This week is Catholic Schools Week, and you may see bulletins and news stories around town with fresh-faced, beaming young children with minds eager to learn, and possibly some photos of rosaries, Masses and other Catholic activities. Great.
But I doubt you will see copies of letters to the editor about the Majerus-Burke story that display the practical effect of this education on those who choose to write. As I said before, nearly every time a letter to the editor begins with "I went to 12 years of Catholic school" or "I was taught by the nuns who loved to beat children" or "I grew up before Vatican 2 changed the Church into a veritable utopia" or other such pablum, you can count on an anti-Catholic screed to follow. At best, these products of the Catholic school system evidence that, at least for them, Catholic educational system was an abject failure on its own terms. They don't know the faith, and to the extent they do, they oppose it, all the while thinking this makes them good Catholics.
If it weren't so sadly indicative of where the Church went off the rails in Catholic education, it would be funny. But it isn't, I'm afraid. Where is the overwhelming tidal wave of support for a good Archbishop who is being calumniated by the secular press?
Take just one letter from this Saturday's Post-Dispatch as an example:
As a Catholic who attended 17 years of Catholic schools in Archbishop Raymond Burke's old Wisconsin diocese and then the Wisconsin university where Rick Majerus once coached, I feel like I'm among acquaintances, if not friends. I'm 73 now and although I missed the Spanish Inquisition by five centuries, it seems as if an inquisition has started again. Archbishop Burke has besmirched the reputations of politicians and entertainers, and now a coach (not to mention quite a few Protestants, such as the Danforths). Yet, amazingly, he once said denial of communion is not a judgment. He said, referring to John Kerry, "...the state of his soul is between God and him." And the same article said that some U.S. bishops interpret church teaching to say that an individual examination of conscience, not a minister, should dictate whether a person is worthy to receive the sacrament.
As a Hillary Clinton supporter, I share this story: A friend of mine in Wisconsin in 2004 went to the local Catholic priest and said, "You won't be able to give me communion anymore, father: I voted for John Kerry!" The priest said, "Don't worry about it. I did, too."
Only God-- not the archbishop-- knows what resides in Mr. Majerus's heart and his soul.
(This is a real letter-- I left out the writer's name out of charity to him.)
Memo to Catholic schools-- this isn't the spokesman you're looking for to raise money for your cause.