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Catholic Education and the Ignorance of the Past – Part 2


November 27, 2017

Perhaps the most basic of problems for Catholic parents today who have a true desire to raise their children as good Catholics is, through no fault of their own, a solid understanding and knowledge of their Catholic heritage.

Heritage in the context as it is used in this article is to mean all aspects of Catholic life. These would include education (good understanding of the Faith), liturgy and its history, the practice of virtue, a proper Catholic home environment, a special emphasis on the virtues of chastity, purity and modesty , the Catholic attitude one ought have in this world and life (it will necessarily be different) and the proper choosing of friends, etc. This is not meant to be a complete list, but perhaps the more important necessities of a Catholic life especially today.

It has been observed for a number of years that Catholic parents, particularly our own, lack the proper understanding and knowledge of how to more completely raise their children as Catholics. It is indeed a joyful moment when a Catholic child is born into this world. The effort required by both parents to properly raise their child as a good Catholic, is another matter indeed.

Too often in recent years parents have been satisfied with teaching their children the basic catechism and nothing more. The unfortunate end result is a baptized pagan or a Catholic who simply does not have enough knowledge to properly live as he ought although he may have the best of intentions.

When these failures are passed to one, two or three generations, there is nearly a complete loss of Faith and far too many are unaware of this loss. Ignorance can be blissful, but certainly not in this situation. It is indeed a sad tragedy of the worst type especially when there is not a true understanding of what has taken place.

In far too many cases parents send their children to a public school. They will tell you either there is no choice or they fail to believe the public schools are not so bad they should not send their children to them. Depending on the public school, it will undermine the faith and/or morals of the child to various degrees. It may not be evident to the child or the parent, but the secular, anti-Catholic environment will spiritually poison the child. One of the worst but least obvious effects is to plant the seed of indifferentism in the mind of the child. There are many obvious attacks upon the soul of the child. How the parents leave the child in these schools is beyond a reasonable explanation!

The unreasonable excuses given are an indication of the unwillingness of parents to make hard sacrifices for the purposes of giving their children a Catholic education in a Catholic environment. Parents who make this conscious decision have made the wrong decision! To be clear, one is not advocating sending your children to the Modernist schools for they are spiritual poison and death.

There are a few options. The first is to homeschool the child. If the parents are not capable of teaching their children, perhaps joining together with other True Catholic families and have either capable parents teach the children or have a home schooling school provide tutors for the more difficult subjects, especially in high school. There are also numerous acceptable classes available on the internet.

Still another option is Immaculate Heart Academy in Rochester, NY for junior and senior high schools. St. Anthony Minor Seminary in Lubbock, TX is an option for junior and senior high school boys. It must be understood in both cases the girl or boy may not have a religious vocation. This is not required to attend these schools. The goal of these schools is to provide a good Catholic education, both academically and religious in an environment where the student attends Mass each day and has the opportunity to receive the Sacraments regularly. In addition, they are in a setting where they will not be pressured by peers to drink, take drugs or be involved in any immoral activities. There are a variety of activities the student may be take part in depending upon their talents and interests.

One is not able or desirous to go back in time, but one may use the good elements of the Catholic parochial and high school systems of the past to create a Catholic environment for the student to benefit them spiritually and academically. It is our first hope to teach young men and women the Catholic Faith in such a manner that they are well equipped to live as Catholic adults in the world. This environment will also provide an ideal setting for the young man or woman who is considering a religious vocation. Too often today the setting in the home, although it is a Catholic home, is not ideal for the proper consideration of such a serious decision. The worldly distractions or the lack of understanding of how to assist a child in how to encourage a child regarding a religious vocation are but two examples.

Education is a big part of properly raising a child, but teaching the child to love the Faith should hold a higher place for the parent. If the parent only has a catechetical education and is mediocre in his faith, it is highly unlikely he will be a good Catholic example to the child. There is a simple principle in philosophy which applies in this situation; “you cannot give what you do not have.” The Faith and the practice of It, ought to have a supernatural foundation. This foundation is essential in parents for they are the first educators or teachers of the child. If the foundation is built on sand, it will not stand firm during the storms of life.

Alongside living the Faith, the parent ought to have a basic knowledge of the moral issues of today and what the Church teaches concerning these issues. The most important issues of today are abortion, artificial contraception, homosexuality, transgender issue (which is simply accepting the gender God created you), fornication, the abuse of alcohol and drugs, etc. With close observation one is able to determine that many parents misguide their child on one or more of these issues. A parent should not wonder why a child makes bad decisions, and yes, this may include why their daughters choose to dress immodestly. If a mother does not CORRECTLY guide the daughter, do not expect the child to do the right thing in today’s pagan climate. This is yet another example of the parent (mother) knowing what is right and setting the correct example.

Much is expected of today’s parents, but no more than those of the past. The difference is more parents in the past knew what was right and gave the correct example. Far too many parents today either do not know what is correct or are not concerned with learning that which is correct. This is not a lesson in history, but one where the Faith and morals was practiced by more Catholic parents in the past, although imperfectly, and was confirmed by the Church hierarchy.

Parents must do their very best to create and maintain a Catholic environment in the home. This begins by knowing the Faith and how to put it into practice in the Catholic home.

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM