Sunday, August 23, 2015


 I lift the following from The Deacon's Bench Blog! The Springfield, Illinois Diocese is requiring this!!!!: The Family School Agreement would also require that non-Catholic families to attend Mass weekly and contribute to Catholic parishes, even while in most instances paying higher tuition rates at those schools. 

(My Comments on this bombshell at the bottom!)

New school policy targets parents “not living in accord with church teaching”

It also requires non-Catholics to attend Mass and contribute to the parishes.
Details, from The Springfield State Journal Register: 
The Springfield Catholic Diocese’s new school policy could call into question parents’ lifestyles, especially if they go against Catholic teaching, and takes a new approach toward a more Protestant tradition of tithing.
The Family School Agreement would also require that non-Catholic families to attend Mass weekly and contribute to Catholic parishes, even while in most instances paying higher tuition rates at those schools.
The agreement, modeled after a Wichita, Kansas, plan, was issued by Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki on July 20, but some Springfield schools haven’t made parents or legal guardians sign it.
In a letter to pastors and principals, obtained by The State Journal-Register, Paprocki acknowledged that the agreement was initiated in part when a same-sex married couple tried to enroll their adopted children at a Springfield elementary school, later identified as Christ the King.
One of the points of the agreement — which was recommended by the diocese’s Presbyteral Council, a 20-member senate of the bishop that acts in a consultative nature, and approved by Paprocki — is the expectation that parents, adoptive parents or legal guardians of children enrolled in Catholic schools meet with their parish pastor if they are “not living in accord with church teaching.”
Read more. 
If this sticks, I’ll be curious to see how the enrollment is doing in another year or two.

My Comments: As one who has only been in parishes for 35 years with schools, I have seen in the post-Vatican II period the Catholic identity of our schools erode in order to keep more people using these schools. Of course it isn't the Catholic identity of our schools which is the problem but the high cost of Catholic education today.

But, the fact remains that the primary reason for Catholic schools has been obfuscated in the recent post-Vatican II past. These exist to strengthen the Catholic Church and her mission by forming Catholics in the faith and morals of the Catholic Church to include canon law and its enforcement.

Canon Law is not just for the hierarchy, (bishops, priests, deacons and religious) but for the Church, clergy and laity together. If Catholics are breaking Canon Law, shouldn't the Catholic School be the place to make sure it is enforced, especially as it regards the Sunday Mass obligation not to mention the Church's laws concerning marriage?????

However, if this diocese also requires Protestants and other non-Catholics to attend Catholic Mass each Sunday and support the Catholic parish they are asked to attend with their tithes in addition to a higher tuition, I think we will see a drastic decrease in non-Catholics attending our schools. But maybe this is the plan of the Springfield diocese?

We have to keep in mind that in Springfield, there may not be as many Protestants and other non-Catholics using our schools as in the south where we have always allowed non-Catholics to attend, but giving Catholics preference (meaning if a class can only have 25 kids, Catholics are chosen first and what is left over is open to others.)

But when a Catholic school becomes predominantly non-Catholic (and two of our three Catholic schools in Macon are this way and St. Joseph is approaching the status quo on this also) it gets harder and harder to maintain the philosophy and reason for Catholic Education to hand on and live the faith, morals and canon law of the Church!

In addition to this, people use our schools for all the wrong reasons, becoming consumers of education for their children and also simply to escape public schools. For these people, the less Catholic the Catholic school is, the better! And when you have a "mob mentality" on non-Catholics insisting on this, that and the other, how can a Catholic school maintain its reason for existing, that of evangelizing those who attend with the Catholic faith, not just a generic Christianity, and handing on and living the Catholic faith, morals and canon law?

In our Diocese, though, to implement something like this will lead to a very, very small but purer Catholic schools system but one also that won't be viable any longer.  We'll go out of business in other words. 


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think we need to know more about the specifics of the program.

Are church-going non-Catholics to be required to attend Catholic mass in order to keep their children enrolled? Is this policy directed to a non-Catholic parent who is married to a Catholic spouse and whose Catholic children attend Catholic school? Is the required "tithe" going to be determined by reviewing the tax statements of all parents of enrolled children?

Requiring non-Catholics to attend mass seems coercive to me. In the case of a non-Catholic, does the Diocese have the right to demand that, if they want their kids in Catholic school, they have to follow Catholic teaching? Is this demand limited only to the moral teaching regarding marriage, or does it extend into other areas?

I, too, want Catholics to be fully Catholic, but, at this point, this policy seems to be somewhat overreaching.

Supertradmum said...

Fantastic....a real bishop lives in Springfield.

William Axton said...

Catholics are required to attend (Anglican) chapel at a local prestigious private school in our neck of the woods. If you want the education the school offers, then you attend chapel, too. Catholics who attend a local Dutch Reformed high school (because it teaches Christian morality better than our local Catholic high school) agree to attend their worship services. Why are Catholics so timid about requiring students to attend Mass? If it's a Catholic school, then it's a Catholic school!

Why not require all students and their families to attend Mass? If a non-Catholic wants the education a Catholic school offers, they must realize that the Catholic Faith (and necessarily a Catholic education) impacts all of life. If the parents of non-Catholic children want what the Church has to offer, let them accept the whole package. If we believe the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life—and Catholic schools are Christian institutions, yes?—why would we deprive all students from a necessary formation that speaks to the whole person? Do non-Catholics not merit the opportunity to participate fully in a holistic education? If they freely choose a Catholic school, then they agree to a Catholic education that forms the whole person.

Catholic schools should form, not merely inform, children in the Faith. It seems strange that Catholic schools avoid or abandon the source and summit of the Christian life, i.e., the Holy Eucharist, by excusing or exempting students from a vital experience or encounter with the source and summit of Catholic education. Non-Catholics wouldn't be permitted to receive the Eucharist, but they would be in a situation where, in time, they might want to become Catholic and receive the Eucharist. Why wouldn't they want to become Catholic if the Catholic Faith is practiced as it should be? I.e., with integrity.

-a convert.

George said...

The role, Identity, and mission of the Catholic school should not be deemphasized or downplayed. The Catholic students and their families should be assembled and told that it is imperative that they set a good example for the non-Catholics.The non-Catholic students should be required to take the same religion and theology courses as the Catholic students. Unless there is a compelling reason it should be otherwise, tuition should be the same for Catholics and non-Catholics.I agree with the expectation that parents, adoptive parents or legal guardians of children enrolled in Catholic schools meet with their parish pastor if they are “not living in accord with church teaching". I'm not sure about Non-Catholic families being required to attend Mass weekly and contribute to Catholic parishes. Would anyone be shocked if it turned out that not all of the Catholic families are doing this? Better make sure they are doing so. With the non-Catholic families, a better approach would be to tell them that if they choose not to attend weekly Mass, they will be paying a higher tuition. All students should be required to attend Mass in a school chapel though.
It would be interesting to see what transpires after the implementation of the policy.

Anonymous said...

Money talks; doctrine walks.

Anonymous said...

If a Catholic school has more protestant than Catholic students and teachers and does not teach the Catechism and doctrine, then it is no longer a Catholic School, n'est ce pas?

qwikness said...

I think you're right about losing Protestants would put the Catholic schools out of business. The Catholic schools here in Macon have a very good reputation and non- Catholics want to go there. Catholic schools are being shut down up North because Catholics are having less babies, no more than two, which means zero growth. Protestants going there could counter that. Also I would like to add that the Catholic schools are a good evangelizing tool. I know a lot of Protestants who have graduated from Catholic schools who have converted to Catholicism. Baptist, Lutherans and even Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Quikness, but one has to ask what is being compromised or watered down for the sake of protestants. And, if we are attracting protestants only to the post-Vat II Church and Mass, what is being accomplished? I wonder what would happen if the Catholic schools, as they should, required catechism of ALL students and weekly Mass attendance? What if real nuns in habits taught classes as they used to? And, what (other than money) is the point of marketing to protestants? When you lie down with doctrinal dogs, you get up with doctrinal fleas.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While we have no sisters in or out of habit, we require all our children to do what you list. Non Catholic children genuflect with the other children when entering the pew. We use our school to evangelize. However we do not proselytize non Catholics or denigrate their denominations.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that, Fr. I understand that a number of Catholic schools do not. Is this also true of Mt. de Sales or only St. Joseph's?

qwikness said...

Well Anonymous, MDS certainly put its money where it mouth was when they fired the band director for intending to marry his same sex partner.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Quickness, and I was glad to see that. It was a pretty glaring violation, however. Several teachers and parents I have spoken to regarding Mt. de Sales say that it hardly seems like a Catholic school. Of course, that could be interpreted in different ways. But, I think secularizing influences are strong and continue to creep in.

Anonymous said...

There isn't any way Catholic schools in the Atlanta area could have initially survived on Catholics alone. But with the population boom up 75 from Macon, no doubt you see a higher percentage than in years past---I think for instance Christ the King (the elementary school for our cathedral) is 99% or so Catholic and hard to get into (because the area around there has long-since built out, there isn't much if any room for expansion there)...I would suspect given "white flight" from Bibb County/Macon over the last 20-30 years (Bibb County now has a slight black majority in voter registration, compared with 40% or so 15 years ago), the Catholic population in Macon is declining over time. I think Father M. is right, it would be "going out of business" time. Neighboring Houston County looks a lot more promising for growth---in fact, Houston may overtake Bibb in the 2020 census which would make Houston the most populated county along I-75 south of metro Atlanta down to the Florida border.

At the same time, having a Catholic school in your area doesn't mean all or even most Catholics will enroll there. Here in Atlanta, our parish has a small Catholic high school (Holy Spirit), but I doubt high school enrollment is much over 250, very small by Atlanta standards. In that part of town though, there is stiff competition from other top-notch private schools like Westminster (founded as an outgrowth of Atlanta's North Avenue Presbyterian Church) or Lovett (which years ago was tied to the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta). Harder to be the "new kid on the block" when it comes to a new school as well.

gob said...

When I graduated from college in 1958, my wife and I were expecting our first child. My first job paid $3,600.00 per year. By about 1969 or so, we had four...possibly five children attending the parish school. I don't remember what the tuition was, but we managed to pay it. I just looked up the tuition for the same school now. It is "free" if you're a parishioner in good standing and tithe 8% of your income. For Catholics who are not parishioners, for four children, the cost is just under $21,000.00 per year, . For non Catholics, just under $26,000.00. Yikes...! The times, they are a'changin'.

Anonymous said...

I can understand concerns on this blog about how "Catholic" our schools are. Yesterday in the parking lot of the local Publix, just a few blocks north of Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King, I saw a car with a "St. Pius X" sticker (one of our Archdiocesan schools, in fact our oldest Archdiocesan high school), and right below that, an Obama/Biden sticker! Maybe they weren't Catholic (though not likely)---but how could anyone attending such a school back such a secular, anti-traditional values leader like Obama? Or Biden for that matter? Think what a different America we would have if Catholics, instead of just splitting about 50/50 between the two major parties, instead would vote overwhelmingly for the GOP side and tell Democrats, as long as you continue your secular, anything goes agenda, we are gone. But as I said before pertaining to any disciplinary action taken against Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (you know, the gay marriage author), I am not holding my breath!!!!

What is the enrollment of the Catholic schools in Macon/Bibb in terms of totals, race and religion?