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Times columnists urge new approach to funding parochial schools

CWN - January 07, 2013

Writing in the New York Times Patrick McCloskey and Joseph Claude Harris argue that Church officials should take a more energetic approach to fundraising for Catholic schools.

McCloskey and Harris observe that parochial schools are closing at a time when the demand for Catholic education is still on the rise. Rather than pleading for help to close budget deficits, the authors argue, the Church should undertake bold new fundraising plans to expand schools, They add that wealthier parishes and dioceses should provide support for needier jurisdictions. To address personnel needs, they suggest the assignment of deacons, who often have the needed professional expertise to run educational institutions.

McCloskey and Harris close their argument with an astonishing paragraph:

“The school is more necessary than the church,” said John J. Hughes, the first archbishop of New York. Unless the Vatican and the American bishops heed those words, the decline in parochial education may forewarn the fate of the church itself.

The New York Times column does not explain why Catholic education is valuable, except insofar as the parochial schools provide affordable education for needy students. The authors do not explain what distinctively Catholic features should be preserved in the parochial schools, and their suggestion that education is more important than the sacramental life of the Church betrays an attitude not likely to sustain the health of Catholic education in the long run.

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  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 08, 2013 11:08 AM ET USA

    How true. I remember a principal (a convert) who said that, "You Catholics worship Mary too much." Hired as an "expert" in technology, many "Catholic" things and practices were belittled or stopped. There is a definite undercurrent (never stated) that doesn't place our Faith first and foremost, despite what you might hear.

  • Posted by: Mirabilis - Jan. 08, 2013 9:49 AM ET USA

    Indeed that quote betrays the feelings of many who are involved in Catholic education, from pre-school to the university. It's all about education (whatever that means to you), catechesis is optional or perhaps a detriment to learning. If we don't begin with the faith in its proper place--first, education becomes a means away from Christ and His Church.

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