Can Catholic Schools Survive?

Can Catholic Schools Survive?

Can Catholic Schools Survive?

Can Catholic Schools Survive?

Excerpt

It is the purpose of this section to attempt to state a positive theology of Catholic education. I use "education" in the narrow sense of the word, equating it with schools. There has been a tendency in some Catholic circles recently to expand the term, "Catholic education," to include any instructional activity in which the Church engages. There may be value in this use of the term, but in the present essay I am limiting my comments strictly to Catholic schools.

Since the very beginning of their existence, in this country, Catholic schools have been a subject of controversy both inside and outside the Church. As Robert Dougherty Cross makes clear in his book, The Emergence of Liberal Catholicism in America, the controversy over whether Catholics should close their schools is not a phenomenon of the 1960's. Quite the contrary, it developed before the beginning of the present century.

Inside the Catholic community the two principal issues being discussed seem to be: Are Catholic schools possible? If they are possible, should they exist?

While both issues have considerable theoretical interest and can present challenges to wit and ingenuity at liberal Catholic cocktail parties, they are both ultimately unresolved and irrelevant. Catholic schools do exist. They are not going to be eliminated, if only because the pressures on the public school systems in the large metropolitan centers in the northeast and north central sections of the country make such elimination inconceivable.

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