November 25, 2013

In his Nov.4 editorial (“Educational emergency is a call for Christian discipleship”), Glen Argan reflected on the important role Catholic schools can play in the “educational emergency” facing our children.

His reference to an “emergency” paralleled that of the Spanish bishops (June 3) who also spoke about an educational emergency – an emergency brought about by a failure to provide appropriate training in moral and ethical values.

In the past Pope Benedict had also addressed the educational emergency.

In regard to the emergency in Catholic education, Father James Mallon (WCR, Oct. 14), put Argan’s thinking in context when he noted that the Catholic identity of our schools is at risk.

At the same conference Sister Maureen Sullivan (WCR, Oct. 21) spoke about a credibility crisis and about the religious illiteracy of our youth. Patricia Grell (Oct. 28) also asked whether our schools are authentically Catholic as did Archbishop Michael Miller (2009 address at Newman Theological College) and Father James Mulligan (2005).

The value of Argan’s editorial is that it challenges Catholic trustees and educators to examine the Catholic dimension of the schools to determine the nature of the emergency to which he and others refer and, following this, to take appropriate action to address that emergency – however it is defined.

This is a process that is reflective of responsible leadership and, as noted by Barry White (WCR, Aug. 26), it is legitimate to ask if a school that calls itself Catholic is indeed authentically Catholic.

We need not fear this question nor is it one we should shy away from answering. Addressing the question in a scholarly and faith-filled manner would be consistent with the call of the Catholic bishops of Alberta to “ensure the continued formation of our school communities in the values and teachings of our Lord as taught through our Church.”

John Acheson
Catholic School Trustee