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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
January 29, 2006
An Issue of Justice

    This week we celebrate the long history of Catholic School Education in the United States.  Catholic Schools began on a parochial level soon after the Revolutionary War.  The main purpose for initiating these schools was to encourage and support the Catholic families who were not being accepted in the main stream of American life due to the overwhelming majority of Protestants in the new American nation.  The original thirteen colonies were mainly Protestant with the exception of Maryland so the public school system backed their prejudices. Catholics found themselves at a serious disadvantage.  If Catholicism was to survive, Catholics needed to establish their own school system. 

    Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, Maryland is remembered as the founder of the Catholic School system in the United States.  After some years every parish in the country was encouraged to build and support their own school.  This system worked quite well until the mid twentieth century.  Today, the American school system has undergone many changes and the Catholic School system is no exception. 

    What is a young family to consider if they are debating whether or not to send their children to Catholic School.  There are several areas of concern.  One may be distance from the school.  Transportation is not a minor consideration.  The fact that there are only a few schools in the diocese presents a challenge to parents.  Parents are not expected to forfeit their jobs in order to secure a Catholic School Education for their children.

     A second consideration is finances.  When Catholic Schools were begun, there was no tuition.  Parishes supported their schools to the best of their ability and religious institutions supported them with low salaries teachers.  This was true until the mid 20th century.  It is no longer the case today.  Tuition payments are high, very high.  A family needs to be financially “well off” to send their children to Catholic Schools.  It is true that sacrifices are still in order but the entire family need not feel the repercussions of this educational system.

    A third consideration is Social Status.  Today, there are many families that consider sending their children to Catholic Schools because Catholic Schools  have become a type of private school.  If parents can afford to send their children to a private school they feel as though they have accomplished their goal of success.  Parents who do not feel able to do this may often feel guilty at not being able to secure “the best” for their children.  This is difficult but “the best” should always come from the home, not the school.

    All of the above revolve around the issue of Justice.  When considering  the children you wish to send to Catholic School, there needs to be a balance of fairness to the remainder of the family.  If all else is equal then sending your children to Catholic School should definitely be a strong consideration.  If the issue of Justice would be compromised then you need to realize this truth and make your decisions appropriately.

Lorette P. Nault