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The Keeping It Catholic Chronicles
NEW! Keeping It Catholic - the Blog!
SAMPLES: The Age of Mary
+++Catholic Study Guide for Homeschoolers!
+++Home Education Guides: What Catholic Hsing Moms Asked For!
+++Keepsake Collection of Recipes
KEEPING IT CATHOLIC HOME PAGE
+++Another Reason to Homeschool: #1,001
+++Aragorn: The Catholic Monarch?
+++Are We Good Thieves or Bad Thieves?
+++(A) Baby & Her Parents Need Your Help
+++(The) Catholic-But Syndrome
+++Charlotte Church - The New Material Girl?
+++Charlotte Mason: For Whose Sake?
+++Courageous Expose - EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong (Review)
+++Crechemania.com - Nice People & Beautiful Things in the World
+++Deadline Date for Terri: Done on Purpose?
+++England's New Grading System: Politically Correct to the
+++FATIMA: Still in Eclipse
+++FATIMA: The Most Important Part is Still Missing
+++FATIMA: One Secret, Three Parts
+++FATIMA and the King of France: Do We Have Less than 10 Years Left?
+++FATIMA: The Question of Consecration
+++(The) Feast of St. Joseph - with Prayers
+++Flight to Narnia - Delayed
+++Flower of the Catholic City
+++For the Italians!
+++Guidelines: Ohio
+++His Holy Father or My Highness?
+++Home & Family Life: The (Almighty) Schedule
+++Homeschooling = Child Abuse?
+++How Long, O Lord?
+++In the Name of Christ the King!
+++Is There Life after Homeschooling?
+++Jesus' Charitable Warning
+++Keeping It Catholic on the Net!
+++(The) Last Catholic Emperor
+++Little Lessons & Christmas Memories
+++MEN!!!! Pt 1, Missing in [Catholic] Action - Chivalry
+++MEN!!! Pt. 2, I Bid You Stand, Men of the West!
+++Michael Schiavo's Slip-Up
+++Moving Meditation on the Messiah: The Passion of the Christ
+++Not a Blitz, But a Blackout (Terri and the Catholic Media)
+++Open Letter to Homeschool Resisters
+++Pope's Death: What God in His Mercy is Telling Us
+++Part 1 - Is Homeschooling Disobedient to the Church?
+++Part 2 - Lynn's Letter on Homeschooling
+++Part 3 - Fr.Stravinskas’ Problems with Homeschooling
+++Part 4 - A
+++Pope's Death: President Orders Flags at Half-Mast
+++RED FLAG: Blessed are We
+++RED FLAG: Catholic Insights into Montessori Education
+++RETREAT 1: Importance of Meditation on the Passion
+++RETREAT 2: Saints' Love of Christ's Passion
+++RETREAT 3: Devotion to the Passion
+++RETREAT 4: The Charity of God
+++RETREAT 5: The Judas Factor
+++RETREAT 6 : The Lamb of God
+++RETREAT 7: The Paschal Supper
+++RETREAT 8: Jesus' Farewell
+++RETREAT 9: In the Garden of Gethsemane
+++RETREAT 10: Ecce Homo!
+++RETREAT 11: After the Crucifixion
+++RETREAT 12: Christ and His Mystical Body
+++Rosary Novena
+++(The) Secrets of Catholic Homeschooling
+++September: A Holy Month to Start Homeschooling
+++Terri Schindler Schiavo: American Martyr
+++Terri Schindler Schiavo - With God, All Things are Possible
+++Today is the 1st Day (of the Rest of this Blog!)
Books by Marianna Bartold
Catholic Home Education Guides
Keeping It Catholic - with Marianna Bartold
January 31, 2004
Catholic Insights into Montessori Education

Dear KIC Readers:

A few months have passed since I last added anything to the blog. November and December are always whirlwind months, and January proved to be no different. I do hope the last few months have been good to you! I also hope to get "back on track" with (at the minimum) weekly entries to the KIC Weblog.

Of late, I have received a few emails inquiring about either the Maria Montessori or Charlotte Mason "methods" of education. All of the questions center around one theme; that is, they ask me what's really wrong with one or the other?

It seems the word is out regarding Red Flags and Methods in the Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guide Volume I. (It seems more Catholic homeschoolers are sharing the info that the same book examines the problems with both Mason and Montessori, ala "the Catholic Red Flag Lady, Marianna Bartold") ;)

For the sake of the truly polite inquiries, I will do my best to provide, on this weblog, a very modest glimpse into the question of Montessori. (I do promise, however, that there are more quotes in my book regarding both Mason and Montessori.)

But what about Charlotte Mason? Well, I already have much to share (about 10 pages's worth) about Mason in my book, so it would be impossible for me to repeat it here. As for Montessori, my book provides quite a few quotes from Montessori herself, regarding her philosophies, too.

Still, there are Catholics who claim that, since Montessori was Catholic, what she taught regarding the rearing and education of children must be acceptable to Catholics. That would be true if we lived in a perfect world, but we don't. We all know that we live in a fallen world and that our own natures are wounded, that we are disinclined to abandon our own thoughts and ideas, and that - for the most part - we human beings do not easily bend our wills to God. (If we dare to say otherwise, we really are guilty of pride.) The truth of the matter is that we can easily make up all kinds of excuses to continue doing what we want to do, and we easily defend ourselves because we do not want to admit we were misled...it is so much easier to do those two things instead of obeying the Church's teachings.

Regardless of the nay-sayers, please realize that no, despite her book, The Mass Explained Montessori's educational philosophy did not coincide with Catholic Church teaching. Most of the time she sounded like a rationalist/evolutionist (I'll explain why later.)

Montessori had some very strange ideas about child-raising and child education. And no, we are not talking about "hands-on" learning. Contrary to popular belief, "hands-on" is not what Montessori was about.

For example, Montessori did not allow fairy tales or folklore, although she did promote her own "mythological" story about the world's creation - certainly a contradiction! So fairy stories and folklore were forbidden, but her own "fantasies" were to be promoted to children everywhere. Yet how many Catholics are aware of even that one Red Flag?

Incidentally (and as I point out in my book, Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guide, Volume I), there are similarities in Charlotte Mason's original educational philosophy, many of the latter which coincide with those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the "father" of the "Enlightenment." The Enlightenment was that "rationalist" era of thought which led to the French Revolution, the invasion of liberalism throughout Europe and into the Church, and which has culminated today in the heresy of modernism.

While I understand that many Catholic homeschoolers might not appreciate hearing such things, I ask them to remember Church teaching on Catholic education and Catholic philosophy.

I strongly recommend that interested homeschooling parents read Montessori's own works for themselves - not just another author on Montessori - and judge according to Church teaching (not just personal opinion). Just to pique your curiosity, I will provide a few examples from Montessori's book, To Educate the Human Potential. Brief background: Maria Montessori told her "creation" story to children, and she wanted it to be told by others who employed her methods. But why? It was because Montessori desired that children should mull upon the evolutionary processes.

Montessori's creation story begins with the oceans (not God, not the Word), and of the "Tribolites" which were "three-lobed creatures, with many legs and numerous other appendices for swimming...other proud ocean dwellers were Cephalopods- literally meaning with legs on their heads - of which Nautilus is most famous."

A little later, Montessori wrote: "We can imagine a committee of Angels or Devas, according to the religion we profess, older sons of God who direct earth's natural forces, sending forth a call for volunteers, and interviewing those creatures who responded with an offer of service..." My questions: The angels interviewed the tribolites? How does this absurdity correspond with the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures? Why did Montessori acknowledge another name for angels - i.e., devas? Why did she write "according to the religion we profess"? As a Catholic educator, it was her duty to promote the Catholic faith, not religious indifferentism (which the Church teaches is a sin). When and if necessary to acknowledge other "beliefs" (as opposed to truths), the opportunity to charitably clarify those truths should have been included.

Montessori told children that beautiful plants evolved from algae, moss, etc: "The evolution of plants of earth is estimated to have taken about 300,000,000 years, from algae, mosses and lichens, through ferns to ever more complex forms of strength and beauty." And children were, and are, to believe this nonsense just because Montessori said so?

Monetessori told children that birds evolved from monsters: "If evolution just meant growth, how could sweet birds have come from ferocious monsters, joint-heirs of their kingdom? Nature evolved by strengthening what had been a weak point in animal behavior, bestowing the new energy called Love. This was to be a powerful passion as long as it dominated, able to make a small bird forget fear and care for self. Significantly it goes with warmth of blood."

Montessori told children that the earth was beautiful - so beautiful that the monsters had to go: "The earth must have been truly beautiful, and monsters in their gross stupidity and ugliness were unfit for it. Some tried 'slimming,' shortened their legs and managed to survive, especially those who had the intelligence to turn themselves into snakes. Those who were too lazy to make the effort to adapt themselves had just to perish. Snakes were the lineal descendants of dragons and were not poisonous before the advent of man."

Are you also recognizing those waving Red Flags, dear Reader?

Now for Montessori's story about the appearance of mankind: "The earth was trembling with expectancy and glad foreboding. Her heart moved in sympathy with creation's joy; tremors ran through her frame and emotional tears coursed through her in new streams...she was moved throughout her whole being to feel the near approach of man, her destined lord, and gifts were brought forth in new abundance for his use...all kinds of metal that the earth had been preparing in her laboratories were brought to the surface and deposited...of this largesse of mineral wealth, India received in rich measure, as the scene of earth's greatest emotion...Earth greeted her son with joy,but offered him toil, no enfeebling ease!" (My observation: In other words, mankind is the child of Mother Earth!)

Montessori told children her version of the purpose of man's existence, yet she made no mention of the Catholic Church's clear teachings that we were created "to know, love and serve God so that we might be happy with Him in heaven." Instead, Montessori wrote:

"Man, too, like all beings, has the two purposes, conscious and unconscious. He is conscious of his own intellectual and physical needs, and of the claims on him of society and civilisation. He believes in fighting for himself, his family and nation, but has yet to become conscious of his far deeper responsibilities to a cosmic task, his collaboration with others in work for his environment...Victory in self-fulfillment can only come to the All, and to secure it some are content to sacrifice their own progress towards perfection of form, remaining inferior and humble workers, like the corals, or static usefulness. Other species, having unconsciously reached their limit of usefulness and being unable to adapt themselves to conditions making new demands on them, disappear from the ranks of life in which only the obedient and disciplined will continue to march, to the joyful music of the Song of Life."

Cosmic task? The "All"? The Song of Life? What do these terms mean? They certainly are not Catholic terms. In light of their context, they are NOT intended to be Catholic.

There is more, and there are other Montessori books, but I trust the few excerpts above will inspire the prudent to further study Montessori - in her own words.~ MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 20:55 EST
Updated: January 31, 2004 22:29 EST
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November 2, 2003
Is There Life After Homeschooling?

Keeping It Catholic Email List members have brought the following article to my attention. It is an article you might want to keep handy and ready the next time anyone asks you one of those "S" questions about your homeschooling endeavors. :> (By the way, all emphasis below is mine.) -MCB

---------------------------------------------

Largest-Ever Study on Homeschooling Reveals Very Positive Outcomes

Salem, Oregon, Oct. 30 (LifesiteNews.com/CWN)

Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute has just released the largest-ever study looking at the lives of over 7,000 adults from across the United States who were home educated during their elementary and secondary school years. "For nearly 20 years, critics and the curious have been asking about the homeschooled: But how will they do in the 'real world' of adulthood? As a corollary, they have also asked: What about socialization?" asked Ray. The study entitled, Home Educated and Now Adults, answers those questions.

A summary of the findings by the Home School Legal Defense Association which funded the study indicates that homeschoolers attain more post-secondary education than do their non-homeschooled peers. Over 74 percent of home-educated adults ages 18-24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46 percent of the general US population.

An astounding 95 percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed are glad that they were homeschooled. In the opinion of the homeschool graduates, homeschooling has not hindered them in their careers or education. Eighty-two percent would homeschool their own children. Of the 812 study participants who had children age 5 or older, 74 percent were already homeschooling.

Addressing one of the most important issues for many parents -- happiness for their children -- the study indicates that 59 percent of the subjects reported that they were "very happy" with life, while only 27.6 percent of the general population is "very happy" with life.

With regard to the transmission of faith from parents to children-- a major reason why many families homeschool, 94 percent of the homeschooled adults agreed with the statement, "My religious beliefs are basically the same as those of my parents."P>

Only 4.2 percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35 percent of US adults. The study found much greater political involvement of adults who were homeschooled. Seventy-six percent of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18-24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29 percent of the same US population. The numbers of homeschool graduates who vote are even greater in the older age brackets, with voting levels not falling below 95 percent, compared to a high of 53 percent for the corresponding US populace.


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 07:53 EST
Updated: November 2, 2003 08:22 EST
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November 1, 2003
Rosary Novena: From All Saints to Christmas Eve

It's been a few weeks since I last posted to the KIC weblog. During that time, the entire KIC email list was keeping long-distance vigil with Terri Schindler Schiavo, posting updates to each other, emailing Florida reps and continually praying for Terri's intentions.


While we were relieved at the reprieve provided via Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, we all realize the fight for Terri's RIGHT TO LIVE is not yet over.
In the meantime, we continue to keep vigil.


Today, November 1 (All Saints' Day and a First Saturday), the KIC list begins yet another 54 Day Rosary Novena. It will conclude on December 24, Christmas Eve.


We began the 54 Day Rosary Novena on KIC many years ago and it has become a "custom" among our email list members. We are happy to say that, as some members began their own email lists, the "custom" of announcing another Novena and listing members' intentions also went with them, for the Rosary is the most powerful prayer on earth. St. Padre Pio said that Our Lady's Rosary is "the weapon" against our adversary, the devil, especially during these evil times.


Our current Rosary Prayer intentions are as follows:


1. For the collegial consecration of Russia, to be done exactly as requested by Our Lady of Fatima


2. For Terri Schindler-Schiavo, that God grants her a morally superior legal guardian (preferably her parents), continues to preserve her life and protect her against those who would take her life or harm her in any way


3. For the intentions of all of KIC members, their family, friends and associates


4. For the poor souls in purgatory



~MCB

Posted by catholic_homeschool at 12:31 EST
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October 17, 2003
Terri Schindler Schiavo: Not a Blitz But a Blackout

With the exception of Free Republic, Seattle Catholic, Terri's Fight, and World Net Daily, I've seen no other influential media coverage on Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the young Florida woman unjustly condemned to die by dehydration and starvation - solely by the will of her legal husband, Michael Schiavo.

And while Catholics may be angered that no secular newspapers are covering the case, we should be shocked that our "mainstream" Catholic luminaries have, for all intents and purposes, remained silent about Terri on their websites, radio shows and television broadcasts. If I had my own Catholic television or radio show, I would, at the very least, publicly keep vigil with Terri, begging viewers or listeners to call their bishops, senators, the President - anyone who could possibly intervene on Terri's behalf. This is what I expected to see and hear via our Catholic media...but I did not.

Where is the mainstream Catholic media blitz? Where are all the Catholic "pro-life" groups now? Why aren't they covering the vigil outside of Terri's hospice and broadcasting it on EWTN? Why is there not round-the-clock coverage on every Catholic television and radio station? Why are they not interviewing her parents and siblings? Why aren't they networking with each other - as they can and often do - to get this information to the general public? Why did they have no course of action ready - like a pilgrimage to the hospice where Terri is forced to abide? Why have they not converged on our bishops, on Governor Jeb Bush, and even the Holy Father himself to demand Terri's right to life?

There is no Catholic media blitz - but there is a blackout. Why?

Terri, may Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, and St. Michael the Archangel, our protector against the snares of the devil, be at your side and protect your physical life just as they have guarded your spiritual journey all these years. May they sustain your parents and siblings in their moral courage as they stand with you as you carry your cross. Dear little sister in Christ, I pray to God that He delivers you from the hands of your enemies and safely into the hands of your family who loves you.~ MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 00:28 EDT
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October 13, 2003
CBS: Homeschooling Equal to Child Abuse?

This just in from a KIC Contact:

The "homeschooling special" advertised at the CBS link below is "planned to air on Monday and Tuesday, October 13-14. There needs to be a response. How many of the kids involved in school shootings are homeschoolers? How many of today's prisoners are homeschoolers? How many of today's welfare recipients were homeschooled? How many of those accused of being homeschoolers and committing crimes are actually parents of preschoolers? But how many of today's winners of geography and spelling bees, etc are homeschoolers?"

"Following discussions that Hal Young, the president of NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) had on Friday with the CBS Evening News producer, it is anticipated that CBS will be running a 2 part series on Monday & Tuesday evening on homeschooling (The report is already complete, but be mindful that other news may possibly preempt it)."

"This report is expected to focus on the handful of child abuse cases over the past 5 to 10 years involving 'presumed homeschoolers' including the murder/suicide of 'non-homeschooled homeschoolers' in Johnston County, NC two years ago. The CBS reporters will be highlighting various murders, suicides, etc. involving 'homeschoolers' nationwide and will attempt to argue that 'Homeschooling is out of control.' The woman producer stated directly to Hal that he 'would not be pleased with the report,' and that the intent of the report is to encourage further state and federal government regulation of homeschooling."

Check CBS News and email them for further information regarding this planned television broadcast. Better yet, if you have a television, privately tape the CBS broadcast so you can review it as needed - or in the event you feel a need to respond to CBS. - MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 08:51 EDT
Updated: October 13, 2003 09:19 EDT
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October 8, 2003
Blessed Are We - A New Red Flag

At first glance, "Blessed Are We," a catechetical program by Silver Burdett Ginn, seems like it will meet the mark. However, after taking a closer look at its scope and sequence, one will recognize quite a few Red Flags.

Dear Readers, I hope you don't mind my sharing with you that I possess a unique perspective on these catechetical programs, since I have written "copy" for various publishers, including those who are striving to "update" their catechetical programs. Unfortunately, nothing has changed in the "politically correct department" of these publishing houses, and it is that department that hold the reins.

My original viewpoint as a catechetical contributor was one of hope. However, catechetical writers who are actually practicing, knowledgable Catholics are practically forced to express the truths of the Catholic faith in certain terms; if that does not happen, our phrasing is edited (i.e., it is diluted). Furthermore, and most distressing of all, not all catechetical writers (much less the editors) are even Catholic! Yet, in the end product, there is just enough of the truth featured, providing a nice Catholic facade for those who tend to just "glance over" these programs. (As for me, it was a good learning opportunity, and it greatly assisted me as an educator and a reviewer to experience first-hand the "inside development" of such programs.)

First of all, Silver Burdett Ginn is now a part of Scott Foresman, a secular educational company. (This fact lends further proof to my own observations and experiences that those who control the reigns to catechetical programs are secularists, if not outright progressives, liberals or modernists. )

The focus of "Blessed are We" may be summed up as follows: community, service and social justice. The program aims to "respect diversity, working for social justice on a global scale and teaching effective skills of dialogue, negotiation and non-violent ways to bring about change."

The following is an overview of the first six levels, revealing some of the program's Red Flags:

Baptism is a "celebration of becoming a member of the Christian community." (Notice that baptism is no longer about washing away Original Sin and thus becoming a child of God; instead, the focus is on "the community.")

"Recognize God's image in each person" (rather than clearly explaining that we are made in God's Image and explaining what that means, the change in terms is misleading and can easily lead to a belief in pantheism.)

The Church is defined as a " a world community of all kinds of people." (Compare this definition to that found in the Baltimore Catechism!)

The Apostle's Creed is "a set of beliefs" (i.e., not necessarily defined TRUTHS.)

Confession is termed only as "reconciliation," and little or nothing is said about repentance and penance. Instead, through reconciliation, "we can celebrate God's forgiveness and re-establish our relationship with others, God and the church community. (Notice we "celebrate" - not attain - God's forgiveness for our sins through Confession and absolution. The focus is first on others, then God - a "twist" of the first Commandment as well as the Great Commandment.)

"Blessed Are We" also teaches, "Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are sacraments of healing which are meant to be celebrated primarily in community." (Since when are these sacraments primarily celebrated 'in community?" Thus, Confession is no longer a "private matter" between God, one's confessor and one's self. Extreme Unction is also a "community" event, but one would like to know "how" if one is sick and ailing, whether at home or in a hospital.) Unlike the Baltimore Catechism or Our Holy Faith, the sacraments are not described as sacraments of the living or the "spiritually" dead, since we can no longer acknowledge that venial sin wounds the grace in our souls or that mortal sin kills the life of grace within our souls.

Mass is introduced as "special meal that celebrates God's love for us." (It is no longer a Sacrifice, but a meal!) Later, there is an acknowledgement that Jesus is "truly present" at the Mass, but it is not made clear "how."

"Blessed Are We" acknowledges that Jesus leads us to God, but it is not made very clear that Jesus IS God. He is mentioned as "messiah, (small m) but His role is played down more to a level of another prophet. At other times, his (sic) "salvific mission" is mentioned. Most disturbing, especially once one gets to the lessons on ISLAM.

"Blessed are We" does not correctly teach the difference between respecting a person of a different religion, because that person is also made in God's image (not to mention that person's soul needs salvation through the Catholic Church) and his belief system; instead it teaches we must also "respect" a person's non-Catholic religion, with a special emphasis on respecting Islam. Furthermore, "Blessed Are We" does nothing positive for the student by presenting these "belief systems" since it does not correct them with true Catholic doctrine. Instead, it indoctrinates the student with the false viewpoint that other beliefs are acceptable, thus promoting the sin of religious indifferentism (i.e., the false belief that all religions are perceived as good and equal.)

Please allow me to provide a specific example (with all emphasis below mine), a very revealing excerpt from a "Blessed Are We" website, which states:

**********************************************

We are one with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Let us take it upon ourselves to become more knowledgeable and respectful of Muslims and Islam.

The content below was developed by Maureen Gallagher, Ph.D. Archdiocesan Delegate to Parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Adapt and integrate the content for use in the home, school, or parish.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Islam, Muslims, and Related Issues

This overview, by the nature of the format, is very cursory. You are encouraged to study the issues in much more depth and explore the resources named at the end of the questions.

1. What is Islam?

Islam is one of the great world religions. It was articulated by the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. The word `Islam' means submission--submission to the will of God--and is derived from a word meaning peace. The name given to God in Islam is Allah, which is the Arabic name for God.

2. Who are Muslims?

Muslims are people who practice the Islamic faith. Muslims are the second largest group of religious people in the world, next to Christians. Muslim people come from many races, nationalities and cultures. Many parts of the Asian and African world are Muslim. About 18% of Muslims live in the Middle Eastern Arab part of the world. However, it should be noted that all Arabs are not Muslims. Some are Christians and others practice other religions. Many African- Americans are Muslims as their original religion in Africa was Islam. Muslims do not see themselves as a "new religion," but rather the last stage of God's revelation that began with Abraham continued to Moses, Jesus and ultimately Muhammad. Many people of American and European descent have embraced Islam.

3. What do Muslims believe?

Muslims believe in One God. They often use the words, One, Unique, Incomparable God. They believe in angels and in the prophets through whom God's revelations were made known. Muslims believe in life after death and in accountability for one's actions.

4. Do Muslims believe in Jesus Christ

Muslims believe Jesus Christ was a great prophet. They do not believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, the son of God.

5. Is there any connection between Muslims and Christianity?

Muslims trace their origins back to Abraham as do Jews and Christians. They believe that Muhammad, their great prophet, was descended from Abraham's son Ishmael and that Moses and Jesus were descendents of Isaac. Muslims believe in many of the prophets of the Old or First Testament as well as in the prophetic mission of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.

6. Who was Muhammad?

Muhammad was born in 570 and orphaned as a young child. As he grew up people noticed that he was a truthful, generous and sincere person. He was deeply religious and contemplative. He was known as a fair arbitrator. According to Islamic belief when Muhammad was forty years old he received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. His revelations continued for 23 years. The revelations were written down and formed the Islamic holy book or Qur'an (Koran). The Qur'an has passages very similar to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, plus unique revelations that Muhammad received.

7. Do Christians believe in Muhammad?

Christians recognize Muhammad as a great religious leader. The Catholic Church has a high regard for Muslims.

8. How do Muslims practice their religion?

There are five pillars in Islam:

One: The Creed The creed is very simple. Basically, it is as follows: There is no god except God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Two: Prayer Prayer is central to Muslim religious practice. Muslims pray five times a day: dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Muslims pray in mosques or wherever they are. The prayers are based on the Qur'an and said in Arabic, although personal petitions are said in the vernacular.

Three: Fasting During the month of Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn until sundown as a means of purification and as a way of identifying with the hungry of the world. The Muslim calendar is based on a lunar year. This year Ramadan begins toward the end of November.

Four: Purifying Tax (Zakat) Muslims believe that all things belong to God and that possessions are a trust given to people. The "Purifying Tax" is a way of exercising detachment from things as well as a way of providing for the poor. It is similar to the concept of stewardship or tithing in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Five: Pilgrimage The journey to Mecca is required once in a life time, if it is possible. Mecca is in Saudi Arabia.

9. What are some other things unique to Muslims?

Muslims are restricted from eating pork or drinking alcoholic drinks. Their weekly holy day is Friday. They worship in mosques. Three mosques are particularly important: Mosque of Kaaba in Mecca, Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina and Masjid Aqsa, next to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

10. What have Muslims contributed to the quality of life in the world?

Since the early centuries of Islam, Muslims have made significant contributions to society in the fields of medicine, chemistry, mathematics, arts, poetry, spirituality and physics. Two well known landmarks in Chicago, the Sears Tower and the John Hancock building were designed by a Muslim architect.

11. Why is it that some people associate terrorism with Islam and Muslims?

There are small groups of Muslims who have distorted the practice of Islam and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad by choosing terror and violence as a means of fighting perceived injustice. They are extremists. This does not mean that all Muslims are violent killers. The vast majority of Muslims oppose these violent acts. Just because some Catholics and Protestants act violently in Northern Ireland does not mean all Catholics and Protestants are violent. Most Christians and Muslims live throughout the world in peace and harmony with their neighbors. There are approximately 7,000,000 Muslims living as good neighbors in the United States today.

12. What is the Taliban that we hear so much about these days?

The Taliban currently rules most of Afghanistan. The country has been torn by civil war for the last thirty years. The rise of the Taliban and the United States' role in this is complicated. The word, `Taliban' in Arabic means "seekers of truth." The Taliban is an extremist Islamic group that controls ninety percent of Afghanistan. Their interpretation of Islam is not shared by the majority of Islamic people. Under their interpretation of the "truth," television, dance, film, playing cards, chessboards, fashion catalogues, neckties, photography, kite-flying, non-religious music have been banned. Women cannot attend school or work and generally receive little or no medical care. Famous statues of the giant Buddhas have been destroyed. The majority of Islamic scholars call the Taliban interpretation of Islam a gross distortion.

13. What are the causes of terrorism?

There is no easy answer to this question. Many acts of terrorism are rooted in the experience of oppression and social injustice. Terrorists choose to use violence to eradicate injustice rather than political processes or non-violent approaches as Ghandi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did.

14. How can terrorism be eliminated?

Terrorism can be eliminated by helping all people respect diversity, working for social justice on a global scale and teaching effective skills of dialogue, negotiation and non-violent ways to bring about change. We must also continue to promote the sanctity and basic dignity of all human beings in such a way that we grow in a global respect and promotion of human dignity.

15. As Catholics what should our attitude and our relationship to Muslims be?

Nowhere is this better stated than in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council:

"The Church has ... a high regard for Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God's plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet. They honor his virgin Mother and even at times devoutly invoke her. They highly esteem an upright life and worship God especially by way of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims. The sacred Council now pleads with all to forget the past, and urges that a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding; for the benefit of all, let them together preserve and promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values." (Nostra Aetate 3)

***********************************************

The info above comes from Blessed Are We. Once at the website, click on The Resource page, which features a paragraph about links, including the one about Islam.

~MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 23:52 EDT
Updated: October 9, 2003 00:19 EDT
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October 7, 2003
England's New Grading System: Politically Correct to the "N" Degree

Another NEWS submission sent by a KIC contact via email:

(From Fox News).

'Bonkers'

Students in England will no longer "fail" national standardized tests under new guidelines issued by the government, reports the Lincolnshire Echo.

They will instead get an "N" grade for "nearly." People who grade tests have also been instructed to stop marking math questions as right or wrong, but instead use the terms "creditworthy" or "not creditworthy."

The new guidelines come from the government's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. They cover English, math and science exams taken by 7-, 11- and 14-year-olds in all state schools and some private schools.

Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, described the changes as "political correctness gone stark raving bonkers."


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 21:12 EDT
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FROM KIC's EMAIL BOX: Guidelines - Diocese of Youngstown OH

LOCAL FEATURES

Original article date: Friday, December 06, 2002

Guidelines on religious ed homeschooling are issued

By Susan K. Virgalitte

Diocesan parishes and families in the diocese who choose to homeschool their children in religious education now have guidelines outlining their mutual rights and responsibilities.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has issued a letter to all parish priests and religious education staff members, asking them to support families who choose to homeschool their children's religious education. A new brochure, "Guidelines for Home-Based Catechesis," is the joint project of the diocesan Offices of Catholic Schools and Religious Education and is now available to all parishes and families. The bishop asked diocesan staff to develop the guidelines for such families.

The new diocesan guidelines are intended to help homeschooling families, whether those families homeschool in all subjects or only in religion. "The right and responsibility to provide home-based catechesis [religious education] should be respected and supported in our Catholic Church," Bishop Tobin wrote in a recent letter to all parishes. The bishop asked pastors and parish religious education personnel to "make every effort to continue to support all parents as the primary catechists of their children, and in a special way, to affirm and respect parents who have chosen homeschooling."

Bishop Tobin asked parents who homeschool their children in religious education to participate fully in the life of their parish through weekly Mass, devotions, and apostolic works of the parish. He also advised them to stay in regular communication with parish staff and participate in opportunities for adult faith formation and sacramental preparation of their children.

The new brochure sets out the responsibilities of parents and guardians, as well as those of pastors and catechetical leaders at the parish. It also sets forth guidelines for preparing children to celebrate the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation, and includes quotations from various Catholic documents which affirm parents as the first teachers of their children.

Barbara Walko, director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, said that the diocese has always supported families who choose to homeschool their children in religion, and all previous guidelines regarding elementary religious education have included those parents who choose to homeschool. "This brochure is new," she said, "but its content is a reflection of current practices and gives priority to recognizing the important role that parents play in the faith development of their children."

Parents who choose to homeschool their children in religion are asked to contact their parish and tell their pastor or his staff of their decision. Parents are also encouraged to implement the diocesan Curriculum for Catechesis in their home lessons and to choose religion texts and other resources from those approved by the diocesan Office of Religious Education. Finally, homeschooled children and their parents are required to participate in parish preparations for the reception of sacraments.

Pastors and parish staffs are encouraged to identify and communicate regularly with homeschooling families, provide them with resources, and invite them to participate in adult education and other parish functions. Of particular importance is the celebration of sacraments. The guidelines state explicitly that the immediate preparation for reception of the sacraments "is the responsibility of the parish community, directed by the pastor and his delegates," and that the sacraments are to be celebrated with the entire parish community present. Therefore, even those children who are normally homeschooled in religion would participate in sacramental preparation and in the actual celebration of sacraments with their peers in the parish.

"All parents catechize their children, whether they do it well or poorly, whether they do it with the support of the parish catechesis program or the Catholic school, or choose to be the only catechists of the children," Ms. Walko said. "All parents, by their very lives, witness to the importance of God in their families, homes and lives. We wanted to affirm the parents' role and their rights and responsibilities, and encourage mutual collaboration between the parishes and the homes."

The original article is at the website for the Diocese of Youngstown, OH.


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 20:46 EDT
Updated: October 7, 2003 21:13 EDT
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October 1, 2003
A "Catholic" Answer?

Finally, we get to another article published in The Catholic Answer on the topic of homeschooling, written by Msgr. Hettinger, a retired priest of the Diocese of Peoria, IL who holds a licentiate in canon law and served in various capacities in the diocesan tribunal, including judicial vicar.

Introducing Msgr. Hettinger's article was a note from the editor (Fr. Stravinskas) in which he revealed that the responses to his own homeschooling comments (see the post immediately below) were "massive, indeed." He stated that he had never before received such a "volume of mail on one answer except to my remarks on Medjugorje. Interestingly, the tenor of the correspondence was quite similar - angry, disrespectful and anti-clerical."

Regrettably, not one of those "angry, disrespectful, anti-clerical" letters out of the "massive amount" received by Fr. Stravinskas was published.

Fr. Stravinskas then made what certainly appears to be a very self- serving observation that there was "one" exception to all the responses, "a woman who expressed her hurt about my attitude, but indicated a desire to be enlightened according to the mind of the Church. To help her and any other HONEST seekers (emphasis KIC's), we are publishing this brief article." What is most disconcerting is that Fr. makes his opinion equivalent to the "mind of the Church."

What followed was simply an updated version of Msgr. Hettinger's views on Canon Law in regard to homeschooling. To sum up Msgr.'s interpretations of canon law, parents have no right to make any judgments on the "Catholicity" of a parochial school, and there is nothing in the canons that allow for homeschooling. (KIC NOTE: Neither is there anything in the canons which forbids homeschooling.)

Of special interest are the following excerpts that lead up to Msgr.'s opinion that, in what he terms "exceptional" or "borderline" cases, parents should seek a "dispensation" to homeschool. This means that, in Msgr.'s view, only a few parents might consider homeschooling but, before they do, they should seek a "dispensation" from the Church (i.e., the bishop of their diocese).

After quoting from Canon 226.2, "Because they gave life to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the right to education them" and Canon 793.1, "Parents, and those who take their place, have both the obligation and the right to educate their children...And the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the Catholic education of their children," Msgr. Hettinger continues:

"Despite first appearances, however, parents do not have carte blanche for homeschooling any more than they have for public schooling. Canon 226.2 states, 'It is therefore primarily the responsibility of Christian parents to ensure the education of their children in accordance with the teaching of the Church.' To be in accordance with the teaching of the Church means to be submissive to te Church. There is, though, a Church-parent partnership: 'Because the Church has generated new creatures through Baptism, she together with the parents have the duty to care for offspring's Catholic education (ORIENTAL Code, Canon 628.1)"(all emphasis KIC's)

(KIC Note: Interestingly, while Msgr. expresses one opinion above - that parents do not have carte blanche to homeschool, "any more than they have for public schooling" - he did NOT pronounce the Church practice, never officially abrogated, that parents who wish to place their children in a public school must seek permission from their local bishop. Considering that the ratio of Catholic students attending public schools is much higher than those who are homeschooled, one wonders why Msgr. is not much more interested in promoting that teaching.)

Other excerpts of interest include the following:

---"Canon 797 points out parents' rights to enjoy true freedom in the choice of schools, but NOT THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE BETWEEN SCHOOL AND HOMESCHOOLING."(All emphasis KIC's)

---"Canon 798 states the general obligation to use Catholic schools: 'Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their Catholic education.' The Church presumes (KIC emphasis) that such schools present orthodox Catholic teaching. If one thinks this is not the case, the remedy is not to remove the children from the school. It's your school. Fight for it. Go for relief first to the school authority and then, if necessary, to the diocese."

---"Canon 798 also gives a general directive for exceptional cases, where no Catholic schools are available: 'If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper Catholic education of their children outside the school.' If they cannot, the principles on physical and moral impossibility need to be implied. Canon 798 NEITHER AUTHORIZES PARENTS TO MAKE A JUDGMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF A SCHOOL TO PROVIDE A FULLY CATHOLIC EDUCATION NOR OFFERS A OPTION TO SUBSTITUTE HOMESCHOOLING. The law imposes a reasonably limited, but serious obligation. In borderline cases, where the existence of moral impossibility is doubtful, requesting a DISPENSATION would be the solution." (All emphasis KIC's)

And finally, the conclusion of the article:

---"Canon 212 suggests (KIC emphasis) action which any Catholic can take in battling for his or her school. While 212.1 calls for 'Christian obedience' to the diocesan bishop, 212.2 gives everyone of the faithful the right to reveal to the bishop their concerns about spiritual matters and even their desires. The parochial school might be such a concern."(All emphasis KIC's)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Homeschoolers might carefully consider the opinions of these two priests in regard to homeschooling, and ask themselves why Fr. Stravinskas, as editor of The Catholic Answer, chose to continue the debate over homeschooling after the topic came up in the November/December 2002 issue.

Might Fr. Stravinskas be "lifting the veil" a bit about some unknown plans for homeschoolers in regard to "dispensations"? Let's not forget the increasing role of "homeschool sacramental guidelines," kick-started by the 1995 NCEA homeschooling survey results that were, as a majority, not favorable toward homeschooling.

In case you haven't seen it yet, you might want to read my 1995 article on that homeschooling survey, entitled What Your Diocese Had to Say to the NCEA.

~ MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 00:19 EDT
Updated: April 30, 2005 11:12 EDT
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September 30, 2003
Fr. Stravinskas' Problems with Homeschooling

Lynn's letter evoked a revealing response by Fr. Stravinskas, which was published in the same issue of The Catholic Answer (May/June 2003). Immediately following Fr. Stravinskas' response to Lynn was an article by Msgr. Clarence Hettinger, which appears to be a "back up" of Fr. Stravinskas' opinions in the form of Msgr.'s interpretations of Canon Law. Excerpts of that article, entitled "Canon Law on Homeschooling," will follow shortly.

Fr. Stravinskas began his response by informing Lynn that he printed her letter "because it encapsulates so much of what I find problematic in so much of the homeschooling movement." He then summarized his viewpoints, using Lynn's reasons for homeschooling as the excuse to condemn homeschooling in general. Father's summary was made up of nine points.

To quote excerpts from this public, published reply from a Catholic priest, who "should" - as an "alter Christus" - always respond with wisdom, understanding, prudence, and, above all, charity:

-----------------------------------------------

"1. Coming across loud and clear is an attitude which suggests that you and your husband (and family) are better than the rest of the sinners in your parish. Proof of that fact is that you participate in weekly Eucharistic Adoration and practice NFP..."

"2. Doing things 'on the spur of the moment' is not particularly conducive to the development of healthy patterns of behavior for life. Discipline and routine must be learned at any early age. The great failure of so much nonsense that passed for education in the 1970's was imbued with the same psychology you are espousing now: Johny should feel free to do what he wants when he wants. You're just adding your own whims to Johny's."

"3. You assert that if you had 'even the most orthodox Catholic school' you would not use it. That is disobedience to the will and law of the Church. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council...are eminently clear on this point: Catholic schools are to be used by Catholic parents whenever and wherever such schools are available."

"4. You speak of 'hand[ing] over' your children to the Church as though she is a monster who cannot be trusted. A truly Catholic attitude sees the Church as the family of God. Indeed, the family of the Christian home obtains its identity from the family, which is the whole Church - not the other way around. I would speak of 'handing over' children to an institution I did not trust (like a government school) but not to that body which Sacred Scripture tells us is our Mother and Christ's bride. It is not an accident that Catholics refer to their full-time workers in the apostolate by family names (Father, Sister, Brother, Mother), thus underscoring that all life in the Church is essentially familial. That notion never surfaces in your comments."

"5. Regarding daily Mass for grade-school children, I would make two points. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I never heard of children being taken to church every day or even once a week....Personally (both as a priest and an educational psychologist), I am not at all in favor of daily Mass for little ones. I do favor making it available for those in junior and high school. Familiarity breeds contempt, in my judgment and experience."

"6. You speak of some homeschoolers as being 'independent-minded.' With all due respect, I must say that the entire tone of your presentation is nothing but 'independent-minded.' You say that you don't want to be alienated from the bigger community of the Church, but apparently the way that should happen is by everybody else coming around to support your agenda. That's independence, writ large, in my estimation - a rather Protestant trait, too."

"7. Your criteria for even considering a Catholic school have no correspondence to reality...St. Thomas More wrote a book about a place he called 'Utopia': it seems you wish to create it in your own set of circumstances."

"8. If Catholic elementary and secondary schools are such a source of temptation to apostasy, why would you even be interested in Catholic institutions of higher learning, which, objectively speaking, have caused serious difficulties in all too many places over the past 35 years? While I nearly unconditionally recommend Catholic grade and high schools, I am always much more cautious at the next level because of the track record..."

"9. Finally, as regards The Catholic University of America...some of your concerns strike me as odd. What's wrong with discussing evolution? The Pope himself has talked about it freely and positively (within the proper parameters). The government doesn't force (and can't force) a professor to discuss a topic he doesn't wish to entertain. When I was a high school administrator, dances were the bane of my existence...I did everything possible to stave off "bump and grind" displays, but every so often "even Homer nods." Again, that's a part of life in an imperfect word and, yes, to some degree, an IMPERFECT CHURCH." (emphasis KIC's).


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 23:43 EDT
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"Lynn's Letter" on Homeschooling

It appears that an article entitled "In Search of an Authentic Commitment to Education (Nov/Dec 2002 issue of The Catholic Answer) by Fr. Vincent Rogers (since found guilty of soliciting prostitution; see preceding post) was the catalyst for a homeschooling mother's email letter to the magazine. The mother's only desire was to explain why she and her husband chose to homeschool. The lady's name was provided in the magazine, but we will only identify her here as "Lynn."

In the first paragraph of her letter, Lynn wrote that she wished to respond to Fr. Rogers' comment, "The home schoolers seem unwilling to entrust their kids to my parish school, which is authentically Catholic, even though their original justification for yanking (sic) their kids from Catholic schools or never putting them in to begin with was that the Catholic schools weren't really Catholic. So why don't they send their children to a parish school like mine?"

Unfortunately, sincere as Lynn was, her reasons for homeschooling were not exactly the "cream of the crop" or "water tight" examples to share with an editor - in this case, a Catholic priest - who was already hostile to the idea of homeschooling.

As will be seen when one reads Lynn's letter, she made no explicit mention of Church teaching, the role of parents as the primary (meaning "above" all others) educators, etc. That said, I defend the lady for the three following reasons: she has every right to homeschool, she sounded sincere and she wrote politely. However, the "honey of kindness" was not returned. In fact, one might ponder if Lynn's letter was printed out of the many received in response to Fr. Rogers' previous article simply because she left too many "loopholes" and it appears that Fr. Stravinskas, editor of The Catholic Answer, could not resist to take advantage.

"Lynn's Letter" on Homeschooling

Before sharing the following letter as it appeared in May/June 2003 issue of The Catholic Answer, I wish to make it clear that I do not agree with Lynn in every circumstance, especially her agreement with Fr. Rogers that "loyalty to the Catholic faith takes a back burner to loyalty to the parish or school" or her view of what homeschooling (i.e., Catholic education) is or isn't about.

That said, Lynn's letter is shared below, to be later followed by excerpts of responses from Fr. Stravinskas and Msgr. Hettinger.

~ MCB

----------------------------------------------

From the "Class Debate" column of "The Catholic Answer," May/June 2003 issue.

Q. This letter is in response to "In Search of an Authentic Commitment to Education" (November/December 2002), by Father Vincent Rogers. I enjoyed his article and agree that (1) loyalty to the Catholic faith takes a back burner to loyalty to the parish or school, and (2) parents are uncomfortable when their children's level of obedience to the Faith begins to supercede theirs. I would like to respond to the following Father Rogers comment: "The home schoolers seem unwilling to entrust their kids to my parish school, which is authentically Catholic, even though their original justification for yanking their kids from Catholic schools or never putting them in to begin with was that the Catholic schools weren't really Catholic. So why don't they send their children to a parish school like mine?"

Born in 1962, I am the product of public schools and reputable universities. I am the mother of six homeschooled children. We began homeschooling our first grader in 1994, after he spent one year in the public school. Overcrowding, mediocrity, inadequate socialization and insincerity provided the impetus to begin homeschooling. As for Catholic schools: conformity, possibly slighter academics and a different type of socialization occurred.

As a couple who practiced natural family planning, attended Mass and adoration at least once a week, and had five children, I was not sure of what value the parochial school offered. What started out as an academic endeavor turned into a family adventure. We were able to volunteer during the day, visit ill or needy friends, and take vacations when we wanted. My husband and high school son were able to attend a Wanderer Forum conference on a Friday in November because we have the flexibility of homeschooling.

Homeschooling is not about shielding our children from institutions that do not serve us well; it is about deepening the family bond. We are likely to develop a special relationship with God if we can first accomplish healthy relationships within the family.

During the past two years, our spirituality and religious practices have become important. My husband and I believe that if we had the most orthodox Catholic school in our neighborhood, we would not enroll our children and here is why: Our relationship with our children and with God will be stronger if we journey in the Faith and in life together. If I delegate this responsibility to others, I would have no need or reason for immersing myself in the Faith like I am doing now.

We must solicit the help of our priests and community to aid us in our job as primary educators, but we should not hand our children over to them. Sometimes I've felt that an additional weekly Mass is not enough. What about attending Mass during the week on a particular saint's day, for a special intention, or on the spur of the moment? You can't do that if your child is enrolled in a Catholic school.

We are able to choose from three daily Masses, and we can go to weekly confession on Wednesdays. My goal right now is to attend daily Mass once a week and, as my newborn grows older and I achieve a better balance in my life, I want to attend Mass every day. Receiving the Eucharist is one of the greatest gifts of our Faith.

I've always wondered why Catholic-school students do not attend Mass every day. It seems convenient enough if the church is located on the grounds of the school.

Homeschoolers must utilize resources if they are to be successful. Although many homeschool families are independent-minded, we are social creatures who do not want to be isolated or alienated from our parishes. I view homeschoolers not as people who are "over there doing their own thing," but families who have simply made different choices, based on a personal vision or as a result of special circumstances (such as disabled or gifted children).

We did not "yank" our kids from an inadequate schooling system. Rather, we desire excellence and strive to live out our unique family mission. It's not that I don't trust certain schools, but we approach our home-schooling efforts very passionately and have found this lifestyle very rewarding and filled with love. I don't think I could say that if I were sending my children to any school for a majority of the day.

Under what circumstances would I send my children to a Catholic school? The instructors would have to be competent and traditional; the class size could not exceed seven or eight; the school day would be no more than three hours; there would be minimal behavioral problems or class disruptions; and the children would come from families with a deep commitment to the Faith.

P.S. Suggestion for a future topic: Catholic colleges. After reading the book "The Snakebite Letters" by Peter Kreeft, and investigating the value of Catholic colleges, my husband and I wonder if those institutions will provide moral and academic excellence for our children. Of what value is a Catholic school if our children gain superior academic training while losing their virginity?

A homeschooling friend of mine has her freshman daughter enrolled in The Catholic University of America and told me that during the first week of classes (1) the priest-professor was required to present a discussion on evolution (I think because the university accepts funding which requires them to say things contrary to the Faith), and (2) the first student dance included the "bump and grind" - a very suggestive, immodest dance. I am no puritan or prude, but I do not care to donate $30,000 a year where this is part of the culture.

---Lynn M. G, via email


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 23:32 EDT
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Is Homeschooling Disobedient to the Church?

While at the 2003 June IHM conference, I was asked various questions in regard to homeschooling, but there was one inquiry that took me by surprise. That question was basically, "Are we disobedient to homeschool if there is a Catholic school in our area?" I soon found out why I was asked that particular question when the parents made quick reference to an article that appeared in print shortly before the conference. Since I had not seen the article, I couldn't make any commentary on it itself, although I was quick to assure parents that, of course, they are not acting in opposition to God's Will or that of His Church when they homeschool their children, providing some examples of Church teaching in regard to the Sacrament of Matrimony, Canon Law, etc.

It turns out that the May/June 2003 issue of the magazine The Catholic Answer (not to be confused with Catholic Answers) tackled the question of homeschooling, according to the opinions of Fr. Peter Stravinskas, the editor of The Catholic Answer and Monsignor Hettinger, who is, according to the accompanying bio line, a "retired priest of the Diocese of Peoria, IL, holds a licentiate in canon law and served in various appointments in the diocesan tribunal, including judicial vicar." The "anti-homeschooling" opinions of The Catholic Answer surfaced in its November/December 2002 issue with an article by Fr. Vince M. Rogers (who has since been found guilty of patronizing prostitution, according to The Catholic Key, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Vol. 35, No. 25, July 2003).

Before continuing any further with the newest info, below is a "Special Notice" sent to KIC email list in March 2001. It is provided as "introductory background information."

Msgr. Hettinger's Opinion: Excerpt from KIC Special Notice of March 2001

The Code of Canon Law "neither authorizes parents to make a judgment on the suitability of a school to provide a fully Catholic education nor provides an option to substitute homeschooling," wrote Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger from Peoria, IL, offering his opinion to the article "Home Schooling and Sacraments for Children," by Fr.Joseph C. Taphorn, published in the August/September 2000 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review (HPR).

Monsignor Hettinger's letter stated that Fr. Taphorn's "generally well-argued article" in favor of home education included an exposition of the "assistance from canon law," but that "Father [Taphorn] includes only canon 793 S1." Monsignor argued, "Many other canons involve parents, among which eight need to be included for the additional light they offer on the topic."

Monsignor's interpretation of Canon Law concerning parents and homeschooling is as follows:

"In the chapter on education, canon 796 S1 starts by stressing the great importance of schools in general and of parental input individually and collectively. Canon 796 S2 emphasizes teachers' obligation to cooperate closely with parents who might (emphasis KIC's) entrust their children to them and to listen to them willingly; parents may also set up associations, which teachers are to value highly."

"Canon 797 endows parents with the right to enjoy true freedom on the choice of schools, not the choice between school or homeschooling.(emphasis KIC's) This canon really is not an endorsement of homeschooling but a call to the State to acknowledge the right to the free choice of schools and to support that right with financial aid."

"This finds verification in canon 798, which obliges (emphasis KIC's) parents to entrust their children to a school that provides a Catholic education. The canon states a general obligation, per se (italics in the original) binding all parents. If in individual cases this is not possible, parents are to see to it that due religious and moral eduation is provided outside of a school. Here the principles on physical and moral impossibility need to be applied." (KIC NOTE: In other words, Monsignor is suggesting that parents must exhaust all avenues before even considering homeschooling their own children.)

"This canon neither authorizes parents to make a judgment on the suitability of a school to provide a fully Catholic education nor provides an option to substitute homeschooling. The law imposes a reasonably limited obligation, and excuse from the law depends on ecclesiastial authority (cf. can. 85). " (preceding emphasis KIC's)

"Canon 212 also comes into play here. While S1 calls for 'Christian obedience' to the diocesan bishop, S2 gives the faithful the right to reveal to him their concerns about spiritual matters and even their desires. According to S3, those who are gifted by God with truly special qualifications may be under obligation reverently to offer their opinion on a topic within their competence." (KIC NOTE: We request that readers re-read that last line very, very carefully.)

"Canon 799 seems (emphasis KIC's) to continue the topic of State intervention, placing on the faithful the obligation to strive for educational legislation that makes provision in the State's religious and moral education that respects their parents' consciences." (KIC Note: In other words, Monsignor Hettinger's interpretation of the canon mentioned above is as follows: parents are to do everything to fulfill their natural and sacramental obligation to provide their children with a Catholic education - through the State, yet- everything, that is, except homeschool their children.)

Monsignor continues, "My conclusion starts with canon 799 and the fact that Catholic parents are the primary educators of their own children in all matters, civil as well as religious. However, they necessarily live in society, ecclesiastical as well as civil, and, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, they share in the common human obligation to help make this world, including the local community, a better place to inhabit. An application of this is to dissatisifed parents; they should observe the principle of subsidiarity and first lay their concerns before the local authorities before taking recourse to the diocese. If the expression of one's desire in the matter does not receive the desired answer, this suggests that God's will is express in the Catechism citation: work to improve your Catholic school." (All emphasis is KIC's)

KIC's Additional Commentary: The monsignor is actually claiming that if parents get nowhere when they "lay their concerns before the local authority," then the negative response suggests that God wishes parents "to work to improve your Catholic school." With all due respect, Monsignor's "anti-homeschooling" argument and his "suggestions" are not reasonable.

Monsignor's response to Fr. Taphorn's article leaves the incredulous reader to wonder how he, a monsignor of the church, who has officiated at many sacramental marriages and should, therefore, understand the reasons for matrimony, could believe and write such statements. He mentions eight different canons that involve parents but he specifically addresses only those dealing with education, interprets them as he sees fit, and totally ignores the canons on the sacraments, specifically on marriage.

Considering that Monsignor publicly shared his opinion in early 2001 and reiterated it again in June 2003, the topic is not one easily dismissed - especially in light of the "sacramental guidelines" issue that any one of us might face locally. ~MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 23:08 EDT
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Aragorn - A Catholic Monarch?

Throughout the centuries, there have been many Catholics who have prophesied about this "Great Monarch" or, as some call him, the "Great Prince."

Think of the hope in the children's hearts today if they knew there was a Catholic prince like Aragorn somewhere on earth, under the protection of God, waiting to come into his own.

The prophesies regarding the great Catholic king-to-be indicate that he may be French or he may arise from France. Since the royal blood lines of Europe constantly intermingled, it is hard to tell what his "main" bloodline will be, even in the prophecies. However, studied as a whole, the various prophecies indicate Germany, France and England will play a key role in his life, either through bloodties or through events.

God gave us a "new" Adam and a "new" Eve with Our Lord and the Virgin Mother. He acts in the most mysterious and unexpected ways. Is it not possible that He will also reform the entire world through post-Christian Europe, the home of the Church and of Western Civilization, with a totally unexpected Catholic Monarch? The very thought is beyond our imagination at this point in history, since most contemporary monarchies are nothing but figure-heads.

Consider those very countries mentioned in prophecies regarding the "Great Monarch" - Germany had its Luther, England fell into schism under the influence of King Henry VIII, and France, "the first daughter of the Church," has still not recovered from the French Revolution.

Would it not be "meet and just" for God to "employ" these same countries in the Second Catholic Reformation?~MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 22:08 EDT
Updated: October 9, 2003 00:11 EDT
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KIC News and LOTR: The Return of the King

For the purpose of displaying the various types of topics that we'd like to address on this weblog, I will share some messages already posted on our KIC email list in the past month or so.

The following excerpt is mine, and the topic will receive quite a bit of attention in our first issue of the Keeping It Catholic (paper version) newsletter, due for end of fall release. (Subscriptions are $20 in the U.S. for four quarterly issues, and may be made payable to:

M. Bartold/KIC

604 S. Main St., Suite 224

Lapeer, MI 48446

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Now onto just a "few tidbits" about LOTR: RETURN OF THE KING! MORE TO COME IN THE FIRST ISSUE of the KEEPING IT CATHOLIC NEWSLETTER!

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As many of you already know, LOTR's "The Two Towers" was released at the end of August 2003 and "Return of the King" is due to appear in movie theatres this December.

LOTR is absolutely fantastic when it comes to the "layers within layers" but especially in how it provides examples in regard to the "Communion of Saints," the role of free will, the responses of characters to certain events and opportunities, the effects of evil even when resisted, etc.

These books, and even the movies, can act as examples to our children, and us, about how to apply Catholic principles in real life.Their "resurrected" popularity is well-deserved for so many reasons!

How many times have lines from the characters come to mind, whether humorous or serious? What of Sam's lines about hope in "The Two Towers" (the movie) which can apply to each and every one of us, when we are tired and weary but know we must carry on? And what of Frodo, upon whom fell a very hard task, but who also knows "he wouldn't have gotten very far without Sam"? What of the events surrounding each character, often unbeknownst to the others of the Fellowship, that brought fear and doubt but, in the end, lead to victory? Think of Merry and Pippin, who went along, partly out of friendship and partly because they were natural adventurers, but who also had their own roles to play? And courageous Boromir, tempted so sorely but in the end, dying nobly? What of Saruman, rejecting the chance to repent and repair at least some of the evil for which he was responsible, only rejecting the opportunity out of fear and pride? What of Gollum, who still had his own role to play - for good or for bad? And what of that which happens after the Ring is destroyed? For all his sacrifices and sufferings, Frodo was not highly honored by his own people, and he suffered throughout his life from those terrible wounds inflicted upon him by the Nazgul and Shelob.

All of this brings me to my next point. Of late, I am extremely interested in Tolkien's original book, "The Return of the King" for a very particular reason. In fact, our whole family has discussed this intermittently throughout the spring and summer, sometimes reading the prophecies and then comparing them to Aragorn's role in LOTR.

I have often wondered if Tolkien - a Catholic - was well-acquainted with the Catholic prophecies of the "Great Monarch" to come sometime in our future. Aragorn seems to parallel those prophecies in many respects. For example, the true identity of the Great Monarch will be hidden for quite some time. He will be of a royal line believed to be extinct, who will experience much hardship and face many battles against a great evil that has covered most of the earth, who will "come into his own" around the age of 40 (or his mid-life, however long his life will be) and who will, with the help of God and a future Pope, do much to restore a true Christian (meaning Catholic) society world-wide.

I myself knew nothing of these prophecies in regard to a "Great Monarch" or "Great Prince" until the last year or so, and I still did not make the connection between them and "The Return of the King" until this past winter. I have heard nothing "official" regarding Tolkien in regard to these particular prophecies, but still, one cannot help but wonder!

Art imitates life, as the old saying goes...and there is much to ponder when art sometimes seems to precede that which may happen in real life. ~MCB


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 21:48 EDT
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September 19, 2003
Today is the First Day of the Rest of this Blog!

Today, I enter the world of web-logging (aka a "blog"), not because it's trendy and certainly not because I think the world is that enamored about (to paraphrase) the "chatter of the mind." (Who said that, by the way? Belloc? Chesterton? Lewis?)

In fact, The Keeping It Catholic Weblog will not be a public diary. It will present "food for thought" in the form of facts, news and some insights into all kinds of topics relevant to Catholics. That doesn't mean we won't be sharing a few personal anecdotes (or should I say vignettes?) - but only if they are "of general interest" (now that I remember is from "Cheaper by the Dozen"!).

Topics will naturally include anything related to Catholic education and family life or that which impact them (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Personally, I like to think "happy thoughts" (thank you, Mr. Barry, author of "Peter Pan"!) so I plan to include very interesting musings on The Lord of The Rings, especially The Return of the King. In fact, I'll be writing a long article on that in the upcoming Keeping It Catholic Newsletter - the hard copy. (More on that later!)

Although this blog will address all kinds of topics, don't forget that you can always find more information about Catholic homeschooling issues at the Keeping It Catholic website.

Btw! Nobody enjoys humor more than I, and I'm sure eventually you will find humor here - but chatter just for the sake of chatter is not the primary purpose of this "blog."

To me, a blog is an efficient way to post updates of various kinds, interesting letters from KIC website visitors, topics that keep coming my way, or to provide FYI ("For Your Information") links to other articles of interest. Perhaps I hold the idea that a blog should be efficient since my mind turns to more practical matters out of necessity (being a mom of a good-sized family- and a writer to boot - usually makes for some attempt at efficiency, and everybody knows "necessity is the mother of invention"!). ;>

In the meantime, you are most welcome to send posts, articles of interest or links for possible addition to The Keeping It Catholic Weblog!


Posted by catholic_homeschool at 21:06 EDT
Updated: October 1, 2003 21:50 EDT

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