Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Roman Catholic Church

More than, 150 years ago, when the Diocese of Brooklyn was formed and began an educational system which in the course of time has educated millions of children, the modus operandi was twofold; the establishment of Catholic Schools was to continue the Tradition of Faith and provide academic quality. For decades these two motives were synonymous and interdependent. It promoted the quality of life in the Church and the skills to move onto further education because a good foundation had been set.

As the Diocese moves from parochial school settings to academies, as independent entities, the ‘preservation of the vision’ continued to be established to set the same goals as when the Religious Education Schools were first created. While the intent is the same on behalf of the Diocese to motivate academies to instruct students and parents as to the excellence of Catholic Education based on faith, religious purpose, and quality education, i.e. reason, the concern of families very often may be motivated by other intents.

As I speak to parents they inform me of their concern for their children coming to a Catholic academy is often sparked by the necessity to keep their child safe from the city school system. The academy provides a small private school setting where parents and children feel it is a more secure environment. Since the history of Catholic schools have had a superior academic quality in the past, parents want their children to have the best education possible as to prepare for a good high school and give them a foundation which will sustain them for a lifetime. This is true, since it all begins in those formative years we call elementary. I believe parents also feel their child’s education is better if they are paying tuition. Our minds are conditioned that: ‘we are paying for something we want to get our monies worth.’

All these reasons have value; however, rarely do I hear it said by parents that one of their intentions to send their child to a Catholic academy is for religious formation. If it is mentioned at all, it is usually at the bottom of the list. Yet, I stated from the beginning that Catholic Education is based on faith and reason, the indissoluble formula for an ideal education. When these two components are made exclusive of one another, than what you have is a secular education devoid of a deeper meaning of a scientific method based on faith.

Universities, high schools and elementary formation run by the Catholic Church are able to combine the two components of faith and reason. However, if the mind set of those attending, or even those directing is different than what the original intent of religious education formation system was meant to be as conceived by the Church than we have lost the ideal educational system.

Rev. Anthony J. Sansone