The following comes from a July 7 Catholic Education Daily article by Kimberly Scharfenberger:
The priest’s presence in Catholic schools is a crucial component of faithful Catholic education and must be reintegrated for the benefit of young people, especially considering the secular impact on today’s academic environment, argues the organizer of an upcoming seminar on “The Role of the Priest in Today’s Catholic School.”
“This is becoming more of a concern to the U.S. Conference of Bishops,” he noted. “At the November meeting of the Bishops’ Conference in Baltimore, the entire presentation was devoted to the critical role of priests in the schools. Bishops were encouraged to be extremely vigilant in the assignment of priests to Catholic school work.”
Father Stravinskas told the Newman Society:
There is an absolute, essential difference between a Catholic school and a public school. Catholic schools provide a level of Catholic identity that nothing else can.
Father Stravinskas called the priest’s involvement “a theology of presence.” This “doesn’t mean that every priest must be a classroom teacher,” he said. “But just being present, being with the students, in the schools, attending their sports events and social events—all of these are concrete modes of presence that have an impact.” For school communities, “the presence of the priest is an automatic invitation to spiritual assistance and Confession.” This benefits and catechizes students and faculty alike.
Fr. Stravinskas provided an example of how a priest’s leadership can be integrated into classroom subjects. “If a teacher is just finishing a unit in biology class on genetics, this might be an appropriate moment to have the priest talk to the class about Vatican documents and Church teaching on subjects like in vitro fertilization,” he said.
The seminar will run from August 18-19 and will cover topics such as “conciliar and papal teaching on Catholic education,” “the priest as the public relations man of the school,” “financial concerns,” and “models of governance.”
Most priests in confidence now relate that they avoid the parish students, the school and its associated areas, as well as avoiding even being in the public company of any minors, due to the fear of falling under suspicion of having an unhealthy attachment, or worse, a reported accusation stemming from either too much attention or perhaps a misunderstood incidental contact of any sort.
It is very easy to be reported to the diocesan special advocate, and many priests are in fact reported, on the basis of the most superficial interactions, to the diocese office. For most of them, it isn’t worth the risk and the extreme measures that will be triggered. You cant blame them.
Very true! My previous associate avoided the parochial school for that reason, and I’ve heard other priests say the same thing.
Unfortunately huge numbers of Catholic school teachers in Northern California go to Catholic colleges like USF, Santa Clara, Holy Names, Notre Dame de Namur, and Dominican where they learn that the best Catholic school model is the secularized, free from diocesan control “Catholic university.” These principals and teachers then try to replicate this model at the high school and parochial school levels. Believe me, from personal experience many of them resent priest presence in the schools, much less priest oversight. However, there are plenty who are parochial school teachers because they truly believe in Catholicism and want to make a difference.
Actually- Faithful Practicing Catholic Men are greatly needed in Catholic Schools, Including Grade Schools, which too often become ‘Hen House’ Environments where neither Boys are provided Positive Role Models and Girls have No Positive Male Presence to gauge the value of future mates.
I know many great Women Teachers / Principles doing a find job of education all… – and some (far too many) Radical Gender Feminist Misandrists (those hateful to Men & Boys, Masculinity & Normal Heterosexuality) and emasculated milquetoast males whose example is nightmarish at best.
Yes – Many Men kept away from the Schools and Youth Groups because of fear of being tainted by the misconduct going on – and the Retaliation Against Men who actually…
“Actually- Faithful Practicing Catholic Men are greatly needed in Catholic Schools, Including Grade Schools, which too often become ‘Hen House’ Environments where neither Boys are provided Positive Role Models and Girls have No Positive Male Presence to gauge the value of future mates.”
Michael McDermott, How wise of you to rightfully choose to use the strong backbone that God gave you! God bless you! You are absolutely right and to even add more insult to injury, tuition fees are often criminal, especially when feminist hens peck away the presence of very good and faithful men. No real Catholic cluck, just agenda driven indoctrination for great big bucks.
… Retaliation against Men who actually Spoke For and Acted Out actually Catholic Values & Teachings.
Censorship of Authentic Catholicism seems to be the Norm in too many allegedly ‘Catholic’ Institutions, which helps explain why so many students leave the Faith behind upon graduation.
Priests can be great role models – but as far as Heterosexuals seeking to promote positive Catholic Values at the core of Church & Family , they tend to lack certain elements which make for role models for young men who do Not have Vocations, but do want to be integral parts of the Body.
For our Catholic schools to be truly effective, we need Church control only– and that’s that! Very simple! No more silly Vatican II-style “freedoms,” with lots of lay people making decisions– and kicking out priests and bishops! If the Church continues to refuse her proper governing responsibilities, then at some point, how can our Catholic schools, colleges, churches, charities, hospitals, and related Catholic organizations, continue to function?? In Vatican II, the priests are NOT to govern their parish schools, nor are bishops to govern all aspects of their dioceses, any more! Laymen are supposed to be greatly involved! Very hopeless situation! (And where are the teaching orders of nuns??)
Priests and others in the Religious Life wearing the proper traditional clothing, that what identifies the Catholic Faith is also important. So get rid of the skirts and slacks and for those start wearing at the very least your Roman Collar. Come to think of it when is the last time a Bishop was seen in a Catholic school ?
I left a thriving Catholic school full of faith, daily confessions, Mass each week with the children, classroom visits, teacher conferences with the pastor. My successor abandoned the school and its administration. It devolved to lack of mercy, poor theology, and confusion. In 1 year the good teachers left and such a huge number of parents that the school is in danger of closing. The pastor must be shepherd in all aspects of the parish’s and school’s life.
Well, you certainly don’t think much of your brother priest: that’s crystal clear.
What is less clear is how much truth there is to your tale…
Mr. Anonymous, you love to start trouble don’t you ?
As I stated below, the absence of priests is often not the fault of the school, but of the priests.
I recall from my experience in a parish school that one of the priests was there quite often. One of them would punt a football for the boys to catch. He was very good at it. They visited the classes as well. We all looked forward to visits from those men and the sisters teaching us did as well.
If that’s resented now, it’s a shame. Parents need to get active and demand more from Catholic education than is offered at the state-run academies of Liberalism.
Ted, I don’t think classroom visitations by priests, or punting a football to the kids, etc., are resented at all by the kids or their parents. [By the teachers—that may be another story.] But so long as a “credible accusation” (mind you, not even as high as the “more likely than not” standard) is enough to get a priest barred permanently from priestly work and identity, he’d have to be suicidal to risk it. The 2002 standard adopted by the USA Bishops should have been, first and foremost, applied to themselves. It’s 2015, and it still hasn’t been.
This article makes some great points, although I don’t think the absence of priests is necessarily the school’s fault.
After their endorsement of Carolyn Woo however, I don’t think Catholic Education Daily is necessarily a site that can be trusted to be faithful to the teaching of the Church. However when they make good observations, that fact can and should still be encouraged.
Here is another aspect of the challenge ahead, which also will soon face the US:
Le Figaro of July 7, 2015 reports “The number of priests ordained in France has never been so low.” Indeed, the French bishops’ conference announced 68 ordinations of diocesan priests in 2015, down from 82 in 2014. Together with the 52 ordinations of priests from religious orders, this makes up 120 priests (diocesan and religious) who are ordained for the year 2015, as compared to 140 last year. This is the lowest number in the last 15 years…” ” …10,000 of them are over 65, and 7000 are over 75. And one bishop recognized the plain facts: “I ordain one priest per year, while I bury 12.” This means that many French bishops have not ordained a priest…
Coalition of higher ed groups pens letter against trigger warnings *like ‘warning – Catholic Content’)
A coalition of free speech and education-related organizations has condemned a recent decision by Crafton Hills College administrators to add trigger warnings—statements which provide notice of potentially upsetting material—to course syllabi…
Higher education is no stranger to the debate over trigger warnings. In 2014, students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, stirred up controversyafter passing a resolution urging professors to include trigger warnings on all class syllabi at the public university.