What should I do about my "Catholic" school?

The “Catholic” high school I attend is requiring me to read “slaughterhouse 5”, the book contains using God’s name in a very disrespectful way, and towards the end there is a drawing of what is probably a woman’s breasts with nipples and everything:(, not to mention earlier in the summer when I took a class on the brain we watched a video and it contained what happens in the brain during sex, but the experiment they conducted involved the couple to masturbate each other, and we watched a movie that contained very suggestive material, earlier in the year in my theology class, for fun/to make us laugh he put on a video of “Britain’s got talent”, but what he showed us was a women who stripped of her clothes into some stripper suite thing and was dancing provocatively and even had Simon sit in a chair on stage to do that stuff in front of him/on his lap. In that same theology class there were students who did a video project, and it was about discrimination, but they approved/praised gay “marriage” and they even miss-used Pope Francis’ quote (“Who am I to judge”), but my theology teacher said nothing about it. I talked to those students after class. All these things that go on on my “Catholic” school are absolutely preposterous, my question is, would I be committing a sin of omission by not going to the office or sending a letter to the archdiocese about all these things? By the way I will be a senior.

You can always contact your local trustee. I’m not sure where you go to school, but in Ontario, Catholic schools are governed by a general Ontario curriculum, and the bishop has little (if any) say over what goes on in them. A local ‘Catholic’ high school refers pregnant students for abortions - go figure that one out. However, trustees are responsible, to some extent, for what goes on in the schools - it could be, they have no idea what happens on the school floors. So, I would find out who my trustee is (they, like municipal councillors, represent certain geographic areas), and inform him or her of the situation.

Your parent(s) can send an official letter to your teacher and school board members (if the teacher doesn’t cooperate) saying that the material they require you to read is considered to be “offensive” to your religion. Weird that it is the same one that operates your school.

Anyway, offer three suggestions as replacement for the Vonnegut book. If necessary, your parents can offer to instruct you in this material.

As a long time homeschooler, I am used to dealing with public schools with this type of curriculum, and it is sometimes difficult to work with and work around, but dedicated parents can work through this.

When my son was 14, he was taking a distance learning class from the U of Missouri high school program. The class was “Modern Science Fiction Classics” or similarly titled. Well, the first few books were fine - no problems, but the last was Stranger in a Strange Land, a Heinlein novel (which I will NEVER recommend to anyone under the age of 21). Anyway, this book was thoroughly offensive to our belief system and my son wound up reading Ender’s Game instead.

There is something offensive in just about all books you can read in High School. My Catholic HS had us read Camus’ The Stranger; The Catcher in the Rye; and all sorts of things which someone can find offensive. Some High Schools object to basically so many musicals that pretty much the only one anyone can come up that isn’t offensive to someone is My Fair Lady.

And yet, there’s something to be said for reading these works; seeing these performances, etc.

Point is twofold:

  1. No, there’s no “sin of omission” from not protesting; and
  2. This is why they call it “education,” cause you learn all sorts of stuff, including things that might offend you.

Some stuff can go over the line. IHMO, none of Johnnyt3000’s encounters seem at all out of line with what probably happens at most catholic high schools in this year 2014.

You can go to your diocesan website to find information on your Catholic school system. They should have some contact information for the superintendent of Catholic schools. You should absolutely fee free to contact them – be polite, be firm, and be clear. Your parents can do this as well, or you can do it alone. Depending on the person answering the phone, the impact of a student or parent calling will differ.

One of the first questions they may ask you is whether or not you’ve spoken with the principal of your school. Even if you haven’t, be firm in expressing your concerns and asking for their assistance.

By the way, the choices of books that are read is a balancing act for educators. If you are going to be a senior, I am assuming you are 16-18 years old. Reading well-written literature (and I have no idea if Slaughterhouse 5 falls in that category) that has foul language is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the conversations that follow. As you get older, you will need to know and understand positions, ideologies, and belief systems that are not your own. Perhaps that was the intention of whoever asked you to read this book. :shrug:

God bless you, dear one!


Sounds like you went to a “catholic” school like the ones I did. My niece just graduated from one. GET OUT NOW! Some cities have actual orthodox Catholic schools, sometimes these are independent and not parochial or diocesan. My diocese has not only this type but also secular charter schools which are preferred by the Traditionalists here. A third option is homeschooling.

I know how hard it is to admit that the Church has lost her touch when it comes to schools especially in North America, it seems. I doubt Europe is any better. What we need is a good crop of bishops with the spine and the wherewithal to clean house and/or revoke “Catholic” status from these wayward institutions. They are doing no favors to the faithful nor to the Church.

Right now, what can you realistically do? Well, how well can your parents support your actions? Are they faithful Catholics as well? If you choose to refuse to read Slaughterhouse-Five, because it is a near occasion of sin for you, would they get behind you on that? How would your teacher feel, would you get a failing grade for that assignment, or would you be accommodated with another selection? If you left a classroom due to depraved behavior going on, and risked detention or an infraction or something, would they plead your case?

It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. I did some stupid stuff in high school and my parents even supported that. I had bizarre hair and they had a hard time disciplining me when they couldn’t find anything in the dress code prohibiting it, and my parents stood up against them in my favor. This is about more than just hair, this is your immortal soul here and your impressionable peers being subjected to depravity. I would stand for none of it if I were a parent.

isn’t it summer time right now and school is out? Why didn’t you first bring these things up last year while all these things were happening. As in any organization, you and your parents should have approached the teacher first, then the principal, then the priest that oversees the school, then the diocese. Asking us about books and movies after the fact and while school is out is a little disengeneous at best. Your problems at the school need to be taken care of during the school year and with the offending teachers not in the end of July when it is over. I hardly think you are really going to want to transfer to another school for your senior year. I am sure these problems were nothing new to you or the school. Something is amiss here.

:mad: Assuming this is true…

However, abortion should not be spoken of flippantly either. It is a destructive scourge, and should always be spoken of with reverence.

Even at the Middle school level, my daughters read books that I thought were inappropriate. The Giver comes to mind. :rolleyes:
But the idea of education is to expose you to various thoughts and ideas. You are not required to adapt anything that is contrary to the faith. However, knowing what is out there via literature, will help you to form your conscience and be able to combat the evils of the world.
It’s called being well read. Of course, you should balance this reading with orthodox, and good Catholic literature. Many will disagree, but trying to pitch a fit over this won’t get you anywhere, nor am I sure it should.
Should we not teach about the holocaust because it was so horrible?
Life is not always pretty, orthodox, moral. There are lessons to be learned that can and should reinforce your faith. Not challenge it. It will only be challenged if one’s faith is weak to begin with. You have pretty strong opinions. I’m not terribly worried about you.
You attend a Catholic school. Not a “Catholic” school.
Do you know your faith?
Learning about faith and morals is a lifelong journey.
In a few years you might be in med school…you’d see a lot of naked people.
if you decide to be a psychologist, you’d come across some pretty odd case studies.
If you choose the priesthood, you’ll hear some whopper confessions.
Finish school. Be grateful for the sacrifice of your parents to send you there.
Don’t confuse things that you see, read, encounter, with what you know to be true.

clare, can you elaborate on what was wrong with The Giver? My niece read it in high school, then my Mom passed me the book while raving over it. Now it’s becoming a film. I still haven’t read the book. Should I avoid it in both formats and why?

Something is amiss here indeed!

Well, as I recall the book was about weeding out undesirables…eliminating those that we not deemed perfect. They went over the hill…and were not ever heard from again, or something. (It was at least 15 years ago when they read it). It’s a story about the many being controlled by the few.
But now, I am very confused…my Archdiocese is touting it as a strong Pro-Life message.
HUH? Maybe the movie shows the evils of deciding who gets to live and who does not. :shrug:
My girls read it in the 6th grade. I didn’t like it, mostly because I didn’t think the kids were of an age where they would “get” the implications. But it’s standard middle school reading material. It won a Newbery Award in '94.
I wasn’t crazy about it, but the Catholic librarians association raved about it, so it was required reading. It’s entirely possible that I didn’t really “get” the point of the book. at the time :o
I’d check it out. I don’t believe in not reading or not seeing. I believe you are able to form your own, Catholic opinion, either way. :thumbsup:

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