Growing secularism in the US has led to an increasing number of Catholic schools closing, but bishop George V Murry, above, of Youngstown, Ohio, imagines the trend can be reversed if parents were made to believe that a Catholic education would fast-track their kids to heaven.
According to this report, he said:
Many parents don’t see particular value in the religious formation that occurs in a Catholic school. So how can we challenge some of those ideas so people come to a better understanding of why it is important to develop the entire person?
Pastors, the chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education explained, are diligently working to bring parents into parish schools to see firsthand the advantages a Catholic education has in developing the “whole person”.
Unfortunately, we live in a very secular society. We are blessed that we’re not as secular as many of the countries in Europe. But we are a very secular society, and fewer and fewer people see the value of spiritual development. I think that becomes the task of evangelisation. Just programmes to get people into church are not enough. We have to change hearts.
It’s not simply a matter of an intellectual decision. It’s a realisation that I want the very best for my son or my daughter. And part of the best is that that child is eventually in heaven.
Figures from the National Catholic Educational Association show 1,393 Catholic school closings or consolidations from 2007 to 2017 compared with 287 school openings. During the same period, enrollment declined by 19 percent to less than 1.9 million students. Enrollment peaked in 1965 at more than 5.2 million students.