Some Catholic high schools in Archdiocese of San Francisco balk at new guidelines for religious instruction

(Following the publication of this story, California Catholic Daily received the following message from Valerie Schmalz, assistant editor of Catholic San Francisco: “Please run a correction to the article about Archdiocese of San Francisco textbooks and guidelines. I wrote the story quoted in the article and after a letter from the head of school at Stuart Hall High School, I reviewed my emails from Stuart Hall religious studies chairman Raymond O’Connor and realized I had misread his email. While I thought he had said that Stuart Hall was a work in progress in regard to the implementation of the U.S. bishops framework, he was referring to the state of mind — as he saw it — among all the religious studies and theology chairs in the Catholic high schools of the archdiocese.”) 

The Jan. 27 issue of Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, contained a 23-page insert for Catholic Schools Week, which began yesterday. The insert contained two significant articles, one by Valerie Schmalz about new religious education texts and guidelines developed by the USCCB for Catholic secondary schools, and the other by Lidia Wasowicz about Catholic identity in K-8 schools.

Schmalz’s article, “American Bishops Revamping High School Religion,” began:

Religious instruction is going to be a little bit different at most Catholic high schools very soon. In response to detailed national standards from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, publishers are rolling out brand-new high school religion book series, and ceasing publication of the books most Catholic high schools and teen religious education programs now use. The new books tie directly to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a compendium of everything the Catholic Church believes, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

The article explained the genesis of the new texts and frameworks: “As part of a decade-long process sparked by concerns about omissions and errors in the way high school religion was being taught, the USCCB voted 221-0 in November 2007 to endorse ‘Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age.’”

The “omissions and errors” are gigantic. According to an oral report presented to the General Assembly of US Bishops on June 10, 1997, they include:

Failure to present the Trinity as the central mystery of the Christian faith; Reluctance to use ‘Father’ for the first person of the Trinity, at times substituting the term ‘Parent God’; Insufficient emphasis on the divine nature of Christ, with divinity equated with being ‘distant and unreal’; Insufficient emphasis on the importance of Christ’s incarnation as central to salvation history; Do not always clearly present the Catholic Church as established by Christ to continue both his presence and his mission in the world; Too often the impression is left that the human person is the first principal and final end of his/her own existence; Deficient teaching on original sin and on sin in general.

The responses by San Francisco’s archdiocesan religious educators to the new guidelines were diverse, and revealed deep cleavages within the Department of Catholic Schools.

Gary Meegan, theology department chairman at Serra High School applauded the new texts: “We as Catholics believe there are some things that are always and everywhere right and wrong.” He said that the San Mateo boys’ high school “…will use St. Mary’s Press freshman and sophomore texts next year.”

Some were in the middle: “St. Ignatius College Preparatory revamped its curriculum in response to the bishops’ guidelines but does not plan to purchase texts immediately,” said Carol A. Devincenzi, religious studies department chair of the Jesuit high school in San Francisco. The archdiocesan newspaper quoted an email from Decincenzi as saying, “We have developed our own readers and rely heavily on the sacred text.”

And some expressed opposition. “Some disagree with the doctrinal framework sequence of courses and approach,” reported Catholic San Francisco. “At Stuart Hall High School ‘we are very much a work in progress regarding the framework’s implementation,’ said theology department chairman Raymond O’Connor in an email. O’Connor is concerned the new courses may no longer qualify for University of California credit and do not incorporate the Schools of the Sacred Heart charism.”

That might seem an odd remark for the chair of a department of religion at a Catholic school, whose duty it is to get students into heaven, not the University of California. But for readers familiar with O’Connor or Stuart Hall and its sister school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart, where he serves as Social Justice and Community Services Coordinator, his remarks may not seem so odd.

Convent of the Sacred Heart last year hosted lesbian “womanpriest” Victoria Rue, and screened “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” (a film critical of Church teachings on women’s ordination) without offering any “contrasting” — that is, Catholic — viewpoints.

Apparently, part of the Sacred Heart ‘charism” referred to by O’Connor is the annual “Summer Service Projects,” a program in which students visit various Sacred Heart schools around the country. San Francisco’s July 9-15, 2011 program was called “Bay to Waves” and was led by O’Connor. It included a viewing of the film “Milk,” which celebrates the life of homosexual-rights champion Harvey Milk. It also included O’Connor taking 18 students on a tour of San Francisco’s Castro district. He took them to the infamous Most Holy Redeemer Church, where he serves as coordinator of lectors. He also took the students to the Harvey Milk Academy, the “LGBT Museum,” and the Human Rights Campaign Action Center. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest pro same-sex “marriage” lobbying organization in the country.

Other “religious educators” appear to be allied with O’Connor. Josie Maxwell, religious studies chairman at San Francisco’s Mercy High School, stated flatly that her school does not plan to purchase the new texts.

The second article in the Catholic San Francisco insert — Lidia Wasowicz’s “K-8 Schools amplify Catholic Identity in Serving All Backgrounds” — seemed to indicate a more unified fidelity to Church teaching at the K-8 level.

Fr. John Balleza, pastor of St. Raphael Church in San Rafael, told Wasowicz: “Our school exists because it is Catholic, and we’re not going to sell out under any circumstances, even if we do not meet our enrollment and we’re struggling.”

Tom White, principal of St. Anne’ School in San Francisco, echoed Fr. Balleza: “If you want a private school, there are plenty out there… We are first and foremost a Catholic school, and nothing’s going to dissuade us from the importance we place on Catholic teaching.”

Fr. Balleza, newly elected chair of the Archdiocesan Council of Priests, was also quoted byCatholic San Francisco as saying, “schools that misrepresent themselves as ‘Catholic’ commit the ‘ultimate hypocrisy.’”

According to a news release, nearly 17,000 students are enrolled at Catholic elementary schools in the archdiocese, and nearly 8,000 attend secondary schools in the three counties of the archdiocese — San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.



Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 12:16 AM By charlio
Some of this problem is attributable to the large size of some Dioceses. In a certain Diocese, larger in geographic size but of less dense population, a new Bishop came in, clear out the heterodox old wood in a low key fashion, and now has one of the most dynamic, orthodox catechetical operations. A larger diocese poses a burdensome load on the shoulders of an incoming Bishop, who must be an administrative and even a political expert in addition to his traditional Episcopal roles of teaching, governing and sanctifying. This suggests that there is a certain upper limit to the size of a Diocese, beyond which it should be broken up into more manageable units. Rome is so far away. The attitude that “it’s an American problem”, so evident in the bureaucracy a decade ago, has probably now been swept away with the scandals in other countries. But t increasing Euro-centric orientation of the Vatican hierarchies doesn’t bode well for solutions to these problems.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 12:35 AM By Catherine
Yes, the one who balks the loudest is the Social Justice and Community services Coordinator. In other words, he is socially coordinating people to travel the broad road that leads to destruction. Wasn’t Obama a Community Services Coordinator too?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 1:12 AM By Clinton
The attitude displayed by schools such as Stuart Hall and Convent of the Sacred Heart are emblematic of the Church today. You have small vibrant parishes that adhere to sound Catholic doctrine, teachings and liturgy and contrarily we have “Catholic” parishes, retreat centers, universities, schools, seminaries, convents and Religious Education Congresses that espouse error and heresy. Look at the websites of many Catholic schools and universites. Do they convey traditional Catholic teachings? Most of the time they don’t. Most of them will say something along the lines of “While we teach in the Catholic tradition, we also encourage a independent outlook of the world and work in an ecumenical fashion that encourages global harmony.” Blah, Blah,Blah. Too many entities that call themselves Catholic are overly concerned with ecumenism. The false kind. Do we care about celebrating the Year of the Dragon? Isn’t the dragon a symbol of Satan in Scripture? Isn’t the Lunar New Year a celebration of paganism? Yet a quick review of Catholic K-8 and high schools will show that many celebrated the Lunar New Year. We know they also celebrate Ramadan and just about every non-Catholic “holiday”. Catholic school kids in Cincinnati last year had a meal to celebrate the end of Ramadan. We’re not teaching our youth the rosary, but they sure do know all about Buddha. Madness! Did Our Lord tell His Apostles to get along with the religions of the world? Or to imitate their ways? No, He told them to make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He said those cities of the Lost Children of Israel that rejected the Apostles would be punished worse than Sodom and Gomorrha. Doesn’t sound too ecumenical to me. True ecumenical dialogue should lead people to Jesus and His Church. We, the Church Militant, must quickly awake from our long slumber, or the One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church, will be soon reduced to a remnant. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 5:27 AM By Ted
The late 1960’s through the 1980’s were a time of dissent, rebellion and redefinition of Catholic teachings brought about by “Hippies” in roman collars and soon-to-be-shed habits. The damage will take decades to repair, if it’s even possible. In any case, several generations of youth have been taught error. Something should be done to repair the damages done to them, and I’m hoping the bishops will address that. So far, they seem to be ignoring it because they don’t know what to do about it. Those people cannot be ignored and written off as losses. There are immortal souls to consider, not convenience.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 5:40 AM By Vince
This dissent is not unique to San Francisco. Similar nonsense is also occurring in LA. I wish the Bishops would personally terminate the heretics.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 5:43 AM By St. Christopher
Easy to solve the compliance problems at Mercy HS, Stuart Hall, etc — simply forbid them to hold themselves out as “Catholic” and to use the name of Christ’s Church, or, if legally permissible, dismiss the administrator/staff/teacher that refuses to comply. The Vatican must not back down on these types of confrontations. Obey or leave, that is the ticket. Good that this is being done, but it must be done, not left out there as an “option”. Most importantly, why would any parent leave their child in any school that refuses to become more orthodox?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 6:22 AM By Juergensen
A monumental failure of the Church in America, since the 1970s, has been the failure of complete and accurate catechesis: from the pulpit to the church basement to the church school to RCIA to confirmation classes. Another monumental failure of the Church in America, since the 1990s, has been the tacit rejection of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) by America’s bishops through their virtual silence on the CCC (considered by many to be Pope John Paul II’s greatest gift to the Church). A hobby of mine is to try to find the CCC on American diocesan websites. It’s quite a chore, usually not there or delegated to the far back pages. Indeed, a symptom of this disdain for the CCC is manifested today in no other than the USCCB website, which was recently “upgraded” to REMOVE FROM ITS HOME PAGE ALL REFERENCES TO THE CCC. Before, the USCCB home page had rather prominent links to the CCC. No more. Now, one must make four (4) consecutive clicks on the USCCB website to reach the CCC. Apparently the USCCB thinks American Catholics are so well catechized they no longer need the CCC. Or, perhaps, the USCCB, having successfully misled 52% of Catholic voters into voting for Obama in 2008 with its misleading, unauthoritative, and non binding “Faithful Citizenship” document, does not want to risk Catholic voters actually reading the CCC and changing their voting pattern.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 6:26 AM By Hardy Boy
The Schools of the Sacred Heart also have a “franchise” in Atherton, which has also been featured on California Catholic Daily for failures to be authentically Catholic. There’s something about those schools that they all appear to have gone terribly astray. My experience in Catholic schools has taught me to be wary of religion faculty. I think the bishop ought to inspect the “readers” that St. Ignatius College Prep has developed for use in its classrooms instead of textbooks for the errors and omissions that the guidelines for a doctrinal framework are intended to rectify.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 6:47 AM By Amy
No where in this article do I see any comments or statements from the Shepherd of the Archidocese of S.F., Archbishop Niederauer. Does he have an opinion in this? It would seem that as the Shepherd of the Archdiocese of S.F., he would have some input as how the guidelines of the USCCB are carried out in his Archdiocese.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 7:18 AM By JMJ
First: Just who will teach the teachers as most of them are by-products of the Bishops that removed the Baltimore & other Catechisms from the Church as they couldn’t understand them, and now we have this mess that they caused. When the Bishops met with Pope John Paul, he gave them marching orders: Priests to wear their collars, Nuns to be in their habits, restore the Tabernacle back to the center of the Church, get rid of those horrible images on the Cross & put Jesus Crucified back on them AND TO CLEAN UP THE CHURCH BY GETTING THE HERITICS OUT! Now, just what has been done? Not much, but, at least teaching the children the truth is a start and I hope & pray that ALL of the Church will do the same. The early Church leaders were willing to DIE for the Church, but, nowadays, our leaders won’t even LIVE for Jesus or His Church. Shame upon Shame. The Vatican is over there, but, our Holy Father is will aware (as was Pope John Paul), of what is going on over here despite the snow jobs being given to him by some of our bishops. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 7:31 AM By ED
Pray for an orthodox priest to be named the new Archbishop of San Francisco!!!

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 7:33 AM By Gabriel Espinosa 
Although the revamping is laudable methinks it is a little too late. Much of the damage caused by the lack of orthodoxy is now irreversible. I think those schools which in any manner refuse to comply should be immediately stripped of their Catholic identity as an institution as they have already abandoned said identity in spirit.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 8:09 AM By CB
JMJ: How about a principal that says we “worship” Mary too much; a religion teacher who believes that there was a Pope Joan; an assistant superintendent who insures only graduates of a certain “Catholic” university (non-mandatum) become principals and a superintedent who believes that technology is the answer to everything?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 9:07 AM By Larry
Okay, so some institutions will not get with the program. What now?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 10:19 AM By Life Lady
If any of us are faithful Catholics in the San Fran area, are you all showing up at the schools and offering yourselves as teachers for catechism classes? I went thru the entire program down here in San Diego some time back, just because I wanted to make certain that my own children were being instructed correctly while they were attending the school in my home parish, quite liberal, by the way. The end result was that I did manage to change some minds and hearts of the people i was going thru the program with, but in the end I was asked to leave because I taught Communion on the tongue, and let parents know that they had the right to have their children receive in the same way. Even though I was ousted, I have no idea whether my efforts will bear fruit, but that is not up to me. i just had to put myself in the position, God would do the rest. I know one concerned couple was ready to pull their child out, and the religious instruction director did her job and let them have their child receive on the tongue, along with a few others. We have to do our share, plant the seed, and let God do the rest. Benedicts XVI has told us as much, that we can and should stand up for Christ in every way, even with our bishops. No amount of complaining will make things happen unless we offer ourselves for the right cause, the upholding of the Faith, and the Life of the Church. Be kind and loving in your approach, they can’t rebuke you when you act in the way that Christ did when He carried the cross for us all.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 10:48 AM By Ruth
The Vatican is not ignorant of the abuses in the SF Diocese. If the Vatican and the locate Archbishop are derelict, then I have to ask myself. If there are only two choices, to serve God or Satan, who do they serve?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 10:51 AM By MIKE
charlio, if any Bishop believes his Diocese is too big to properly teach and administer, he should petition Rome to have it split up giving his recommendations. Each Bishop will be held accountable by God. There are no excuses. Grades 11 & 12 should be using the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”: We must – remember that many of these students will never be exposed to a Catholic religious education again. Young teens grades 8,9,10 should be using “YOUCAT”. Elementary School age children should be using the “BALTIMORE CATECHISM”. There is no excuse for sloppiness on the part of the Bishops and they are each 100% in charge of their own Diocese, regardless of the recommended USCCB books. The Bishops must direct all “Catholic” schools in their Diocese, without options. And some Bishops wonder why the US has people leaving the Church – they don’t know the full truth of what the Church teaches, what we are required to believe, and why – which is all answered in the CCC. Some Bishops will be spending a long time in Purgatory if not worse due to the unnecessary loss of Souls on their watch in their Diocese.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 12:14 PM By Dave N.
Because the USCCB has no power over individual bishops much less individual Catholic schools, this is yet another “top down” initiative that will have little to no impact. If the local bishop doesn’t care to do enforcement, nothing will change.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 1:01 PM By MacDonald
Happy “Catholic Schools Week,” everybody! I can tell the folks here are enjoying the celebration with happy hearts.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 1:27 PM By Glendon
The bishop of San Jose has not done anything to require that Catholic high schools teach in conformity with the USCCB guidelines.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 2:04 PM By k
Catherine, he is also the theology department chariman. I wouldn’t send my kid to that school based on what I read here

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 2:28 PM By Catherine
Lifelady, Last week you gave yourself permission to open, may I use your own harsh words, “pie hole”. Now this week you say, “Act the way Christ did”…Well Life Lady, Christ threw out the money changers and Christ told foul demons to depart. I am pleased to read that you taught Catechism just because you wanted to make certain that your children were protected. No one could blame you. Your post insinuates that many who post here do nothing but complain. How do you know what others are doing? I know many who teach CCD and they do it from the pure motive of helping strangers to know love and serve Christ, not just for the sake of their own children. They are both good reasons. There is a fine line between coddling error and then giving yourself selective and privileged permission to complain.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 2:35 PM By CB
Part of the problem is also that you are not to teach things that might make students feel “uncomfortable,” for instance Purgatory. This also brings up the fact that most of teachers/principals either don’t believe in it or were never taught about it. You’re expected to get with the Kumbaya stuff and don’t cause trouble or rock the boat.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 2:49 PM By JLS
Many students feel uncomfortable in math class, science class, language class, and some even feel uncomfortable in school. Now what?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 3:41 PM By CB
Thinking that teaching Catholicism is the single most important thing that should be be taught will only get you branded as “conservative.” Prayer centers are too-50’s-ish, necklaces with crosses or religious medals are allowed, but NOT encouraged and what is the Memorare?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 4:29 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
What is really odd is that persons like O’Connor are even employed by what pretends to be a Catholic School! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 4:50 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
My own sister was relieved of her catechism class because she taught the children that they had a choice of receiving kneeling or standing and !on the tongue or in the hands, and that she would prefer that they recieved kneeling and on the tongue God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 8:02 PM By Dan
CB, from your 2:35 post, a true story: In 1981 I was teaching mathematics at a local Catholic high school and noticed one day that a very troublesome student was behaving extraordinarily well. Knowing that it was not due to my skills as a promoter of discipline, I happened to pass her desk while the students were doing an assignment. There on the desk next to her math paper was the Tan Publishers book on Purgatory (I forget the exact title) which gave a perspective on it based on the lives (and legends) of the saints. She was definitely “scared straight” at least for the rest of the semester. Food for thought.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 9:48 PM By CB
Having taught middle school for some years, my students understood Purgatory. I also discussed such things as Aquinas’ Quinque Viae with my classes and had most of those who went on to a Catholic high school tell me that they cruised their freshman year. Our kids are like a desert-when it rains, they consume the knowledge imparted and want more. We have to get over the thought that they are still little and don’t (want to) understand.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 10:09 PM By charlio
Dan (8:02 PM), I have 2 grandchildren under 6 with a genetic inheritance of hyperactivity, who were born with marijuana residue in their blood. (They suffered very traumatic removal from their home due to extreme negligence.) We started out unable to control them enough just to be in the crying room. Within the past several months, we got them baptized. Just within the past 2 weeks, we have got them in out of the crying room, sitting quietly and, if not paying age appropriate attention, at least not being disruptive. It’s purely an operation of the grace of their baptism. A great blessing is, they love going to Church.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 10:19 PM By Miguel
I pray the Bishops adopt a zero tolerance policy.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:33 AM By Kenneth M. Fisher
I once had one of my Scouts who had just received his First Communion tell me he knew nothing about Purgatory. It took me just a few minutes to explain Purgatory to him so that he told me he understood it and accepts it. Those who say they don’t want to frighten the children are coping out on the children and what’s worse, on God!! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:19 PM By Kscrawler
The answer to any resistance was demonstrated by Cardinal Pell in Australia. At a seminary the staff threatened to resign because he wanted everyone to attend daily mass. He merely accepted all the resignations hired new staff and now he has a faithful seminary.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:52 PM By irishsmile
Bishops, please save our children! Make the schools behave or pull their Catholic designations. One of my five adult children has dumped the Catholic faith because we made the mistake of educating him in a Jesuit school. Many of these schools take the parent’s hard-earned tuition money under false pretenses that the kids are receiving ‘catholic’ education in the Faith. Instead, the kids are taught to doubt and question everthing about the faith including homosexuality and abortion..

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 2:16 PM By k
Kscrawler, I love that!

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 2:55 PM By JLS
“… Our kids are like a desert-when it rains …”: Beeyootiful concept, CB.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 3:53 PM By John Flaherty
Seems to me a few of these schools need to be removed from the funding and/or endorsement lists from the Archdiocese. Or, if necessary, they need to face civil lawsuits aimed at curbing their misappropriation of Catholic identity. If they can’t be bothered to be genuinely Catholic, they shouldn’t be allowed to carry on as if they are.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 4:20 PM By Abeca Christian
Kscrawler I heard so many good things coming from Australia. Maybe that would be the place to move our families. I wish we could afford private Catholic education.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:18 PM By Coast Ranger
Rather than just being negative and lamenting all the real failures in catechesis over the last 50 years, check out The Didache Series for high school, completely in conformity to the USCCB framework.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:07 PM By k
My experience has been that the teacher picks and chooses from the catechisms. Naturally, they emphasize the parts they find interesting or think are important and skip over parts they are uncomfortable with. The catechisms had a page or two that was supposed to be for the parents to go over with the child but no teacher ever assigned it. I just asked my teen about Purgatory-he was clear on all the concepts except that one could not pray for oneself there.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:27 PM By John Flaherty
Mike @ 10:51: If you suggest using the Baltimore Catechism for elementary kids, why would you need to use the YOUCAT for a few grades, then FINALLY, the Catechism of the Catholic Church? I understand the bishops endorse the YOUCAT, but the CCC likely has more useful meat. I can’t imagine why you’d need to wait.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:38 PM By Nani
Forget Catholic schools. Home schooling is the answer. Yes, it takes sacrifice. If you have a problem with that, just spend some time praying in front of a crucifix. It didn’t go out of style with Christ’s death on the cross.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:31 PM By JLS
Why is home education called sacrifice? Teaching children, especially one’s own children is a sacrifice? Whatever.

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 5:17 AM By Abeca Christian
JLS its like this, some people see the glass have empty while some see it half full, well same thing, to some it feels like a sacrifice and to some it feels like a time to bond and raise well our kids. It’s probably the modern day mentality because most woman are raised to go out and have career, men pressure their wife’s to also work placing their children second, so because one chooses or works towards home schooling, one needs to at least be home more, thus this society has trained our mentality to believe that we are making a sacrifice, cutting back on material things or what have you, to make it possible to home educate our children. I don’t see it that way but I have fallen into that trap because of the mentality of these modern days, we are byproducts of these times but praise Jesus for setting us free and helping us with his graces and what we need to persevere with fortitude!

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 5:28 AM By Valerie Schmalz
The article quotes a piece I wrote for Catholic San Francisco. However, it is important to note that I made an error in the way I reported the comments by Raymond O’Connor, head of religious studies at Stuart Hall High School. Mr. O’Connor was referring to his opinion of the general sense among high school religion departments and that he felt the entire process was still underway. His email to me was a general one about discussions about implementation and not about the school specifically and not about the Schools of the Sacred Heart specifically. Since California Catholic Daily decided to pick up my story and use portions of it, I think it is important to clarify the record here. Valerie Schmalz

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 6:41 AM By k
Valerie Schmatz, thanks for telling us.

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 8:01 PM By J2
It’s about time this gets talked about. It’s the 800 lb polka-dot gorilla in the arch’s living room.

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 8:11 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Abeca, 4:20 PM, I am sure that what good you heard about Australia was because of Cardinal Pell. Australia has many bad guys as well! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 10:57 PM By Abeca Christian
Thank you Mr Fisher

Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2012 11:47 PM By Nani
JLS and Abeca: ” Yes, it takes sacrifice”. I was referring to all the women who say to me, “Oh, I just don’t have the patience.” or “I’d go crazy having the kids 24/7.” I probably should have said “effort” instead.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 11:27 AM By Abeca Christian
Nan you are right. Even I have made such comments, only on the days where the teens challenged me and had to deal with their immaturity but since I am a woman of faith, I asked God to forgive me for wanting to give up. I never meant to say such things, I guess I am only human but I do have it in me to do right by our Lord. I also know my limits. So I had to cut off some of my ministries to focus more on kids and hubby of course! Well Nan you are going to be proud of me, I pulled my eldest out of her high school and am now home schooling. Whew, I need prayers, I think I am feeling the age thing creeping up on me. LOL My mind and appearance still yells “‘I’m 29 or 32” but my physical energy reminds me “nope not anymore”. hahaha

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 12:14 PM By k
abeca, God bless you and your homeschooling. It is difficult. The house suffers. The husband suffers. The meals suffer. Compared to public school, it can be expensive. If you also do the curricula (although California is pretty repressive on that) it takes a lot of decision making. And there are issues of cooperation from the student sometimes. God grant you strength.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 3:29 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Once upon a time, most parents homeschooled their children and passed on all the knowledge that boys and girls of the time needed to succeed in their father’s trade or occupation and/or in homemaking and child-rearing. Today’s parents are challenged by both the breadth of information a child needs today to make it into college if appropriate and to succeed in today’s world as adults, and the easier thing is to send them to schools, whether public or private. Because so many parents have been shocked and disappointed by all the children learn in those settings, a broad-based trend is to go back to the old ways of the old days and raise, educate, indoctrinate and enculturate our children ourselves. Thankfully, there is a tremendous amount of help available so that virtually any of us can do that now and enrich the kids more than any school can, while teaching them the faith and how to be moral human beings and and faithful children of God. It can be, like any human relationship, both satisfying and challenging, rewarding and trying, exciting and tedious. I would rather take on the challenge than produce children who absorb today’s culture and go on to make the world a lesser place because of my own limitations of patience. It’s a big undertaking, but what kind of mark do we want to leave on the world? What kind of children and grandchildren would most please God, ourselves, and the world?

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 4:10 PM By Anne T.
Abeca Christian, two of my grandchildren just turned three years old and already they know how to count in both English and Spanish up to twelve. They can also sight read some basic English words and probably Spanish too, and both know their alphabet by sight. They know their colors in both English and Spanish. They also know a lot of sign language because their parents have taught them at home with videos, along with taking them to both private and public preschools where they or my husband and I can help out and see exactly what is going on and what is being taught. They are only allowed to watch certain T.V. programs and very little of it. The Eternal Word Television has great programming for children around 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Their programming teaches the Catholic religion and all the virtues for preschoolers on up. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 5:42 PM By Abeca Christian
Maryanne I pray to empower all the mums who do all, home school, faith teach and more, trying to maintain the home clean, cooking, caring for the hubby etc, it’s all a work of love but I cry for the mums who come to the realization that our children still have their own free will, some can still be very defiant, very stubborn and some still find time to dwell or even exaggerate on their parents imperfections, they do not grasp on to any virtues taught to them. My best friend who had seven kids, to me she was an awesome devout Catholic mum, but her eldest broke her heart and ran away from home when she barely turned 18 or so. I recall my best friend feeling really disappointed, wondering where had she gone wrong. She use to try to follow every rule to the tea as suggested by many of her devout Catholics friends, but later on found out that sheltering her kids was not the right way to raise them, her eldest always found fault in her mum because she was home schooled all her life, because she wasn’t allowed to roam free etc, I know the truth, if you ask me, her eldest was ungrateful and lacked a loving heart for her parents. She cried for a while because of what her did daughter did and the bad example she showed her younger siblings.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 5:54 PM By Abeca Christian
If I could turn the clock back, I would of maintained a part time job to help pay for private Catholic school or even a Christian one, it would of saved me a lot of heart aches dealing with so many abuses in the public school systems, changing my kids from school to school, trying to find a more conservative one, and even home schooling off and on because of health issues I had to stop etc I don’t know if our church will ever have solution for devout Catholic parents, to afford a Catholic education, it would be a blessing if they ever did. But if and when they do, my kids will already be of college age. I’m sure I’m not the only conservative parent that feels this way. I feel that we need to be honest with ourselves with what we can do and can’t. Parents who struggle need to share their concerns as well, to give support to other parents so they never feel alone.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 6:04 PM By Abeca Christian
Thanks k. Actually the husband doesn’t suffer, the house may get messy and you are right, at a certain age some kids can sometimes lack cooperation but that can also happen when kids go to public schools, the meals never suffer because I love cooking and I try to teach my kids to cook, we use to incorporate that as part of their curriculum but teens kinda give that one up, lol. Home schooling is actually cheaper if you do it through a home schooling charter school, they provide their text books and you can still incorporate faith based ones on the side. But it is a lot of work because I care about my kids, I care for them to have a social life by paying for extra activities that the homeschooling charter may not pay for, like soccer, swimming lessons, music etc etc, I am always driving and trying to keep them busy, yes the house may fall apart, I use to make them do their chores too but I noticed that since they are home more because of homeschooling, they never got caught up, so I tried not to put a lot of pressure on them about that, so my house was last priority. I gotten less organized too, not one of my strong things, organization. Well anyhoo if you can help a mum who is homeschooling, she will appreciate it like gold! God bless you too.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 8:54 PM By Anne T.
Abeca Christian, you can get in touch with homeschoolers in your area by computer and telephone to exchange ideas, teaching materials, books, clothing and whatever else is needed. Homeschoolers, parents and children, often meet in church halls and on church playgrounds, so they can socialize.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 11:03 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
MaryAnne Leonard, I knew Fr. John Hardon. He would hug you and thank you for what you just wrote. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:54 PM By Abeca Christian
I always found it interesting when I would receive advice from people who never had children or whom had children but are now adults, they always seem to come up with a cure all solution, wish it was that easy. In today’s times, we have different challenges that are attacking family values, undermining parents etc. I think it’s a lot more tougher to raise kids today and for every child, it’s not a one size fits all advice to follow. What works for one, may not work for another. I only pray and hope to do more than what I know best. I love Jesus and Mary and daily I ask for their strength and courage, their patience and love to guide us. The rest, I place and trust our children in God’s loving hands. We could use prayers from others as well. God bless you all. : )

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:55 PM By Abeca Christian
Thank you Anne T, I love your lovely comments, God bless you. You are right, all that helps and are a blessing.