I thought ??? that Catholics are obligated to support their parish schools by sending their children to them if at all possible. I seem to remember reading it in the Catechism. Is this not the case anymore?
As to whether Catholic schools are a good thing…I think it depends on the Catholic school and on the parents.
The school in our parish apparently made a commitment 25 years ago to teach Catholic children their Catholic faith and the Bible, and not only teach it, but live it.
And they do just that and do it very well.
I am a volunteer in the school choir (I play piano) and this spring I had the privilege of teaching the children a song I wrote about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Before I taught them the song, I gave them a list of 12 questions about Daniel, all taken from the Bible, and I told them that the following week, we would play a game to see which team studied their Bible to learn the answers to the questions.
The following week, I did my game (a quiz format), and I was completely blown away by the acumen of these 3rd graders.
One little girl told me that she and her mother had studied the questions EVERY NIGHT so that she would be prepared. Remember, this was just a GAME, not a class with grades.
I asked one question that was kind of “tricky” and lo and behold, those kids didn’t miss it! They got it!
The boys were especially quick at answering the questions, and they demonstrated by their answers that they didn’t just know “rote” facts, but also applications. Someone had obviously discussed the life applications of the various Bible passages. I’m betting that the “someone” was a parent.
I found myself wishing that I could take a team of these kids and put them up against a class of evangelical Protestant kids in a Bible challenge–I honestly think our Catholic kids would win and debunk the “myth” that Catholics don’t study the Bible! Bwoo ha ha!
I think that parents who make the sacrifice financially to put their kids in a Catholic (or any Christian) school are probably the kind of parents who WILL spend time at home educating their children in the faith.
I’m not saying that parents who send their children to public schools will slack off on home religious training. If you live in a city that has an excellent public school with good scores on the standardized testing and where God’s Name is still allowed to be mentioned in a way other than as a swear word, then praise the Lord and send your kids there! Lucky you! No tuition bills!
As for Protestant Sunday schools–I was evangelical Protestant for over 40 years, and I remember constant pleas for people to PLEASE send their kids to Sunday school and PLEASE come to Sunday school! Sunday school is NOT an obligation for Protestants, and many do NOT attend. (It means you have to get up an hour earlier, or stay at church an extra hour.) It’s always been one of those things that churches struggle to keep up because most of the members don’t come.
Also, in this day of megachurches, alternative churches, and emergent churches, many churches are not doing Sunday school anymore, but are doing some kind of Christian education program during the week (a club ministry, or youth group, or adult Bible studies.)
Also, when I was growing up, Sunday school was just that–SCHOOL. We had a Bible curriculum that many churches in the denomination were using, and it took a children all the way through the Old Testament by the time they graduated from 8th grade. We had homework and lessons with actual WRITING! And quizzes. It was work and not very fun at all.
I was the LAST class that ever got through this curriculum (I graduated from 8th grade in 1971). The next year, they started using “fun” curriculum designed to capture and hold the attention of the “Sesame Street” generation–kids raised on TV. There was no longer a “Bible study” curriculum, but more “topical” curricula, with “issues-based” lessons (e.g., “Dealing With Peer Pressure” or “How To Share Your Faith.”)
Just thought you might be interested in the state of SS these days!