A. The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools is helpful, but largely in pointing at other works. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, the author, distills wisdom from 5 papal documents on education that I will now need to track down. This reading project is getting completely out of hand, if that wasn’t already apparent. But worth it, so far.
The most interesting part: the Holy See teaches that the state should financially support Catholic schools, since the schools educate the young to be good citizens of the state, and parents pay taxes. Whenever I read stuff like that, I remind myself that American Catholics make up a tiny portion of the world’s Catholic population, and it is best to see such teachings as universal – applying to Paraguay and the Sudan and Vietnam as much or more than the US. Catholics in the US, an extremely wealthy nation, are not under the same sorts of financial constraints as Catholic citizens of other nations, and so are in a better position, perhaps, to consider the inevitable trade-offs taking government money entails. But the principle remains.
Other than that, as is so often the case with papal writings, the guidance is so general as to be not so helpful to my purposes. But I’ll need to read those 5 documents.
B. My reading of Parish Schools has slowed to a crawl as I try to digest the critical information concerning that period around the turn of the last century. The Catholic University of America was founded around then, followed by the National Catholic Education Association. Fr. Thomas Edward Shields and Fr. Edward Pace, professors at CUA, founded the Catholic Educational Review, which I’ll now need to at least peruse, since it is, in addition to being available free on line, the organ of the men considered the ‘progressive’ voices in Catholic education.
Here’s the frustration: Parish Schools, while helpful, describes what is going on in such a general way that I have no idea what changes or methods are actually being proposed. Thus, for example, a quick perusal of the first edition of the Catholic Educational Review reveals an essay about the “Playground Movement”. Good, bad, or indifferent?(1)
So I continue the slog, returning to A History Of Education In Antiquity when I need a palate-cleanser.
Soon, I will add a Catholic Education References page to this blog, where I will note the various sources with brief comments on how they figure into the big picture.
- How could playgrounds be anything but good, the curious reader might ask. If they are intended to be a place where micro-managed kids can blow off steam during brief breaks from factory schooling. But I don’t know.