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!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,805 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,194.54
97% 3%
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.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Famous actors bring the New Testament to dramatic life in this audio Bible 16 hours ago
Preparing for the Jubilee of Mercy 18 hours ago
Final Liturgical Year volume for 2014-2015 now available August 31
Church Fathers: The Third Century and the School of Alexandria August 29
Every Aspect of the Catholic Thing August 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: welcome with compassion those who have remarried outside the Church CWN - August 5
Pope Francis: SSPX priests will licitly and validly absolve sins during Jubilee of Mercy CWN - September 1