Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Disconnect: Leadership and Reality

From the National Catholic Register:
WASHINGTON — In a statement commemorating Catholic Schools Week, Bishop Joseph McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., lauded Catholic schools for helping evangelize the nation. 
“It is a challenging education in an atmosphere where Jesus Christ is the center,” the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education said Jan. 29. 
“The unique atmosphere of our Catholic schools is a space and place where the New Evangelization can reach out to parents and children in a way that is respectful of the human person, presents the teachings of the Church, and supports family life.” 
He noted that Catholic Schools Week is an opportunity to “recognize and support parents” as they exercise the right to choose Catholic schools “to support the faith formation and excellent education for their children.”
Now, I don't have the transcript of the entire address, but I will make some points on the subject.

This is a topic that gets the blood boiling. Can anyone who has actually experienced Catholic education over the past 30 years (like I did) seriously argue that these schools are doing a great job when it comes to teaching the faith? Not to get this is to miss everything and it betrays a disconnect of epic proportions. There are exceptions, of course, but the overwhelming majority of Catholic schools in this nation have shamefully abjured their solemn duty to teach Catholic doctrine, while many bishops have turned a blind eye.

It just galls me to no end to hear talk about supporting Catholic education when I know from experience that diocesan Catholic schools have done so much damage precisely because they have failed in their mission. If you want anecdotes, I can provide volumes. The first step in healing is recognizing the problem, and all too often, I get the sense that here, among the leadership, there's a delusional business as usual outlook. "Things are fine. We're doing a great job. All's well in happy land."

Many of the denizens of the perverse, arch-liberal ruling class in the United States, and in Western nations, were reared in Catholic high schools and universities. A lot of good that did for our nation. How many Catholic leaders promoting abortion and gay "marriage" in Washington and state capitals attended to prestigious Catholic universities? How many Catholics in America voted for the pro-abortion president? Catholic schools...? Great work...?

(N.B. This is not to say that there aren't many wonderful, faithful people working in Catholic schools. I am speaking here more of administrative and ecclesiastical negligences, which have piled up over a generation or two, resulting in the white-washing of a conspicuous Catholic culture and identity at these schools.)

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