There are several reasons to prefer Catholic schools, Father Stravinskas told Our Sunday Visitor, including that the Church Fathers made clear that catechesis is the job of the whole Church, with the main responsibility resting on the shoulders of the pastor, not the parents. (The Church teaches that PARENTS, not the pastor are the primary educators of their children. This includes religious training. The pastor and the Church certainly have a part to play, but to say the main responsibility is the pastor's flies in the face of reality, especially when pastors change every few years. In view of the fact that the faith is not being taught in many parishes and dioceses, parents who went along with this view would be guilty of abandoning their children to ignorance in the faith.)
And Catholic parents who choose to home-school when there is a Catholic school available at least implicitly send the message that they do not trust the Church to educate their children properly, and the children get that message. (There is a wide disparity among Catholic schools with regard to both academic training and religious training. The two high schools my three oldest went to were scandalous. When I visited my daughter's school senior year to speak to the girls about marriage and NFP I ended up arguing in the faculty lounge with teachers who had no problem with Sr. Mansour being head of human services in, I believe, Chicago and paying for abortions. I left the school shaking my head over what these teachers were saying to my daughter in the classroom. Not to mention that it was costing us a fortune to have her faith undermined. It was even worse at our two sons' school where many teachers were liberal democrats and had no problem with politicians coming to the school who were pro-abortion. Fr. Stravinskas can make an argument when Catholic schools are truly Catholic. Until then, those of us who love the faith and love our children will choose what's best which is often home schooling!)Most Catholic schools from elementary through college do not teach the authentic faith. When pastors try, like the one in Massachusetts who refused enrollment of the child living with lesbian partners, they get a quick slapdown. Fr. Stravinskas does not appear to live in the real world. If Catholic schools were Catholic he might have a point. They are not. We committed to Catholic education for about 18 years. I volunteered in every school my children attended. Frankly, I feel like we should have sued our three oldest children's high schools for fraud. Our elementary school was better, but many are not, like another in the diocese that did their passion play in mime makeup and had a girl playing the role of Jesus. And then there was the one with the sex ed class where kids "built" sex organs out of nuts and straws and other things. This is Catholic?
“On the same property where they go to church on Sunday is a school where the parents don’t wish to send them,” he said. (Maybe they can't afford it. We spent tens of thousands of dollars sending children to Catholic schools that betrayed us. My only regret is that I didn't home school sooner! We could have invested that money for college instead of refinancing our house to pay for "Catholic" education.)
That leads to a subtle anti-clericalism, he said, because the children learn that priests cannot be counted on to hand on the faith. It shows in what he sees as a dearth of vocations from home-school families. “Why would you want to join the club if its members can’t be trusted to their jobs?” he said. (Is Fr. Stravinskas kidding? Many priests CAN'T be trusted! I started telling our children after numerous scandalous experiences with teachers and principals at Catholic schools that, "Just because someone is wearing a roman collar doesn't mean he's telling you the truth!" My kids are all adults with children now and they are all practiciing the faith despite being scandalized at Catholic schools. I almost lost my own faith at a Catholic college. I think my husband and I fighting with bad priests and bad laity in the schools helped make our children firmer in their faith. Perhaps, Father, you should look to your brother priests and bishops who preach a different gospel than that of Jesus Christ for the dearth of vocations and stop pointing the finger at home schoolers.)
He also believes it is psychologically unhealthy for mothers to spend 24 hours a day with their children as they get older, and it’s academically nearly impossible for one person to teach all that is included in a modern high school curriculum. (Oh please! Home schooling moms don't spend 24 hours a day with their kids. Most children participate in multiple activities outside the home. Some attend home school academies one or two days a week. Some volunteer or intern; others attend junior colleges for high school subjects like biology and foreign language, and most engage in extra curriculars. How many home schoolers does Fr. Stravinskas actually know? I have a home schooling friend whose daughter is discerning religious life. Father's anti- home school bias gets in the way of facts.)
What’s more, he said, some home-school families say they have no issues with the faculty or teaching at their local Catholic schools, but they don’t want their children exposed to others whose families might not have the same values as theirs. (One of the reasons I began home schooling my two youngest of five children was the breakdown of the family. I taught in a parochial school my children attended for a year and was shocked at how things had changed since I was in school. I had youngsters in my class whose parents weren't married or came from seriously disfunctional homes. I loved the kids, but the disruption in the classroom from chaotic home situations was appalling. That's a major reason I decided to home school and I continued for five years and then put my youngest in a faithful Catholic high school her older sister, who only home schooled one year, was attending. Home schooling was one of the best decisions I ever made. I'm only sorry I didn't do it sooner for more of my children.)
Two thumbs up for home schoolers who are brave and committed and want their children to be "raised up in the way they should go" -- the authentic Catholic faith.