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A Catholic Mullah, Now?

Robbie George is defending the right, nay, even proclaiming the duty, of a hypothetical Muslim school to fire a hypothetical Muslim teacher who is caught drinking, carousing, and publicly flouting Muslim norms, both on campus and off. God bless Robbie. The Muslim community in the United States must be so grateful for his attention and advice.

But here’s the thing. I don’t think Robbie's vivid hypothetical helps us resolve the specific questions  actually facing the Catholic community here and now.  In fact, I think it’s a distraction. I'm not denying that a religious school, Muslim or Catholic, has a legal right under American law to write a contract that includes a general morals clause, or even a highly specific clause.  But a legal right isn’t a legal obligation.  Furthermore, the inclusion of the clause in the contract doesn't end the necessity for wise decision-making. Under basic principles of contract law, that clause has to be interpreted and applied to particular cases in order to decide if there was a breach of the clause. Moreover, even if there is a breach, the non-breaching party has the power to waive it in a particular instance. The question that any religious school faces is whether under particular facts and circumstances, it is wise for a school administrator to terminate the employment of a teacher or mid-level administrator.

I do not believe myself competent to speak about how Muslim schools should go about trying to enforce Muslim moral and religious norms in the course of trying to educate the next generation of Muslims living in America. I’m a Catholic Christian moralist, not a Muslim moralist. I’m asked to give my financial and moral support to Catholics schools, not to Muslim schools. 

As I argued earlier, within the Catholic framework,  the decision whether or not to fire a particular teacher is itself a decision subject to moral analysis. It conveys a normative message to the students. It shapes the community and it expresses the communty's values. Its moral message is multifaceted; it is not reducible to a simple Facebook "like" or "not like" of the teacher's underlying offence, understood as a an abstract moral proposition. 

So here’s my proposal for Robbie:

1.  Let’s let the Muslim community take care of their own internal decision-making on these matters. Let's focus on the community to which we actually claim to belong--the Catholic community.

2. Let’s agree that there’s a legal right for religious schools, including Catholic schools, to include morals clauses in their teachers’ contracts.

3.  Let’s agree that there are some instances where it is appropriate for a Catholic school to fire a teacher for morally inappropriate behavior.I gave the example of the two married teachers caught canoodling in the broom closet. But the specifics matter. We can't decide every case according to the most extreme examples of misbehavior. We need to consider each case on its own terms. (And more broadly, in my view, "misbehavior" cannot be interpreted only or primarily as sexual misbehavior.)

4. Let’s talk about the Montana case–a non-hypothetical case facing our community. Did the school act in accordance with the cardinal virtue of prudence, steadied by justice, and informed and elevated by Christian charity, in firing the pregnant, unmarried school teacher? Did it act in a pro-life manner? Did  it teach Gospel values? Robbie, what sayeth thou about this particular case?

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George's hypothetical seems constructed to parallel the Washington State case involving same sex marriage that Eduardo Peñalver has blogged about here at dotCom.  Perhaps George would wish to amend point number 4  of the proposal in the original post to say, "... and let's also talk about the Spokane case", with the same questions applying.

(Having said that - I feel I've talked enough about both :-)).

 

Fair enough, Jim. I'd just like to see Robbie's actual analysis of the actual cases in terms of actual Catholic values. What should we do, here and now? 

Let’s agree that there’s a legal right for religious schools, including Catholic schools, to include morals clauses in their teachers’ contracts.

But should they? and what should they cover, if they do? BIshop Vasa of Santa Rosa got a lot of blowback from parents when he announced a morals clause last year - and he eventually dropped the proposal at least until 2015. 

Bishop Vasa's postponment letter is interesting: 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/131862705/Letter-from-Bishop-Robert-Vasa

According to the National Catholic Register, the proposed contract provision:

The language added into the contract explains that teachers are entering into a “covenantal relationship” with the bishop, wherein they become his “ministerial agent” in forming the souls of their students. The document states that they recognize that they are “called by God to a life of holiness,” must live in conformity with the Ten Commandments and must reject “modern errors,” including contraception, abortion, same-sex “marriage” and euthanasia, that are “not consistent with the clear teachings of the Catholic Church.”

 

But it’s the requirement that teachers live up to the Church’s moral teachings outside the classroom that prompted at least one teacher to leak the contract to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bishop-vasa-stands-up-for-catholic-identity-in-santa-rosas-diocesan-schools

 

Wow.  That's some contractual provision. So I'd like to see the whole contract.  Is that horatory language? Or is he really trying to say that any sin is a breach of contract? And if it's a breach, is it curable, or does the bishop have a right to fire the teacher? If we're going to get into the weeds of contract law, all this needs to be considered.

The ministerial agent language is doubtless put in to trigger Hosanna-Tabor.

I wonder how many parents would send their kids to Catholic schools if they knew this were the contract that the teachers were signing.

I think a very good question is what should be in a good morals clause. I think public schools need them too--and they shouldn't just cover sex. 

 

 

 

 

How on earth does an authority  in an organization like a school system police whether employees :live in conformity with the Ten Commandments"? Why put such impossibly ambiguous terms in a contract?

It doesn't have to be the 10 commandments . But suppose someone is arrested ( but not convicted) for spousal abuse? Or endangering a minor?  Or verbally abusing a student off-campus!

 

Prof. Kaveny - Vasa is a 19th century neo-con and cultural warrior who is still living as if we are in the midst of the 19th century anti-modernist campaign.

His black and white world has little to do with even *old time* catholic moral manuals.

Product of Lincoln, NE and vicar-general under Bruskewitz.

Some tidbits:  (h/t Rocco Palmo)

 

http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2006/02/open-question-of-heresy.html   

In an article published by The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Bishop Robert Vasa shared his thoughts on the much discussed America interview with Pope Francis, saying that while he is “geared more toward a canonical mindset and I recognize the need for administrative leadership in church. I also recognize that pastoral leadership, while wonderful, requires someone stepping in and taking up the administrative role.”

As to the text of Bishop Vasa's morals clause, the best I have seen so far is:

The move is an effort by Bishop Robert Vasa to delineate specifically what it means for a Catholic-school teacher -- whether Catholic or not -- to be a "model of Catholic living" and to adhere to Catholic teaching.

That means abiding by the Ten Commandments, going to church every Sunday and heeding God's words in thought, deed and intentions, according to a private church document that is an "addendum" to language in the current teachers' contract.

Titled "Bearing Witness," the addendum asks teachers to "acknowledge" or "recognize" that:

They are called to a "life of holiness" and that "this call is the more compelling for me since I have been entrusted, in my vocation as a teacher/administrator in a Catholic school, with the formation of souls."

As a teacher in the Santa Rosa Diocese, "I am, by that fact, also a ministerial agent of the Bishop who is the chief 'teacher' of the Diocese."

It also requires all teachers to "agree that it is my duty, to the best of my ability, to believe, teach/administer and live in accord with what the Catholic Church holds and professes.

"I am especially cognizant of the fact that modern errors -- including but not limited to matters that gravely offend human dignity and the common good such as contraception, abortion, homosexual 'marriage' and euthanasia -- while broadly accepted in society, are not consistent with the clear teachings of the Catholic Church."

Diocese sources, as well as the Cardinal Newman teacher, said that specific language is what some teachers find troubling.

"I know this sounds like a cliche, but some of my very best friends are gay married couples. We have kids here whose parents are gay partners," the teacher said.

http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20130228/COMMUNITY/130229550/0/SEARCH...

That article also says:

The issue is similar to one that arose in 2004 while Vasa was the bishop of eastern Oregon. At that time, he asked lay ministers to sign an "affirmation of faith" that called on them to accept the church's prohibition against contraception, premarital sex, masturbation, fornication, pornography and homosexuality as "gravely evil."

Cathy, for the full text of the Addendum, you might contact the reporter who is credited with most of the stories in the local paper:  Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com.

 

Do Catholic schools ever hire non-Christians as teachers?

Do Catholic schools ever hire non-Christians as teachers?

In Bishop Vasa's schools, about 25% of the teachers are non-Catholics (according to one of the articles). One teacher was quoted as saying that some teachers are Jewish. 

Thank you Cathleen for bringing sorely needed good sense and sound moral theology to help sort out the scandal and damage to the Church being caused by these poorly thought out sackings.

God bless

I think the correct term is mufti, rather than mullah.

This has nothing to do with either Catholics or Muslims, but perhaps it's related to this subject. There's been a lot of discussion in the last week or so among scholars of Asia about Penguin's agreement to withdraw and pulp The Hindus: an Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, a highly respected scholar at the University of Chicago, which was published both in this country and in India a few years ago. I haven't read the book, but Doninger apparently takes on some of the orthodox Hindu mythmaking.

Here's a piece from the NYT on the controversy.

india.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/penguin-withdraws-book-by-american-scholar-of-hinduism-to-settle-lawsuit/

Not according to the dictionary I read. But I am no expert.

 

Easy. One relies on anonymous tips from the Temple Police. Policing others has never been the weakness of Catholicism's Culture of Complaint.

"Did the school act in accordance with the cardinal virtue of prudence, steadied by justice, and informed and elevated by Christian charity, in firing the pregnant, unmarried school teacher? Did it act in a pro-life manner? Did  it teach Gospel values?"

Aren't these guidelines just as vague, and (dare I say it) unhelpful, as the Ten Commandments, life of holiness, etc. language in the Santa Rosa addendum?

If prudence and charity are to be the overriding motivations in these cases we should be prepared for a "compassion sweepstakes."  For any solution someone can always think of a more compassionate response.  For example, shouldn't a pro-life stance pay the  unmarried pregnant teacher more than a childless teacher? Provide housing . . .?

And of course when general rules are not followed the authorities are liable to charges of discrimination and favoritism.

Finally I don't think any of us know enough details to have very strong opinions about this case.  If the virtue of prudence is to be invoked, the need for more details should be especially obvious.  But it seems the less we know the easier it is to scold others, thousands of miles away, for their lack of prudence and compassion.

So does firing pregnant women who are single and gay folks who are married make the bishops exemplary moral agents?    Is this what it takes to be a moral agent: deciding who's bad and who's not?  Really I thought the morals of Jesus included compassion and forgiveness---right out in the open in front of everybody.

 

 

Molly,

Does your commitment to forgiveness and compassion extend to this man, recently fired from a Catholic school for the second time?

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/racist-ex-bronx-principal-fire...

As far as I can tell there were no complaints about his behavior within school walls, either in the Bronx or in Pennsylvania. Do you have an objection to the Bishop firing him "right out in the open in front of everybody?"

Matthew 18:21-22

"Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Molloy, I don't think the issue is "never fire anyone who works for a Catholic school." In the case you cited: 

A man who was recently named the headmaster of DuBois Central Catholic Schools was fired last week.  School officials said it was because he wasn’t who they thought he was. Interim President Msgr. Charles Kaza of the school district declined going on camera, but said Frank Mario Bella was removed as headmaster of schools last week, after it was discovered he misrepresented his true identity. 

Read More at: http://www.wjactv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/headmaster-fired-after-only-2-months-1484.shtml#.Uv7LC3k0WvI

In that case, the school said why it fired him. Those that think they shouldn't have, can give their views. 

In the case of the pregnant teacher, the school hasn't said why they fired her other than the improbable "we had no choice - the contract forced us to do it". As Professor Kaveny pointed out in her post, that just isn't so. 

Once they say why they really fired her, then we can discuss whether they got it right. If they say nothing, the skeptical world is going to assume that they didn't get it right - and that they lack compassion. 

Transparency.  

John Hayes,

So If it's not lack of compassion, it's lack of transparency that convicts the Montana school.  I suspect that no matter how transparent the decision-making process, skeptics will continue to believe that the "real" causes, as well as the "improbable" causes, were nefarious - as discerned by experts who never heard of the school before this month.  Whatever happened to the high esteem principles of subsidiarity and the values of local decision-making used to enjoy?  Has the burden of proof shifted?

This is not to mention the potential dangers for everyone involved when "transparency" about personnel decisions becomes a battle cry.

Since I live in northern California, I knew about the Santa Rosa teacher's contract.  It's horrifying that he would expect non-Catholic teachers to (for example) not use contraception, even when contraception is considered morally acceptable in the teacher's faith. 

I'm vehemently opposed to firing the Montana teacher, but if church authorities keep on doing this kind of thing (and it seems like they will) there is something they absolutely need to say but haven't said.  They need to say "these firings are only because we are a religious ministry, Catholics running a secular business absolutely should not fire a pregnant, single employee".  I'm old enough to remember the late 1960s and early 1970s when it was routine to fire a single woman who got pregnant (I knew two people that happened to).  One of the main reasons that the abortion rate has come down since the seventies is that women see single motherhood as something they can handle.  I hope the Catholic bishops are smart enough and realistic enough to see this, but my confidence is not high.

I agree that in this particular case just firing the teacher is not the prudential and charitable thing to do, especially because she is pregnant. In this kind of occasion the Christian community should show God's mercy to the person, by supporting her pregnancy and early motherhood.

However, employing somebody as a teacher, a delicate position in which she is implicitly provides young people with a model of what a Christian life should be, is not the only way to support them and show them mercy. I don't see what is so serious about canoodling in the closet as opposed to canoodling outside the school, if the youngsters know you are canoodling. The message they get is the same.

In conclusion, if I were the principal I would consider moving the lady to an administrative position, or helping her find a similar job in some other Catholic institution.

Some years ago, I was on a committee at a state university to determine whether a particular tenured faculty member ought to be strilled of his tenure and terminated because of "moral turpitude." The issue in question had to do with child sexual abuse. The case was in the hands of the county police and had been reported in the local newspapers. After extended discussion, the committee recommended that the faculty member be given the choice of either resigning his faculty position or of having his case moved to a formal tenure revocation proceeding. He decided to resign.

I have no idea what the precise state laws provided for in a case of this sort concerning the loss of tenure. Our committee's charge was to follow the nationally acepted regulations concerning tenure revocations.

Am I right in thinking that spme appropriate committee of the USCCB ought to set standards for Catholic school faculty hiring, retention, and termination? Granted that bishops presently seem to have carte blanche to make whatever decisions the wish in these maters, would it not be good to have some nationally recommended guidelines in this matter? Bishops would not have to "fly by the seat of their pants," teachers would not have to fear being the targets of ill-considered administrative fiats, and lay people would have the satisfaction of knowing that skilled and knowledgeable people had formulated the guidelines.

Patrick,

He deliberately deceived his employers, falsified his application and hid his history.  I might be able to forgive such things but I would not want such a person in leadership.  The process of applying for a professional position is shaped by an honor code of telling the truth about yourself up front.   Engaging in that process dishonestly is a red flag.

Odd, how in the Catholic Church lay people can be dismissed for their sins, but bishops can't be.

What kind of contract is this we're talking about -- one by which one party, the teacher, has to behave, but the other party, bishop, doesn't?  Can that truly be a contract?  Surely, it isn't a just one.  

 

John Hayes writes above in part:

On the case of the pregnant teacher, the school hasn't said why they fired her other than the improbable "we had no choice - the contract forced us to do it". As Professor Kaveny pointed out in her post, that just isn't so. 

Once they say why they really fired her, then we can discuss whether they got it right. If they say nothing, the skeptical world is going to assume that they didn't get it right - and that they lack compassion. 

Transparency.

_________________

It would be good to have more details for sure. Many seem to be "rushing to judgment" on the judgment of the school officials without enough detail, and blaming the school for not providing the media, or public with more detail. However, human resources law and privacy laws may be preventing the revelation of more details. And now that a lawsuit is filed, prudent legal counsel may preclude making details available before the hearing or trial. So, at least on this case, I suggest we all calm down a bit, wait for the details to come out, and revisit the issue.

 

 

Am I right in thinking that spme appropriate committee of the USCCB ought to set standards for Catholic school faculty hiring, retention, and termination? 

Perhaps it would help preserve teacher rights should this happen.  If I may say so: church employees are vulnerable to mistreatment and exploitation in a number of ways, certainly including substandard pay and benefits, and the issues we discuss here, of pregnant teachers and teachers in same sex marriages being terminated, are just a small subset of employment issues facing church employees.

I believe the precise relationship between school and bishop/diocese can vary.  Some schools are run by religious orders and some are independent.  It's not clear what jurisdiction the bishop or the USCCB would have in these instances.  In addition, individual bishops are not bound by the rules of their national conference in some matters.  It may be that whatever standards the USCCB would issue would serve as guidelines with which a diocese or a school would voluntarily comply - or not.  My archdiocese, Chicago, has one of the larger Catholic school districts in the US.  I'm sure the archdiocese does have a number of standards in place, but whether individual schools are bound to observe those standards, for example regarding teacher pay scales, I am not sure. 

It seems to me that one of the hallmarks of Catholic education has been local control.  Parents have input and influence.  It's commonly thought that this is one of the keys to the traditional success of Catholic educaiton.  Perhaps the way to address some of these issues is at a grassroots level rather than taking a top-down approach.  I've commented in the past that one of the dynamics at play in some of these controversial firings we discuss, is that the termination action is initiated when a parent or another member of the local community complains.  In my view, teachers and other church employees are at least as vulnerable to this sort of grassroots action as they are to an edict from a bishop.  

Just my views.

 

 

It seems to me that one of the hallmarks of Catholic education has been local control.  Parents have input and influence.  It's commonly thought that this is one of the keys to the traditional success of Catholic educaiton.  Perhaps the way to address some of these issues is at a grassroots level rather than taking a top-down approach

Perhaps by dialog with the local people making decisions. When a Catholic parish school in Boston refused to admit the child of a same-sex couple, Cardinal O'Malley didn't overrule the pastor, but announced that another Catholic school would admit the child. I think the message got out. 

On the other hand, Archbishop Chaput, faced with the same problem, announced that it was the policy of the Archdiocese of Denver not to admit children of same-sex couples.

http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3560

it probably would be hard for the USCCB to agree, right now at least, on a policy that would apply to all dioceses. 

I understand that at present bishops are not formally boound by USCCB policies. This makes capricious action possible in cases such as these school issues. What I suggest is in the category of moral suasion, not law. At the very least, we should all want to reduce the possibility of capriciousness. Hence my suggestion about having the USCCB formulat and publish guiidelines. A bishop or school administrator who fails to respect these guidelines would subject himself or herself to well-founded criticism. Without such guidelines, it's all a matter of "I'm the boss and this is what boses can do."

Such guidelines could be incorporated into teacher contracts prior to problems arising. Then they would have as much legal force as any other negotiable part of contracts.

I understand that at present bishops are not formally bound by USCCB policies. 

 

The cases in which they are bound are limited. I think there is some discussion underway of delegating more authority to national conferences of bishops. 

 

Can. 455 §1 The Episcopal Conference can make general decrees only in cases where the universal law has so prescribed, or by special mandate of the Apostolic See, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Conference itself.

 

§2 For the decrees mentioned in §1 validly to be enacted at a plenary meeting, they must receive two thirds of the votes of those who belong to the Conference with a deliberative vote. These decrees do not oblige until they have been reviewed by the Apostolic See and lawfully promulgated.

 

§3 The manner of promulgation and the time they come into force are determined by the Episcopal Conference.

 

§4 In cases where neither the universal law nor a special mandate of the Apostolic See gives the Episcopal Conference the power mentioned in §1, the competence of each diocesan Bishop remains intact. In such cases, neither the Conference nor its president can act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent.

 

This piece is a joke, right?  It has to be.  I've never seen such blatent undermining of one's own thesis except in gag humor.  First you establish the right for a religious school to hold their personnel to moral standards based on their theological norms, and then when someone (Robert George) defends that right you say he's wrong?  LOL, how funny.  It has to be gag humor. 

 

By the way, your diminutive use of Robert's name is appalling.  He deserves more respect than that.

Manny--is that your nickname?  I assure you I meant no disrespect by calling him Robbie - he goes by his nickname. I don't take it as a sign of disrespect when people I know call me Cathy -my nicknameCalling him Professor George, given our long acquaintance, would have been a way to signal a formal  accusation rather than an invitation to a conversation.

 

 

John Hayes, I do realize that the powers of the national conferences of bishops is now quite circumscribed.  School cases such as this, among others, e.g., diocesan discretion in collecting and using funds, suggest, at least to me, that present practices are in need of nontrivial reform. I realize that the traditional theology of the bishopric has to be respected. But so far as I can see, the stance that maintains that a diocesan ordinary can act completely as he sees fit in such matters cannot be good for the Church community, either locally, or globally.

That's my actual name.  OK, I underastand.  I'm not aware of how Mr. George prefers to be called, though in a public forum like this when one is vehemently disagreeing the tone of the diminutive suggests condescension. 

Bernard Dauenhauer, I agree. My recollection is that either Pope Francis or Cardinal O'Malley has mentioned that strengthening the role of national conferences of bishops is one of the subjects to be discussed at the Synod of Bishops next Fall. 

On re-reading Mr. George's piece, I noticed that the activities attributed to the very un-Islamic teacher Mr. Khalil are much more worthy of firing than  those of the teacher in Montana.  Specifically:

Mr. Khalil had an ongoing commitment to his strip club, whereas an out-of-wedlock pregnancy can be the result of a single act of only a few minutes duration, committed under the influence of strong emotion and repented soon after.

Mr. Khalil brought promotional items from the strip club into the school where students would notice them and freely promoted his pro-strip club philosophy to the students.

Not the same thing at all.

Anne E - right. I think George had in mind the case in Spokane in which a school vice principal was fired for entering into a same sex marriage, rather than the Montana case.

 

 

Jim P., everyone,no mater what, ought to have the benefit of some antecedently establisned due prcess. The alteeernative is at best some version fo "Star Chambers."

Many in "leadership" positions in the Catholic educational community  focus on the letter of the law, rather than on the commandment to love.  The story in Montana is just one of many similar stories that has been reported, and are probably only the tip of the iceberg.  Those who take jobs with institutions run by the Catholic church should be aware of the fact that they have no rights as employees and assume that if they are perceived to "transgress" the "rules" set down by someone in authority, they will have no forum in which to defend themselves. They could, for example, simply find themselves jobless, perhaps without insurance, and with a baby on the way, the commandment to love completely forgotten by those who loudly proclaim themselves to be the only "true" christians in the christian world, and, of course, completely "pro-life".

Catholics have choices and among those choices is walking away from the institutional church. Some choose to stop enabling the dysfunctional power structure in the church, defended as God's plan for governance of the church, giving all authority to a handful of male celibates (what a convenient, self-serving interpretation of scriptures!). They stop giving money, or they leave and become "nones", or they join another Christian (or non-Christian) community.  Parents have choices also, but few take them because moving children from school to school is hard on the children. So many parents simply stand by and allow the "authorities" to work their will on the employees rather than stand up for those employees. They don't want their children to become the next victims, either of the powers that be, or by moving them to a new school, which is usually somewhat emotionally challenging for children.  Even if they see injustice at work, even if they see a greater moral transgression committed by the "authorities" than that committed by the fired employee, standing up for the fired employee could cost them, and, more importantly for most parents, it could cost their children whose parents dare to confront the authoities in the school.

This is one family's story only. I have, when asked, sometimes urged other Catholics about schools to look outside the Catholic school community for a truly christian education. I caution them to look very closely at what kind of christianity the Catholic school is teaching - is it one of "rules" and "obedience" and "discipline" or one that emphasizes christian love and compassion, not just in the curriculum, but, most importantly, in the day to day interactions of students and faculty and staff.

Our children were educated in several different school environments - public, Catholic, and Episcopalian. After a few years of public school (excellent academically)  we decided on sending them to schools that would support christian values as well as provide a solid academic education.  With our older children, this meant transferring them to a private Catholic school for the middle school years, founded and run by laity, and then a large regional Catholic high school in a bordering diocese.  By the time the older children graduated from high school, we were totally disillusioned - the school was Catholic (very "Catholic", being in what we discovered too late is one of the most notoriously 'orthodox" dioceses in the country, where girls were banned from being altar servers, and generally the wine was also banned during the eucharist), but seldom "christian".  We did not transfer them, but we did discuss the possibility with them.  Neither wanted to move, because they were comfortable there - friendships are lifelines to adolescents, so we simply waited it out. We had sent our youngest to an Episcopal school in early elementary instead of the public school his older sibs had attended - a  day school that ended in 3rd,  then to the same private, independent Catholic school his older sibs had gone to through 8th, and then back to the Episcopalians for high school. We made the choice of Episcopal high school because of the quiet modeling of christian values we had found in the elementary school,  found also in the independent Catholic school (founded and run by lay people), but sadly largely absent in the diocesan high school, with the exception of some of the teachers.  Our now adult children tell us that the majority of their classmates from this very "Catholic" school, now in their early 30s, have left the Catholic church - a majority of the marriages are not taking place in the church, nor are the babies being baptized in the Catholic church.  Our youngest's Episcopal high school was just what we were looking for - a school that taught christianity as part of the academic course, but, more importantly, modelled the values Christ taught in their interactions with students and families and among the staff itself.  It was exactly what we had hoped to find - but did not find - in the Catholic high school our older children attended.

It is too bad that so many Catholic parents are so focused on Catholicism that they allow misguided bishops, school principals, and other "authority" figures (including lay people) to model very un-Christlike values.  Kids notice - they see the hypocrisy, and later, once they are independent adults, they remember.