explained to the Register. “We entrust all our intentions to her, and she takes them to her Son, who is the King. Even here at the shrine, when she appeared to Adele Brise [in 1859] at the opening of the apparitions, she said, ‘I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.’”
"Crowning Mary: A May Tradition" by Joseph Pronechen at National Catholic Register
May 12, 2022
The Sorry Situation of Catholic Schools
"How many Catholic schools are really just public schools with a Mass requirement attached, plus an elective or two of theology? Many schools feature lots of Catholic talk on the website, but when it comes to the actual books assigned and knowledge tested, Catholicism pretty much disappears."
"The Sorry Situation of Catholic Schools" by Mark Bauerlein at First Things
May 5, 2022
TikTok is Emotionally and Spiritually Killing Our Children
"Any school teacher will tell you that the new epidemic is a spike in wildly disruptive and inappropriate student misbehavior, fueled partly by students’ shared love of Internet videos. Students who were previously well-behaved in school have begun to act out. Students know shocking words that one wouldn’t even normally hear on television or in their families. Students know a huge number of inappropriate gestures and dance moves, and they all learn them around the same time. In schools, students congregate around screens at any opportunity; and if not that, they spend their time talking about what’s online."
"TikTok is Emotionally and Spiritually Killing Our Children" by Miriam Diller at Crisis Magazine
Apr 28, 2022
Shameless Acts of Civilizational Renewal
" [P]eople in the classical education movement don’t spend a great deal of time bewailing the condition of schools controlled by progressive teachers’ unions. Too depressing. They find their joy in rediscovering and reviving the great educational traditions of the past, in the chance to teach moral and intellectual virtues, eloquence, love of country, and the traditional arts and sciences. Classical educators know they are participating in a revolution, in shameless acts of civilizational renewal, and they are plainly experiencing the euphoria of all those who enlist in successful movements. There is a certain kid-in-a-toyshop attitude, a sense of astonishment that abandoned, centuries-old techniques of learning are just lying about, ready for someone to pick them up and use them again. Memorizing poetry, what a great idea! Logic and rhetoric? You mean there are ways to teach people how to think clearly, how to express themselves persuasively? Cool!"
"The Renaissance of the Classical School" by James Hankins at First Things
Apr 21, 2022
The English Teachers Who Don’t Like Books
"The National Council of Teachers of English is the largest body of primary and secondary English teachers in the country. This organization certifies state-of-the-art teaching and research, hosts conferences, and advocates for the field in public affairs. Earlier this month, NCTE issued a position statement that calls for a fundamental change in the discipline…. Here are the sentences summarizing the goal: 'The time has come to decenter book reading and essay writing as the pinnacles of English language arts education. Speaking and listening are increasingly valued as forms of expression that are vital to personal and professional success . . . It behooves our profession, as stewards of the communication arts, to confront and challenge the tacit and implicit ways in which print media is valorized above the full range of literacy competencies students should master.'”
"The English Teachers Who Don’t Like Books" by Mark Bauerlein at First Things
Apr 14, 2022
We Need a Separation of Home and State
"As soon as you enter the door of a home, you are in a sacred place, and you are subject to its proper authority. So long as no one within is engaged in behavior that immediately endangers or injures the welfare of those nearby—no one there is setting fires or playing loud music in the middle of the night—and so long as children, who are especially vulnerable, are not being starved or beaten bloody or raped or otherwise harmed in a clear and lawless way—the home is its own small parish, its own small county. And when homes come together to establish a village or a school, they extend and they delegate some of their authority, so that these enterprises are still to be considered as subordinate to the home and supportive of it. Think of the school, properly, as a general governess or tutor hired by a cooperative of homes."
"We Need a Separation of Home and State" by Anthony Esolen at Crisis Magazine
Apr 7, 2022
Education in an Age of Commercialism, Bureaucracy, and Propaganda
"The basic goal of education, it seems to me, is to incline people to act well in the world and make them more able to do so. To the extent possible—some things are difficult to inculcate reliably in an organized way—it should also help them in their pursuit of ultimate goods…. Overall, education should concentrate on helping young people connect to the human world and orient themselves within it, and through it to the basic purposes of life. For that reason, topics such as history, literature, philosophy, and religion should be basic to the education most people receive, and especially to the advanced education intended for future leaders."
"Education in an Age of Commercialism, Bureaucracy, and Propaganda" by James Kalb at Catholic World Report.
Mar 31, 2022
New Vatican Instruction for Catholic Schools
"The Vatican’s education congregation on Tuesday published a document responding to conflicts over the interpretation of the concept of “Catholic identity” in Catholic school settings. The 20-page instruction affirmed the importance of a Catholic educational project with an evangelical goal and explained the role that teachers and administrators play in its achievement.“The whole school community is responsible for implementing the school’s Catholic educational project as an expression of its ecclesiality and its being a part of the community of the Church,” the document from the Congregation for Catholic Education said."
"New Vatican Instruction: Identity of Catholic Schools to be Respected by Teachers, Students" by Hannah Brockhaus at Catholic News Agency
Mar 24, 2022
Why Every Man Should Build a Library
"The working man also was a collector of libraries. That’s what’s often overlooked. The working class couldn’t afford thousands of volumes of books. Maybe throughout their whole lifetime they could afford 40-50 books, and they were incredibly thought-out books. Up until the 1920s or 30s, you can see images of homes that had 50 books in them. I find what’s so interesting and telling of a man’s life is, 'which books did he decide to collect and keep, knowing that the cost to get those books was of such a high value for him?' But the worth in owning them and being able to come back to them was something that was worth the struggle, worth the difficulty in obtaining them, maintaining them, and choosing the right ones for the collection."
"Why Should Every Man Build a Library?" with Sam Guzman and John Heinen on The Catholic Gentleman
Mar 18, 2022
A Nationwide Persecution of Boys
"We have a nationwide persecution of boys, and in many places, we are persecuting them not because they are bad boys, but because they are boys."
"The Search for Truth" with Alvaro de Vicente on Anchored by Classic Learning Test
Mar 10, 2022
The Age of the Expert
"We live in the Age of the Expert. There are reasons for that. We mostly work for big organizations now, and all aspects of our lives depend on them. Big organizations have their own way of doing things: explicit rules, formalized procedures, extreme division of labor, and so on. That means an emphasis on specialized formal qualifications. The organization is a big machine, and we are its components. From pre-K through postgrad that’s how we are trained. The training sinks in, and eventually defines how we see the world. It results in a general sense that everything requires special qualifications. Older people today say younger people lack everyday skills, but the problem is far deeper. The most basic human activities are now thought beyond the capacity of ordinary people."
"Experts, the World, and the Church" by James Kalb at Catholic World Report
Mar 3, 2022
America's First Freedom
“Our founding fathers guaranteed religious liberty at the very beginning of the Bill of Rights,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. “That’s no coincidence. Religious liberty is America’s first freedom. Here in Indiana, I will do everything in my power to protect this liberty for Hoosiers.”
"Indiana's Attorney General Defends Catholic School's Right to Fire Teacher in Same-Sex Marriage" by Rhett Baxley at Tristate Homepage and Catholic Culture
Feb 24, 2022
In Making an Idol of Physical Safety, Catholic Schools are Failing
"Over the past two years, our society has created an idol out of physical health and safety, protecting them at all costs. But Jesus tells us Himself: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matthew 10:28). He reminds us that there are things far worse than illness and bodily suffering—like separation from God. Sadly, many of our Catholic schools have not been immune to society’s idolatry, as demonstrated by the strict Covid policies in many schools, and it will destroy the faith of our Catholic school children if we don’t remedy the situation."
"In Making an Idol of Physical Safety, Catholic Schools are Failing" by Alexandra Sullivan at Crisis Magazine
Feb 17, 2022
The Front Lines of Culture Building
"The front lines of culture building are in the family, the parish community, and the school. This began to move me to think, 'What is needed to be done to shape the imagination for what’s possible? Where do we develop in the minds of young people a vision for social health and well-being, an idea of what a well-ordered society is?'"
"Exploring an Alternate Option for Education" with Fr. Daniel O'Mullane and Douglas Minson of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy on From the Kitchen Table with Sean Duffy and Rachel Campos Duffy
Feb 10, 2022
"We’re forming young narcissists"
"There is this stultifying overcomplicated approach to literature that happens. It reinforces the narcissistic impulse. So many students are given a text and the assumption is they can only be given a text about something they already know and appreciate so we’ve already clipped out anything beyond their own cultural experiences on the idea that it’s gotta be relevant. And relevant means it’s just a tale of a teenager in modern America so it’s a limited scope. You add to that, ‘Well now Johnny, what do you think of this book? What are your feelings about this book?’ The child is trapped back on the self again and again—the lure of the self…. A person who has been conditioned to do that all the time is not someone you want to spend a lot of time with. We’re forming young narcissists."
"Christ Centered Education" with Dr. Mark Newcomb on Anchored by Classic Learning Test