31 March 2011

Restoring the Catholic School at a Rock-Bottom Cost

I am still contemplating a more in-depth post on the subject of His Grace's Alive in Christ school plan, but the more I thought about it the more I was struck with the cost/benefit analysis of concrete changes that would make an immediate difference.

Vibrantly orthodox faith, imparted to the students. This is a goal of the plan, and it is one with which every Catholic can agree. Yet to some this is a mere buzz-phrase that can be morphed into any modernistic stew that fits the fad of the day.

You may recall my wife being driven nuts by the constant desire of some schools to pour money into computers for every tot instead of using a board and chalk to actually teach something. In the same vein, though I am sure that consultants and surveys and market research have their proper ends, let me give you three low-cost items to immediately and dramatically improve the vibrant Catholic orthodoxy of your parish school. Right now. And with long term effect:

The Baltimore Catechism

Yes, the Baltimore Catechism. The image above is the new, lovely Baronius Press edition, $4.95 each (though I'd bet they'd give a volume discount).

Summorum Pontificum, the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, given motu proprio, free on the internet. It reaffirms the vitality of, and encourages the celebration of, the Classical Roman Rite, now juridically labelled the Extraordinary Form. Good enough for lots of saints and sinners for more than 1,500 years.

Finally, the Missale Romanum, 1962 edition. This is the Missal to implement the motu proprio on a practical basis, every single day. It seems pricey at $155, but you only need one per school.

So, there you have it. In a school of 200 children, you have a ready-made religion and sacramental program of undeniable Catholicity and time-proven success, all for the low, low cost of $1,145. Surely you can cut $1,145 from some other part of your budget. Like maybe 2 laptops? Or some Sadlier "religion" workbooks?

But no-- it couldn't possibly work. Could it?

Could it?


Anonymous said...

If you are so against computers, then why are you using one, daily?

Anonymous said...

Nothing will ever please you people.

Bill said...

This does raise an interesting conundrum. The Archbishop has said that catholic schools must be "authentically catholic" and every catholic thinks "Oh good. I like authentically catholic schools."

But one person is envisioning the kinds of things you're proposing and another is envisioning more teen guitar masses and a renewed commitment to 'social justice'.

I'm not sure exactly what the Archbishop has in mind but if he's serious about implementing reforms to make the schools more authentically catholic then he's probably leaning more in one direction than the other. I don't see how he gets out of this without ticking off a significant portion of this deeply divided community.

thetimman said...

"Nothing will ever please you people."

I'm not sure which "you people" you mean, but if you mean a group which includes myself, then I assure you that I am not difficult to please. I love the Catholic Church. If the schools teach the Catholic faith, and follow the teachings of the Catholic faith, I am happy as a clam.

You don't have to be afraid of the traditional Mass or traditonal catechesis, if that is what motivates your comment. Pax.

As for the other commenter's point about computer use-- well said. Yet after the initial laugh, let me say I didn't learn computer usage in grade school, nor did I need one to learn the basics of a good education. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I see your point about computers. It's not that they are bad, just kind of silly how other things can slide while computers are a top priority.

I have a suggestion. Daily Mass. Free! Our Pastor teaches the kids every day, about the Saints, feast days, catechesis, etc. I say bringing back daily Mass would be a great, easy, cheap way to give all of our schools a vibrant Catholic identity.


thetimman said...

Nicole, I agree. I would of course favor the EF, but if there were a no-nonsense OF (and I don't mean a "children's liturgy") every day it would help to improve things a lot. Even in that event, though, proper religious formation of Roman Rite attending Catholics would of necessity presuppose regular (weekly?) celebration of the EF.