Friday, March 30, 2007

Catholic schools

My brother attended a Catholic high school for a few years before it closed due to increased costs and dwindling enrollment. The order of nuns that taught for over 100 years had disappeared due to an embrace of liberalism in the 1960's. Interestingly, the newer, outer shell of the building was dismantled, leaving the small original structure intact. It was rehabbed, per the historic committee's orders and is currently for sale. Perhaps someone could buy it, charge a fortune for tuition, and call it an academy. Instant success, according to this article in the New York Post.
The New York Archdiocese is inviting youngsters back to a Greenwich Village parish schoolhouse it shuttered last year - at $25,000 a pop.
Now, working-class parents who had paid about $2,500 to send their children to the former St. Joseph's School on Washington Place are calling its conversion to a private academy targeting well-heeled New Yorkers this fall the height of hypocrisy.
We had a similar transformation this past year at the local Episcopal school when they upped the price of tuition and started calling themselves Christopher Academy, rather than St. Christopher's.
I can't justify spending several thousands per child for tuition to a "Catholic in-name-only" school, much less a six-figured sum for an "academy" education. The only way to return to a solid system of parochial education is for many more families to be open to life and encourage vocations in their children. Rather than close schools, parishes could open their doors to parents who want special classes for their home and public schooled children. Priests and bishops could promote authentic Catholic education and vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Bishops could set high standards of orthodoxy and punish dissenting priests. Catholics could be taught the basics of the Faith, instead of wishy-washy garbage and then be more likely to follow Church teaching. Perhaps if all these come to pass, there will be oodles of nuns to teach our grandchildren and scads of priests to administer the sacraments.

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