C4C has placed this comment in a post position. We think it reflects the struggle many parents are facing.
By Theresa, Guest Blogger
I have been grappling with this issue of stopping the money but wanting to keep our daughter in our parish school. I taught in four Catholic schools in the AD and also taught in a public school in Philly. To those here who say the public schools are safer, it was in the public school where there was an incident with a male music teacher and a student. The music teacher was simply reassigned. Sound familiar?
To those traditionalist Catholics who swear the schools were better off in the days when there were more nuns and priests teaching I would say I am much happier that all of my daughter’s teachers since preschool have been married laywomen. Yet when I taught in the public school I realized I did not feel like I could teach the whole child as I could in Catholic school. I realized just how much my faith was a part of me and how I needed to be able to share that with my students and weave it throughout the various subjects I taught. I want my child to be in a setting where she is free to learn and talk about God; where her spiritual side, the essence of her being, is not cut off from her intellect.
Yet as someone who has taught in the AD, and one who has seen the good that Catholic education can do, especially for children in the city, I am disgusted at the damage our hierarchy has done to the church but mostly the horrible damage they have permitted to occur to innocent children.
When I graduated from college (16 years of Catholic education) I served as a full-time volunteer with Covenant House. Shortly after my volunteer service ended, the founder, Fr. Bruce Ritter, was implicated in a scandal involving young men. My faith survived that experience because I thought it was the behavior of one disturbed priest. Again my faith survived in 2005 with the revelation that several priests I knew from my childhood and one who taught me in highschool were implicated in the first grand jury report. In 2005 my faith in the institution survived because I did believe what the AD told us and I willingly submitted to the training and background checks required of all of us parents to even set foot in our child’s school.
When the AD sent out their slick brochure for their capital campaign in the years between the 2005 and the 2011 reports, we chose not to contribute. I watched year after year where more and more schools in the city and now the inner ring suburbs were being closed. I was disgusted that the AD seemed to be following the money trail to Chester County where they perceived the more affluent to be moving and were going to spend millions on a new high school while closing one where my then students would have attended.
Within our parish we have had problems with a lack of support from the pastor for the school to the point that we decided to give what would have been our annual parish appeal contribution directly to the school in the form of art supplies. We have reduced our weekly contribution to the minimum required by our parish for our daughter to attend school, which is $15 per week, not 15%.
Lately I have been attending mass when I can at the Catholic university I attended as an undergrad. I feel like the priests do not talk down to me and they are somewhat removed from the AD.
I know some here would still consider me a pew sitter. I attended one rally this spring outside 222 and hope to attend more.
Sorry this comment is so long. I really appreciated this thread about having a child in the catholic schools. I admit I am really torn about what to do. My primary reaction has been to say they won’t force us out but then I ask myself how I can have my child be taught to respect the hierarchy when I no longer respect any of them? I’m also not sure if I can ever go back to teaching in the AD, at least not under it’s present leadership.