The Bishops Lenten appeal is next week. I’m all for giving aid to the poor, etc. I truly am. However, whenever I hear about the BLA, there never seems to be any discussion of how much goes towards Catholic schools. It seems to me that, before all else, it is necessary that children are able to receive a Catholic education.
Look what the 1917 code of Canon Law said: “Catholic children shall not attend non-Catholic, indifferent, schools that are mixed, that is to say, schools open to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The bishop of the diocese only has the right, in harmony with the instructions of the Holy See, to decide under what circumstances, and with what safeguards to prevent the loss of faith, it may be tolerated that Catholic children go to such schools.”
So, attendance for Catholic children at Catholic schools was considered so critical, that it was mandatory, with the realization that sending children to other schools could result in “the loss of faith.”
Arlington gave $3,062,750 last year in tuition assistance. The closest Catholic school to me costs over $10,000 a year. So, that tuition assistance would pay for 300 students. 300. For the entire diocese. The BLA, by itself, raised $17.5 million last year. So, if ONLY the money from the BLA went toward tuition assistance, it would only account for 17% of the BLA.
I would submit that the Catholic education of children is something due in justice.
I know a lot of parents who cannot send their children to Catholic schools because they can’t afford it. Yes, some can homeschool. Some can’t.
What are the diocese in our country and around the world doing to help parents give these children what is due them in justice?
It is said that the largest “denomination” in our country may be fallen away Catholics. I get the sinking feeling that many of the people that we help with the BLA require that help now because we failed them when they were children. How many good marriages would exist, holy lives now lived, if we supported these men and women when they were boys and girls? How many more souls won?
This feels like a tragic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes, or, in this case, no faith.