After a difficult year of pandemic-accelerated enrollment losses and hobbled fundraising, six elementary schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will close in June as one of the nation’s largest private educational systems struggles to keep many of its schools afloat.
Assumption in Boyle Heights, Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda, St. Ferdinand in San Fernando, St. Francis of Assisi in Silver Lake and St. Madeleine in Pomona are scheduled to be closed as part of a consolidation plan announced this week.
The schools largely enrolled children of working-class Latino families in many of the communities hardest hit during the pandemic. Parents have lost jobs and could no longer afford tuition that ranges from about $3,900 to $6,000 annually, leading to enrollment drops. The fiestas, jog-a-thons and bingo nights that boosted finances were canceled. The schools had been struggling for years and the pandemic broke their ability to stay afloat, school officials said…
The above comes from an April 3 story in the L.A. Times.
My first reaction? Very sad. But then there is that famous quote of Bp. Sheen about Catholic schools: “If you want them [your children] to lose their faith, send them to Catholic school.” So perhaps it’s for the better?
Likewise Catholic higher ed: it’s rapidly collapsing, especially now thanks to COVIDism. But it’s probably for the better.
There is no way that Bishop Fulton Sheen said that.
Each Catholic schools has unique problems but there has been such improvements in Catholic identity over the last 25 years that I do not believe any one knowledgeable would say that. No school is perfect because it is run by imperfect humans but you can usually work with them. Some people are open to suggestion; some are offended.
In deference to our friends here who like pre-Vatican II teaching methods, you should homeschool. There are a lot of materials available. But if you can’t and you send them to Catholic schools, they will be a welcome addition to the classroom with their knowledge of traditional Catholicism. Usually.
I give a caveat for those high schools in California who are incorporating some secular errors. However, it is going to be worse in the public schools.
“There is no way that Bishop Fulton Sheen said that”?
“No way” seems too strong to me, given that Sheen was a master rhetorician and that hyperbole is never far from the rhetorical toolbox. Regardless, who can deny there’s some truth in the quote, at least in 2021?
Closest thing I can find to it is this from 1987 article but no citation given:
In 1972, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (as he was watching a Paul VI lecture) was prompted despairingly to say, “I recommend that my relatives send their college-bound children to secular colleges where they will have to fight for their faith, rather than to Catholic colleges where it will be stolen from them.”
Of course, 1972 was a different time. It was before Roe v. Wade. It was before Watergate. It was before the handshake in space. Nixon defeated McGovern in every state but Massachusetts. Patty Hearst had not been kidnapped. Angela Davis was in prison.
Colleges were still relatively conservative.
I think in this day he would recommend good Catholic schools and homeschooling if none were available.
I remember when schools didn’t have to have security fencing around the perimeter.
Every year, before Vatican II, thousands of young Catholics worldwide, used to have post-high school graduation plans to enter the priesthood and religious life. Our teaching orders were filled with dedicated priests, brothers, and nuns, for Catholic schools and colleges, worldwide! And many other graduates had plans for Marriage and Family. Only a few needed a university education. We had a good, decent, stable Church and society, with Traditional Marriage and Family at the core, and Christian Faith and Morality prevailed, everywhere. Even those in blue-collar jobs, raising big families, could afford a decent family home, plenty of food and clothing, decent medical care, and a Catholic education, for all their kids! With so many huge changes in the Church and modern living, lack of leadership and discipline in our top Church clerics, plus, so many people leading terribly immoral, destructive “lifestyles,” and special interest groups like radical feminists and LGBT’s making unrealistic demands that tear our Church and society to pieces– with the breakdown of our Church, Christian Morality, and the Traditional Marriage and Family– it is very difficult to plan for a decent, sane, normal, good future! And the breakdown of traditional education for crazy, immoral “liberal leftist indoctrination,” is turning our Church and country into a liberal leftist wasteland of crazy, immoral, rebellious, lawless, ignorant anarchists, with no respect for God nor their fellowman! Plus– with all the new wonders of science and technology, causing tremendous changes to the way we live– and the cost of living escalating beyond control– many people can scarcely afford to care for their family’s basic needs! And then, to see the Catholic Church and its clerics, nuns, religious orders, and schools all disintegrate, worldwide– adding to the magnitude of all our problems!– where does all of this madness end??
Yep. I failed as a father in letting mine attend so-called parochial schools of the Church of Nice, where LGBT rights were upheld almost as rigidly as in public schools; where the other parents were too busy with their careers and might or might not attend Sunday Mass depending on whether their sportsball team was playing.
Catholic schools merely ape the popular culture, with a very thin veneer of religious Novus Ordoism applied to the top.
God help us all.
I’m bet the Bishop of Nice, the Most Reverend André Marceau, might find offense at your comment.
There should be an online fundraiser to help keep the Catholic schools open. I would donate. I am just very sad to hear that the Catholic schools are closed.
Anon., do you know that many Catholic college graduates are having trouble entering orders because they have to be debt-free to enter. All those loans to go to college have to be paid off.
However, there is help for them and the average age in the US of people entering religious life is 23 years old.
I am sure that you are one of those who prays for vocations so thank you.
Anonymous, yes, especially the last twenty years or so, college tuition costs have skyrocketed, and student loan debts are now a nightmare! Some university graduates have college student loan debts as high as $100,000 and more! Very shocking! Thankfully, a wonderful new organization, the Laboure Society, located in Eagan, MN, was started to help aspiring priests and nuns pay off their student loan debts! Everyone should pray for vocations, and donate to the Laboure Society!
It is named after St. Catherine Laboure, who had her beautiful apparitions of the Blessed Mother, at her convent in Paris, and was told by Our Lady to have the Miraculous Medal made and distributed. (LOVE the Miraculous Medal– I’ve worn mine lifelong!) St. Catherine’s father refused to provide her dowry for entrance to her religious order, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, but family members supported her religious vocation, and paid the dowry. You can find the Laboure Society online, or at your local diocesan Vocations Office.
I know a young person who plans to start a fund to keep Catholic schools from closing. Pray for him. He is poor right now but has big dreams.
That quote from Bishop Sheen is bogus. Anyone thinking that sending your child to a secular school is better than a Catholic school is delusional. When the Catholic schools are all gone, people will realize their true worth. It is just a matter of time before they are all gone in California with changing demographics and the loss of faith in the under 40 generations.
In 1999, a donor gave the Diocese of Memphis a fund to start Catholic schools. They were for non-Catholic students who could not afford private school as well as Catholic students. They did not get enough tuition paying students and they did not get the school voucher bill through the legislature. They ended up depleting the fund and the schools closed in 2019.
The worst possible thing that a diocese can do is allow the schools to close. Forget about all the other organizations and needy as if you close the schools you will be closing the Catholic Church.
Jesus never said anything about establishing schools. He did say some things about baptism and eucharist, though.
Anonymous, in Jesus’ day, it was the Jewish father’s duty to begin to educate his children, as soon as possible, at home. Jewish children were sent to the local synagogue school at age five or six, with the Torah as their text. The Rabbi or Jewish Cantor usually taught the classes. Boys were given a more thorough education, but girls were only given a little bit, just what was suitable for their future roles in life. From age 10-15, children studied Jewish Laws. After age 15, they studied the Talmud and discussed Jewish theology. At age 13, a boy made his bar mitzvah, and joined the adult Jewish men in study. The teacher and children at the synagogue either stood for the lessons, or else the children sat in a semi-circle, facing the teacher. Education was all a part of their religion, never a separate thing.
Immigrants such as Italian and Irish faced a lot of prejudice and bigotry when they came to the US. Parish schools were ordered because of complaints about Protestant domination in the 1800s in public schools.
Instructing the ignorant is a spiritual act of mercy.
Catholic schools are a blessing. I wish that people tried harder to provide Catholic education to every Catholic child.
I asked several parents in our parish why their children no longer attend the parish elementary school. Several indicated their children are now enrolled in a charter school. These parents explained that the charter school, while not a Catholic school, had many similar features (covert restrictive enrollment, no teacher unions, etc.) of a private school without the costs. They believe their children can receive “adequate” religious instruction through the parish’s CCD program. I think these charter schools are impacting enrollment in Catholic schools.
I am in fact saddened when parochial schools close, as they do in fact overall provide a uniquely thorough education that is coupled with a Catholic background. My first year of teaching was at a Catholic parochial elementary school, teaching science. Because I am a non-Catholic, I was obliged to sign documents attesting that I would not speak on any of the tenets of the Catholic dogma. There was “concern” among the more affluent parents/financiers that I might say something that would create critical thinking or something that might cause a student to question their faith. I made sure that I set the example: when there was Mass for all to attend, I would go up for a blessing (as the lay women would ensure that I, as a non-Catholic, would not be offered Communion). Many of the non-Catholic students would then follow suit, and voiced their appreciation for finally having a faculty member who would lead by an example that was welcoming and understanding of their position.
Thanks for giving your point of view. We don’t always know how we look to others. It is not really accurate on what a deacon is but I see how it could look that way.
I don’t think it matters “how we look to others.” Christ never asked such a question. Many parents today, would never send their children to Catholic schools with secular, non-Catholic teachers. Pointless! Waste of time and money! SCOTUS Judge Amy Coney Barrett sends her children to a Christian school run by her devout charismatic community, in which she is deeply involved as a parent.
How we look to others matters when you are evangelizing. I agree that truly devout Catholics would be blessed to find a school that is truly Catholic.
The best answer for our Catholic schools, was good leadership provided by our priests, brothers and nuns, of teaching orders, of the pre-Conciliar era. After that, everything just fell to pieces– and there also was tremendous corruption of faith and morals.
I live just a few miles away from St. Ferdinand. Sure, many Catholic schools today are very secular, but they’re still slightly better than public school. I’m sad to see this school close.
I thought the Together in Mission appeal was supposed to prevent things like this. What’s the money being spent on?
Anonymous 8/7 at 8:00am. Good luck finding out where money goes. SEC would never permit this from a traded company. But vast majority of Bishops think what they do with our money is none of our business.