The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has announced that it will convert two Catholic schools into publicly funded charter schools - but will continue to run them itself through a corporation it controls. The decision to retain control of the schools - absent religious trappings - is a first (The Washington and Miami archdioceses have both turned schools over to other charter-school operators.).This has led to worries that the separation of church and state will be violated. I will leave that to others and instead express concern for what this development means for Catholic schools. How important is the Catholic faith to the quality of education provided in Catholic schools? What will be the effect on other Catholic schools if parents can send their children for free to a charter school run with the blessings of the archbishop? As I've written earlier in Commonweal [r.r.], these are issues that Catholics need to discuss nationally because this movement toward charter schools will change the nature of the Catholic school system in the U.S.
Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses.