Imagine the irony: Today, April Fool’s Day, a Boston high school named Catholic Memorial will bestow an award on a pro-abortion politician. You might think this is just part of the day’s hijinks, a calculated prank, but sadly, this scandal is all too familiar and real.
Patrick Reilly, founder of The Cardinal Newman Society, appeared as a guest on The Catholic Current with host Fr. McTeigue, S.J., to discuss the scandal of honoring people who publicly oppose the very teaching that lies at the heart of true Catholic education, and what can be done to courageously renew our Catholic schools.
If a Catholic school is going to give an openly pro-abortion politician an award, what does “Catholic school” even mean at that point? As Fr. McTeigue ponders, “One has to wonder what people think they are paying for with Catholic education.”
As Reilly explained, we’ve lost a sense of who is responsible for the education of children, and ultimately, it’s the parents. “Education is fundamentally a lay function. The Church is supposed to be upholding, teaching, and preserving the faith, and therefore, education has to be done in full partnership with the Church to be fully Catholic.”
“Unfortunately, another trap we’ve fallen into is the idea that “Catholic” is just a label that is given, and an institution can do whatever it pleases, even if those actions contradict Church teaching. Catholic Memorial is an example of such an institution, controlled by the Christian Brothers, but sending a clear message of encouragement for pro-abortion activism.” Reilly added.
Reilly goes on to demonstrate that such an action presents a scandalous image of the school. “You are making a decision to choose one person out of the millions of people in the world, out of the good Catholics whom you could choose. When you choose someone who is deliberately working for the death and slaughter of millions of babies, working for the destruction of marriage and the complete misunderstanding of gender, what are you doing? There is a deliberate aspect to that decision, and that’s what really needs to be condemned.”
When Catholic schools are making such decisions as these, parents have the obligation to look elsewhere. And while they don’t always get the support they deserve, Reilly points to many examples that are upholding the Catholic faith, including renewed parochial schools, homeschooling, independent schools, and even new hybrid model programs.
“As Catholics, we keep putting things back on the bishops. But as lay Catholic people, we need to be holding schools to account. We should be confident in that authority. Stop putting our kids in places like Catholic Memorial. It’s very deliberately and very publicly signaling to the world where it’s at. Why would we put our kids in a place like that?”
As a positive conclusion, Reilly explained, “Today, Catholic schools have a great opportunity. Americans are fed up with how far the Left has taken the culture, and a school that strongly asserts its Catholic identity does very well. It’s a sign of opposition to the craziness of the culture.”
Listen to the whole episode here!