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Catholic schools

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 Contents - Mar 2007AD2000 March 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: How we can help young East Timorese - Peter Westmore
WYDSYD08: Salesian provincial urges parishes to sponsor Timorese to World Youth Day 2008 - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Sandhurst: Goddess worship at Victorian education conference? - Michael Gilchrist
Formation: Continuing growth of Sydney's Catholic Adult Education Centre - AD2000 Report
Catholicism flourishes in South Korea - Richard Stokes
Leadership: The scandal of Australia's anti-life Catholic politicians - Marcel White
'Professional', a l carte Catholicism and its papier mch schools - Andrew T. Kania
Survey of Catholic teachers
The changing panorama of Victoria's historic 'Rupertswood' - Michael Moore
Catholic religion courses and the challenge of relativism - Audrey English
Letters: Reform needed - T. Kalotas
Letters: Catholic schools - Kevin McBride
Letters: Null and void - Fr. G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Presumption - John H. Cooney
Letters: Suitable wedding attire - Tom and Barbara Phillip
Letters: Modesty of dress - Greg Byrne
Letters: Ten Commandments - Arthur Hartwig
Letters: Abortion counselling - Frank Bellet
Letters: Leadership needed - Anne Lastman
Letters: Human embryos - Rebecca Soares
Letters: Ecumenism? - Peter Davidson
Books: The Glory of These Forty Days, by Fr James Tolhurst - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: LISTEN MY SON: St Benedict for Fathers, by Dwight Longenecker - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: SEEKING THE ABSOLUTE: The Founders of Christian Monasticism - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Media: The Rosary of the Virgin Mary - 4 DVD or 4 CD set - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Order Books from
Reflection: The Holy Trinity - source of true Christian unity - Fr John O'Neill

For many decades Catholic schools were recognised and highly valued as an essential rock and nursery of the Faith - an essential feature of our Catholic Australian environment - providing strength and virility, showing us how to live our Catholic Faith.

They also provided the impetus and inspiration - the nursery - for countless priestly and religious vocations for many decades. There were so many priests and religious then that a surplus was even permitted or encouraged to travel abroad to assist with the overseas missions.

Parents were then acutely aware, indeed enthused, that their children should attend Catholic schools to foster and cultivate the on- going growth of their Catholic faith. This appreciation and expectation was widespread and rarely questioned.

Gratification was expressed on all sides when many of these children were inspired by what they learnt from dedicated teachers, and what they experienced of a Catholic culture, to embrace vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

There was no dire serious shortage of vocations in Australia during those years. At the same time, the mainstream laity were constantly filling their parish churches each Sunday, and it was woe-betide anyone arriving late for Mass; indeed it was a case of standing room only. Confessions would often continue for hours to cope with the crowds.

But in recent times these signs of a flourishing Faith have all but disappeared. Today it is clear something is amiss with the Catholic schools which are now contributing relatively little to the health of the Church.

Church statistics constantly report that the great majority of Catholic students abandon their faith upon leaving their schools. Priestly and religious vocations are all but non- existent in many dioceses.

Some schools employ non- Catholic teachers or Catholic teachers unable or unwilling to demonstrate a positive, prayerful example of a vigorous Catholic Faith to their students.

Meanwhile, the numbers at Sunday Mass have fallen to a pitiful fraction compared with past decades.

This sorry saga continues to unfold in full view of our Hierarchy. Yet we hear or read few if any expressions of concern or outrage, individually or collectively, let alone any drastic action being set in motion.

Meantime, we should pray for brighter horizons to soon appear.

Aberfoyle Park, SA

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 2 (March 2007), p. 14

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