When we talk about education here, like anything else, we bring it into the reality of the day-to-day life of a Catholic living within the moral and theological law of the Church established by Christ. Just based on my own observations knowing what the Church teaches and seeing how certain institutions with the “Catholic” label on them conduct their operations, some things just don’t seem to add up. Catholic education is one of those institutions. While many who are also perplexed and frustrated have resorted to homeschooling, I must say that many homeschooling families have me equally puzzled.
Let’s just start off with the basic teaching of which EVERYONE is aware: that married Catholics should be open to having children. Now be certain that it is understood here that it is precisely stated that way as there are numerous situations that are BEYOND the couple’s control that may cause them to have a limited number of children or none at all, meaning physiological/medical limitations. Of course we recognize that is not a choice the couple has made. But outside of that, what’s the common phrase on the street when someone sees a large family? “They must be ‘good’ Catholics.” So as common of an understanding as that is, I don’t feel that it’s necessary for me on this occasion to pull documents and reference them. Often when someone states this, it is to mean that the couple is being obedient to the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception is a moral evil and should always be avoided under the pain of mortal sin.
This begs the question as to whether or not this fact is even being taught in the Catholic schools. But beyond the mere stating of moral law, if it is taught, does the philosophy behind this teaching come out at all whatsoever? Again, just from the outside looking in, I’m a bit perplexed. The Church teaches us that children are a blessing from God. The love relationship between a man and his wife when carried out physically to its culmination can result in the generation of a new life with an immortal soul. How can any other vocation or calling (job), outside of the higher religious vocations, compare to this? Now the schools may be teaching it in a Catechism or religion class, but where do the students find evidence of that reality? If children are such a blessing shouldn’t we want them in abundance, more than material possessions? Please note the capital sin of avarice at this point. How often are the students, girls in particular but also boys, told that it is an “option,” which should be stated as preferred option, for a girl to grow up to be a full-time mother? Is this promoted at all whatsoever? Or do we go to religion class and hear about how you can’t use birth control and should be open to children, but the rest of the time are being railroaded into a career. This is the juncture at which we need to make distinctions between the girls and the boys. Is that done? I’m just asking. If so, what would be the parents’ reactions to something as counter-cultural as this? Would they find another place to have their children “educated” (indoctrinated)?
Of course if they did, that could be awfully confusing to the students as the teacher trying to teach this might actually be the one who is using contraception while her own child is at daycare. She (or he) may or may not be Catholic depending on the school. He or she may or may not be in a valid marriage. Wow, this “Catholic education” is really starting to get complicated if we think these things through. This isn’t your grandparents’ school that had boys and girls separated taught by religious brothers and sisters. Again, when the theology got sloppy in the 70’s and 80’s after the religious had all left in the 60’s, many parents resorted to homeschooling when they couldn’t get satisfactory results. Now many of them are trying to impress the world by sending their daughters to college and proposing careers to them. If homeschooling was such a great idea for these parents, why wouldn’t it be equally great for their kids and grandkids?
Homeschooling is the most conducive role for a wife being the primary educator, as the Church teaches us parents are, while still being open to life and having an abundance of children if that is God’s Will for that couple. Again, He should be the one in CONTROL of this, not the couple. The couple should be focused on the love they share and allowing God to work in their marriage to do His Will mainly by bringing babies into the world. Why would a mother teaching other people’s children be seen as a higher calling that her educating her own as the Church teaches us we are to do? Is it only because it produces a paycheck and is applauded by society? Who is going to care for the children, and how can she continue to have more children while she works?
I become even more perplexed when I hear one of the few Catholic girls’ schools remaining proclaim that they are training the leaders of tomorrow. Really? Are they promoting that these girls enter convents to practice this leadership? Or are they erroneously training them to be the leaders of their homes? Was submission removed from the Bible? The same goes with Catholic universities and colleges. Their doors are open to women preparing them for careers outside the home, which will often conflict with bearing children and require contraception and/or sterilization in order to maintain.
So when we raise these issues people warn us that we are not “going along” with today’s Catholic education as they see the co-ed Catholic colleges and read the documents of the Church esteeming the exalted merits of education. But this is not the education that the Church promotes. She never intended for women to purposely go into careers that would conflict with their marriages and family. This is the disconnect between that concept of “education” and the reality of the day to day life of a Catholic. If we stop and think about this, it may be no wonder to us why Catholics thumb their noses at the Church’s moral law. The Catholic institutions themselves aren’t doing their job in reinforcing it.
God bless you+