Advice to Parents of 7th and 8th Grade Boys in the Cleveland Area
First, see the article posted by Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik on June 1, 2017. Then think about the following.
Cleaning out St. Ignatius High School could take a long time, but you have decisions to make now. The only thing that ever made Ignatius worth the cost was her integrity in the Catholic faith, but that is clearly gone for now, and you can’t assume it will come back in time for your son’s high school career. The alumni are vested, but for you, time is short, and this is not your battle. And so, Mom and Dad, you need to take a serious look at Benedictine High School and The Lyceum. If you live too far away, or you absolutely need the D-1 hockey program (or whatever it may be), you can move to Solon or Rocky River and put your son in the local public high school. I know what you are thinking, but consider:
- He can get admitted to any elite college from any of those places.
- No one will con you into thinking you are getting a Catholic education when you are not. Or that the Catechism contains fewer paragaphs than it really does. We have seen the proof that teaching the 2350s at a Jesuit school is enough to get you fired. The administration denies this, but they are not giving you the whole story.
- The price tag. You pray your son will hang onto the faith, but if he is going to lose it, he can lose it for free in the suburbs. Few things are as frustrating as standing by and watching while the people whose salaries you are paying are doing and saying things that euthanize the faith in your son and condition him to regard you, his parents, as “Shiite Catholics.” (That is an actual quote by a Regent.) Spare yourselves the frustration. You can take the money you’ll save and spend it on a family pilgrimage to the Holy Land, or Manresa. If he can make it through four years without contracting a lifetime addiction to internet pornography, he will be in the minority and you should praise God.
- The public school is locally run and at least somewhat locally responsive. It is not a wholly owned subsidiary of some Alinskyites in Chicago. It has a board you can talk to, that feels at least a little bit accountable for itself, and that will actually do more than pretend to look interested in what you are saying (see the original article, below).
- If you are unfortunate enough to be white, you won’t have to spend four years apologizing for it. Judging from the signals they have been sending, the current Ignatius regime may not be terribly disappointed that you passed over them anyway.
- The public-school culture will try to lead your son away from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as they are doing at West 30th Street, but at least it will be out of ignorance, and they will not blaspheme the Mother of God by dedicating a shrine to her out of one side of their mouth, while assigning Sherman Alexie to 14-year-olds out of the other side (see #3 above). Someone at cleveland.com called that a farce, which is true enough, but as long as the leaders of St. Ignatius High School insist on inviting Alexie & Co. into the place, the shrine is actually a sacrilege, properly defined as the misuse of a sacred person, place or thing, and no laughing matter. Their Catholicity is a pose they strike for the cameras whenever they think it can deflect criticism or raise a little money.
In the meantime, we all need to pray and fast for conversions, and for each one of us, that starts with our own. In that, we will follow the example of our new Saints Jacinta and Francisco, whom Pope Francis canonized in Fatima, Portugal, on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Widespread prayer and fasting is the only thing left to us, and the only thing that is going to work, and probably the only thing that has not been tried yet. If the school will ignore a petition joined by literally thousands of people, they will ignore anything. If you want to get laughed at these days, or fired from a Jesuit school, you only need to remind people that Hell is real and people go there. But then again, “Mother Most Pure” and “Virgin Most Powerful” are two of Our Lady’s titles, and when enough people have placed a problem into her hands, we know that she will take it to Jesus and we can all stop worrying about it. When our designs aren’t making her cry, they make her laugh.
The original article (April 2017) began here:
“Jesuit Identity” ≠ Catholic
A school recently dismissed two good teachers who didn’t deserve it, but whose tenacity in handing on the Catholic faith, in season and out of season, attracted attention across state lines. This was a serious offense, but they didn’t find out until it was too late.
Below is a letter which representatives of the school’s administration sent to members of the school’s governing board, for the purpose of instructing each board member what to think about the controversy and what he or she is to say about it. Evidently, even though the matter concerns the school’s fundamental reason for being, the administration wants these fiduciaries not to think for themselves, but rather to pretend to listen the community, to follow their employees’ instructions, and play the part of a mouthpiece, or a hood ornament.
Farther down on the page is an open letter which the mother and father of a student in the school delivered to the school president and circulated publicly. Charity will excuse emotion when the protection of children is at stake. This letter contains an accurate factual description of the kinds of things which are actually going on inside the school, today. The motto of this school is or used to be “Men for Others.” Over the years they forgot the fact that a man in love with himself cannot be a man for others. Indeed, a crash course in self-love (see below) is what greets every 13-year-old on his way in the door. Ask any priest who hears Confessions more than occasionally, and he will tell you that this curriculum—make no mistake—is wrecking marriages for decades into the future.
The school had been founded in 1886 by a Catholic priest from Germany for the purpose of educating men in the whole Catholic faith, and in everything else through the lens of that whole faith. The doctrine of the whole faith is the same in 2017 as it was in 1886, and the same as it was in the year 33 when it was still an acorn. The whole faith means every paragraph in the Catechism, not just those paragraphs with which George Soros and the Arcus Foundation take no umbrage. Whether or not any school remains a “Catholic school” after its founding depends on what its leadership actually believes and what they actually do. Therefore, the claim which any school makes to be “Catholic” is unavoidably intertwined with what that school actually does.
Here is a school which, as you are about to see, thinks that it has succeeded in un-linking Catholic identity from Catholic belief and behavior. Untold millions of dollars in donations were and are still being poured into this school, and at least a few parents are being tricked into sending their sons there based on what are turning out to be unreliable assurances that it remains true to its purpose, which is to help get young men into Heaven, not Harvard. We would all do well to remember what our Lord Jesus said about millstones. The school’s employees and their out-of-town overlords would have you believe that their actions are not an indicator of their true identity and beliefs. But in the end, Catholic is as Catholic does, not as Catholic merely says. Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.
The Talk …
…and the actions
The real issue.
The administration would prefer the community to view this is as a “personnel issue.” One reason is because nobody can disagree that whenever there is a personnel issue, the administration is the only proper party to handle it, and everyone else needs to back off. But another and more important reason is because, as long as people perceive it to be a “personnel issue,” it prevents them from snooping around the real issue.
The real issue is a mission issue. It was brought to light by a personnel decision, yes, but the personnel decision did not make it a personnel issue. It is a mission issue. And as soon as one admits that it’s a mission issue, many questions follow, none of them very easy or pleasant. What is the school’s mission, anyway? When did it change? Who changed it? Did they have the right to change it? Where are they? What exactly did they tell the school? Are they stakeholders, or do they regard the city where this school is located to be just another pin on a map? Why hasn’t anyone asked the real stakeholders: the parents, the faculty, the alumni, the donors? How much of their money is being spent to usher this program through? Does the board ask questions? Have its members paid enough attention to their duty? Do they know what their duty is? The list goes on.
The school’s administration is wrong to mischaracterize a mission issue as a personnel issue. And unless certain curriculum changes happen fast (see above) and certain personnel decisions are reversed, they will also be wrong in continuing to call this a Catholic school.
For extra credit, you may read this enlightening article which describes something that is hiding in plain sight all around us.