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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Catholic Education

by Catherine Frakas 18 May 2001

Catholic Education QUESTION from Danielle on November 30, 2002 Dear Brother,
I am finding myself in quite a quandary. My daughter is 4 and I have been looking for a good Catholic school to send my child. I have faith in our local priest, but I do not have faith in the teachers who seem spiritually naive. For example, when attending the local primary school one classrooms theme was Harry Potter, and in another classroom, students had used gossip magazines with half nude people to complete a collage. I also discovered recently that my 16 year old niece got an A+ for an assignment she based on two poems written by women who had committed suicide (I don't think it is of any coincidence that a fellow student of hers slit her wrists at school recently).
Recently, on the news, a Brother seemed to endorse a book, about a boy who killed another, aimed at 7 years olds (with graphic pictures). I wrote him and asked if the book was going to banned from Catholic Schools. His reply was that it was the schools decision and if the Church were to ban a book, that it would only increase interest in it. I wrote a similar letter to our Bishop (whom is great), but that was also his response to Harry Potter books.
So my question is, is the Catholic Church responsible for what is taught in Catholic Schools? Or are they a separate entity? How can it be that Catholic schools seem to endorse books whose values are contrary to Catholic beliefs? Why do most Catholic Schools have Harry Potter books? By putting a book on the shelf, does that automatically mean endorsement?
I have, after examination of the local Catholic Schools, decided to homeschool. Not through fault of the church, but it seems there are many catholic teachers who don't attend church or have any idea about catholic values.
I am also finding it very hard finding acceptance of my homeschooling my children amongst family and friends. They look at me like I'm mean. Can you refer me to any prayers to help me feel stronger about my decision to homeschool?
Regards and thank you,
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on December 19, 2002 Dear Danielle:
I understand well the situation you are experiencing.
Yes, the Bishop IS ultimately responsible for what is taught in Catholic Schools and who teaches in those schools. Unfortunately many bishops seems to lack the fortitude to oversee the schools to ensure proper curricula is taught. They will be accountible before God for their diligence or lack thereof in protecting the faith of our children in Catholic Schools.
Harry Potter has NO BUSINESS in a Catholic School -- in the classroom or in the library. This is a story from a witchcraft point-of-view. Rather we should expose our children to Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was a Catholic and his stories are formed from a Catholic worldview.
As for Homeschooling, there are many resources for you to support your courageous efforts. We have a homeschooling site that is under development ( If you type in the keywords Catholic Homeschooling you should find other resources. Just make sure that the resources you find are orthodox and loyal to the church.
We will be in prayer for you.
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