Post-Vat. II Catholic Schools & Homeschooling


Homeschooling is much more effective not only academically but also spiritually; therefore, families should send their kids to Catholic schools only if it is impossible for them to home-school, and they should never attend public schools. Pope Pius XI, in Divini Illius Magistri, says “that the so-called ‘neutral’ or ‘lay’ school, from which religion is excluded, is contrary to the fundamental principles of education. Such a school moreover cannot exist in practice; it is bound to become irreligious.” He also mentions

the present-day lamentable decline in family education [homeschooling]. The offices and professions of a transitory and earthly life, which are certainly of far less importance, are prepared for by long and careful study; whereas for the fundamental duty and obligation of educating their children, many parents have little or no preparation, immersed as they are in temporal cares. The declining influence of domestic environment is further weakened by another tendency, prevalent almost everywhere today, which, under one pretext or another, for economic reasons, or for reasons of industry, trade or politics, causes children to be more and more frequently sent away from home even in their tenderest years. And there is a country where the children are actually being torn from the bosom of the family, to be formed (or, to speak more accurately, to be deformed and depraved) in godless schools and associations, to irreligion and hatred, according to the theories of advanced socialism; and thus is renewed in a real and more terrible manner the slaughter of the Innocents.

Although all Catholics should avoid public schooling, Fr. Corapi has said: “If you want your child to lose their faith, send them to a Catholic school. If you want them to fight for their faith, then teach them at home and send them to a public school.” This reminds me of Mark Twain’s quote “Never let your schooling interfere with your education” or the similar one by Albert Einstein, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Ivan Illich states correctly in Deschooling Society that:

The mood among some educators is much like the mood among Catholic bishops after the Vatican Council. The curricula of so-called “free schools” resemble the liturgies of folk and rock masses. The demands of high-school students to have a say in choosing their teachers are as strident as those of parishioners demanding to select their pastors. But the stakes for society are much higher if a significant minority loses its faith in schooling.

Consequently, it makes sense that, based on Illich’s assessment, Extraordinary Form mass Catholics home-school more frequently.

The next issue is sex education in Catholic institutionalized schools. Female students dressed in short-skirt uniforms and even less modest cheer-leading outfits is abominable, and yet so is coeducation itself, as this quote from Divini Illius Magistri shows:

  1. False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of “coeducation.” This too, by many of its supporters, is founded upon naturalism and the denial of original sin; but by all, upon a deplorable confusion of ideas that mistakes a leveling promiscuity and equality, for the legitimate association of the sexes. The Creator has ordained and disposed perfect union of the sexes only in matrimony, and, with varying degrees of contact, in the family and in society. Besides there is not in nature itself, which fashions the two quite different in organism, in temperament, in abilities, anything to suggest that there can be or ought to be promiscuity, and much less equality, in the training of the two sexes. These, in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences, which therefore ought to be maintained and encouraged during their years of formation, with the necessary distinction and corresponding separation, according to age and circumstances. These principles, with due regard to time and place, must, in accordance with Christian prudence, be applied to all schools, particularly in the most delicate and decisive period of formation, that, namely, of adolescence; and in gymnastic exercises and deportment, special care must be had of Christian modesty in young women and girls, which is so gravely impaired by any kind of exhibition in public.

Sex education at the Catholic high school I attended was, looking back on it, utterly abominable. The high school minister presented it as though he were a comedian, basically mocking God’s great gift of sexuality. The students loved it, yet I can attest that our souls did not. Also, abortion was not in the curriculum, not even for theology classes.

  1. Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.
  1. Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind;[43] and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.

According to Divini Illius Magistri, “between the two powers [civil and ecclesiastical] there must reign a well-ordered harmony. …] Whatever else is comprised in the civil and political order, rightly comes under the authority of the State; for Christ commanded us to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” So must we support separation of school and state? I believe so, just not separation of truly-Catholic-school and state.

Keep praying for our Catholic families and schools and that the Catholic homeschooling movement will gain momentum, with God’s grace, and transform society and save souls.


Some of this seems to contradict itself. First you say that we should only send our kids to Catholic schools if we can’t homeschool, and then, you say that we shouldn’t send them to Catholic schools.

I say that we should send them to TRUELY Catholic schools and not those in name only. There is a difference. We can’t paint all Catholic schools with the same brush! There are some good ones out there, but you , as a parent, have a responsibility to make sure that they are truely Catholic in their teaching, and to speak up if you find a problem. We have some good Catholic schools in our area, but they are out of our price range. So, we homeschool using a Catholic homeschooling curriculum.

BTW, the statement about how many more “Extraordinary Form mass Catholics” homeschool than the ordinary form doesn’t seem true from my experience. We go to the ordinary form. Yes, there is 1 church that has the Latin mass, but we and most of the Catholic homeschoolers that we know don’t go to it. I have nothing against the Latin mass. In fact, we are having a back-to-school mass there next month, but it is 45 minutes away, and our church is 10 minutes down the road. :thumbsup:


I am sorry you have had such a bad experience. But you are painting all Catholic schools with a broad brush and making generalizations based on your own personal experience.

There is NOTHING in Church teaching that says parents “should send their kids to Catholic schools only if it is impossible for them to home-school.” While parents need to be discerning, there are many good, faithful Catholic schools.

The education in the Faith that my children have received from their schools is so much more comprehensive and orthodox that what I received back in the 70s. And it seems to improve every year. Even in the free-wheeling 70s, the uniforms were not immodest and todays are even more modest. No short skirts unless the girls roll them up. :wink: (And that’s not the school’s fault.)

The Catholic elementary school my children attended had no sex education until 6th grade. Respecting life and fighting abortion was one of the very first topics covered. There was no “biology” in the sex education, it was all theology and morality. There is supplemental material for the parents to teach the biology section at home as their children are ready. This is one of the diocisan approved programs so I am sure our school is not unique in this approach. In my children’s High School, the Freshman use Theology of the Body for Teens as one of the books for Theology class and there is a whole year (I think it is Junior year) devoted to Moral Theology including the teachings of the Church on Sexuality. Since the Theology teacher for that class is also the teacher leader of the Pro Life Club, I will bet you any amount of money that abortion is covered in detail.

I am a big fan of homeschool and have homeschooled my children in the past. But good homeschooling does not mean that Catholic schools are bad or that they are places where religion is excluded. There is a solid place in Catholic education for BOTH Catholic homeschooling and Catholic schools.

P.S. Please provide a source for that quote you attribute to Fr. Corapi other than a link to another CAF post with no references. I have tried to find it in context and cannot locate it. I did hear him say something similar but it was in reference to Catholic colleges and universities. While I fully expect my college-bound child to be able to defend his faith, a grade schooler would be quite easily overwhelmed.


The question I wanted to discuss was whether autodidactism or homeschooling is better than formal education, of which Catholic education is the only true form of formal education.

Yes, I know, but from my small sample of a handful of schools, I see that can still improve to meet the standards Pope Pius XI mentions in his encyclical.

Yes, I’m just noting from my experience as well. I know there are many Novus Ordo homeschoolers, but as a percentage of their parishes’ total populations, they seem to be a minority.


Well, if you could tell me of a Catholic school today where boys and girls take separate classes, the girls wear uniform skirts down to the ankles, there is a daily Extraordinary Form mass, abortion is mentioned in theology, and sex education is taught from a faithful Catholic moral perspective, I would love to know the name of it, please.

It declares that the parents are the children’s primary educators, though.

As conservative as 1929 or earlier?

Deo gratias!

Yes, but can we agree that both Catholic homeschooling and Catholic schools both have room to improve?

I am working on it.


You might be right because Pope Pius XI says in Divini Illius Magistri:

  1. Education is essentially a social and not a mere individual activity. Now there are three necessary societies, distinct from one another and yet harmoniously combined by God, into which man is born: two, namely the family and civil society, belong to the natural order; the third, the Church, to the supernatural order.
  1. In the first place comes the family, instituted directly by God for its peculiar purpose, the generation and formation of offspring; for this reason it has priority of nature and therefore of rights over civil society. Nevertheless, the family is an imperfect society, since it has not in itself all the means for its own complete development; whereas civil society is a perfect society, having in itself all the means for its peculiar end, which is the temporal well-being of the community; and so, in this respect, that is, in view of the common good, it has pre-eminence over the family, which finds its own suitable temporal perfection precisely in civil society.


Not all parents have the time and energy to homeschool, and not all who do have the time and energy have the skills.

It would be unfair to the child to be homeschooled by parents who have long forgotten math, physics, chemistry, biology, history and so on.

You can teach your child the faith at home while sending him to a school where people who know the above subjects well can instruct them.


flyingfish, I’m not a home-schooler (thought I’d love to be) but not even teachers are required to be particularly knowledgeable or even good at any subject they teach. Sure, many teachers teach subjects they have a personal interest or expertise in, but they also usually teach several subjects (in the case of elementary ed) that they may have little knowledge of or even be good at themselves. Teachers have answer keys you know:p So, I think you’re putting an unfair requirement on parents who want to home school.:slight_smile:


To be sure there are bad teachers out there. And it’s not important to be an expert in chemistry if you’re teaching a 7 year old, but later on it does become important.

Once the kids are 11 and older I would say it becomes really important to know those subjects. It’s one thing to give a test to your child you have an answer key for, but you have to explain the theories, the history, the methods.

I’m sure there are plenty of educated and competent parents out there. But remember those kids who barely made it through high school algebra, who never took the higher level chemistry, physics, biology, calculus, history, geography, computer programming? They become parents too, and I think it would be very selfish of them to homeschool and deny their kids access to someone that knows the material.

No amount of answer keys would make those people qualified to teach.


most home schoolers have recourse to homeschooling communities where they can find other parents who might be better at the subjects they are not as proficient in. Also one parent might be lacking in say math skills but the other parent is good at it. There are also tutors and teachers who tutor on the side, study groups through park districts, and all kinds of online resources that can be of help when needed.

Speaking of algebra, I was miserably bad at it. My teacher, while brilliant in math himself, was horrible at explaining it and even with one on one help from him after school I wasn’t ‘getting it’. Neither of my parents could help me as they can barely add to save their lives. So we called up grandpa who is an engineer and has a math mind, and he was able to explain algebra to me in a way this expert teacher couldn’t. Needless to say I didn’t fail algebra after all, and it had nothing to do with the teacher or how expert he was in the subject.

I’m sure other parents who homeschool can attest to the fact that they have learned FAR more in teaching their kids than when they were in school themselves. That is part of the beauty of homeschooling IMHO, learning together.


Yes, homeschooling is not for everyone. But, it is usually not from lack of knowledge. Most homeschoolers are inquisitive and motivated to learn themselves, mainly because we have to relearn the things that were missing from our own education. I hated history in school. Now, I find it so interesting and am learning so much that I was never told!

Just as a FYI, in our area, we have our choice of co-ops. My kids are in YMV, Young Musicians of Virginia ( ). It is an enrichment program that teaches music from preK to 12, and academic classes from Junior High to High School. My kids are taking violin, piano, and harp. We are not planning on taking the upper-level high school academics because both my husband and myself have engineering degrees. :smiley: But, I do know friends that have done that with either online providers, co-ops, or trading with a friend for tutoring. I tutored my friends 2 kids, 1 in Algebra & 1 in Pre-Algebra, and she is teaching my son reading. He has dyslexia and she is trained in a reading program geared to that.

Also, we use Seton which has teachers and counselors available to help with any subject that you need extra assistance with. They have online lectures available for some of the high school subjects.

It is amazing how much is available now a days.


This I can probably agree with, but that is not how it originally read. As a percentage of mass goers, yes, I would think that the Extraordinary might have more homeschoolers. But, don’t think that there aren’t those of us who go to the other who are not also homeschooling our kids and for the same reasons of wanting a truely Catholic education for our kids.

BTW, just to let you know, the insistence on same sex education in the class rooms & dresses to the ankles seem a little too far. Yes, dress should be modest, but that doesn’t mean that we have to dress to not show any skin. I think that dresses past the knee would be more appropriate. Also, since I homeschool my 4 kids, there is no way that I could only have 1 sex classrooms! :wink:


Good luck with that. That’s not what I would be looking for in a good Catholic school.

We have Catholic schools in the area that are all girls or all boys. My son was accepted to one of the latter. It does not have a solid reputation for orthodox teaching. Separate classes has little to do with the Catholicity of a school.

Skirts down to the ankels? No, I want my kids in a Catholic school, not an Amish one!

Daily EF Mass? The elementary school has daily OF Mass and weekly required OF Mass. The high school, because it is not adjacent to a parish does not have daily Mass but has Morning Prayer from the LOTH every day and weekly required Mass. The form of Mass whether it be OF, EF or Eastern Catholic makes no difference to the quality of the Catholic education.



The quote about school is Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Fr Corapi may be quoting him when he says it. We all need to be careful about properly attributing information.

And the good Archbishop was indeed speaking about parents as their child’s fist educators, but he wasn’t concerned with math, science, and English. He was only talking about a child’s Catholic education. It has been true for many, many years that children in Christian schools often come to take their religion for granted and become lazy about understanding what it truly means to be Catholic and how to defend it. A child who is questioned by her peers will learn to explain her faith and by seeing the lifes of those without faith, will come to appreciate the Church even more.

No matter where a child goes to school (or even if he is homeschooled), if his parents are lax in their faith, the child will not learn to appreciate the Church and love God. Parents who are too very strict, can also cause their children to resent the faith and turn away from it as they grow older.

Our role as parents is one of great beauty but also responsibility. We should pray every day for God’s guidance as we raise the children He has entrusted to us.


We can all agree that as Catholics we are required to give our children a Catholic education!

I think that’s easier to do in a homeschool situation because as a parent/educator, I have more control, but there are different avenues to that end. If a homeschool or a parish school is not feasible or not qualified, then the parent has to provide a Catholic education in alternate ways by supplementing at home.

It’s harder to do that way…but, it can be done.


This is a very good post. As a homeschooling parent, who is presently discerning Catholicism, I am happy to see it. :slight_smile: Some of the replies to the post, though, illustrate why Catholics can be such a stumpbling block to me. Some Catholics seem to be wandering around in a semi-somabulent spiritual state. I remember hearing an aphorism from the Islamic tradition that said, “Mankind is asleep and when they die, they wake up”. They have, in my opinion, have become lukewarm; which is worse than hating Christ. Catholicism clearly teaches that our lives and actions count; unlike protestantism. Despite this, Catholics seemed to think that their ethnocentric Catholicism will save them; so long as they stay cultural relevant. I think the whole message of the Gospel is summed up in a Charles Bond movie. When Bond asks the archvillian whether he wants Bond to talk, the villian replies, “no, Mr. Bond, I want you to die”. The teaching of Christ, in my mind is this…that we must die…to ourselves…to our sins. With this understanding, we understand that sin is “cosmic treason” and will attempt to order our lives (and those of our loved ones, accordingly.


You have to teach them both at home and at school. Personally I’m very against home schooling from my personal experiences.

My parents were both in Education (we weren’t Catholic) but took us to Church and taught us at home and we got a very good Biblical Faith Foundation.

In my time as a Counselor and from my personal experiences, every single person who was home schooled rebelled once they grew up.

Now I know for many on this board that is not the case, however it’s reality from everything I have seen and experienced. Yes yes I know people have play dates etc… but the lack of understanding how to truly deal with multiple types of personalities is a detriment when tying to eventually live in the real world… again, in my opinion.

My children attend our local parish school and it’s fantastic, I can’t say enough good things about it but their final faith education rests on my shoulders, not the schools. The problem back in the 70s and early 80s (and still today for some) is that parent’s aren’t doing the job at home and for many that was because they didn’t truly understand the changes from Vatican II. I often find myself, as a convert, teaching my life long Catholic friends about our faith, they were just not exposed to a lot of our teachings (and most of those attended Catholic schools - not in the town I’m in now though BTW)

I will have to say that someone recently posted a link to a school in which the children attended a few days at week (2 or 3) at school and were home schooled the other days… I like that, it seems to me like it would provide the socialization while also allowing the parents to be heavily involved in their childs direct education.

That being said though, all of our parents are very heavily involved with our parish school, we have to volunteer so many hours each year and have multiple events each semester in which the parents are involved. If you don’t know what your kids are learning at our school, that’s the parent’s fault.

I would love to see some Homeschooling statistics though if someone has a link to some as I’m always open to new facts.



We must fight for school vouchers in the first place. Then, we should do our homework to find out which schools and colleges are truly Catholic, and preferably send our children to those schools.

At the high school level, the availability of school vouchers and the freedom to choose which schools to attend would fix the ailing school system practically overnight, because it would create competition and immediately expose those schools that do not perform well. I say this coming from a school system (the Hungarian one) that’s No. 4 in science and No. 6 in mathematics in the world, behind the Far East (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea). The USA is somewhere around places 26-28 on the same scale, among some 65 countries surveyed. Where I grew up, both in Romania and in Hungary, there was fierce competition among the various high schools in a city or area, and certain schools would develop a reputation as being the best in arts, chemical-biological sciences, mathematics-physics, electronics-electrotechnics, etc. Obviously these schools tended to attract the brightest and most highly motivated students, as well as the best teachers for that particular discipline. This was all achieved simply by having freedom of choice, because we were always free to choose which schools to attend, even in other cities if we wanted to, much like the colleges and universities are set up in the USA. And being a high school teacher, say, at the 1000-year old Benedictine (Catholic) Abbey of Pannonhalma, or the “Fasori Gimnazium” of Budapest, enjoyed the same level of recognition as teaching at a prestigious university. For a small country like Hungary, we have 12 Nobel prize laureates (equivalent to over 400 Nobel prize winners for the USA, since the population of Hungary is some 35 times smaller than the USA), and they always, invariably speak with gratitude about their Alma Maters and how those schools made an essential contribution to their later success in life.

I concentrated on the part of academic excellence, but I believe school vouchers, the freedom to choose the schools for our children, and our insistence as parents to send our children to Catholic schools that are truly Catholic and not in name only, also holds the key to giving a good spiritual education to our children. I do not mean to speak out against homeschooling. Let those parents who can, homeschool their children. I also do not mean to minimize the importance of parents and their role of giving a witness of Catholic life to their children. I only mean to say that in many schools and colleges, our youth will be exposed to a secular worldview, militant atheism, anti-Christianity, anti-Catholicism, sexual promiscuity, “anything goes” attitude, and the way to fight back is to pull our kids from those schools, to have school vouchers, and to do our share in preserving faithfully Catholic schools and colleges/universities.

Recently, I also find myself drawing parallels between the public school system and the proposed ObamaCare. How is it that attendance in Catholic schools dropped from 6 million to 2 million in 40 years (in spite of the growth of Catholic population and of the population at large), and the Archdiocese of Miami, for example, had to close several Catholic schools? The answer is simple: LACK OF SCHOOL VOUCHERS. While the Obamas deny school vouchers to ordinary middle-income people who cannot afford to pay twice for the same service (once through taxes, and the second time by paying the tuition at a private school), they made sure that the Obama girls attend one of the most exclusive and most expensive private schools in D.C. Talk about hypocrisy. And that’s exactly how ObamaCare will kill the private insurers and healthcare providers, including Catholic clinics and hospitals. Because they will raise our taxes and use the money to push the government-operated healthcare system, and most people will become stuck with government healthcare as they won’t be able to pay for private healthcare that will provide a higher level of service. And just as the Obamas and members of Congress send their kids to private schools, they will make sure to have a separate and more exclusive type of health insurance that’s not available to the general public. It is very telling how none of the Congress members told that they will enroll in the same public option that they are trying to push on the rest of us. They were asked again and again in interviews and at town hall meetings, and they gave evasive answers again and again. And the tax credit checks proposed by Sen. McCain, the ones that we the employees could take to the healthcare providers of our own choice, are on some level equivalent to the school vouchers that we never got, because we the Catholic voters lacked the will to fight for it.

Now, our children are often stuck in public schools that forbid prayer but where the teachers take 7-y.o. kids to field trips to attend “gay wedding” ceremonies. If ObamaCare gets passed, watch out for our mothers and seniors getting stuck with government-run healthcare that will favor abortion to pre-natal care, and assisted suicide to chemotherapy or hip replacement surgery.


Yes, indeed, but it could also be that Fr. Corapi quoted Archbishop Sheen.

Really? I think the opposite; they will become serious about it.


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