October 8, 2009

Sign of Declining Times

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Cardinal Dougherty and North Catholic High Schools, once iconic symbols of the strength the Catholic Church had in Philadelphia, will be closing after the conclusion of this year's academic calendar.

Early in it's 54 year history, Cardinal Dougherty was the largest Catholic high school in the world, with an enrollment estimated near 6,000. North Catholic boasts one of the largest alumni of male graduates, numbering over 40,000.

This Dougherty alum is saddened by today's announcement, but I can't say I'm surprised.

The further society abandons religion, stops educating children about God, and leaves Parochial education for cheaper alternatives, the further it expedites its own demise.


JB said...

Society isn't abandoning religion, it's abandoning Olney. If I had been given the choice to go to any catholic high school I wanted, I certainly wouldn't have chosen Dougherty in Olney...a 1-hour, two-Septa bus trip with all the crazies (each way). Don't get me wrong, I loved my time there and am sadded by the news. But not at all surprised.

page13 said...

If this were isolated to Olney, I'd agree with you.

However, the very-suburban Catholic grade school my children go to is also struggling with enrollment and may close soon as well.

Parents are choosing to leave parochial schools because of reasons beyond scenery.

JB said...

Send them to St. Alphonsus in my 'hood. They seem to have tons of kids.

Here's another reason to leave catholic schools...those damn nuns. I know, I know, there's hardly any more of them anymore. Every horror story you ever heard...all true and I can prove it I was there.

Another factor besides location is the quality and cost of suburban public schools. I can't speak for Philly, but my township has fantastic schools. Why would I spend money on tuition at a Catholic school when I'm paying taxes for the public schools and getting more than my money's worth? There's always CCD before Mass on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Here is perhaps the best reason to spend the money on tuition and avoid the public schools - the idea of right and wrong.

Education is more than just academics. Today's public schools drill into the kids at every turn that there is no such thing as "truth". There are many truths, and everyone is responsible for finding "their own truth". That philosophy underlies every course and activity.

Using a classic argument, by this measure no one has a right to complain about what Hitler did. He was acting out his own truth, which allowed for the active extermination of a race. However, most everyone agrees that this position is untenable. The reason is because what he did was wrong in any context, because it is wrong at its core.

We can have conversations about where that objective truth comes from, but the teaching that there is no objective truth is perhaps the most destructive force in society today.

JB said...

I don’t know what public school is teaching anything about “objective truth” or teaching that there is no such thing as “truth”, but that sounds ridiculous. Maybe I haven’t gotten there yet since my little ones are only in elementary school. “Truth” is being confused here with right vs wrong, and I can assure you that my public school is teaching my kids the difference between right and wrong.

Anyone with half a brain cell knows what Hitler did was wrong. The difference is that kids in public school don’t learn that it’s wrong because some supernatural invisible deity told them on a stone tablet in the list of priorities that killing people is wrong (down at #5 in the Catholic version I might add). My kids are learning right from wrong purely for the sake of being good, decent, moral, ethical human beings.

page13 said...

JB - who decides what is moral or just?

What you and I define as such, may be totally different from what someone else believes. So who is right?

This is what I think anonymous is referring to. More and more, schools are teaching our kids that no one can tell you what is right or wrong because (as you point out) they are just silly rules, developed by silly people who get their rules from an authority I don't recognize. (its called moral equivalency)

This leads (LOOOONNG term) to a society which is increasingly anarchist in nature.

You argue with only a few of the actual principals on those tablets because you hold many of the same values (honor Mom and Dad, no killing, no stealing, no adultery, no envy, no lying). But the few you do disagree with (Recognition of God and respect to him - the first 4), you STRONGLY oppose.

Funny thing is, it's between you and God as to the legitimacy of those 4; if you choose to ignore and are right about their meaninglessness, no problem. No matter what the church (Christian or Jew) forces you to do, they can't make you believe.

The Church (actually I do not consider myself part of a church, just a person of faith) and it's members have a humbleness however. They believe they are here to serve him, to believe in him, and to pass this faith on to their children. They do not need to be convinced by men with degrees in science and actual physical evidence to believe.

It's this belief which has brought us this great nation; prior to it, these freedoms never existed.

The further we part ourselves as a community from this belief, the further the decline of our country. This was predicted by people with the names of Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington.

I know, I'll never convince you with physical evidence of a God - because it's not possible. I just think it's beyond man's simple comprehension. Science still can't explain why we feel emotions such as guilt, or remorse, or revenge; it's beyond man's ability to quantify.

Remember, scientist once thought the world was flat, and today they want us to believe global warming exists. Our public schools have year-long education programs based on "green initiatives" and Earth-Day celebrations. They removed references to God and replaced them with a new religion - environmentalism; homage to the planet.

A post here last week ("Story of - Communist - Stuff") showed how leftist organizations being used to make students feel guilty about consumption; about living life. Why? Because Al Gore and "science" has ended the debate on Global Warming; we must stop destroying the planet. Like we actually have the power to do that.

You won't find Catholic Schools focused on this style of education. Just humble appreciation that we are not the highest level of intelligence believed to exist.

Ralph 1980 said...

It’s tragic but this closure has been a long time coming for North Catholic. I know some folks who worked for the school and the only reason it has stayed open this long is the donations from some very influential and wealthy alumni (I’m neither, just an alumni). We can debate for days about why Catholic education is no longer a preferred institution in the city. But Philadelphia has lost 4% of its population since 2000; a faster rate of population loss than any other city. (http://americancity.org/daily/entry/1695/) For most low/middle income families, the cost was too high. But the most important (I think) is the lack of family values today, the absence of discipline and respect, the push from a few that God (the Christian God) and all his teachings and symbols should be removed from public view and should only be viewed, talked about and worshiped in a religious setting or in your own home. I went through 12 years of Catholic education, and yes, it wasn’t perfect, but the experience taught me discipline and respect as well as a drive to understand God, who he is, and how to live in the kingdom he’s built for us; .
I think I’m a better man today because of that experience.