09 January 2013

Endgame: St. Elizabeth Academy to Close, and It's Not the Last

The Primary Cause: Contraception--  its use by Catholics, its acceptance and/or tolerance by the Church's pastors, and the total retreat from Catholic doctrine by the Church's hierarchy after Vatican II. 

One Effect: Catholic Institutions Die Out--  St. Elizabeth Academy, a Catholic girls high school with a 130-year history, will close at the end of the year.  St. John the Baptist is also in imminent danger of closing.

There are fewer Catholics, having fewer Catholic babies, whom are raised Catholic in ever fewer numbers.  There are fewer priests and sisters to teach them, and fewer intact Catholic families to form them.  The schools and parishes that used to work with parents to impart the faith have stopped doing so.  Parents who used to impart the faith no longer do.

When will the Church own the fact that its actions in the wake of the Second Vatican Council have nearly destroyed us?  When will the Church rouse herself to actually apply the solutionThe faith is informed by, and protected by, the Liturgy.  As long as our liturgy is anemic, so will be our faith.  Restore the Liturgy, restore the faith.

When will things get better?


long pants said...

Yes, yes, that's the primary cause (now rolling eyes)

TradDadof4 said...

Beautifully said. That is what I wanted to say on the Post-Dispatch's comment site. But unfortyunately, they did away with anonymity in favor of Facebook tie-in. Now, the only comments that get posted there any more are "low social risk" comments. But these are the real reasons. And unless readers read St. Louis Catholic, they'll never know the real reason. And just figure that the closing of a 130-year old institution is just one of those strange things that happen from time-to-time.

Christophe said...

You are being a bit ecclesiastically correct. It was not the Church's actions "in the wake of the Second Vatican Council [that] have nearly destroyed us." It was the Church's actions in the Second Vatican Council itself that have nearly destroyed us.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think the author has hit on the three dominant reasons for such things happening: smaller families, fewer vocations, and less value on educating kids in a faith context. While we also can't forget the general materialism of modern society (the quantity, quality, and size of things considered "necessary" has grown quite a bit, meaning people save less), the escalation of some necessary expenses (saving for kids college, caring for aging parents, etc.), and the competition of charter schools (whose funding source appears to be able to raise property tax funds with impunity), but those are secondary considerations.
Having been a semi-frequent commentor on the Post website, I cannot recall a time that any of my more counter-cultural posts have been denied. I would urge people to post on that site; while Catholic blogs are valuable for supplying arguments and insight, it is on secular sites where the cultural battle is actually engaged and hopefully won.
I would have to dispute the idea that restoration of liturgy leads to restoration of the Faith; actually, I believe it to be the other way around. Even if every parish in the diocese offered a pre-Vatican II liturgy starting tomorrow, opinions on Catholic doctrine would not start turning around. For someone not raised in that tradition and who is suspect of Catholic doctrine in the first place, the Latin Mass probably largely appears to be a "throwback" and "obsolete"; however, convince people that Catholic doctrine is Scripturally sound and makes sense, and they might start to see that said consistency and coherency is very well reflected in a more timeless liturgy. Besides, does it not seem that the vernacular, Novus Ordo Mass might not be a more approachable entryway for people of other faiths to learn about and come to the Church?
Again, ultimately the question for us is not just "Why do schools close?", but "What are we going to do about it?"

Bryan Kirchoff
St. Louis

Patricia said...

I am a sidewalk counselor at the sole remaining abortion site in MO. I met a man there, older gentleman who fathered 9 children. He has 2 grandchildren! 2 out of 9 grown children married.

He rolled his eyes when I mentioned more grandchildren....then I remembered what I had read a few days ago. Men's sperm count is highest in the early morning. I suggested he be a good dad and instruct his sons in this bit of information.

Everything we can do to spread the Faith, especially in the use of Natural Family Planning will honor the Holy Trinity and get more children, Catholic children, in our great country!

Patricia in St. Louis, MO

Fenian said...

There is also the troubling reality that Catholic education is priced far out of reach of many Catholics. I realize that there are scholarships available, but most people can't afford thousands of dollars per year, per child. There are anecdotal stories of individuals doing work study, receiving scholarships etc, but in general, it is still too pricey for middle class families.

JBQ said...

Once or twice a month, I attend the Latin Rite at St. Francis De Sales. Every family there has five, six, or seven children. Recently, I attended several Masses at a rich parish (25K per week) in Oakville and the most children to be seen in a family ws two. It is called "family planning and reinforces the supposition of problems with Vatican II.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kirchoff,

"Besides, does it not seem that the vernacular, Novus Ordo Mass might not be a more approachable entryway for people of other faiths to learn about and come to the Church?"

We tried that 50 years ago, it was called Vatican II, and it didn't work. A watered down liturgy equals a watered down faith.


thetimman said...

As to your critique, yes. As to your formulation, yes, properly understood.

Bill said...

As a member of a school board at a parish whose school eventually closed, this was the most difficult reality to face. We spent years looking at cost cutting, fundraising, outside funding, advertising, you name it. Once or twice I said that ultimately the only real solution was to have sex and start making babies.

It's too late to keep the Church from shrinking before (and if) she grows again. When will things get better? They may be 'getting' better even as we speak (at least in spots here and there). They won't 'be' better for at least a generation.