Patrick McCloskey and Joseph Harris: Roman Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Catholic parochial education is in crisis. More than a third of parochial schools in the United States closed between 1965 and 1990, and enrollment fell by more than half. After stabilizing in the 1990s, enrollment has plunged despite strong demand from students and families.

Closings of elementary and middle schools have become a yearly ritual in the Northeast and Midwest, home to two-thirds of the nation’s Catholic schools. Last year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed one-fifth of its elementary schools. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, is expected to decide soon whether to shut 26 elementary schools and one high school, less than three years after the latest closings. Catholic high schools have held on, but their long-term future is in question.

This isn’t for want of students....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

3 Comments
Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Vatican Watcher wrote:

Many deacons have valuable professional, managerial and entrepreneurial expertise that could revitalize parochial education. If they were given additional powers to perform sacraments and run parishes, a married priesthood would become a fait accompli. Celibacy should be a sacrifice offered freely, not an excuse for institutional suicide.

Non-starter, let’s move on to real solutions.

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to different magazines and I’ve gotten onto mailing lists and without fail, I get mail from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Michigan.  This congregation is growing fast, is young in membership and dynamic in its mission to bring teaching sisters back to the schools.  Its growth is not an isolated phenomenon and yet we still see guys like McCloskey bring out the old hobby-horse of married clergy as a panacea that will solve all the Church’s problems.

*yawn*

January 8, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
2. Clueless wrote:

Part of the problem is the bureacracy.

Catholic schools (at least in my neck of the woods) require “certified teachers.”  This means that any prospective teacher needs to have a minimum of a batchelors in education with an emphasis in the area you wish to specialize in.  Those teaching religion are required to have a Masters in Theology.  This ensures the jobs of the current folks, (who then moan about how “little” they are paid) while carefully ruling out the possibility of replacing the expensive paid help with competant FREE instructors.

Me, I think that if the church encouraged retired physicians to teach chemistry, retired engineers to teach physics, retired accountants to teach math, and retired lawyers to teach English, rhetoric, history etc, it would have absolutely amazing schools that would return to the price of previous generations (i.e. practically free.)

There is no shortage of physicians (myself included) who would jump at the chance of teaching Biology or Chemistry (and who yes, would do a good job).  We don’t qualify.

If we did, this would allow the poor, particularly undocumented hispanics to get a superior education than they would find in the public school, and would return the parish school to its vocation for uplifting the poor, instead of polishing the wealthy.

January 9, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Charles52 wrote:

As in other areas, the church has lost its way, by failing to prioritize parochial education.

Amazingly, they didn’t get around to ordaining women and gay marriage.  This opinion piece is garbage.

I agree, btw, with the first two comments. Unfortunately, they are wasted on a thinly veiled anti-Catholic screed.  I agree, “read it all”.

January 9, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): (St. Mary’s, Maidenhead) Sam Allberry—Christian Struggle and Standards in Daily Life

Previous entry (below): Anglican Ink—Evangelical backlash follows England’s decision to allow bishops in civil partnerships

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)