15 August 2013

How contraception destroyed a parochial school

A pastor laments the decline of his parish and the demolition of the parochial school. He points to the contraceptive mentality of most Catholics as the cause. There's another reason too: the Protestantization of Catholics. When Fr. Bob preaches in a way we don't like, or says stuff in his homily that we don't like, we go to another parish. 

Parish-shopping is the quintessential Protestant reaction to a pastor who refuses to tickle our ears.

A stranger came into the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In an incriminating huff he said, “I have been away from the area for fifteen years; where are the people? And now you are tearing down the school? I went there as a kid.”

I put my hands up to quiet him from further talking and I calmly said, “Let me ask you a question: How many kids did you have?” He said, “Two.” Then I said, “So did everyone else. When you only have two kids per family there is no growth.” His demeanor changed, and then he dropped his head and said, “And they aren’t even going to Mass anymore.”

Sad. Read the whole thing.
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  1. Many of the large Catholic families I know would LOVE to send their children to parochial school, but can't afford it. What good does it do the school if a family has 7 kids, but none of them attend?

    The tuition model is what is killing Catholic schools, not contraception.

    Second, this parish probably has the same demographic problems as the rest of this Rust Belt diocese.

  2. Very sad . . . I remember my high school graduation retreat, when we were all asked what we wanted to do with our lives. In a group of around 30 girls, there were lots of career plans, etc... Then my turn to speak came: I want to be a good wife and mother and have 6 children. By the looks I got I must have sprouted a second head . . . .

    We are so fragmented now, as a Church. The very orthodox Parish I prefer to attend, when I have an extra 8hours to spare for the travel time, is full of the sound of crying babies and several large young families. At my home parish if a child, on the rare occasion one is present, makes a noise, disapproving glances are shot at the parents.

    Just before my alarm went off this morning, I had a dream in which I had gone to the Parish church here and upon my arrival I went to the sacristy to see if i could assist: the priest was very late, then we couldn't find any albs or chasubles or stoles, my sons's cassock and surplice were gone, all the chalices/patens/cruets, etc....gone. Procession cross gone. Wine/bread...gone. Only I was bothered by it. Everyone else just continued on as if nothing had happened. So many don't see that there is a problem, even though it's been staring at us for years and years. I am at times discouraged by their blindness and their lack of care. Then I wonder why I can see it, but they can't. What is it I am supposed to be doing?

  3. It was an excellent article as far as it went, but as James pointed out, for those of us who don't contracept and very much want big families, Catholic schools are just too pricey. My husband, thank God, has a very good job which pays him well. We haven't been married for quite a year yet, so the big family is still "in the works," so to speak, but we pray for one, and hope for 8-10 kids. We are blessed to have a solid Catholic school near us. However, estimating that we might have 5 or 6 kids in grade school at once--how on earth can we possibly afford to spend the 30-40K per year that it would cost us to send them there? We also have a great Catholic high school near us, but there the tuition is well in excess of 10K per year per child, and unlike the grade school, it doesn't even offer a multiple-child discount. (And that figure I gave for the grade school, I might add, reflects that discount.) A reasonable estimate for having 7 kids in Catholic school--two in high school and five in grade school--would consume literally every penny of my husband's salary that taxes don't already take. It simply isn't affordable. I'd LOVE to be able to send our kids there, and if there was a way to make reasonable sacrifices to send them there we would, but there isn't. Ergo, we'll homeschool. I believe that a good Catholic school offers things that homeschooling can't, but we'd rather have a big family and homeschool than refuse to be open to life, contracept, or use NFP for the wrong reasons after our first couple of kids. It's a nasty catch-22 that we've been put in, no?

    Of course, back in my parents' day, the schools had nuns to teach the students, and the nuns worked for just enough money to keep the convent repaired, the nuns fed and clothed, and the elderly nuns cared for properly. One cannot reasonably expect, say, a young teacher today with a Catholic-sized family to work for the equivalent amount per year now, and there are virtually no orthodox teaching orders of any size left. Sad. The Catholic parochial schools will not revive until the teaching orders come back. Perhaps they may yet; after all, many new and wonderful contemplative orders have been founded in the last two decades, so maybe the teaching orders will be next. I hope very much that that is so.

  4. We've ignored St. Paul- especially 1st Timothy- for quite a while now. We don't tell girls their primary focus should be getting married and having children. They go get an education and aim for a career. They displace men in the work place. They instinctively look for men who have higher status than they do, but statistically this is impossible to satisfy because they've got the power in this culture. So they waste most of their fertile years doing all these other things, and the devil rejoices.
    And you priests do not speak for fear of upsetting the women in the pews.

  5. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Those big catholic families, late 80's early 90's, would not have been able to afford a catholic education. I saw more than my share of those large families struggling whole those w 2 sending their kids to the school. I am not sure that would have stopped the closing in my area. Just would have happened sooner or they would have sold it.

  6. I wouldn't be who I am today when it comes to my faith if it weren't for "parish hopping." It is simply a given in most places in the Church that your territorial parish could very well be staffed by a crypto-Protestant pastor who conducts the bizarrest of liturgies. To maintain sanity and any connection to the faith it is often neccessary to go elsewhere. This is not simply "not liking" what Father said in his homily.

  7. As the mother of 8 who has had children for the last 24 years and still has children in the Catholic School System, this is quite interesting to me. Contraception can take some of the blame but not all, expense too, but mismanagement from the Bishops on down figures in there ever so greatly too. When we started at our school it was full, we had some that couldn't afford and that was fine no one complained, then we got a new Bishop-Parishes could no longer "subsidize" the schools more than 40,000 dollars a year. Our Religious Ed program was receiving more than our school and yet it was the school parents keeping the place operational. We watched as the 3 or more fees, climbed to 4 or more (we had 4), then to 5 or more (we had 5) the most we had at once. Now that we are down to 1 it is back to 3 or more. We now have public school teachers in our building teaching "specials" this is a savings feature, yet no one seems to mind that everything is secularized. We spoke out and were basically told to zip it. Now all the Catholic Dioceses are adopting the Gov't created Common Core Curriculum. Garbage compared to our fine Catholic Curriculums created by Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans, Christian Brothers....I suppose the Bishops think the Gates Foundation(the largest contributer to CONTRACEPTION AND ABORTION in the world) has better ideas than the Religious Orders. I have written numerous letters downtown-not once have I ever gotton a response as to why this is a good idea. Now I ask you why anyone would pay upwards of 3,500.00 a year for grade school when they can get it for free in the public school?? Everything that used to set us apart from the Public schools is gone. My older children have Bibles they were all required to have when they entered Jr HIgh. They are marked up and well used. My youngest now in the 7th Grade was not requireed to get one. When I asked, I was told they have a set in the classroom for use-my remark of "So now they learn to use it as a reference book and not rule for life." was not appreciated. My husband and I have sacrificed everything to send our 8 thru 12 years of Catholic Education. When I do the math it makes me sick now as I see what they have become is just a private, public school,-not Catholic. If we were doing it all over again I would Home School and let me tell you that is where all the big Catholic families are that we have so called lost. They are out there, they just want a real Catholic education for their children and quite frankly I don't blame them. This is who we should be reaching out too and we are not. Our school keeps adding pre school classes to try and make money? How is that a reflection of our Catholic beliefs? We are saying it is okay to drop you 3 year old off and let us parent them for 10 hours while you go and have your career. These same families that use the 'convienent" drop and ditch daycare, do not send their children to the grammar school, they leave for the public school so they can drive their fancy SUVs and keep up with the latest electronics that keep them "connected" to their children who would love to spend a day with them rather than a text! I could add more but why bother no one Downtown at the Chancery gives a rip and it is the Pastor's day off.

  8. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Maybe there was some pervading weakness in the culture already in play that set the stage for the tragic misinterpretation of Vatican II which was embraced or swatted at with a feather. We were so blind and so impotent.

  9. I suffered through 9 years of Catholic education as a child, I'll never submit my children to that. My family was religiously mixed with my mother an athiest. From early on I can recall the teachers happily chirping to a classroom of 60 kids that all non Catholics would go to Hell, no exceptions to that. Furthermore we were told that anyone not attending a Catholic school was deficient in the Faith and stood a good chance of damnation also. It didn't help that my nuclear family qualifies as "white trash", both my parents were alcoholics whose antics were public knowledge amongst my schoolmates. Lots of fun that only going to a private school can provide!

    It got worse as time went on. When I went to high school most of my peers boasted of refined backgrounds with relatives who were authors, lawyers, businessmen. My own extended family had a lot of enlisted military members, police and firefighters. So I was speedily informed that I didn't "fit in". Noted. When we moved across country in 1967 I had the option of going to a public high school, a choice I speedily assented to. I have a lot of good memories from that school where I was a varsity football player and an editor of the school paper.

    Currently my own three children (aged 9,8 and 6) go to public school, they've special education needs that a private institue couldn't provide. Thats jim dandy with me, it means the issue of Catholic schooling won't come up.

    My youngest child DID go to our parish preschool, any thoughts of continuing her education past that point quickly evaporated when we were informed that giving her a cheese sandwich with Oreos as dessert wasn't sufficently nutritious and we should inclue fruit, vegetables and a source of fiber. Again, noted. Our pediatrician has no problem with the dietary habits of our kids, thats good enough for the wife and I. Sanctimonious busybodies can go fly a kite.

    Catholic schools? Shut 'em all down, use the space for something more constructive like a parking lot.

  10. Fr Phillip

    You are in a much better position thatn I am to spread this word. As I said in my first comments, unless the Bishops wake up the Common Core Curriculum will be the nail in the coffin of the Catholic School System. Please read this and spread the word. I would love to hear what you think of the whole mess! God Bless You http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/common-core-a-threat-to-catholic-education

  11. and yet another