Teaching

The Tyranny of Tolerance

When the Supreme Court re-defined marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision to include same-sex relationships, it was immediately clear that this sea change would create a conflict between this newly-discovered constitutional right, and the first freedom listed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: the right of religious liberty. Everyone from pundits [...]

Defusing Homosexual and Transgender Landmines

In just the past couple of years, teaching high school students about sexuality has been completely upended. Before beginning the unit on sex, there used to be a piqued attentiveness, an awakened primal anticipation. But now students approach sex-ed with an enlightened glow, a condescending smirk and a smug ideological certainty. Perhaps it has always [...]

Why I Left Providence College

Sometimes a single encounter with what is healthy and ordinary—I use the word advisedly, with its suggestion that things are in the order that God by means of his handmaid Nature has ordained—is enough to shake you out of the bad dreams of disease and confusion. If it isn't quite yet like meeting Saint Francis [...]

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 [...]

The Weeds and the Wheat in Children’s Literature

“These are weird, but…whatever gets kids to pick up a book,” a librarian in the children’s section said while she pulled books from a shelf and handed them to a woman in the aisle next to me. The mother had asked for recommendations for her son, and I could not help overhearing the conversation. The [...]

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 Goal of Classical Education is Truth

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Aristotle wrote this in the fourth century B.C. in a text called On the Heavens. Sixteen hundred years later Thomas Aquinas began his treatise On Being and Essence by paraphrasing Aristotle: “Because a small error in the beginning grows enormous at the end.…” [...]

All Teacher Candidates Need to Know Is On the Web

In one of Baudelaire’s spleen poems called “The Generous Gambler,” a boulevardier is steered by a “Mysterious Being” into a subterranean casino. There they drink and chat till dawn, gambling all the while. The Mysterious Being proves an urbane and chatty devil, old fashioned in manners, but progressive in philosophy. The only time he’d ever [...]

Theology of the Bawdy

In any decent education there should be a place for the indecent. Students should read stories like “The Miller’s Tale,” see plays like Romeo and Juliet, and learn songs like “Drunken Sailor.” The inclusion of low, lewd themes sometimes attracts curiosity and criticism in the realm of classical education, and especially Catholic classical education: How [...]

Back to Schooling

The art of education is under a cloud in this country, largely because it is treated as a science. Schools are not research institutions. They are not data mills. They are conservatories of culture. In the current anti-cultural climate how can teachers, especially Catholic teachers, ensure that students learn the rudiments of culture—and the rudiments [...]

Dewey or Don’t We? Why Our Kids are Messed Up

“Personally, I’d prefer a kinder, gentler set of relationships: more like the give-and-take of an elegant dance than the rough-and-tumble of the full-contact sport that is the modern hook-up culture.  For that to happen, however, parents would have to remember that teaching their children how to dance, how to date, and how to court and [...]

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