Tag Archives: Parenting

The US Education System And Religious Freedom


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Something to ponder from:

Dennis O’Donovan

Excuse me for not putting all of the citations for what I am about to write, but I don’t think anyone cares about them anyway, so here goes. (By the way, if pressed for time, be sure to read the last few paragraphs).

I’m all for religious freedom, not just for me and my immediate family, but for everyone. Here’s proof.

A few years ago, the following came before the Supreme Court, as separate cases, of course. 1) the prison regulations somewhere stated that the male inmates could not have beards, ostensibly for security reasons. The Muslims took the issue to the Supreme Court and won. Beards for everyone. 2) the prison regulations somewhere stated that the prisoners had to be served food, but not necessarily Kosher food for the Orthodox Jewish inmates. An orthodox Jewish inmate, or maybe even two or more, (does the number really matter?) took the case before the Supreme Court and won. Kosher food for everyone who wants Kosher food. 3) In Florida, there is a law against animal cruelty. A Santeria minister was ordered to stop slaughtering animals on his alter during Santeria services. The case went before the Supreme Court. Santeria won.

Now it’s my understanding that each of the petitioners in the cases mentioned above won based on religious freedom. None of the laws served enough of a “compelling government interest” to override the Constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs.

Now let’s go to any part of what is presently the United States of America from the time of the first Pilgrim to the present. It has been a non-stop fight for Catholicism from the word “go”. And quite frankly, I am getting tired of it.

Catholics aren’t demanding beards. We’re not demanding kosher food. We’re not even demanding we be permitted to slaughter animals on the altar during Mass. All I am demanding, at least for the moment, is the right to choose the schools our children will attend without having to pay approximately $115,000, in today’s dollars, for each one of our children who attends a Catholic school from pre k through 12.

We are claiming that religious freedom guarantees the right to choose the schools our children will attend – including religious schools – without $115,000 being paid again in today’s dollars via taxes of many kinds for each child. This double payment violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

Here is a teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding education:

2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

The United States Supreme Court addressed this issue indirectly in a 1925 case known as Pierce v. Society of Sisters. In 1922, the State of Oregon amended its Compulsory Education Act to say that all school age children must attend public schools. The Catholic Nuns did not like that. They won 9-0. Here is a portion of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion:

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (End of excerpt).

When you think of school tuition, envision each child paying his own. Assume he begins paying at age twenty-two the taxes that go for education. If he works until age seventy-two, and trust me, he will, he will have paid for fifty years for a fourteen year pre k – 12 education for himself. I think that’s plenty and that his parents should choose his school on his behalf as the Supreme Court stated in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925):

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (End of excerpt). Yes, I know I posted that excerpt twice. It’s important.

So how will anything change? When will this nation begin following the Constitution as the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause applies to religious freedom? Will it be through the efforts of the ACLU – you know, the Anti-Christian Liberty Union? I don’t think so.

I think an entity such as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has to prepare an iron clad case for this and parents in all fifty states must bring it before the state courts. Through either courts deciding differently throughout the nation, or all going against religious liberty, the case will certainly eventually go before the Supreme Court. After they make their decision, we will know if there actually is religious liberty in the United States or not.

So remember, the Muslims wanted their beards and the Constitution guaranteed their right to them. The Jewish inmates wanted their Kosher food and the Constitution guaranteed their right to it. Those who practice Santeria wanted the right to slaughter animals on the altar during their services and the Constitution guaranteed their right to do it. Now Catholics are simply saying our Constitution guarantees us the right to parental choice in the education of our children without having to pay twice and this is confusing? The Supreme Court ruled in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) that school vouchers as done in Ohio and used at religious schools don’t violate the Establishment clause. They are Constitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) that a state cannot standardize its children by forcing them to attend public schools. So what happens to those whose parents cannot afford to pay to have their children in other schools? We have religious freedom. School vouchers are constitutional. The state cannot standardize its children. Muslim prisoners have a constitutional right to beards. Jewish prisoners have a constitutional right to Kosher food. A Santeria minister has a constitutional right to slaughter animals during religious services. And although an innocent child will pay for education all of his adult life – probably fifty years – his mother cannot choose the schools he will attend? What in the hell is going on? Have we gone completely crazy as a Nation? If any, what part does anti-Catholicism play in all of this?

CONTINUING:

This post gives an historical example of how public schools have infringed upon religious freedom since their origin. In this case, it became national news when elementary school boys pushed back. The difference between then and now is that no one is pushing back.

I suppose every year has a few happenings that are very memorable. For me, 1859 has three that I think are very important for my own reasons. The Eliot School rebellion is one of them; the publishing of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species is another, and I will post about the third one in a little while.

Eliot School rebellion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Eliot School rebellion was a 19th-century incident that played a significant role in the debate over what kind of Christian instruction would be available in American public schools and sparked the establishment of Catholic parochial schools nationwide.

The incident began on a Monday morning, March 7, 1859. Massachusetts law required that the Ten Commandments be recited in every classroom every morning. Bible passages were also required to be read aloud. On March 7, a teacher at the Eliot School in Boston, Miss Sophia Shepard, called on ten-year-old Thomas J. Whall to recite the Ten Commandments. Whall refused because he was Catholic and Shepard insisted that the Commandments be recited as written in the Protestant King James Bible.[1]

The following Sunday at St. Mary’s Parish Sunday School, Whall was among the several hundred boys who heard Father Bernardine Wiget, a Swiss-born Jesuit and an enthusiastic ultramontane, urge them not to recite Protestant prayers lest they fall into “infidelity and heresy.” On Monday, March 14 Shepard again called upon Whall and he again refused. The assistant principal, McLaurin F. Cook,[2] was called. Saying “Here’s a boy that refuses to repeat the Ten Commandments, and I will whip him till he yields if that takes the whole forenoon,” he beat Whall’s hand with a rattan stick for 30 minutes until it was cut and bleeding. The principal then told all boys who intended to refuse to recite the King James version of the commandments to leave the school. One hundred boys left that day. Three hundred left the following day. Some boys reported to school with copies of the Vulgate Commandments that they were willing to recite, but they were refused admittance.[1]

The incident attracted intense national interest.[1][3] Charges of assault and battery brought against Cook by the boy’s father were dismissed on the grounds that religious instruction was a proper function of public school teachers.[2]

According to historian John McGreevy of the University of Notre Dame, the incident sparked the creation of Catholic parochial schools both in Boston and nationwide.[1][4] In Boston, St Mary’s Parish created a primary school to educate the boys who had withdrawn from the Eliot School. First called St. Mary’s Institute, and later named in honor of Father Wiget, the school enrolled 1,150 boys in the 1859-60 school year.[1]

References[edit]
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Catholicism and American Freedom, John McGreevy Norton and Co., New York 2003, p. 1-15, 42.
^ Jump up to: a b Ryan, Dennis P. (1979). Beyond the ballot box: a social history of the Boston Irish, 1845-1917. ScholarWorks, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. p. 59.
Jump up ^ “The Eliot School Difficulty at Boston Ended,” March 23, 1859, New York Times.
Jump up ^ History of the Catholic Church in the New England States, William Byrne, vol. 1, Hurd & Everts co., 1899, p. 128.

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Learning To Fly


Le signe de la Croix

I was blessed to be able to spend some time with my children at the zoo this afternoon. As we got loaded onto the sky tram at the zoo, my youngest daughter began to wince and whimper about the noises and the jerky movements of the cab. Before we travel anywhere, we say a little prayer asking for the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to pray for us, followed by Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you, three times and we finish up with Abba Father, I love you.  We began with this little burst of praying and looked about as we climbed higher and higher. My daughter, still a bit nervous at the trip across the zoo looked at me with a bit of fear.

She had never been afraid before, as we had been on this tram several times over the years. This time, was a little different. I reminded her of how she always wanted to fly, and told her to lift her arms out wide, like she was gliding, and she did. She let out a little cry and I said, okay, now bring one arm back in and touch your forehead. She did and held it there. I said, okay now say, in the name of the Father. She smiled. I told her then to bring her hand down and now touch her heart, and she did. I told her, now say, and of the Son. Her smile got larger. Then I told her to touch one shoulder and bring her arm back and touch the other one, and she did. I told her, now say, and of the Holy Spirit. She giggled a bit, and began to fly.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Amen.

May the Divine assistance remain always with us!

Amen.

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Sheep Rattle


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I promised my daughters that I would bring them something home from my Retreat this weekend. I purchased two sheep rattles on my way home. Although I knew what I was bringing them was much more than stuffed toys. What they can’t see yet, but I do clearly, is their mom is coming back with a firm guard on the lambs our Lord has given to me to give back to Him. Just as the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, so I must lay down my life for the lambs our Lord has entrusted me with, to care for until I can no longer. This is the job of a mom. This is the vocation of Motherhood. Yes, I care for all the souls placed in my life, but my top priority is for the two lambs in my own pen. As was my parents job when I was a “lamb”.

The story of my becoming aware of my conversion is one in which took place when my dad lay dying. When we are at a loss as to what we can do, our Lord is ever there to guide us. At that moment, as he was dying, I shook and prayed. Never thinking anything about it until it all became clear. We should never fear death, as we should only have fear of our Lord as we are living.

As I arrived home yesterday afternoon from the beautiful retreat, I handed my daughters their little sheep. A little while later my daughter Violet came to me as said with excitement “Mommy! It rattles!”.  Immediately the words flowed back to her. I began to tell her that she should always, for the rest of her life, remember and never forget that she has received our Lord in the Eucharist. That she was in fact a “sheep”. When ever she gets lost, no matter how far she walks away from our Lord, our Lord can hear her shake from the inside. The second she becomes afraid, she should remember that our Lord always knows where she is because she has Him everywhere she goes and just like that little rattling sheep, He hears her and will lead her back home too. She should never be afraid of the Shepherd and should tell Him everything through the sacrament of Reconciliation. In the Confessional, so she knows for a fact, He healed her when she gets into the tangles or covered in burs of sin, which are poisonous. Then to never get into those tangles again but to stay close to Him. Walking His path.

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”

 

 

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Its My Fault Too


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Today at Holy Mass, The Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, I was blessed to hear, one of the greatest Homily’s I have ever heard. I must share it. I had to write this to my Priest.

“Best Homily EVER Father Jacob! Although I don’t place the blame completely on you or any Catholic Priest fully. I take blame also as a parent. It’s good to know All Catholic Priests have “Catholic Parents Backs”, while we ALL carry the cross of RESPONSIBILITY of parenting and are Teaching our Children the Catholic Faith, to love God above all else. God bless our Priests.”

Please listen here: Don’t Forget Your Keys

In all honesty, I have been waiting for someone to say these words, and live by them for many years. Waiting for someone to help me back up the “Teaching” that is essential for my children, that we must place God above all else in our lives, no matter what we may think our goals may be. When we do place God above everything, all that was never meant to be in our lives, all the chaos and insecurity and false ideas, fall like dominoes and we can see the path of Life much clearly.

God bless our Priests and may we all come to understand what is crucial in our lives, living in this Secular Society, but separated from it, through our love of God above our love of all else.

“Seek and ye shall find”

With the grace of God, I found what I have been looking for.

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Show And Tell


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You show me this, I tell you, Yes.

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You show me this,

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And I see this…

No matter how an artist draws our Lord, or an actor portrays our Lord, we must see our Lord as He said. In the Body of Christ.

A conversation between myself and my daughter this morning..

Chloe: “Mom? Is that a picture of Jesus in real life?”

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Me: “No Chloe. The Eucharist, The Body of Christ is the real Jesus”

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Chloe: “AMEN Mommy”.

Peg Pondering Again began with a second title, Trying to paint A Picture of Christ. I truly believe the painting is complete..

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His New Year 2014


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Let Him enter your heart. Let Him take hold of every aspect of your life.

Fill every day He has given you, and gives to you, with Him. In deed, in thought, in prayer in love.

Cast away your past sins and sinfulness. Don’t continue in the past but prepare for the future. A new year is upon us. Be the change in the world for the good of all and to the Glory be Gods. Live the faith, daily. Love God above all else, daily.

The Year of Faith has concluded. May we Christian Family’s, make it our Mission to ensure we do
the Will of God. Stand up and be what our Lord has called you to be, HOLY.

Not just for 2014,but for all time, teach your children to be holy by your example. One need not be a Catholic Priest or Sister to be Holy or to be a Great Saint. We are ALL called to be saints first. Teach them to love God above all else as with this ONE lesson for life, everything falls into place in perfection of Christ Jesus, thus all society reaps the bountiful harvest of the fruits of faith. When you love God above everything, it becomes VERY easy to see, all sin stems from the soul breaking the very first commandment. “You shall have no other gods before me”

As a Catholic Parent, you have ONE job. To teach your children to love God above EVERYTHING else. Sainthood is the ONLY “Profession” we should encourage our children into. Profession of Faith. Parents are so caught up in wanting their children to succeed in the world and overlook how much more important it is to do the Will of God – the faith becomes secondary. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Our Lord then doubled it to Love your neighbor as yourself.

With the first command to love God above all else and teach your children to also, the second command becomes natural and easy to do. If you love God above all else, doing the Will of the Father, becomes your will. The Great Saints placed God first. Not their desire to become “Scholars” as the reason they became GREAT Scholars is because of their Love for God therefore becoming Great Saints first. St. Augustine did not set out on the path to God thinking about how fantastic it was to write. He wrote everything he EXPERIENCED through God. Thus, doing the Will of God, and God giving him the title after his entering into Eternal Life. Leaving a visible path behind for others to our Lord, and thereby to Abba Father. As did all the great Saints.

In 2014, let’s make it clear to the entire world that as Christians, we love God above all else. Placing worldliness and sinful behaviors behind us. And if you fall, He will pick you back up to continue on through His Sacraments. If we do just this one thing, the entire world would never be the same. Don’t allow 2014 to become just another secular year, make it HOLY. Dedicate it to Him who gave His life to you. What is just one year to give Him in return? In one year, living the faith with your entire heart, you will never want to return to who you once were without Him. You won’t be able to remove your eyes from Him ever again.

I for one am looking forward to placing 2013 in the past. I am grateful for all God has done for me and my family. Lord may we all move forward into the new year, with YOU and never without You O Lord. May we apply all the gifts you have given to us, in all aspects of our lives, to give Abba Father all the glory and honor through Jesus Christ and the most gracious Holy Spirit, Three, eternally in the One God of all. Amen

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