Monday, January 7, 2013

New York Times Op - Ed On Saving Catholic Schools Becomes Have Priests Be Married Piece

There is actually a lot to be said that is good about the this OP-ED piece in the New York Times Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation
 . I think some of the issues they bring forth are valid. Then we get to this part
After finances, personnel is the biggest challenge. Once upon a time, a pastor and two assistant priests took care of religious duties, while nuns ran the parish schools. Now, typically, there is just a beleaguered pastor (increasingly born and trained in Asia, Africa or Latin America) without any experience in running the business side of a parish and a school. Priests’ collars and nuns’ habits have become rare sights in parochial schools.

One solution is at hand. In the late 1960s, the Vatican allowed men to be ordained as deacons, who are clergy with many but not all the powers of a priest. Today there are almost 17,000 in the United States, about the same number as active diocesan priests. Over the next decade, the diaconate will continue to grow, while the number of ordained priests is projected to decline to 12,500 by 2035.

Many deacons have valuable professional, managerial and entrepreneurial expertise that could revitalize parochial education. If they were given additional powers to perform sacraments and run parishes, a married priesthood would become a fait accompli. Celibacy should be a sacrifice offered freely, not an excuse for institutional suicide.

Now I am not sure how we leapt from saving Catholic schools to an agenda on Priesthood celibacy. Also note the " Brothers" that also taught in many schools are ignored. I also not sure  they mean by having Deacons perform more Sacraments .

However if we are talking about the "bottom line" of $$$ we see the problem. Deacons have families and of course can't be paid the wages of a Priest. If we started paying "Episcopal Church" salaries of married Priest in our Catholic Schools ,which we would have too because of their large families, I am not sure where the cost savings come in .

First Thoughts took an look at this article at  NYT on Saving Catholic Education.

Christopher White concluded that piece by saying

...I’d like to offer another solution: a renewed call for religious vocations which can serve these schools and dramatically reduce costs.

Last year marked a twenty year high in vocations to the priesthood, a resurgence of women—young women—accepting the call to religious religious life, and a major report in October found that there are an abundance of (over six-hundred thousand) Catholic men and women who are potential priests and sisters. Catholics should pray for and encourage these vocations, which would be a major part of the solution. Moreover, leadership matters—in any organization. As my research indicates, where the leadership of the diocese is theologically orthodox, there are more vocations that could fill the role of educators in these schools, the altars of the Churches, and a wide array of needs, both practical and spiritual, of the Church, at large.

The Church is being refined on many levels—including parochial education. A conversation about a return to orthodoxy—in our seminaries, in our churches, and in our schools—is a conversation that needs to be had prior to any about spending. Though I fear it will be a much harder one to have.

Again this are much more harder conversations to have and I would submit this is where the solutions in part of too be found.

Other solutions I would offer is to try to educate the Catholic Bishops and indeed the Catholic lay educational establishment that Catholic Home Schooling should be viewed as an friend not as an foe. Further some Diocese seem to be doing things right about Catholic schools in these troubled times. We need to constantly be looking at the successful models we often see in around the country.


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