Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/1/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholic Schools provide excellence in the fullest sense by cultivating within students a desire for virtue, a love for truth, and a commitment to service and participation.

Catholic Schools provide excellence in the fullest sense by cultivating within students a desire for virtue, a love for truth, and a commitment to service and participation. The objective statistics are clear on every front, Catholic schools work! They should be made available to any parent who would choose them for their children.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/1/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Catholic schools, parochial schools, School choice, National Catholic Schools Week, parental rights, social justice, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - It is funny how time and calendaring often reveal connections we might otherwise fail to make. That is if we look at such "circumstances" as being more than accidental. I believe that is the case with the confluence of three events in the United States of America, the State of the Union Address, National School Choice Week and National Catholic Schools Week. I address this article primarily to Catholics in the United States. However, the principles mentioned have applicability wherever we live.

Last week I wrote an article entitled "Time for School Choice: National School Choice Week Ends, Struggle Begins". In it I noted that President Obama's State of the Union address occurred during National School Choice Week in the United States. One of the most successful examples of school choice occurred in Washington, DC, until President Obama ended the program by not funding the Opportunity Scholarship program last year. Objective statistics demonstrated its phenomenal success according to every criteria of evaluation, including cost saving efficiencies.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the right of parents to choose a school for their children, "As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise. "(CCC#2229)

Those who support school choice in the United States call for a public policy and enabling legislation which makes it possible for ALL parents, no matter what their socio-economic situation, to choose where to send their children to school. This choice should be available from among a full array of options including public, private, parochial, charter and home schools. The policy is better understood as "parental choice" in education. It recognizes that parents are the first teachers and should be the ones who make the choice where to expand their teaching mission for their own children.

As a constitutional lawyer I know this can be accomplished in a constitutionally sound way by empowering parents to make this vital choice through properly drafted voucher legislation, tax credits, or opportunity scholarships.  Those who oppose school choice often resort to scare tactics and rely on ignorance to fan the flames of their opposition. School Choice is not a threat to good governance but rather recognizes that all government begins in the home and then applies the social ordering principle of subsidiarity.

It is opportune that, following upon National School Choice Week, the Catholic Church in the United States of America - through a joint effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Educational Association - has launched the annual "Catholic Schools Week". The observance began on Sunday January 30 and continuing through Saturday February 5, 2011. The theme chosen for this year's observance is "Catholic Schools: A+ for America". 

The sponsors explain,"The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2011 celebrates the fact that Catholic schools are an added value ("a plus") for the nation. Because of their traditionally high academic standards and high graduation rates, all supported by strong moral values, Catholic schools and their graduates make a positive contribution to American society. Catholic schools give a high level of service (the A+ level) to local communities because of the many service projects students undertake. "Giving back to the community" and "helping others" are values instilled in every Catholic school student. Catholic schools give a high level of service to the nation (the A+ level) by serving students from all economic backgrounds and giving them a strong academic and moral foundation, allowing them to succeed in life, serving in the government, industry, business, non-profit and educational fields."

In an age characterized by what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism", Catholic Schools offer a true education; one which recognizes that there are truths and values which can be known by all men and women which should inform our life together in society.  Catholic Schools provide excellence in the fullest sense by cultivating within students a desire for virtue, a love for truth, and a commitment to service and participation. The objective statistics are clear on every front, Catholic schools work! They should be made available to any parent who would choose them for their children. Thus, the tie in between "National School Choice Week" and "National Catholic Schools Week" is clear. 

The teaching of the Catholic Church on the primacy of parents in the educational mission, as well as their right to choose where to send their children to school, promotes the common good.  In 1997, the Congregation for Catholic Education summarized the Catholic educational mission in "The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium". This document begins with this astute observation: "On the threshold of the third millennium education faces new challenges which are the result of a new socio-political and cultural context. First and foremost, we have a crisis of values which, in highly developed societies in particular, assumes the form, often exalted by the media, of subjectivism, moral relativism and nihilism." In this cultural context, the mission of the Catholic School becomes all the more urgent."

The document calls for a "correct relationship between state and school" contending that choosing a school, "not only a Catholic school, is based not so much on institutional relations as on the right of each person to receive a suitable education of their free choice. This right is acknowledged according to the principle of subsidiarity. For "The public authority, therefore, whose duty it is to protect and defend the liberty of the citizens, is bound according to the principle of distributive justice to ensure that public subsidies are so allocated that parents are truly free to select schools for their children in accordance with their conscience".

It continues, "In the framework not only of the formal proclamation, but also in the effective exercise of this fundamental human right, in some countries there exists the crucial problem of the juridical and financial recognition of non-state schools. We share John Paul II's earnest hope, expressed yet again recently, that in all democratic countries "concrete steps finally be taken to implement true equality for non-state schools and that it be at the same time respectful of their educational project".

The document also addressed the ecclesial identity of the Catholic School noting, "It is from its Catholic identity that the School derives its original characteristics and its "structure" as a genuine instrument of the Church, a place of real and specific pastoral ministry. The Catholic School participates in the evangelizing mission of the Church and is the privileged environment in which Christian education is carried out. In this way "Catholic Schools are at once places of evangelization, of complete formation, of inculturation, of apprenticeship in a lively dialogue between young people of different religions and social backgrounds..

"The ecclesial nature of the Catholic School, therefore, is written in the very heart of its identity as a teaching institution. It is a true and proper ecclesial entity by reason of its educational activity, "in which faith, culture and life are brought into harmony". Thus it must be strongly emphasized that this ecclesial dimension is not a mere adjunct, but is a proper and specific attribute, a distinctive characteristic which penetrates and informs every moment of its educational activity, a fundamental part of its very identity and the focus of its mission. The fostering of this dimension should be the aim of all those who make up the educating community."

The Catholic educational mission is to inform and educate the whole student in the teaching, or what can be called "the mind" of the Catholic Church, thus preparing men and women with a profoundly Catholic anthropology (view of the human person) which reveals the very meaning of human life. In the words of the Congregation for Catholic education, "The Catholic School is committed thus to the development of the whole man, since in Christ, the Perfect Man, all human values find their fulfillment and unity. Herein lies the specifically Catholic character of the School. Its duty to cultivate human values in their own legitimate right in accordance with its particular mission to serve all men has its origin in the figure of Christ. He is the One Who ennobles man, gives meaning to human life, and is the Model which the Catholic School offers to its pupils."

We invite our readers to pray for all who are involved in the Catholic educational mission during this National Catholic Schools week. We especially invite our readers in the United States to Prayer, Catholic Action and Faithful Citizenship. Defend the essential contribution of Catholic Schools and the importance of parental rights. The future of Catholic schools requires our support on every front.The renewal of civil society depends upon the education of the next generation. Catholic schools are an asset for every Nation. They should be supported and promoted through good Public Policy and made available to all parents who choose such an education for their children.   

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

The Prophetic Dream of Don Bosco and the Leadership of the Pope

Image of The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment. In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This vision could describe what is occurring in our own day. Visions use symbols to communicate. They often have numerous applications and interpretations. We have been blessed with successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns, ... continue reading


For the first time in 100 years, Yosemite National Park hosts extremely rare sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox Watch

Image of For the first time in 100 years, the Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in the Yosemite National Park.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the first confirmed sighting in nearly 100 years, the rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been captured with motion-sensitive cameras in the Yosemite National Park. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red ... continue reading


Disaffected Colorado teenager who tried to join ISIS gets four years in prison Watch

Image of After serving four years in prison, 19-year-old Shannon Conley must spend three years of supervised release and serve community service.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Poor choices made in youthful hast have consequences. Nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley, from Colorado has been sentenced to four years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State. At the heart of this disturbing story is an Internet romance that went ... continue reading


Coin collectors of the world eagerly line up to see 1822 Half Eagle at convention Watch

Image of Historically, nearly 18,000 of the $5 pieces were minted in 1822. As the concentration of gold was lowered in coins after 1834, most of the earlier coins were melted down for gold.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

One of the rarest coins in the U.S., the 1822 Half Eagle, originally worth only $5, will make its first public appearance in more than three decades in Long Beach this weekend. There are only three of the coins known still in existence. The coin will go on ... continue reading


California's Kern County declares state of FISCAL EMERGENCY with plunging gas prices Watch

Image of Supervisors adopted a plan to immediately begin scaling back county spending rather than making deep reductions all at once in July.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kern County, in central California, relies heavily on its petroleum industry for tax revenues. While motorists nationwide are currently enjoying lower gas prices, this spells certain disaster for the County of Kern - officials there have declared a fiscal ... continue reading


Could terrorists attempt to attack the White House with a drone? Crash sparks debate over future use of drones in war Watch

Image of A small, four propeller drone, crashed on the White House lawn, spurring a discussion on whether drones may be used by terrorist groups in the future.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A two-foot-long, four propeller drone crashed onto the White House grounds yesterday, raising troubling questions that drones could be utilized by terrorists or other potential murderers to attack the White House or other U.S. government institutions that have ... continue reading


The Thrill of the Chaste: Matt C. Abbott Interviews Dawn Eden Watch

Image of Dawn Eden, author of the highly-acclaimed My Peace I Give You and the Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste

By Matt C. Abbott

Being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and receiving Jesus' own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, has given me a deeper understanding of the meaning of being embodied. I see more clearly how chastity enables one to love fully in each relationship, in the ... continue reading


GOP teams up with Israeli prime minister to forcefully override Obama's Iran policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Speaker John Boehner is seeking to enlist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support a congressional plan to override President Obama's Iran policy on March 3. Boehner hopes to bring Netanyahu to a joint session of the House and Senate. Boehner ... continue reading


The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter