Catholic School

It seems to be a well-documented fact that Catholic education has a problem in passing on the Catholic Faith to Catholic children. This isn't helped by the increased incursions by the State into the education of Catholic children in a more secular and 'diverse' world view.
With the prospect of same-sex marriage around the corner, with all that will bring to Catholic schools in terms of a child's moral formation in PSHE, how can Catholic parents who aren't keen on their child being presented with graphic gay story books prepare for what will be a lesson in love totally at odds with the Catholic faith.

I know a couple who aren't happy with what they have seen of Catholic education in the area of Brighton and Hove and who were unable to get their child into the Catholic school that they had wanted, so they are paying for a year or two to send their child to a private school which is C of E. Generally, already we have reached a point where it is likely that a child's faith will not be damaged by sending the child to a non-Catholic school because Catholic schools don't really teach Catholicism to children very well at all.

Over time, I expect, especially if the secular tide rises above the level of the playground and starts lapping up and spilling into classrooms more than it already does, Catholic parents will be looking for answers as to how they can give their child an education which is Catholic not just because of its 'academic excellence' but because of its catechetical excellence.

Homeschooling is one option but the couple I spoke with suggested that it is important to them that their child interacts with other children in the setting of a school. Perhaps, what we could see is more and more parents coming together to hire community centres in small groups to homeschool their children in concert. What would be the legalities of parents attempting to do this? Would the State object? Parents and laymen could educate children together in the same space. Logistically, it sounds very challenging and difficult, but I expect that in the coming years, more people will be looking for ways to give their children a truly Catholic education that is not diluted by the spirit of the age.

The parents I spoke with said that they have seen good Catholic schools. One story the father related to me (is that 'progenitor A'?) was that of a Catholic headteacher he met at one school who walked around the corridors all day with a Rosary in her hand praying for teachers and students alike. He said it was the most inspiring and wonderful school he had seen. Is the Rosary taught and said in Catholic schools? What would Bishops think if they knew that it was not? What can those with a duty to propagate the evangelisation and catechetical excellence of children do to promote prayer and other aspects of the 'Catholic ethos' other than simply 'justice and peace'?

Catholic schools have benefitted financially very much from their relationship with Government, but we have to remember that in these times when Government will insist on its 'curriculum' being taught to all children, regardless of the views of parents, Catholic children will be endangered spiritually and morally by new doctrines inimical and scandalous to the Faith. Catholic schools were started by the generosity of parishioners in the pews. Now, their revenue comes from the State, but at what cost?

These kinds of questions are already being asked but will, I am sure be asked even more in the coming years, as parents wonder how can they protect their Catholic children from the new amorality of the State?


Tonia Marshall said…
You can't raise a child in a bubble. Amorality is all around. Older children have phones, they're on Twitter, they see advertising. You have to teach them how to be counter cultural, they need to be able to think critically and not move with the herd. There are opportunities to do this outside of school e.g around the dinner table talking about what's happening in their lives or watching the news together and then discussing it. At the moment I don't think Catholic schools are any better at supporting parents in this than state schools (there are some good state schools around). A loving home and good friendships with like minded children are obviously important plus parishes that understand just how much pressure kids are under to conform to society's low expectations of them and are prepared to get onto Facebook etc and meet them where they are.