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Catholic schools: how much accountability?

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 Contents - Feb 2006AD2000 February 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Catholic schools: how much accountability? - Michael Gilchrist
Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy: the Mass is not entertainment - Cardinal Francis Arinze
News: The Church Around the World
Catechesis: Latest research on Catholic school leavers - Michael Gilchrist
Education: Catholic Church and her schools face a 'wake-up call' - Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
Liturgical Music: The spiritual impact of Msgr. Richard Schuler's priestly leadership and example - Fr John T. Zuhlsdorf
Priestly vocations: the key role of bishops - John Mallon
New Age paganism's creeping influence within the Church - Wanda Skowronska
Blessed Charles de Foucauld: seeking nothing but God's will - Dr Frank Mobbs
The Church of England: beyond satire? - Rev Peter Mullen
Letters: Clerical Celibacy (letter) - Fr Adrian Head
Letters: All Saints Day (letter) - M & L Morrissey
Letters: Ars priests retreat - Fr Robert Markey
Letters: Wrong chord? (letter) - John Daly
Prayer: The Abandonment Prayer of Charles de Foucauld
Letters: Beautiful music (letter) - Josephine Landsberg
Letters: Cardinal von Galen (letter) - Denise M. Cameron
Letters: Survival of the fittest (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Evolutionism - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Intelligent design (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Homilies (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Catholic magazines needed in India - Fr A. Joseph
Letters: EWTN tapes available - Harry and Antoinette Zwaans
Books: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The Pope Benedict Code, by Joanna Bogle - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: For the Life of the World:St Maximilian and the Eucharist, by Fr Jerzy Domanski - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: CATHOLIC FAMILY CATECHISM: Disciples' Edition and Apostles' Edition, Fr Tierney - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Events: Virtus - Retreat for Young Men
Events: Lecture on the Compendium of the Catechism - Msgr Peter Elliott
Books: Stimulating reading from AD Books
Reflection: The hidden treasure of the Holy Mass - St Leonard of Port Maurice

As another school year gets underway we need to remind ourselves of the essential goal of Catholic schools, namely, to foster practising Catholic graduates. Merely replicating what is achieved by high quality non-Catholic private schools and State schools hardly justifies the continued existence of large, separate and expensive Catholic systems of education.

In most human endeavours, a "strike rate" of ten per cent or less would lead to critical self-examination and radical surgery. However, with some exceptions, e.g., Bishop Jarrett of Lismore's frank analysis on page 7, those responsible for the effectiveness of Catholic schooling across Australia remain largely unaccountable, if not in a state of denial.

The late Br Marcellin Flynn undertook a series of exhaustive research projects on the beliefs and practices of Catholic students over several decades, with each succeeding set of findings revealing further decline. These findings, in turn, were complemented by the research of Professor Denis McLaughlin of Australian Catholic University on the products of Catholic schools at ACU.

AD2000 has given prominence over the past decade or more to these findings (see our website).

Most recently, Br Luke Saker of Edith Cowan University, WA, has completed research on the beliefs of young Catholics intending to teach religion in Catholic schools (see page 6). His findings, which were given extensive coverage in the Perth Archdiocesan weekly, The Record, confirmed those of Br Flynn and Professor McLaughlin.

Over thirty years have passed since the misconceived pupil-centred, content-light approach was launched, during which time a succession of publications have emanated from the Holy See (including the Catechism of the Catholic Church) setting out the requirements of sound religion teaching. Yet there continues to be relatively little soul-searching.

While signs of hope are evident in some parishes, schools and dioceses, the broader picture reveals inadequate accountability for the dismal spiritual results of up to 13 years of Catholic schooling. It is obvious many of our educational bodies need major shake-ups - if it is not already too late.

Michael Gilchrist: Editor (email -

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 1 (February 2006), p. 2

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