I tell my relatives and best friends, ‘If you want your children to fight for their faith, send them to public school. If you want them to lose their faith, send them to Catholic school.’ ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
I went to Catholic school grades K-8. I don’t know if it did more harm than good, to be honest. On one hand, I thought a lot of the families were kind of hypocritical about their Catholicism (this was more 6-8 grade) and it put me off from really wanting to be involved in the Church. On the other hand, I had a considerable amount of religious education that I know I wouldn’t have gotten in a public school, and having school masses and regular confession was definitely a good thing, as well.
I went to public high school, and I’m pretty sure my faith really dropped off there, although I was still going to Sunday mass. I wasn’t really developing any relationship on God, and was falling into the “as long as I’m a good person” trap. I don’t know how it would have been at the local Catholic high school.
I went to Catholic schools from Grade 8 to Grade 11. This is certainly where my love of the Catholic Church was born, although I was staunchly Anglican at the time, and it took around 40 more years for me to ‘see the light’ I would love to be able to tell those nuns from that time how their teaching and example bore fruit in me, even if so many years later.
If he was talking about the late 60’s - 70’s and 80’s, I would probably agree with him, as I was raising my kids then, ( although I was fortunate enough to be in a Catholic Parish where the pastor kept things very Catholic and Patriotic too,) but things have improved so much in the past 20 years for Catholic schools, that we can’t say that today. And they are teaching things in the public schools today, I would never want my kids to be exposed to if I could possibly not. God Bless, Memaw
I think it very much depends on the school itself. A few schools have managed to retain their inherently Catholic identity, while many have lost it over the years.
This is kinda true…out of the catholic middle school I went to (k-8) I can count about 20 people that actually care about their faith. In the catholic high school I attended the number is probably about even, but spread across a class that’s four times the size of the other. Most of the kids who are active in our parish do go to public school and are a lot more active in their faith than my catholic school peers. It would be interesting to see a study on active churchgoers today and see where they attended school…
Like many others, I think it depends on the school. In Australia the Catholic school system educates about one third of the primary and secondary school population. I was educated by the infamous Christian Brothers but was released unharmed. I believe Catholic education is far better than public schooling as the public schools cannot expel the troublemakers. I note that 40% of our new parliamentary cabinet is catholic, and a fair few from the same Jesuit school. Many of my friends of the sixties left the church never to return but the church went through some hard times. The pedophile crisis hasn’t helped. But a good catholic school gives a far better general and spiritual education bar none in this country. I hope to see more catholic universities in the near future.
I went to parochial school, with Sisters as teachers. I believe they couldn’t do any other work so they “taught” school, and mostly beat the living tar out of us for minor things. Really shaped me though, in that I became a rebel agains authority. My kids now go to parochial school, all lay teachers, and get a radically better education than the public schools.
I would like to put a different spin on “fighting for your faith.” In public school, one can fight for one’s personal faith, but not for the Catholic faith. It is, after all, a public school and one can not change it into anything else. However, in the Catholic school, one can fight for the Catholic faith, if the school is proving heterodox in any key way. I thank God for those who came before me in my school and fought this fight so I do not have to. Still, I keep my powder dry should I need to take a stand on something. My son will be with me if the need arises.
Your last thread on Catholic schools got shut down, so now you start another one to bash Catholic schools and the people who attend them? Nice.
I think when Archbishop Sheen was around things were slightly different. You were allowed to pray in school. You could actually say the word God in school. IMHO the public school system today would hardly be recognizable to Archbishop Sheen. I’d be willing to say that he would probably reverse that saying today.
I’m sure that every public school differs to a degree but with all the political changes in our country, and those politics run the public schools, it seems to me that the public schools are merely government indoctrination centers which are established to ensure a plentiful amount of liberals in the future.
Exactly. It’s ridiculous to cherry pick out of context a random quote from Venerable Fulton Sheen (and I would really like to see the citation for that quote to verify that it’s even accurate–I have never come across any attribution to suggest that Fulton Sheen ever said any such thing) and use that as some sort of basis to favor public schools over Catholic schools in perpetuity.
Unless we think that it is somehow the “Catholic position” that Catholic schools are no good. I would like to see someone try to make that oxymoronic argument.
I just have to reiterate that I have very strong doubts that this alleged quote from Venerable Fulton Sheen was ever actually spoken by him. A Google search yields lots of hits to blog comboxes where people parrot the quote over and over again, but nowhere does anyone cite where or when he ever said this.
I think it would be best to presume this quote is a complete fabrication (albeit a seemingly popular one) until someone can provide an actual source.
Can you provide me with a quote from that thread where I bashed Catholic Schools ?
And that thread was not about Catholic Schools.
I have always doubted this quote is giving Bishop Sheen’s true thoughts on the matter. Assuming he said it, I would like to see it in a complete context.
As to my thoughts, I believe one is to follow canon law:
Can. 798 Parents are to entrust their children to those schools which provide a Catholic education. If they are unable to do this, they are obliged to take care that suitable Catholic education is provided for their children outside the schools.
So if a catholic school is available (ie affordable, geographically close enough, catholic), then it is clear what we as parents are to do, the church tells us.
There is no citation. However we have this, the conclusion of The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millenium.
Thus it follows that the work of the school is irreplaceable and the investment of human and material resources in the school becomes a prophetic choice. On the threshold of the third millennium we perceive the full strength of the mandate which the Church handed down to the Catholic school in that “Pentecost” which was the Second Vatican Council: "Since the Catholic school can be of such service in developing the mission of the People of God and in promoting dialogue between the Church and the community at large to the advantage of both, it is still of vital importance even in our times
There simply is no way of criticizing Catholic schools in principle that is in concert with the mind of the Church.
I agree regarding the public school. Regarding the Catholic school, I think it depends on the school itself. Also think there is also a difference between private catholic schools vs a Parochial schools.
Some parents just send their kids to parochial schools until Confirmation. And others send their kids there for other reasons, bad public schools, kid was bad in public school, etc.
The private Catholic schools (the ones with entrance exams and cost as much as or more than a private college) are often filled with students who are serious about school. But schools can differ (like the Catholic colleges) depending on which religious group is running them and how many non-Catholics are attending.
Overall, I think sending children to a ***good ***Catholic school is better than public school.
Public schools are quite a different animal today than they were when Archbishop Sheen was alive. I remember at my public high school graduation both a Catholic priest and a Lutheran pastor spoke and led an invocation – can you see that happening today? God and religion used to be present in our public schools while today they have been stripped from our schools and replaced with relativism. Hard to fight for your faith when it is banned from the discussion/expression table and you are force fed relativism and tolerance/acceptance of everything (except Christianity of course).
I have no idea what Archbishop Sheen would say today given the state of our nation and our public schools today.
The peace of Christ,
You make some good points here, Mark.
Sometimes though, I wonder if we don’t trust our kids enough. Is protecting them means separating them instead of sharing the faith, talents, and virtues we claim to pass on to our children.
Years back I was speaking with a mom who had to make the decision out of financial lack to take her older son out of school at the end of 5th grade so she could afford to keep her younger son in. Both her kids were with her and the 5th grader just happened to have a black eye. Because I had told her I left parochial school after 6th she asked me if she thought her son would be alright. I told her he would be fine.
As for the quote from Bishop Sheen, I first learned of the quote from a friend much older than I, and got it off the internet this AM.
If you have ever read his biographies you would know that Sheen did not have a very good experience or a happy time while in Catholic Schools as a youth. Everyone knows Sheen’s wonderful tongue in cheek humor, like stating that listening to nuns confessions was like being stoned to death with popcorn.
I accept someone’s above comment that the quote is probably useless out of context, he could have just been trying to be funny. However, I think the quote is legitimate and in line with his personality and his experience. I wonder how old the quote is, was it around while he was still living on earth ?