Mirror of Justice

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Catholic education "in need of salvation"

In today's New York Times, Patrick McCloskey and Joseph Claude Harris have an op-ed that connects nicely with Marc's post, below, on Erwin Chemerinsky's recent misguided (and morally repulsive) proposal to "require all children to attend public schools and to require that they do so within districts made up of metropolitan areas."   The authors are, I think, quite right that, insofar as the Church has de-emphasized parochial education as an essential aspect of her mission, she has "lost her way."  They stop short, though, in their recommendations, of an essential point:  It is not enough that the Church prioritize parochial education, it is also necessary that the political community provide equitable support for the very public work of Catholic schools.  These schools provide a "public service", and are morally entitled to public support for doing so.   

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2013/01/catholic-education-in-need-of-salvation.html

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Why, in this time of tax cuts for all but the most wealthy Americans, and an insistence that government spending must be drastically cut, should anyone expect government funding of Catholic schools? Where would the money come from? Budgets for public education?

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 10:21:33 AM

David -- funding for Catholic schools *is* funding for public education, i.e., education of public. And, the reason one might (indeed, why one should) "expect" such funding is because such funding involves a better allocation of public funds than the current allocation-arrangement. Remember, any kid who leaves, or does not attend, Catholic school for financial reasons is a kid whom the public will pay to educate in state-run schools, at much greater expense.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 10:27:27 AM

I hope it is okay to post this extremely enlightening comment from the thread on the NYT article over at First Things:
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/01/07/nyt-on-saving-catholic-education/#comments

Sister Edith Bogue
January 7th, 2013 | 10:05 am
In the past, sisters who taught in Catholic schools did not get health insurance nor much of a salary. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t get sick, nor that they did not need to pay for the maintenance of their convent or motherhouse.

In my community, 50% of the sisters are 80 or older while about 15% of us are employed full-time (some with benefits). Religious communities do not receive direct contributions from their dioceses (which usually have little money) nor parishes.

In most religious communities, many of the elderly sisters qualify for Medicaid because of decades of teaching (or nursing) without receiving a living wage or health care coverage.

It would be great to have more sisters teaching in schools — but we have as many dependents to feed and care for as any family. We need to receive a living wage and standard benefits like any other person employed by the school.

I teach full-time in Catholic higher education. My income supports the five sisters who are in formation and the dozens who are over 80. Please do not suggest that I should be paid less than my colleagues (usually dual-income families) who only have 2 or 3 dependents. We do the same work in God’s service, and so should bring home the same pay.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 10:34:11 AM

David, it is certainly OK. And, it would seem to support my point. The reason why teachers today are paid less in Catholic schools than they are in state-run schools is (in large part) because the public fails to comply with its moral obligation to support the decisions of parents who choose Catholic schools as it does the decisions of parents who choose state-run schools. The former, again, provide a public service, and there is no reason for the public to demand that they do so for free.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 10:40:36 AM

Rick,

I am not expert on education costs, but I doubt that there is a per-pupil cost that is saved when a child switches from public school to Catholic school that can simply be deducted from the public school budget and given as aid to the Catholic school. (Not that you said there was.) It is difficult for me to imagine that some extra taxpayers' dollars wouldn't be required to provide the kind of funding you think would be fair. And of course states have made dramatic cuts in education budgets recently due to the recession.

If I may insert my little speech here about taxes and spending, it seems to me that on the federal level, at least, most of the debate is ideological, as if there is some level of taxation that is in and of itself the proper level, and whatever that raises, that is the proper amount for government to spend. I can't figure out why the debate isn't what the proper role of government is, what the American people want the government to do, and how much revenue is required for that. If the American people want more from the government than they are willing to pay for, then our elected representatives have to say, "There is no such thing as a free lunch. Scale back your expectations of government, or be willing to pay higher taxes."

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 11:08:57 AM

David -- it is almost always the case that tuition (and also the cost, which is almost always greater than tuition) at a Catholic school is less than the per-pupil expenditure at the relevant state-run schools. It is, in fact, the case that in those school-voucher programs that currently exist, the voucher is "worth" less than the average per pupil spending in the relevant area. In my view, though, the rule should be that per-pupil spending is the same across the board. That is, public funding should follow the kid, in the same amount, wherever they go.

Your second-paragraph "speech" makes sense, to be sure, but I do not think it undermines my point (do you think it does?).

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 11:16:40 AM

I agree with Rick generally, but I think the way we think about "parochial schools" and "Catholic schools" has been turned somewhat upside down and needs to be reset. The primacy of the parental vocation in education is real. All options for fulfilling it, including bricks-and-mortar parish school institutions, are secondary thereto. As a consequence, home-based and cooperative instruction are no less "Church schools" "Catholic schools" and "parochial schools" that dioceses ought to be saving (or fostering). This is somewhat of a mindset shift away from the way things have happened in America, but it is what the Church actually teaches. It will require reevangelization of parents and of the diocese itself in how it thinks about and promotes what Catholic education is.

Posted by: Matt Bowman | Jan 7, 2013 11:24:47 AM

Rick, I thought that I'd respond to your generous reply to me on the previous post here, since this is basically the same thread. I appreciate your concern for school choice, and I agree that religious schools should not necessarily be selected against simply for providing religious instruction alongside an accredited "public" curriculum. It seems, though, that we might be coming at this from different directions. Your argument seems to be based on the obligations of *particular* parents to ensure the proper education of *their* children, and as you say, the natural conclusion of this fundamental commitment is a "brain drain" from those institutions where parents are not so committed. What about the other children, whose parents either lack the desire or (more likely) the time and expertise to select the proper school for their children? Once we've committed ourselves to the "common good" that every child should be educated so that they have the same opportunities for work and abilities to fulfill their civic obligations as every other child, then we are committed to providing such an education regardless of socioeconomic station or the prior education of the child's parents. Given these commitments, it seems like any educational policy must make a high-quality education available to *all* children. If parochial schools could be a part of such a system, I would be all for it, but I fear that this would require certain permissions on the part of the school and the student that neither would be too happy with (e.g., making religious instruction optional for those students who are not Catholic, allowing schools to recommend such instruction for all, etc.)

As a side note, your animus toward teachers' unions seems to be predicated on the idea that either teachers always place their own interests ahead of their students and are simply out to get the maximum wage for minimum work or teachers should give no mind to salary at all, because they serve at the pleasure of society. I'm curious as to why you feel this way. In my experience, public school teachers are not teaching for the money, and there are certainly more lucrative careers that one could pursue where the pay would far exceed the amount of work required. Spending 6-8 hours a day in a classroom with 27 eight-year olds and then going home to spend more time grading papers and preparing lessons is not exactly what I would consider to be a "cushy" job. And given that we both agree that the education of children is an important moral obligation, I would think that teachers deserve to get paid a living wage and provided with good facilities in which to do it. It strikes me that your claim about their being no reason for the public to demand that Catholic Schools provide services for free, applies to teachers as well. Lastly, I think if you look at the demands of most teachers' unions, they are trying to benefit students as well as teachers. This is not to say that teachers' unions are perfect, and I think some reform is essential (e.g., revisions to the tenure system, merit pay, etc.), but I don't think they are the enemy of the education system. If the education of our children is so important, why demonize the ones who are doing it?

Posted by: Eric Bugyis | Jan 7, 2013 11:42:26 AM

Hi Professor Garnett,

I certainly agree with you that more should be done to open up private school options for all children. However, the Church also has to look at itself in the mirror on this issue. Throughout the 2000s, the Archdiocese of Detroit (where I live) cut school budgets to the bone and closed about 30-40 schools while donating $5 million to an amendment that established one man and one woman marrigae as the only recognized marriage format reocgnized by the State of Michigan and throwing away another $40 million on the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington D.C. Through these actions, the AOD demonstrated it's priorities and it certainly wasn't in Catholic education.

As for tonight's game in Miami, this is one Spartan who hopes that Alabama's aura of invincibility (I guess the Texas A&M game never happened this year) gets popped tonight.

Posted by: Edward Dougherty | Jan 7, 2013 12:52:44 PM

Hi Eric,

I was "with you", in your first paragraph, until the last bit, when you suggested that making sure (as you and I agree we must) that *all* children - including those whose parents are unwilling or unable to fulfill their duties and exercise their rights -- might entail some restrictions on religious schools that receive vouchers. I didn't see the connection there.

For what it's worth, I believe that our education-funding practices are "off", and that funding should be un-linked from property values, and made (presumptively) the same state-wide (adjusted for obvious factors like cost of living, special-education needs, etc.) I simply think that this amount (or something close to it) should "follow the kid" to any appropriate school.

Regarding your second paragraph, I think my judgment that teacher-unions' activities are, on balance, bad for the common good is not fairly regarded as mere "hostility", either to them or (certainly!) to teachers. (An aside: when one controls for the things one would want to control for -- education, location, etc. -- it is not at all clear that teachers are underpaid, relative to other professions. But, in any event, I certainly agree that *some* teachers are underpaid; I would simply insist that many -- and many administrators -- are overpaid.) I do not see any reason to think that teacher-unions are advocating for anything other than the interests of (the majority of) their own members, though. Sure, they succeed politically by purporting to be for "education", or the students, but I see no reason to think they are any different from any other interest group.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 2:17:42 PM

By way of further comments in addition or response to some of the comments made above, it is perhaps worth noting that, in terms of cost, parochial and public schools are not on the same footing.

1. Teachers in parochial schools are often paid far less their counterparts in public schools, and have fewer benefits.

2. Parochial schools do not pay for special education services for their pupils, whether because they exclude students with special needs or because the funding for such services comes from the public school budget.

3. Parochial schools do not pay for transportation (at least not in Pennsylvania).

There are just a few of the costs that parochial schools do not cover; they represent, however, a substantial additional per-pupil cost. This means two things (at least): first, that parochial schools already receive aid from the public budget, and, second, that parochial school budgets cannot reliably be compared to those of public schools.

I also note, here and in other posts, a certain conflict between what seem to be to be competing desires of those who support additional public aid to parochial schools (especially Catholic schools, in this context). The tension lies between the wish on the one hand to provide good educations for all pupils in the relevant geographic area, and the wish on the other hand to make this education a distinctively Catholic, and thus inevitably proselytizing, experience. It seems to me that this tension stands in the way of parochial schools becoming a viable alternative to public education. Providing a good education to all is an entirely praiseworthy goal. Proselytizing students in the process falls into a different category.

Posted by: Ellen Wertheimer | Jan 7, 2013 2:25:01 PM

Ellen, it is true (and no one disputes that it is true) that religious schools and parochial schools are, in some respects, on a different footing. But, I'm not sure that the points you raise undermine my basic point: Students should enjoy public support for their educations, whether they receive it at a parochial school or a government-run school. The reason parochial-school teachers often make less is precisely because religious schools are unjustly denied public support (even though they provide a public good and a public service). Certainly, any funding formula would need to say that more money should follow kids who require special-education services but, again, the only reason Catholic schools often have to turn away special-education students is because they are not publicly supported to an appropriate extent.

The tension you propose is, in my view, not real. An authentically Catholic education and formation takes place (or should) in Catholic schools at the same time as those schools provide the "secular" public good of educating and forming citizens. The fact that the former happens is no reason not to support the latter.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 2:40:47 PM

I can't speak for Catholic schools today, but I would say that although I got a find education in the two Catholic elementary schools and one Catholic high school I attended, I think the matter of proselytizing raised by Ellen Wertheimer is a real one. We did not receive a "secular" education plus religion classes. Catholicism was interwoven in subjects wherever it could be, which was in about every subject but mathematics and spelling. History was about Catholics. I remember in geography learning the Catholic population of all the major countries. Our readers (the "Faith and Freedom" series) were all about Catholicism and unquestioned American patriotism. If you want an excellent example of American Exceptionalism, dig up the old Faith and Freedom readers from the 1950s.

I would be hesitant to have my tax dollars used to finance any religious education that went so far in indoctrinating students, and certainly people who would not object to Catholicism or other Christian religions would balk their tax dollars going for, say, a Muslim school that went as far as indoctrinating children in Islam to the extent my own schools indoctrinated me in Catholicism (and "Catholic Americanism").

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 3:05:13 PM

Rick, With the point about "restrictions," I was thinking of a situation (albeit hypothetical) in which the majority of citizens in a community chose to use there vouchers to go to the Catholic school such that there was not enough voucher money left over to keep the "secular" school open, and yet, some of the parents and students, who now had no choice but to attend the Catholic school, had strong objections (perhaps, even religiously based) to obligatory "religion" classes. Also, once public money started going to "religious" schools, I assume that the state might have an overriding interest in preventing certain religious doctrines from being taught (e.g., creationism in biology class, the "evil" of blood transfusions in health class, that all of the founding fathers were totally orthodox, bible-beating Christians in history class, etc.) as they would actually undermine the "common good" of having a *properly* educated citizenry (which would include things like being scientifically, medically, and historically literate.

I agree that the funding scheme for education needs to be reformed.

As for teacher-unions, I'm not ready to agree that there deficits, which I agree that they have, outweigh their benefits, but I suppose I could be convinced.

Posted by: Eric Bugyis | Jan 7, 2013 3:41:59 PM

David -- I'm sorry if I was unclear. Certainly, I *want* Catholic schools to provide a pervasively Catholic education / formation. (I don't really get the use of the word "proselytize", as if formation in the faith -- of children who are there by virtue of their parents' choice -- were something ominous.) My point is that the "thing" that the public has an interest in -- i.e., education -- is provided by Catholic schools (better, and for less money) and so there's no reason (other than prejudice) for the public to care if that education is provided in a Catholic context.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 5:28:42 PM

Hi Eric -- Ha! Now you are thinking like a law professor, with hypos and all that. Sure, if the only schools in a community were Catholic, then we'd have to figure something out. But, I don't see that happening anyplace. If it did, we could cross that bridge. As for curricula, I don't disagree with you that the state has an interest in the content of the (secular) education it funds. So, schools that did not prepare kids to pass whatever tests the public-school kids have to pass might not be eligible for funding. There would (as always) have to be line-drawing: I don't think that public funds need to come with "you have to teach kids that all religions are equally correct" strings, but they can come with "you have to make sure your kids can add, subtract, and write" strings. And, as for the deficit / benefits balance -- I admit that the current situation (as I perceive it), which is one in which the deficits outweigh, is contingent. The unions could always drop their hide-bound insistence on protecting deadwood and opposing choice-based reform! =-)

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 7, 2013 5:32:48 PM

Rick,

It is my understanding that Catholics are not allowed to make contributions to organizations run by other religions (churches, schools, and so on) because those organizations "teach error." (Contributions to things like soup kitchens where no religion is taught would be acceptable.) Would you call that prejudice? I don't think it is wrong for someone who does not believe in Catholicism (or any other religion) to object to his or her tax dollars going to teach that religion.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 5:51:28 PM

David, I do not think your understanding is correct. But, in any event, taxes are different. We all pay for stuff - very indirectly - we don't like.

Posted by: Rgarnett@nd.edu | Jan 7, 2013 5:54:35 PM

Rick,

You say: "I do not think your understanding is correct."

My understanding comes from Germain Grisez:

**********
. . . I believe it is clear that one should not support non-Catholic charitable activities commingled with partly false religious instruction—for example, a summer camp program for indigent children that will include evangelization and catechesis partly at odds with Catholic faith. Though one might intend only the genuine good the program will do, one’s contribution will support the inculcation of error as well as truth and inevitably will suggest that the doctrinal content of the religious instruction is a matter of indifference. This is likely to lead people astray.

Even if an activity sponsored by a non-Catholic religious body involves nothing at all unacceptable in itself, it seems to me that, in sponsoring charities, religious bodies always bear witness to their faith. Thus, insofar as a sponsor falls short of the truth of Catholic faith and/or diverges from it, a Catholic contributing to the charity it sponsors incidentally lends support to its partially false witness. Still, doing that may be justified if you have a special reason to contribute to a non-Catholic charitable activity that involves nothing unacceptable in itself. . . .
**********
http://www.twotlj.org/G-3-5.html

You say: "We all pay for stuff - very indirectly - we don't like."

Surely you're not offering that as an *argument*. If we already pay indirectly for some things we don't like, that doesn't mean we have no right to object to paying, even indirectly, for *other* things we don't like.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 7, 2013 7:55:05 PM

So Germain Grisez is the arbiter of what Catholics "are not allowed" to do? Chris Tollefsen and Joe Boyle wouldn't even go that far. Truly, DN has drunk the NNL Kool-Aid, and how. Can we add DN's bio here? http://twotlj.org/grisez_collaborators.html

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 7, 2013 11:15:57 PM

Perhaps the Federal Government could find a way to require everyone attend public schools and pay a fee under the taxing power thanks to the fine reasoning of Chief Justice Roberts. Perhaps.

Posted by: CK | Jan 8, 2013 9:54:17 AM

Anonymous,

I don't see what your remarks have to do with the topic of the thread, which is Catholic education and how it can be "saved."

I also don't see how Germain Grisez's opinion about contributing to religious causes other than Catholic ones has anything whatsoever to do with natural law. If seems to me rather simple and straightforward reasoning.

I would be thrilled to be listed as one of Germain Grisez's colleagues along with John Finnis and Robert George, It would be utterly misleading, but an honor nonetheless. I'd use the page you cited as my web address.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 8, 2013 10:56:31 AM

David, I do not understand your response to "Anonymous", whose remarks strike me as entirely responsive to your comment. In any event, if Grisez believes that it wrong for Catholics to support charitable activities run by non-Catholics, because doing so "lends support to its partially false winess" . . . well, he's Grisez, and I'm not, but that seems not-right to me. As for taxes, I try, as a general matter, not to respond to "questions" that take the form of "surely you're not . . . " In any event, it's obviously not "wrong" to object to one's tax money being used for things you don't like (unless your reasons for not liking that thing are bad ones), but the fact that some object does not establish that it's wrong for funds to be used in the objected-to way.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 8, 2013 11:31:40 AM

Professor Garnett, the second paragraph of your comment at 2:17:42 makes a valid point that is often overlooked.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 8, 2013 11:41:21 AM

Our Catholic Schools in Long Island had a cohesive curriculum, with many wonder Sisters serving in administrative roles, including the role of principle.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 8, 2013 11:47:26 AM

Oops! That should be pal, as the Good Sisters taught!

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 8, 2013 11:49:06 AM

"These schools provide a "public service", and are morally entitled to public support for doing so."

I agree with this, and it is a proper understanding of the nature of the Church as a body performing public duties, not merely private ones. However, what needs to be done to convince the rest of the American people that the Church, and her separated Protestant brothers are not merely "private" aspects of civil society? Put another way, how do we convince people that "public" duties are not merely confined to the State (Federal, state, local)? Is such a distinction problematic to the American experiment and its current commitments to First Amendment concepts, commitments which go beyond the legal rationales, especially in the minds of voters?

It would seem that educating on this distinction is a necessary predicate to ensure that public funds flow into Parochial schools.

Posted by: CK | Jan 8, 2013 1:47:49 PM

Rick,

You say: "David, I do not understand your response to 'Anonymous', whose remarks strike me as entirely responsive to your comment."

I think I can explain. When I say it is my understanding that Catholics not permitted to contribute financially to the promotion of other religions, and I cite Germain Grisez as my reason for having that understanding, Anonymous's remark ("Truly, DN has drunk the NNL Kool-Aid, and how.") is incorrect and irrelevant. I am not speaking as a Catholic myself, nor am I endorsing Germain Grisez or any particular school of thought. If I say it's my understanding that Republicans are opposed to raising taxes and cite Grover Norquist, that doesn't mean I have joined Americans for Tax Reform.

If what I stated as my understanding is incorrect, then the appropriate response is to day so, and to point out why what Germain Grisez says on the topic is not to be taken as the Catholic position.

You say: "As for taxes, I try, as a general matter, not to respond to 'questions' that take the form of 'surely you're not' . . . . "

How about this: If that is being offered as an argument, it is an extraordinarily weak one. Just because we already pay, through our taxes, for some things we don't like does not at all imply that we have to accept *new* objectionable things the government wants to do with our tax dollars. If I say, "I don't want my tax dollars to pay for Z," it is no argument to say, "But you don't like X and Y, and you already pay for those through your tax dollars."

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 8, 2013 2:02:13 PM

"then the appropriate response is to . . . point out why what Germain Grisez says on the topic is not to be taken as the Catholic position"

So I'm right, is what you're saying.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 8, 2013 2:35:44 PM

Anonymous,

No, you are not right that I have "drunk NNL Kool-Aid," nor did you present any evidence that the quote (with link) that I provided from Germain Grisez does not reasonably represent Catholic thought. Nor does the position Grisez takes have anything at all to do with natural law as far as I can tell, so even if you call into question the New Natural Law, it doesn't invalidate his reasoning over contributing to the teaching of "erroneous" religions.

Grisez's position may sound a little quaint in 2013, and sounds to me like something out of the 1950s. However, if you believe Catholicism is true and other religions teach error, it makes perfect sense. Perhaps the reason it sounds quaint is that so many Catholics don't really want to accept that Catholicism is true and other religions teach error. It doesn't sound very ecumenical.

I actually don't understand why anyone who truly believes in his or her own religion would not contribute toward the furtherance of that religion. I certainly wouldn't dream of financing a political party other than the one I belong to. Why would I give financial aid to a religion I didn't believe in?

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 8, 2013 3:07:23 PM

David, I think I am getting lost. I do not believe that you think it is immoral for a Catholic to buy groceries from a Protestant grocer, or to pay for health care delivered by a Protestant hospital, or to pay for an education delivered by an Episcopalian high school, or to contribute to a global hunger-relief charity that is run by evangelical Christians. About all this, we agree. This has nothing to do with whether I believe that Catholicism is true.

In terms of my "weak argument", my point (which I do not think was obscure) is simply that because it is a given, in modern political communities, that people disagree about things, it is unavoidable that everyone ends up paying -- in a very indirect, attenuated way -- for some things for which they'd rather not pay. So, to say, "hey, I'm being made to pay for something for which I'd rather not pay" is to invite, in my view, an "oh well, that's politics in a diverse democracy" response.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 8, 2013 3:23:46 PM

One would think that since it is true that nothing in our Catholic Faith precludes us from being productive and Good Citizens, and it is true that Catholics are part of the "Public" too, then it is unjust discrimination to deny a Catholic Education to those who desire a Catholic Education for themselves or their children.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 8, 2013 3:53:59 PM

Rick,

I agree about all the examples in your first paragraph except for education delivered by an Episcopalian high school. I don't think it makes sense for a Catholic to pay for religious instruction in any other religion except Catholicism. I think the argument over the morality of it could become very complicated, because one could invent all kinds of scenarios But all things being equal, if a Catholic has a choice between supporting a Catholic school or an Episcopalian school, the Catholic is obliged to support the Catholic school. As Germain Grisez says, the Episcopalian school will "teach error." From a Catholic point of view, what Grisez says in the excerpt I quoted makes good sense to me.

I did not think your point was at all obscure. Sure, we all pay taxes that go to things we may not like or even deplore. But there are areas (such as abortion) where Catholics and others will fight tooth and nail not to have their tax dollars used even when the connection is relatively remote. I understand remote material cooperation, and the arguments depend on not just how remote the cooperation is, but how grave the evil is.

I don't think it is unreasonable of people to say they don't want their tax dollars to pay for a religious education in a religion other than their own. I can certainly imagine cases where, if public money goes for religious education, there would be Christians who would not mind their tax dollars going to Episcopalian schools, or Catholic schools, or Jewish schools, but who would be opposed to having it go to Muslim schools. But of course if you are going to allow tax dollars to be spent on religious education, you certainly can't limit it to only Christian and Jewish schools. I am sure that you personally would want to see all religious schools treated fairly and equitably, but I can only imagine what you have in mind would be a deal breaker for some people who would not want to see tax dollars going to non-Christian religions.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 8, 2013 4:02:41 PM

David, The foundation of American Law is grounded in "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God". In order to respect The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, we must respect the fact that every human being has been created in The Image and Likeness of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as male or female. A Catholic Education, which begins with respect for the Dignity of all persons by recognizing and affirming the inherent personal and relational essence of the human person, would be, unlike a secular education today, consistent with American Law, and thus is the type of education that is the most likely to complement our founding Christian principles, and facilitate Good, productive and responsible Citizenship.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 9, 2013 10:22:45 AM

In regards to the article in The New York Times, Parish Priests should be educated and trained so that they can run a Parish with the aid of those with "professional, managerial, and entrepreneurial expertise", and those with various gifts that can serve the Good of the Parish. Only a Priest can perform certain Sacraments.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 9, 2013 11:09:32 AM