We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bus

The chickens are coming flapping home.

And it turns out that these chickens walk on two legs and have roosting habits that are nothing more than mob action.

Catholic education’s easy bargain of don’t ask, don’t tell concerning dissent against Church teachings and morality has coalesced into “outrage” from parents and students when high schools try to teach and enforce Church teachings. Consider this, this and this.

Bishops, when faced with these angry mobs have turned to the time-honored bureaucratic practice of court-martial-the-private/fire-the-secretary/shoot-the-messenger. Sister Mary Tracy resigned in Seattle. Sister Jane Dominic Laurel took a sabbatical in North Carolina. Father Rocky Hoffman hasn’t been cashiered the way the nuns were, but he has been properly apologized for to the mob.

The response to angry mobs demanding that Catholic schools not teach Catholic teaching has been to wave the white flag and toss the hapless offender who committed the crime of doing what the Church says we should all do under the bus.

It appears that our Catholic schools have become something other than what we thought they were. I keep wondering, are they nothing except a place for well-to-do people to send their kids in order to avoid the public schools? Is there no moral component to Catholic education these days?

And what about these bishops? Are any of them capable of being stand up guys? I don’t have any sympathy with the bishops about this court-martial/fire/shoot and then-cut-and-run routine they’re doing. If the bishop runs away, the people will be lost.

If every Catholic who believes what the Church teaches gets thrown under the bus for being politically incorrect enough to say so in public, we’re going to need a lot bigger bus.

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  • FW Ken

    This article includes lots of quotes from the opposition parents, who are going after the principal now.

    http://m.independentri.com/mobile/independents/south_county/south_kingstown/article_1be00f84-dd60-5dbb-8f98-b3cd345994c9.html

    • SisterCynthia

      So, dumb question, what sort of folks are those in the Opus Dei group? I thought they were conservative types, but this woman makes me wonder if instead they are just enamored with hearing the Latin Mass. Is that it?

      • FW Ken

        No, the Opus Dei is a religious community dedicated to sanctification of ordinary life. Some live in families, some in communities. They are an orthodox and evangelical group. I never heard that they are Traditional Latin Mass devotees, but they might be.

        I read a comment by someone who said he knew the principal, and the guy is orthodox and devout. He’s apparently trying to move the school from a tony prep school to being a Catholic school, which may be why the dissidents want his job. Who knows. Since they are trying to censor broadcast of the speech, we may never know.

  • Matthew Bade

    There are so many parents who want to have their cake and eat it too. In our customer-is-always-right culture, folks approach everything with a Burger King mentality: BK’s “Have it your way” slogan is the archetype for people who see themselves primarily as consumers with the right to demand control over the education they’re paying for. They want their kids to have the benefits of a private education without all the religious “baggage” attendant upon private schools’ commitment to a religiously-infused curriculum. Now, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, I will stipulate that I understand why so many parents are like this. They want a safe environment for their children, a place that instills discipline and fosters a morality that public schools are bereft of. Even still, parents must accept the whole package, all and sundry, if they want to protect their children from the pitfalls of public schools. In the end, I am left with a simple question: with such a demand for secularized private schools, why aren’t there more of them in existence?

    • kenofken

      They are consumers. They’re spending north of $20,000 per year, and in that range, people do expect to have their cake, or, if you will, their burger, the way they want it. No one in this world with that kind of juice is going to silently defer to authority, and not simply because of the amount involved in the check they cut each semester. Some of them are probably heavy-duty contributors and its’ a fair bet all of them are making their bank in professions that require forceful personalities.

      Most of these parents are far more interested in the school’s solid academics and college placement rate, not orthodoxy. To the extent they even identify as Catholic, they reflect the large majority of rank and file members who do not agree with Church teachings on gay marriage.

      This is pure supply and demand. The board has to decide where it’s priorities lie on the spectrum of financial viability vs orthodoxy and Catholic identity. It would be better for all if they decide a position and stick to it rather than trying to soft-shoe a middle path to a compromise that doesn’t exist.

      • Dave

        For once, we are in agreement, kenofken. This is a typical battle between the rich, elite who just want good academics and a well-respected school on the college resume and put up with the Catholicism in order to get it versus the folks who see a full Catholic formation as central to the mission of the school.

        The school leadership has to decide which direction it wants to go, and stick to it. It sounds like the “Catholic mission” side is currently winning and there are those who do not like it.

        By the way, most practicing Catholics do agree with the Church’s teachings on gay marriage. If they are not practicing, they are not really Catholics in a meaningful sense, other than that they were baptised and/or confirmed at some time. The last comprehensive poll that I saw showed that practicing Catholics were against gay marriage by a 65-28% margin, while the numbers were more or less reversed for non-practicing Catholics (who unfortunately are the majority)

        • Conservative Catholic

          ” If they are not practicing, they are not really Catholics in a
          meaningful sense, other than that they were baptized and/or confirmed at some time.”
          You mean like Nancy Pelosi, or Joe Biden, or John Kerry?
          You are not Catholic in a “meaningful sense” unless you follow ALL of the Church’s teachings. The rest are what is usually referred to as a “cafeteria catholic” (not capitalized for a reason), those who think they can pick and choose what they wish to believe. Which is not Catholic at all.
          So the majority of CATHOLICS do not believe in gay marriage or any other sinful behavior.

          • Dave

            The minimal sense in which someone could be considered Catholic for the purpose of a meaningful survey is that they actually attend Mass. You are right, though, that to really be Catholic, you must accept the Church’s teaching fully. Otherwise, one is really a Protestant who doesn’t fully realize it.

          • pesq87

            Can anyone point to a single actual human being who meets your standard of real Catholic vs not really Catholic?

            • crusader1234

              pesq87: a real Catholic DOES NOT DISAGREE with Church Dogma or teachings on sexual morality or other matters. If a real Catholic commits a sin, he AGREES it is a sin, and not try to deny it is a sin or argue that the Catholic Church is wrong and he is right in this matter. Being a real Catholic does not mean being sinless, but it DOES mean accepting and acknowledging that a sin has been committed each time it happens if the church says what you did is a sin, instead of trying to justify it.

              • pesq87

                I know that. I’m asking if such a person exists – someone who, as you said, “does not disagree with Church Dogma or teachings on sexual morality or other matters.” Where is this person? What is her name?

                • FW Ken

                  His name is Ken.

                  In May of 1987, I stood up and said that “I believe all that the Catholic Church teaches … is revealed by God. In almost 27 years, I’ve found reasons to doubt that fact, but none persuaded. So yes, I hold to all Catholic dogma, including the moral teachings. Otherwise, I would have stayed an Episcopalian.

                  And I’ve heard many other folk make that same affirmation.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Fabio Paolo Barbieri. In South Ruislip, borough of Hillingdon, United Kingdom. Any more questions? (And in my case, it’s a “he”. Beware of reverse sexism.)

                  Your problem is the same as that of all “progressives”: you imagine your fads, fancies and unquestioned assumptions to be the norm for mankind at large. Indeed, that is why your assumptions remain unquestioned. You seriously believe that Mongol herdsmen, low-caste Muslim peddlers in Bangalore, or Basuto farmers in South Africa, fundamentally agree with you about sexuality and that, where they think they don’t, is only because they are not enlightened enough about themselves. Total, idiotic, mindless rubbish. People know what they believe and don’t believe what you do. Wake up and stop talking as though your silly, faddish, provincial beliefs, unknown to anyone fifty years before you or a few nations away, were the norm of the universe. They are not. And much though it may surprise you, the Catholic Church is NOT the largest religious body in the world because nobody believes what it teaches. The Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the world because it has the largest number of people who believe what it teaches.

                  • pesq87

                    I’m very glad for you that you agree with every single church teaching.

                    I suspect, however, that the Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the world because it has the largest number of people who believe that Jesus was both God and man. The rest of it? 100% agreement in all church teachings from the right to life to contraception to unjust war and the sin of sex before marriage? Well, we’d have to take a poll, wouldn’t we?

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      I did not say that every nominal member of the Catholic Church understands its teachings or shares them. I just said that your notion that membership of a body whose membership is purely voluntary – nobody compels you to be Catholic, even if you have been baptized – implies disagreement with its teachings is really too funny for words.

                    • pesq87

                      I didn’t say that, neither expressly nor impliedly.

    • John Barba

      It would seem catholic schools have become college prep schools.

  • Dave

    The more I hear about these stories, the more I think these parents are just a bunch of narcissists whose feewings (yes, feewings) were hurt when the speakers mention that perhaps divorce isn’t such a good thing in Catholic teaching and might have bad effects. That’s why we never hear anything specific about the horrible things which were said.

  • wildsky

    The big secret of Catholic schools is that many if not most students are not Catholic

    • Jennifer F.

      No, many could be. But they, and their parents, are very badly catechized. I know. I attended a so-called Catholic high school a few decades back and the faith was NOT well taught there. In fact – I was taught outright heresy. Am I saying that this school did that? No, I am saying that we have a lot of “so-called” Catholics running around who don’t really know anything about their faith except what their TV screen tells them. People who watch mainstream news actually think they’re well-informed. That would be hilarious it if weren’t so profoundly false.

  • Tracy Cruess

    I feel like these issue give light to problems in the pew which carry over to the schools not the other way around. The reality is that there are many generations (including my own) that were not at all properly formed in the Faith. We have being sowing sour grapes for decades and this is the harvest. Its going to (and has) come out in one way or another and it needs to be dealt with. That being said I do agree that there are a lot of so called Catholic schools that are much more interested in being elite sports or academic schools than they are in being Catholic. But there are so so many truly awesome and truly Catholic schools out there too. And the encouraging thing is that so many of them are new! And I think the other thing to keep in mind is there are a lot of really good Catholics in not so Catholic schools trying to right the ship and they need our support in some form or another. They are doing missionary work in pagan territory and they are doing wonderful work. The Dominicans (both Nashville and Ann Arbor) in particular are doing truly awesome things in Catholic education and if they devil wants to give them some push back I feel confident they can weather it.

  • Lesley Hughes

    I would rather have one Catholic School in each state which is 100% Catholic than to have hundreds which are Catholic in name only.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    It’s hard to say what’s going on without the text of these speakers made available.

  • Herb Suhl

    Catholicism will go back to being the religion of the poor.


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