Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Are Catholic schools teaching children to leave the Faith?

I am on the list of those who get Daphne McLeod's "The Flock". For some time I have wondered if I am doing the right thing. I get an uncomfortable sense about the way things are written and I do not like the support for Christian Order and SSPX. However, I have continued to be on the list because what she says about Catholic schools is indeed what we have experienced as a family and what I continue to see when my children's friends are here.

Mrs McLeod, it seems to me, is quite right when she points out the terrible state of Catholic school education. When she says that children are exposed to sex education and are taught erroneous things about the Church-she is right. When she says "Icons" is terrible-she is quite right.

It's the holidays and so my house is constantly full of other people's teens. My son's friends either no longer practice the faith or are still confused and lacking in understanding about it.
My daughter's friends have either more or less stopped practicing or are in the process of learning to ditch it-at school.

On of my daughter's friends who is what might be called part of an 'insider' family in the Church was shocked to learn during a discussion a couple of weeks ago that Satan actually exists! She is 14 and did not know this.
She attends a 'very good' Catholic school and explained to me a couple of days ago that they were studying St Mark's Gospel and about people in the Church. She listed Liberals, conservatives, fundamentalists and a couple of other political mass media views. I asked her what on earth that meant and she wasn't sure-just that everyone has different views. She doesn't know the BASICS of what the Church teaches and has yet to set eyes on a Catechism but they are teaching her the secular politics of the media view!
On St Mark she said they told her no one knew who he was or if he wrote the Gospel or if he had even met Peter. The whole message she is receiving is that the Gospels are not to be trusted.
How do these teachers KNOW St Mark never wrote the Gospel; never met Peter? Where do their views come from?
Not the Church Father's that's for sure.

It sounds like Spong is teaching her.

She is angry and confused. Hardly surprising really.

I've heard the (LAME) arguments for why I should send my children to school. I have heard the 'support you Catholic school' arguments. I would if there was a Catholic school anywhere near me that was Catholic.
Then there's the "send your children to be evangelists" argument. This is so wicked and lame that it barely deserves an answer. Children are being formed and are not meant to be in the firing line of an anti-Faith agenda. Jesus, as Dr Ray Guarendi points out-never used children to spread His message.
So excuse me if I do not sacrifice my children's eternal future to some ludicrous idea that little ones can evangelise schools!

Meanwhile I have only seen the lone figure of Mrs Daphne McLeod being willing to fight this fight. So despite my concerns-I will continue to support her.


miss book said...

Hi Whitestonenameseeker,
I share your concerns over Catholic education, though not your experience in the Catholic secondary sector, as it's not available in my area.My children have gone to a Catholic Primary, where God's great love for us is the main theme of all Religious Education ('Here I am'is the syllabus).I am thankful that the choice between a Catholic Secondary school and a state secondary school was never ours to make.We have told our children that they cannot expect to be taught anything about their faith in the secondary school, and may be taught things which are directly opposed to or antagonistic to The Catholic faith in their secular secondary school, and that we would teach them ourselves about the faith.On the whole, I think good will come from the currently dilapidated Catholic Education system, as more and more practising and committed Catholic parents are realising the need to take far more responsibility in passing on the Faith and educating their children about it.We are, after all, the first and most important educators of our children.

Jackie Parkes said...

Well in all fairness all of my children practice their faith to a high degree & attend/attended Catholic Schools..they do influence their friends but also choose good Catholics for friends...so taking them out of all of that would be of no use..

Rita said...

I've said it before, but a truly Catholic education can not exist that delivers the national curriculum and has enforced involvement with Connexions.

Brave schools do exist, but usually as the result of brave heads and astounding governing bodies. These people are rare.

If you have had bad experiences, I'm sure you are doing the right thing. A bad "catholic" school is just about the worst place to send a Catholic child.

Some events I've witnessed that make me reluctant to teach in the state Catholic sector again: Masses where everyone gives everyone else the Eucharist (enforced receiving of the Host in the hand is bad enough but commonplace), wimminpriest championing chaplains, staff who grumble loudly if readings use the gendered language they were written with, powerful "Catholic" families within the schools that have a less than orthodox agenda...and ludicrously, the banning of "Faith of Our Fathers" because it isn't ecumenical enough. I could also start on the poor support devout Catholic children and staff have to develop their faith and help strengthen the community- one could almost say one felt pressurised to remain on the sidelines and remain quiet.

MaggieClitheroe said...

Hear hear, WhiteStone and Rita. My hubby is an RE teacher in a Catholic school, and we are definitely not sending our son to Catholic secondary school, because of the anti Catholic influences that abound. Hubby has had to put up with some similar horrors as Rita describes, at one school lunchtime Mass, for some lame reason, the Chalice could not be got, so the Precious Blood was consecrated in an old tall tumbler beaker, the sort you'd drink orange juice out of! He sees his role as merely an Evangelist for those who are open to be evangelised, but we would never want to inflict that role on to a youngster going in to the school, they'd be like a piece of raw meat thrown to the piranhas!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Thank you ladies.
Rita-I think it is very difficult to work in that environment. It's heart breaking.
I grew so tired of correcting the stuff the kids were taught at school.
And now their friends tell me about some of the stuff they have to put up with from fellow pupils-Goth and EMO 'philosophy' as well as soft porn teen mags being passed around. The casual nastines and cruelty on the school buses; and then there are teachers openly espousing feminism and in my boy's school the head of RE- and EMHC at his parish-shows off about his athiesm.
What makes them think parents want THAT for their children?

Joe said...

Two stray thoughts:

My experience suggests that there are a good number of Catholic teachers working outside the Catholic sector. In some ways I find I am more comfortable working outside of the Catholic school system - if only, at an ordinary level, because it means that I do not get involved in the diocesan networks and the associated politics. It seems to me that there are all sorts of implications of this phenomenon for the Catholic education service, which are not being explored or addressed.

Second thought: if push comes to shove for Catholic schools in the same way that it has recently for Catholic adoption agencies, will there be enough Catholic will about in those schools to keep them Catholic? I suspect not. But I would not blame the hierarchy for that failing, should it come about. It will be a failing of the laity, who will not have sufficient formation or conviction to be witnesses to their faith.

Ponte Sisto said...

I agree with Rita. Where brave heads are still in office, we must give hem our full support.

As I looked around at Mass, this morning... it's the school holidays, so why wasn't there at least one child. Even the server was an older gentleman.

Joyful Catholics said...

I do know of teachers in Catholic schools that aren't educated in the Faith themselves, and also in Denver, I hear there are Lutherans and a Jewish teacher in one of the Catholic schools. I understand the "tolerance" of all people, but is this because there are so FEW Catholics who KNOW their faith and are available to teach or want to teach in a Catholic school? I am a bit concerned as my daughter in law will be teaching at a Catholic grade school this year. She's not going to Mass weekly, at this point herself, and my husband and I are praying this job will get THEM some Catholic friends! So I can't imagine them hiring someone whom isn't going to Mass, let alone of another faith! It's incredible to me that even non Catholics teach in these schools. Not that I'm against them as people, but I don't suppose there are many Catholics teaching in Jewish schools, or Lutheran schools, or Muslim schools! It is a sad commentary, for sure WSN. I love our daughter in law very much, but she and my son saw the DaVinci Code, and I heard her say it was "good!" Oh my. We never raised our sons in the Faith since we weren't practicing for 26 years. He married in 2002 in the Church, but we're aware that they don't practice the faith. Parents are paying GOOD MONEY to send their children to a Catholic school for a CATHOLIC education and it is disturbing that so many schools are called "Catholic" but have teachers that aren't practicing or even Catholic! God help us, and God bless you.

Adrienne said...

Our local new Catholic School is quite pretty and the kids are more polite than public school kids. Do they learn the faith. Noooooooo! They don't even have a catechism in the school because it is too "devisive."

They get a bunch of happy-clappy Jesus loves you, everyone is going to heaven garbage. Can even one of them tell you the basics of the faith? Noooooooooo again.

Until we return to memorization of the basics of our faith at a young age you will continue to see these kids leave the church. Jesus can love you just as well at the local mega-church and they have a coffee stand. Sad!

Our own parish primary grade RE classes do nothing but color pictures and sing silly songs. By the time I got them at the 7th grade level the damage was done.

In 9 years of teaching 7th - 12th graders I have yet to see ONE kid who tell me what a sacrament was or even how many there were. They do not know that the Mass is a sacrifice and they certainly have never been taught that the Catholic Church is the one, holy, and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ.

That's why I quit RE this year.