His Eminence, Cardinal Dolan, has a blog on the Archdiocese of New York website. And this week's post titled "Keeping the Faith" is about as ridiculous and out-of touch as they come. To show you what I mean, let's have a look at some of his utter confusion.
Without going into a commentary about the Jews, I sincerely doubt Cardinal Dolan needed to reference the crisis of faith in the Jewish community to open up a discussion about the loss of faith of Catholics. In the Diocese of New York, Catholic school enrollment has declined by half since the 1960s. Schools have been shuddered, churches have been closed and sold, parishes have been consolidated. The good Archbishop knows that most of his Catholics don't adhere to Church doctrine, few are getting married in the Church, a few are being baptized. In other words, in ain't no secret what is happening, and we ain't stupid. But check this out from Cardinal Dolan's blog:
We Catholics have known this for years: there is no more tried-and-true way of passing on our Catholic faith to our kids than by sacrificing to put them in a Catholic school. Data proves they persevere in the faith at higher rates, pray better, are more faithful to Sunday Mass, live gospel values, are more generous to their parish, even have happier marriages, volunteer more, and transmit the faith to their own children, than those not in a Catholic school.
But what about this statement from the Cardus Education Survey on North American Religious Education and their actual research into this matter.
Catholic schools provide superior academic outcomes, an experience that translates into graduates’ enrollment in more prestigious colleges and universities, more advanced degrees, and higher household income. In Catholic schools, administrators put a higher value on university than their Protestant Christian peers, and Catholic schools’ academic programs consist of more rigorous course offerings across the board... At the same time, however, our research finds that the moral, social, and religious dispositions of Catholic school graduates seem to run counter to the values and teachings of the Catholic church. For example, students graduating from Catholic schools divorce no less than their public school counterparts, and significantly more than their Protestant Christian and non-religious private school peers. Similarly, having attended Catholic school has no impact on the frequency with which those graduates will attend church services, and Catholic school graduates are less likely to serve as leaders in their churches.
And what about this bit of data from the Pew Forum:
Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration.
Cardinal Dolan goes on to explain that he has actually met with some of his educators in the Catholic school system. This is what he tells us.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with leaders in our Catholic high schools. They observed that, in some of their areas, the public schools were, thank God, offering a good education......
They asserted, there was only one reason for a parent to sacrifice financially to send his/her son/daughter to the Catholic high school: formation in faith, values, character, discipline, and religion . . . along with a first class education.
IF the public schools in New York are actually offering a good education, then why did the New York Daily News report last summer that although graduation rates are up, 75% of students are not ready for college?
Unfortunately, I have no good data suggesting that private schools currently are better or worse than public schools academically, but there is evidence that SAT scores are higher for those students. How ready are they for college? It's hard to say. But I digress.....
If the only one reason for a parent to sacrifice financially to send their children to Catholic school is faith formation, then we have a serious problem that Cardinal Dolan wants to be ambiguous about. But what's worse, doesn't seem to really want to do anything about it anyway.
If our schools are not visibly and robustly Catholic, let’s save a lot of money and close them in areas where our children can get a decent academic education free of charge.
This is the solution Cardinal Dolan advances. Our schools are not really Catholic in identity, so let's just close them and send our children to public school where it is free. Yes, that is really what he said.
In other words, Catholics, the Catholic hierarchy doesn't really care if the teachers are Catholic and adhere to Catholic doctrine. They don't care if Catholic students are actually losing their faith when they become adults. They don't seem concerned that the public schools are a hotbed of immorality, liberalism, and modernism where your children are certain to lose their faith.
This is the main reason we decided to home school our children. We want to put forth every effort and make as many sacrifices necessary to pass on our Catholic faith to our children. At home, every single subject is infused with Catholic thought and teaching. There is no ambiguity here. We use a Catholic curriculum and traditional Catholic catechisms. Along with the math, science, reading, grammar, and history, our children will know what it means to be a Catholic--visibly and robustly.
Our two oldest children were educated in the public school system. We could have sacrificed to send them to Catholic school, but what would have been the point? We would have gone without and our children would have lost their faith anyway. Today, we are struggling with faith issues with these two. One believes what he wants to believe about his Catholic faith, the other has rejected it mostly. While one is doing fairly well at a private non-Catholic college, the other is struggling with reading, writing, and critical thinking---the product of a "good public school education."
I suffer greatly over the loss of faith of my oldest children. I, daily, unite my sufferings to those of Our Most Sorrowful Mother. How much sorrow must she feel that almost all of Her children have left the Church, don't know what Our Lord has taught us, don't know what the Catholic Church teaches, nor do they care. I pray daily that the Our Lord will have mercy on my children and bring them home.
I also pray daily that the Catholic hierarchy, like the priests, bishops, cardinals, and even the Pope, have the courage to take action. Because that is the only thing that is going to save our souls and the souls of our children.
My priest reminded us of this: "For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? For he that shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:36-38
It has become quite clear to me, as from Cardinal Dolan's blog, that these men who are responsible for huge flocks of Christ's children are leading them down the road to Perdition. And it is these very men, these favorite sons, that the Catholic faithful are clinging to for some direction and hope.
And thus the words of Erasmus ring ever loud and clear:
In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is King
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.