Catholic friends with Catholic parents who have made a sacrifice to get them a Catholic education.
In my experience, an atmosphere that is both disciplined and kind.
An atmosphere in which Catholicism and a Catholic perspective are the norm. Inappropriate secular attitudes concerning dress, lifestyle, and so on don’t have to be tolerated. Catholic attitudes are assumed without apology or a feeling of defensiveness about having them.
Generally speaking, a rigorous intellectual experience that encourages full development of academic potential.
Administration can enforce rules of conduct, by expulsion, if necessary (i.e., the public schools get the bad actors, which is their bad luck, but so it goes)
Recently, the expectation that students will do service for the less fortunate as part of their Catholic formation.
Contact with committed Catholic laypeople on a daily basis. (Priests and other religious, too, if you’re fortunate.)
[quote=Chovy]Guilt is not a bad thing. In Catholic school, you are taught right from wrong… If you look at society today, in my opinion, one of our great downfalls is our lack of guilt. Pregnant outside of marriage- no shame, no guilt. Divorced 4 times before you’re 30, just a different lifestyle, that’s all. Murder your children- it’s your choice. Guilt is what can prevent many of us from doing the wrong thing. If all else fails, fear of shame or punishment works just fine to keep a person on the straight and narrow and really, guilt makes us more human.
I’m not saying you’re wrong, but the way you’ve worded this gives a slightly incorrect impression, if you know what I mean. Probably not. Let me try to explain… and maybe this is just me.
I don’t think Catholicism is so strong on guilt so much any more as it is high on expectations. By this I mean the emphasis switching from realizing you are in the gutter to realizing that you were made for better, no matter how many times you fall back in.
The difference is three-fold. First, wallowing in guilt gets you nowhere. Accepting God’s forgiveness and the grace to be amended is what is wanted. Second, if you avoid sin because you fear shame and punishment, you are going to be tempted to judge those who fall into sin, desire their punishment and shame, and resent it when that doesn’t come (I’m thinking of the stay-at-home brother in the story of the prodigal son). At any rate, I went to a Catholic high school over twenty years ago, and even then the emphasis wasn’t on developing one’s sense of shame, so much as one’s sense of right and wrong. Third, since we all struggle with sin, if guilt is one’s normal response to the recognition of sin, one is either going to be perpetually feeling guilty, perpetually ignoring one’s own sins, or perpetually yo-yoing between the two.
So while recognition of guilt is good, going that far and no farther is bad. You didn’t say otherwise, I know, I just wanted to clarify.