New beginnings would benefit Catholic education

February 4, 2013

The 2012-13 Year of Faith recognizes the priceless treasure of Catholic schools as an indispensable instrument of evangelization. Dr. John Acheson’s article in the WCR (“Catholic education battles secular push in today’s society,” Dec. 17) reminds us of the critically important role that Catholic schools play in evangelization.

The year 2012-13 is a summons for all Canadians to a renewal, to a missionary spirit, and to be well-catechized laity. My experience is that lay people have a sense of adulthood and ownership in the post-Vatican II Church.

Vatican II’s document on the Church placed its consideration of the people of God before any discussion of hierarchy. It put our Baptism before any reflection on bishops or priests.

One of the most inspired Canadians at Vatican II was Dr. Gregory Baum who recently wrote on the identity of the Catholic school system. He writes that for over 100 years the Catholic laity in Quebec showed educational leadership as trustees in Catholic French and English schools.

Baum reflects that in only 10 years, the Catholic school system was replaced by a secular one. The decision to secularize the Catholic system was made by the Quebec parliament, convinced that this was the wish of the majority. The Catholic majority stood by and let this happen.

I support Dr. Acheson’s prophetic call for dialogue and new beginnings in our Catholic school system.

All subject areas in Edmonton Catholic have a number of highly-trained educators who collaborate with classroom teachers across the district. However, I am concerned that there is no longer a clearly identified department of religious education. Only two consultants serve more than 80 Catholic schools.

Pope John XXIII’s idea of renewal was met with skepticism and silence. For Pope John, the signs of the times, changes in governance, full conscious active participation by all the faithful were the call of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Leo Floyd

Letter to the Editor - 02/11/13