4 thoughts on “Time to exercise the “Catholic imagination” in civic life

  1. Here is an attempt to apply the” Catholic Imagination” to Catholic Schools:
    Catholic schools are too expensive for the poor.
    Practically speaking, the Catholic Schools must give up general education in those countries where the State is providing it. The resources of the Church could then be focused on “Confraternity of Christian Doctrine” and other programs which can be kept open to the poor. These resources could then be used to help society become more human in solidarity with the poor. Remember, the Church managed without Catholic Schools for centuries. It can get along without them today. The essential factor from the Christian point of view is to cultivate enough Faith to act in the Gospel Tradition, namely, THE POOR GET PRIORITY. The rich and middle-class are welcome too. But the poor come first.

    1. Instead of abandoning Catholic Schools in countries where taxpayers fund public schools, Catholics in the United States should work to use their tax money to fund Catholic Schools. Catholics in some U.S. states like Arizona have already been successful in directing their taxpayer dollars to fund Catholic schools. The governments of many highly developed and less developed countries around the world already fund Catholic and religious schools. These include countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Chile, England, Israel, India, Cameroon, Pakistan, Belgium, South Korea, Spain, Ireland, Côte d’Ivoire, Ireland, and Sweden.

      In several European countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland, school choice is a constitutional right. Article 24 of the Belgian constitution, for example, provides “all pupils of school age have the right to moral or religious education at the Community’s expense.” Belgium enacted universal school choice in 1958 in what it termed the “School Pact”; school choice was seen as a way of avoiding strife between Catholic and Protestant schools.

      Other European nations’ experiences with robust school choice refute the canards that are raised against vouchers in the United States. Some have argued, for example, that vouchers lead to balkanization and to the funding of extremist schools. This has not been the case in Europe. As Charles Glenn points out, “The Dutch example is particularly telling since there is a constitutional guarantee of freedom of the religious or philosophical character of schools…and two-thirds of pupils in the country attend nonpublic schools.

      Chile has both municipal and private subsidized schools financed through vouchers. In South Korea, government funding of private schools has been present since the end of the Korean War. In Côte d’Ivoire subsidies are given to private schools per student enrollee. Students may attend school of their choice if they can make it over the entrance restrictions. Cameroon provides subsidies to faith-based private schools for accepting poor students. Bangladesh has a program which covers 80 percent of teacher salaries in private schools. Vouchers or various other financial support structures from the government appear to be widely available in and embraced by developing countries as a means of increasing enrollment at the bottom end of their socioeconomic ladders.

      India, a country of over a billion people, supports private schools at taxpayer expense. As of 2012, private schools made up 21.2 percent of India’s schools, and more than one in four of these schools (5.16 percent of total schools) were publicly supported. India’s neighbor, Pakistan, also supports private schools.

  2. There are two issues of Commonweal for the month of May 2018 and neither one has the article by Cardinal McElroy. The correct issue with the article is June 1, 2018.

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