It’s Catholic Schools Week. While most Catholic media celebrated as if everything is “blue skies” for America’s parochial schools, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly delivered a more sober message this week on EWTN News Nightly.
Over the last 50 years, parochial school enrollment has declined by more than two-thirds, and Catholic identity declined in many schools, Reilly told host Tracy Sabol. High costs have also prevented many Catholic families from attending parochial schools.
On the other hand, there are exciting efforts to renew Catholic identity in many dioceses and parochial schools, and there is also a growing variety of faithful alternatives for Catholic families. Reilly celebrated “great signs of hope with the burgeoning homeschool movement, …independent Catholic schools, lay-run institutions that are starting up, and the renewal of many parochial schools. There’s a very good story right now in Catholic education, but it is coming out of a fifty-year malaise.”
“Schools need to look at doing absolutely everything that they do—whether it’s athletics, admissions, academics—using clear Catholic standards top to bottom,” Reilly urged.
“Unfortunately, most secular institutions are leading young people astray, and so we desperately need this renewal of faithful Catholic education.”
Whether in parochial schools or other means of faithful Catholic education, Catholic families increasingly are finding a renewal of truth and fidelity and a recognition that the formation of young people must be one of the Church’s highest priorities. And that’s something to celebrate!
“Catholic education is the Church’s primary means of evangelization,” Reilly said. “It’s the most important thing that we do in terms of bringing the faith to young people and forming them in the faith and in an understanding of the world from a Catholic point of view.”