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I wish to comment on the article, 'Australia's Catholic school systems: the case for radical surgery' (February AD2000).
The article contends that the Catholic school system is no longer capable of forming future practising Catholics and has therefore forfeited its reason for existence. However, I would suggest that the ultimate responsibility for transmitting the faith lies with parents and not schools and that it is parents foremost who have failed to hand on the faith.
Admittedly, the Catholic school system and the people driving it have done parents a great disservice through the teaching of nonsense in the name of religious instruction, nevertheless, parents are ultimately responsible for their children. Catholic schools are a problem, but so are Catholic homes.
We need better Catholic homes more than we need better Catholic schools - homes where there is an atmosphere of fair discipline, some mortification, where the Rosary is recited, where Grace before meals is said, where there is spiritual discussion, where the whole family attends Sunday Mass together each week and where mother and father have complementary rather than competing roles.
These are just some of the small ways in which past generations of Catholics learned from their parents and then handed on the faith. Positive home influences such as these are more important than a Catholic school in the formation of future Catholics.
Problems with schools or parish priests make it harder for parents but not a mission impossible. The basics need to be kept up.
What would help the school situation is more enforcement of the Church's basic requirements upon parents, teachers and students, such as attendance at Sunday Mass and acceptance of the Catholic Church as the one true religion.
This would probably drive some away and I suspect that as with the idea of a two-tiered system recommended in the article, courageous leadership would be required to make it happen.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 3 (April 2007), p. 15
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