Religious Education

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

On the Need to State the Obvious

One of the most subversive, dangerous, thankless, and necessary tasks is to state the obvious. Our mental filing systems tend to push things labeled as “obvious” into the back of our minds, leaving room in the front for more important and pressing matters. But things tend to get misplaced in that dark attic of our [...]

How to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools

“How can we make our school more Catholic?” This is a real question schools ask, some with perplexity. Is it a new curriculum? Better religion classes? Having the kids come to Mass? The answer is vital for the future of Catholic education. The sociologist Christian Smith notes, from his extensive research on the life of [...]

The Last of the Junior Seminarians

When one thinks of boarding schools, it’s easy to default to stereotype: a bunch of rich kids riding horses or playing lacrosse as they prepare for an Ivy League college and life as a senator or corporate executive. My experience a few decades ago (okay, a little over three) was vastly different, yet one I [...]

The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

School Memories During the Turbulent Vatican II Years

Let me say at the outset that I am aware that people's recollections of Catholic high schools vary—but the following are some of the memories I have of the 1960s, at the cusp of the Conciliar era and my reflections may resonate with some readers. I attended Brigidine Convent school in Randwick in Sydney, Australia, [...]

Pokémon Go Is the Least of My Parish’s Problems

A couple weeks ago as my wife and I approached the entry doors to our parish’s “Gathering Space,” which leads to the church proper, the parish social hall, and the parish offices, we couldn’t help but notice the signs that were prominently placed on all the doors: “Please refrain from playing Pokémon Go while inside [...]

Teach the Faith, Please

While I generally find the profusion and milling-around of lay ministers of the Eucharist distracting and unnecessary, I found myself offering prayers of thanksgiving for one this past Sunday. We’ve recently moved and were attending a new and unfamiliar parish with a bewildering process for going forward to receive, including multiple lines of Eucharistic ministers [...]

Teaching the Faith in a Time of Crisis

It has been a depressing month. A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my brother, a loyal Sunday Catholic. He has a vacation home which he generously offers to our extended family, and during our meal he told me that our college-age grandnephew and his girlfriend had visited. The understanding was that they would [...]

Secularism as Religious Indoctrination

Australia has a program in its schools that, at first glance, you’d have to be crazy to be against. It’s called Safe Schools, and it is an anti-bullying campaign. Well, at least that’s how it has been promoted. In reality, Safe Schools has become a pro-LGBTQI indoctrination system designed by one academic Marxist with hopes [...]

What Christian Education is Not

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.  ∼ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908). Christian education cannot be utilitarian. In fact, it will only be Christian in as much as it ceases to be utilitarian. One of the most destructive myths in recent decades has been [...]

Friendship: A Pillar of Catholic Education

Editor’s note: The following address by Bishop James Conley was delivered to teachers of the Diocese of Lincoln, at a day of prayer and formation, on February 15, 2016. This morning, I’d like to talk with you about the virtue of friendship, as it relates to the mission of Catholic schools, and especially your work [...]

The Theological Foundation of Catholic Education

The annual Cardinal Winning Lecture on Catholic Education, sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Foundation, was delivered on February 6, 2016, at the University of Glasgow in Scotland by Tracey Rowland, the Australian theologian and Director of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne. Rowland is the author of two books on Benedict XVI and of [...]

Give Me That Old-Time Evangelization

Recently, The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, interviewed Cardinal Wuerl about the Synod on the Family and asked the cardinal, in various ways, whether the Synod was changing the Church’s teaching on reception of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics. Cardinal Wuerl identified the Synod as a manifestation of the “New Evangelization.” “We’re seeing different [...]

Challenges and Ambiguities at the World Congress on Education

I write this on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic flying home from the Church’s World Congress on Catholic Education held November 18-21 at the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo. More than 2,000 educators from Catholic schools and universities gathered in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s Gravissimum Educationis and the 25th anniversary of Pope Saint [...]

A Look at San Francisco’s New Teacher Contract

In an August 19 press release, the Archdiocese of San Francisco announced the details of a collective bargaining agreement with its teacher’s union. The original proposal gained national attention when over 75 percent of the high school teachers signed a petition against Archbishop Cordileone’s efforts to add language to employment documents that specifically identified “hot [...]

A “Liturgy Snob” Answers Her Critics

Last week I wrote a piece here on Crisis about good liturgy and its effect on the minds of children. It provoked a number of strong reactions, with some positive and others very critical. This is unsurprising. All liturgy-lovers have heard these critiques before, because they arise as a matter of course whenever liturgical practice [...]

Liturgical Wisdom from the Mouths of Children

This past Yuletide, my husband and I decided to escape the Minnesota winter by taking our family to South Texas. We had a joyfully green Christmas, with our children running wild on the beach while the Gulf of Mexico lapped at our toes. We didn’t miss the snow. Of course, there are always drawbacks to [...]

Protecting Your Child from the Dangers of College Life

A church friend of mine has a daughter going off to college in the fall. When I ran into him recently, I asked how the summertime preparations were going. I expected him to tell me they’d spent an afternoon trying to help her register for classes or a day at Target looking at tiny fridges [...]

What Really Happened at Charlotte Catholic HS

The angry Tweets started before the nun’s talk ended. “My dad doesn’t love me because I’m gay?” followed by a supportive amen chorus, “We got you, man.” Such was the level of debate that began even before the end of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel’s talk to an all-school assembly at Charlotte Catholic High School last [...]

Invest in Catholic Youth: Build Beautiful School Chapels

  Intellege ut credas; crede ut intellegas  (In order to believe you must understand. In order to understand you must believe.)  —St. Augustine A priest once told me that the best place to teach students the faith is in a church. For it is in a church that they can see a physical expression of [...]

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