Vouchers: The Heart of the Matter

By Doerr, Edd | The Humanist, May-June 1997 | Go to article overview

Vouchers: The Heart of the Matter


Doerr, Edd, The Humanist


In a November 1990 pastoral letter entitled "In Support of Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools," the bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States announced that among several goals to be accomplished by 1997 would be "new initiatives . . . to secure sufficient financial assistance from both private and public sectors for Catholic parents to exercise [the] right" to send their children to Catholic schools. This means, obviously, full or partial tax support for Catholic private schools through vouchers, tuition reimbursement tax credits, or some other mechanism.

This is hardly news. Since the 1840s, the U.S. Catholic bishops have sought public funding for their church's private schools through legislation, in the courts, in state referenda, and in the arena of public opinion--efforts which, to date, have met largely with failure. (It should be noted, however, that bishops have had more success elsewhere, having reached their goal of public support for Catholic schools in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Australia.)

Joseph Claude Harris has recently published a useful book that provides needed perspective on the bishops' campaign for tax aid. In The Cost of Catholic Parishes and Schools (Sheed and Ward, 1996), Harris takes an inside look at the finances of Catholic parishes and schools. While strongly supporting vouchers, he declares that the real problem facing Catholic schools in the United States is not a lack of tax support but a lack of support by American Catholics for church institutions.

He points out that, while American Catholics in 1990 had an average household income of $40,435--8 percent higher than the U.S. average of $37,403--Catholic giving to their church was significantly lower than that of Protestants (although he provides no figure for average U.S. Protestant household income). Harris further estimates that Catholic giving per parish member in 1993 was $136 and compares this with the Protestant average of $388 ($529 for Presbyterians; $382 for Methodists; and $349 for Southern Baptists) cited in the Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches. Harris also notes that Catholic households donated an average of 0.6 percent of their income to their parishes, for an annual total of $4.6 billion. If Catholic giving increased to Protestant levels, it would end the church's financial problems and eliminate any need for tax support.

What Harris leaves out of his book is at least as important as what he includes. While he briefly notes that U.S. Catholic school enrollment has declined from 5.5 million in 1965 to about 2.5 million today--a slide from enrolling about 47 percent of Catholic children to about 21 percent--he makes no serious effort to explain the reasons for the decline because those reasons undercut the case for tax support.

The reasons behind the decline are both external and internal.

External reasons. Generations ago, when Catholics were often the target of discrimination, there was an understandable rationale for having parochial schools. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Vouchers: The Heart of the Matter
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.