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 December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


You know about the 'Bishop of Bling' but do American clergy have the same problem too? Watch

Image of The Bishop of Bling was sacked after he spent $43 million renovating his home.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has called for "a Church which is poor and for the poor." However, not every member of the clergy may have read the memo. A number of high-ranking Church officials in the United States live in lavish homes, sometimes bordering on the scandalous. LOS ... continue reading


Water leak leads to discovery of 1795 time capsule - left by Paul Revere! Watch

Image of A worker holds the time capsule left by the revolutionaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paul Revere, the fearless revolutionary who mounted his horse to declare that "The British are coming! The British are coming!" has left an enduring national legacy - in both deed and actions. Excitement is mounting with the discovery of a time capsule left by Revere ... 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, Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:11 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 20th, 2014 Image

St. Dominic of Silos
December 20: Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, ... 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