30 November 2010

The Archbishop Seeks Your Input on Catholic Schools

My thanks to the reader who tipped me to this item. The Archbishop of Saint Louis is inviting Catholics to participate in an online survey on ways to achieve his goal of vibrant Catholic schools. The survey is brief, consisting of three questions with multiple responses for each question. It will remain open at this link until December 17, 2010.

I wasn't entirely sure that the available choices encompassed the universe of possible solutions, especially in question 2. However, in question one-- "The three (3) strategies I think are most likely to strengthen Catholic identity in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are:"-- I wish I could have voted about 5,000 times for this choice:

"Ensure that authentic Catholic teaching is taught consistently and integrated into all curricular areas and all school activities."

I encourage all readers to follow the link and give your input.


Patrick Kinsale said...

Thanks for this. There were several good options for each one. Thing is, few people bother to respond to these so we can easily dominate.

Anonymous said...

Took the survey. Yes, authentic Catholic teaching is needed, in all curricular areas. What comes to my mind foremost is some of the atrocious textbooks that are used in our parish school. Goodness, if they would just rectify that it would go a looong way toward improvement of the education the kids receive.

Signed, former parish school Mom turned classical curriculum homeschool Mom

Anonymous said...

One question they didn't ask...

Get habit wearing Sisters and Brothers back in our schools to teach our children.

You can get a few Sisters, or Brothers for the price of one lay teacher. CUT THE COST

There are plenty of teaching Sisters, and Brothers who are faithful to the Church who need jobs.

Personally, I think they once again missed the point. Sorry..

Cathy D said...

Too bad it didn't actually give a space for commenting because I would have said what Anonymous says above.

I have one in Catholic high school this year and hope to send my 8th grader next, but I don't know if we will be able to afford it....

long pants said...

"Get habit wearing Sisters and Brothers back in our schools to teach our children."

Yes, because there are so many of them just waiting for a job offer.

Anonymous said...


Color me unimpressed with the scope of potential answers.

Question 1 was fine, both in the question and the potential answers. But the answers to questions 2 and 3 seemed to assume that the problems were with lax marketing and lax parents rather than pointing out that the schools themselves might need changing. More of the same 'head in the sand' problem-solving, it appears.

Maybe instead of having town hall meetings attended mostly (if not completely) and controlled completely by those with a vested interest in the status quo, how about holding a meeting with Catholic parents who have chosen NOT to use the Catholic school system.

Proud SLPS Parent

Anonymous said...

"Yes, because there are so many of them just waiting for a job offer."

Let's see:
1. Sisters of St. Francis the Martyr of St George.
2. Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
3. Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita
4. Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
5. Sisters of Life
6. Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ
7. Dominican Sisters Congregation of St. Rose of Lima (Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne)
8. Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist
9. Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate
10. School Sisters of Christ the King
11. School Sisters of St. Francis

I could go on and on...

Plenty of Sisters out there.

If you don't believe me go to
www.cmswr.org and look for yourself.

And the Archbishop should look at as well.

Anonymous said...

""And the Archbishop should look at as well."

I wonder if he reads this blog....would be interesting, huh?

Anonymous said...

I would think His Grace spends his free time reading many things. After all, this blog is a Catholic Blog within his See, so I wouldn't be surprised if he is at least made known of its content from time to time.

One has to admit, even if you don't agree with everything that's posted here, this is a pretty good Catholic news source for the Church in StL.

Blogs like this one, if nothing else is an excellent tool to hear what the folks in the pew really think.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please fill in the comment space as well if you respond to the archbishop's survey, and do include a note that it is essential to exclude Meitler Consultants from having anything to do with the archdiocese's future planning for schools.

thetimman said...

I usually agree with everything posted here.

With exceptions, of course.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please keep Meitler out! The damage done to our Church by Meitler and its suggestions that untold parishes (and or schools) be closed) in inestimable. The damage will go on for decades caused by closing Catholic communities and using their now-empty Catholic school buildings or a shuttered Churches for gay bars or dance halls or a theatres. Certainly some had to go, but monies given to Meitler should have been used to find creative ways to keep our patrimony intact, not thrown away for quick financial solutions. So as a cry for the survival of our Catholic birthright I said "say no to Meilter" Insist that the Bishop act like a bishop and seek his counsel from his canonically assigned counsellors among his clergy.

Anonymous said...

It seems like whenever I hear that Meitler has been around, the accompanying scenario is that grieving Catholics (especially Slavs) are desperately trying to rebuild their families' faith lives after beloved church and school homes have been destroyed. Post-Meitler stories often seem to sound like the Catholic version of post Hurrican-Katrina stories to me. Why in God's Name do our bishops continue to trust these people and hire them in? I've googled them lately and such a search usually reveals 2 kinds of stories about Meitler: 1) if Meitler has been there, there are some very, very, very hurt and grief-filled Catholics around; and 2) almost daily, yet another bishop has hired Meitler to come in and do his work for him relative to envisioning the future. The problem is, a bishop's duty is to plan for the on-going proclamation of the Gospel and perpetuation of the faith, whereas Meitler's job is simply to strategize over what concerns dollars and cents and sociological predictions about neighborhood trends.

Anonymous said...

I agree that habit-wearing Sisters in the classroom would be the number one solution to the Catholic school problem of today. My personal experience as a priest is that there is a moderate number of Sisters in each of the St. Louis-based Orders (and others), who would actually prefer to be in habit and to be more faithful to convent trradition, but their is peer pressure within the Order not to do so. Examples: l) no stake in the real business of the Order. Certainly few superiors are dumb enough today to tell Sisters they shouldn't wear religious garb, but there is the "silent power" of treating Sisters in the habit like they are irrelevant and silly, and never to be considered for significant community roles such as formation director, house superior, etc. A veil can get a nun a job as motherhouse sacristan or driver of old nuns to doctors' appointments, although consistent incompetence can win non-veiled nuns the same kinds of appointments. 2) it's fair game to criticize the habit, but criticizng lay attire is not fair game. It is absolutely verboten in convent politics today for a Sister to say to another, "I wish you still wore your veil" or something similar. But all the time, gray-haired ladies in lay attire can say to their veiled counterparts, "Oh Sister, you'd like so cheery if you got your hair done and had a little color in your blouse. Wouldn't you like a new pink blouse? And your hair is so pretty! A new hair-do that you wouldn't cover up with a veil would look so nice on you."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has hit the nail on the head! Sisters in habit (meaning at least a small modified-style veil) show by their appearance that they are in front of the classroom on behalf of the Christ and His Holy Church! Return them to our classrooms and everything will be all right again. (Sorry; there's no space available for any of them without their veils. We're trying to preserve, not annihilate the faith in our schools.) And do keep those Meitler people from hales Corners at bay; we don't want them back in St. Louis. There was a time when the closing of Catholic schools and parishes was the business of the Devil himself; now he has helpers?

Anonymous said...

I have discovered that an important clarification needs to be asserted when talking about the necessity of Sisters and male Religious wearing their habits today. Point 1. Not only is it essential for nuns, brothers, and priests to wear their collars and veils again, but is more important for them to do so today than it ever was in the past! Point 2. When one talks about the urgent necessity of the wearing of religious garb today, one is basically NOT talking about clothing!

This is not a fashion discussion nor an attempt on the part of men to get involved in what women wear (as former-Sister Anita Caspary tried to allege in her vapid book, WITNESS TO INTEGRITY). This has to do with far more than clothing; it has to do with the witness value of the sacramental of religious garb.

Get Sisters in habits - Sisters who believe what the habit represents - back into the classrooms of our St. Louis Catholic schools and get ready for a return to our former huge successes.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Meitler that every other Catholic I meet seems to complain about so bitterly?

Anonymous said...

Here is my opinion about Meitler. Meitler is a business group out of Wisconsin that has a huge following among U.S. bishops who can't figure out how to balance their books while also providing services to their people in changing neighborhoods (and the greater church as well) because of the reduced number of priests and financial woes. Their rates are reported to be quite high, yet they usually cannot help the Church to think creatively in terms of sustaining its Catholic patrimony of beloved parish and school establishments. These establishments of course, the churches and schools of the Church, are the result of torturous and sustained sacrifice on the parts of many of our forebears and therefore, mean very, very much on deeply personal levels to many Catholics. In my opinion, Meitler appears to regard our relational and historical attachments to our church institutions as nostalgic and silly and in need of abandonment. This group, whose staff includes, by the way, an ex-Religious as well as at least 2 Sisters of St. Joseph in lay clothes, who give the appearance of behaving like powerful executives rather than church workers, generally recommend the closure of parishes or schools (something we ALREADY KNEW would save us a ton of money before we paid out the big bucks for their expertise!). Some people suggest that they target for easy closure the less-politically-powerful Slavic-rooted parishes in particular.

Personally, I think that if a group of consultants is going to dare to walk on the sensitive ground of closing beloved parishes and schools, they need to show respect for the tradition they are about the abolish. The nun in lay clothes has been the symbol for decades of all that has been disastrous for the Church since Vatican II. Most faithful Catholics of today utterly HATE the image of today's nun in secular clothing. Yet, the nuns in this group will not present themselves to the parishes they are examining in the beloved habit that would open the door of trust and communication a bit for these worrying parishioners. (Coca Cola could admit they made a mistake in throwing away their classical recipe; why can't the American nuns admit they, too, have made a tragic mistake for the Church in their mindless destruction of their way of life and everything it touched?)

To read more than my opinion, just Google Meitler Consultants and see what comes up. Check also Peggy's "Southern Illinois Catholic" website for an interesting string of comments.

Anonymous said...

Anon states that "Most faithful Catholics of today utterly HATE the image of today's nun in secular clothing." I want to say, Come on, Anon, get real; wake up! The word "hate" is FAR TOO MILD a word to use to desribe how Catholics feel about nuns in lay clothes.