Thursday, 8 August 2013

Why Catholic schools don't turn out actual Catholics...

In my mailbox today I found an advertisement for one of the local 'Catholic' (girls) schools, Merici College.

Well, I say Catholic, but in fact the word is not actually used in the flyer.

Instead, the advertising material spruiks its alleged academic excellence (for the record it ranked 10th out of 23 in the ACT in 2012 for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank scores), state of the art technology and a (greenie) "Sustainability Program").

Plus of course its "supportive vertical pastoral care program", whatever that might be.

The flyer does ask the question "What do students learn in religion at Merici College?"

But the answer, it seems, is anything but the Catholic faith.

Apparently Merici is a "values-based community inclusive of students from a diverse range of faiths".  And that means that:

"In our formal Religious Education program, our students learn about:
  • a variety of religious practices and how they fit into modern Australia
  • unity, diversity and ethics
  • social justice." 

Could someone remind me why we have Catholic schools again?

Let's pray that Canberra's new bishop (when he is appointed; it's been over a year!) will take suitable action.

**But apparently this is a legacy our last bishop, +Coleridge, is proud of:

Church in Aus: done many things badly, but done some things superbly well, and perhaps nothing quite as well as our schools.


Maureen said...

One of my granddaughters, by virtue of the fact that she won an academic scholarship, attends an Anglican school here in Brisbane. Although I was a little sad at first that her parents had opted to send her to this establishment, rather than to the Catholic College - ( it was much further away) - I have come to the conclusion that she is actually getting a better Faith education where she is.
Her Term I report for Grade 7 told me that her class has been studying the Gospel of St Mark - and memorising it - no touchy-feely stuff going on in this school.

Fr Mick Mac Andrew West Wyalong NSW said...

I know how you feel Kate. Yesterday, Feast of St Mary of the Cross, with the Religious Education Co-ordinator at our little Catholic School, I had planned a simple School and Parish Mass for 9:30am. The afternoon before I got an email asking me if it would be okay if three (of the five) class teachers could absent themselves from the Mass in order to stay behind at school and organise some learning course. I emailed back saying that it would not be right, it would be disappointing and not give the right witness to the children or to the community. At yesterday's Mass, the three teachers stayed away.

The Loon said...

These figures come from memory but 9% of Prim school kids go to Mass. The interim findings for the Parramatta Pastoral Plan (based on surveys) said that childrens' liturgies were a success.

Maybe as the teachers strum their guitars or press the play button on the CD player that rings out sounds of the saxophone (Calvary or a Kenny G concert?) and the kids sing a cheesy, wishy washy song with words that don't rhyme adults delude themselves into thinking so. And let's not forget liturgical dance (some call it movement).

If such a success why does Mass attendance drop to 8% in high school? 18-29 age bracket when kids can go to Mass by themselves if parents won't take them (an excuse I've heard), it falls to 7%.

If young Catholic aren't going to Mass (average 92% under 30 don't), the Eucharistic Sacrifice the fount and apex of our lives (LG 11), then Cath ed is an abysmal failure.

A Canberra Observer said...

Good one Bp Mark - the schools have created an edifice, and perhaps they still give better formation than the public schools (many proponents of which are utterly hostile to schools of any faith persuasion as evidenced recently in the ACT), but perhaps he was speaking historically, as to their former glory.

The Catholic school system has many good people in it but the bulk of these were formed in the post V2 age. And most trained in secular education institutions - with all the femmo, pinko ideology that goes with the teaching profession in this country.

And the orders of men and women who once made the system strong are in or have terminally declined, and well before that they (or at least many of them) became active agents for corrosion.
From a faith perspective, tempting to start with a blank piece of paper.

PM said...

Let us pray that Fr Mick doesn't get sacked form his parish or worse for his comment - it has happened elsewhere when a PP has contradicted an educrat. The school system is the proverbial elephant in the room - everybody knows about the problem but no-one dares to talk about it.

Elise Hilton said...

I used to teach religion at a Catholic high school. I left after I was told by the principal that the religion teachers could not discipline the students (it would make them "hate" the Faith), that I couldn't fail students who cheated (one of the subjects I taught was Morality), and that I really shouldn't even grade students because you can't "fail" religion. I told him, "You sure can. It's called Hell." I quit, telling him I could not, in good conscience do what he was telling me to do.

Pius said...

Well, abolishing State Aid to "Catholic" schools when so many of them are simply seedbeds for heresy and sexual perversion (i.e. are largely indistinguishable from secular schools), is a necessary - though not a sufficient - start. Let any funding which occurs be dependent upon an educational institution being recognisably Catholic. "Starve the beast" remains a good rule of thumb for dealing with stinking-rich enemies of the Faith, whatever the forms these enemies take.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do" (while bearing in mind another text - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge").

1. There are hardly any priests and religious teaching in schools anymore; and of those that are, the laudable minority actually believe and teach the Faith, but too many of the religious still surviving propagate self-defeating versions thereof that are anything but orthodox, let alone support belief or have the power to convert.

2. Many if not most teachers - particularly the younger ones - are themselves lacking in belief: hence it is unsurprising that they don't go to Mass, let alone defy modern social norms by refusing to cohabitate, etc. in their private lives. Of course most are people of good will, but know nothing, and indeed have often been incorrectly formed to believe a comforting but false set of doctrines based around being nice, and God being rather like fairy-floss.

3. Nearly all students come from families that are at best Catholic in name only, and thus neither they nor their parents (nor in some cases even their grandparents) have any real grasp of Christianity.

Hence such events as school Mass are experiments in confusion. The early Church did not let pagans attend the Holy Mysteries until they were converted and baptized, and the same rule could be restored. I recall a priest saying in amazement, after hearing confessions at a secondary school, that the young penitents were but baptized pagans. That is the sad truth.

Forgive them, they know not what they do; for God's people is being destroyed by lack of knowledge.

A. Teacher (who shall remain nameless, since this teacher wishes to remain employed...)

A Canberra Observer said...

and also in Canberra, featuring in today's Canberra Times - 'art' at the 'progressive' St Clare's. Perversion is more like.

Joseph Fromm said...

I have four children and have never had my children in a public or private schools. I have compiled a short list in support of homeschooling.

Here is my list.....
From a home school dad.

1) A Catholic school tuition bill for four children without tuition assistance runs about 35,000 year. My home school costs for my four kids runs about 2k a year.

2) My children get a better education than in public or private schools.

3) My children are Sacramentaly orientated, not school orientated.

4) My children have better friends.

5) My children don't bring home as many illness.

6) My children don't bring home as many foul words.

7) The father is more important or honored to the children in home school families.

8) The mother retains here rightful place in the family.

9) The marriage of home schooled parents is better because their parental responsibilities have not been diminished or devalued by a school system.

10) In the first 300 years of the Church, Catholics were persecuted, all the children were home schooled, yet the faith of Catholics flourished.

11) I want my children to not loose their faith and I want them to go to Heaven. Homeschooling is the best option to reach the goal of Salvation.


Anonymous said...


I like what Maureen says. I think, unfortunately, there's some truth there. If my son were to learn the Gospel of Mark by heart I'd be very happy. Furthermore, when he comes home having learnt something wrong, or contradictory, it's easy to say that's where Anglicans are wrong. It's a lot tougher when they're nominally Catholic. Really, it starts and ends at home.

Also, I attended a Faith Conference in the UK and one priest made a comment that hit me between the eyes. He said, RE has become philanthropy education. Children are taught to do good. But not what's good. This sums up my eighties, early nineties RE in Australia. If not for my mother,father's example plus WYD in Sydney, I'd not be attending.

Anonymous said...

It is no different here in England. This morning at Mass for the Assumption( a holiday of Obligation here), there was not one school-age child from either our parish Primary School or our shared Secondary 11-16 School in Church. It is the Summer Holidays here but not everyone is away. We
are continually being regaled with the so-called excellence of our Catholic Schools. What they do not
produce is Catholics, which is the reason for their existence.

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