Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $40,680 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on

New book: higher neighborhood crime follows closing of urban Catholic schools

Catholic World News - June 18, 2014

In Lost Classroom, Lost Community, a new book that has attracted broad praise, Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett examined crime reports and found that “the loss of Catholic schools triggers disorder, crime, and an overall decline in community cohesiveness” in urban areas.

The University of Notre Dame professors also found that “the factor that most predicted that a school would close-- more so than income or race-- was whether there was something ‘irregular’ about the parish leadership … Schools affiliated with these troubled parishes….were ten times more likely to close [than] healthy parishes led by pastors in regular rotation.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($128,367 to go):
$150,000.00 $21,632.70
86% 14%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Jun. 19, 2014 6:59 PM ET USA

    The "social capital" which the NCR book review speaks about is nothing less than the fruitful results of faith induced education which are wide spread. The very presence of the pastor and religious educators are an example of the Christian virtue of sacrifice and the life generating works which spring from it for the benefit of others. That Christ showed on the cross "I have comne not to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many" we have all indeed benefited from.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jun. 18, 2014 12:28 PM ET USA

    Conservative Catholic educators have long known that schools provide a spiritual center to the neighborhood. If the school is deeply religious, and supported by the families, this spirit invades the neighborhood. The Council of Baltimore knew this. Charles Murray's "Coming Apart" also demonstrates the profound connect between the life of religion and the stability of the poor in the inner city. As the Church has moved away from education into social work, the poor have been hardest hit.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 18, 2014 11:38 AM ET USA

    Conversely, an inner-city school promotes unity and parish attendance. Businesses begin to support the area and there is more of a sense of pride that pervades the area, as well. In one of the three inner-city schools I taught at, the problem was the school's leadership (a dictatorial diocesan education department and a weak pastor) and eventually the school closed in two years.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics 2 hours ago
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17
No, mainstream religious orders aren't attracting vocations as fast as younger traditional orders October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - 12 hours ago
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6