In the diocese of Arlington there exists the reasonable requirement, in my considerably cultivated judgment, that the headmasters of any Catholic school should be Catholic.
The Trustees of Notre Dame Catholic High School find it simply too difficult to comply with this draconian requirement. The trustees (an ill fitting moniker in this situation) have decided to hire a non-Catholic headmaster because they could not find a Catholic one. As a result, the school will have to disassociate itself from the Church.
One could be forgiven if they harbored the smallest suspicion that perhaps the trustees really didn’t look that hard. One person who thinks so is Chief Operating Officer of the school Dan Dolan. Mr. Dolan, a Catholic, has applied for the job but been ignored. Now I certainly can’t speak to Mr. Dolan’s qualifications, but its seems that if is the COO of the school, at the very least he could run it long enough for the trustees to conduct an actual search.
Needless to say, the parents of the students at Notre Dame are none too pleased with the decision of the board. I almost called it the inexplicable decision of the board, but alas its seems rather explicable. Money. A former member of the board who has filed a $24M lawsuit alleges that a donor is pulling the strings and keeping the school afloat while they are likely to lose many students over this decision.
Of course, the board (who could not find a qualified candidate in a Diocese of over 400,000 Catholics) says there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Clark said parents need to realize that the trustees have the best interest of the school at heart and that Catholicism will still have a role at the school.
“Notre Dame Academy is choosing to be a co-ed, college preparatory school, which celebrates the Catholic heritage,” he said. “We will continue to offer the religious curriculum that is consistent with the Catholic faith.”
Oh, well if they just need to realize that, then no worries. Sure, they sacrifice their money to send their kids to a “Catholic” school, only to be betrayed. They need only realize that the school will celebrate its Catholic Heritage.
Celebrate the “Catholic Heritage?’ How? Like France?
November 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm
This goes on more than you think. In my little backwater county, there is only one Catholic high school. A number of years ago a group of parents with lots of money and clout (on the school board) decided they knew better than the nuns how to run the school and caused a ruckus. The nuns got fed up and left.
They hired a non-Catholic principal and things went downhill from there. Finally, after several years of that nonsense, the archdiocese stepped in and ordered a Catholic be hired and dismissed the school board. Why it took so long I don’t know but at least they eventually came to their senses.
November 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm
That bites. That said, just because someone says they’re Catholic doesn’t necessarily mean much. The year after my graduation, my high school got a new principal who had been an administrator at the school. Well, first off I don’t think s/he knows a thing about education, and secondly, while I obviously can’t judge accurately, I never saw any particular faithfulness – it seemed more cultural than active to me. There is also a well-respected, expensive Catholic boys school in my archdiocese – well, apparently someone at my university is related to the headmaster, and that person said her/his relative was basically pretending. It kept its ‘heritage’ and Catholic ‘status’ intact, but it was not faithful.
On the other hand, my brother and sister go to a non-Catholic private school that was originally a Catholic school, and the teachers and administrators are so on board with the faith it’s incredible.
November 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm
hmmm, reminds me of LA’s Lay Pastoral Coordinators with 3 priests in residence
November 25, 2008 at 5:51 pm
It’s all George Bush’s fault.
I taught two years in a Catholic school as a gift of service; the diocesan and good ol’ girl politics were very Temple of Doom.
— Mack, evil, wicked, godless, satanic (and stuff) public-school teacher and part-time / adjunct / we-can-fire-you-any-time college instructor.
November 25, 2008 at 7:14 pm
NZIE – I agree. A lot of times it comes down to marketing. If you market yourself as a Catholic school, you get a certain amt of support and community prestige in some areas. But there is no lithmus test on just “how” Catholic a school is in the greater context (i.e. the priorities of the board, staff, principal etc).
I couldn’t seem to find out, but if this particular school is run by the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame, then it is absolutely no surprise that they are in trouble. I feel very bad for St Julie Biliart who founded the order, which today is nothing like her designs or mission.
November 25, 2008 at 7:54 pm
“Celebrating Catholic Heritage” or “In the Catholic Tradition” are red flags in my book for, “We look Catholic, but that’s as far as it goes.”
It’s a betrayal of not only the current parents but all the parents prior to them since the founding of the school.
November 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm
I have been advocating a pre-emptive closing of all Catholic Schools and Hospitals throughout the US.
Many of our schools and hospitals are betraying their Catholic missions anyways, so I proposed that we close them, sell the assets, and git while the gittin’ is good.
It’s painfully obvious that Obama and the Obots will be closing them, or forcing their closure, and expropriating the assets very soon, so it makes perfect sense to sell them off, and move the money to mission lands where Catholic services would be welcome and appreciated.
It’s a bit late now that Bobo has been elected, and the real estate market has tanked. Looks like we’re in for a good raping. I guess it serves us right for dressing up our institutions to look so sexy so we could better fit in with “the world”.
November 25, 2008 at 11:25 pm
I am surprised that anyone is surprised at the decline of catholic education. Fulton Sheen said simply “send your children to public schools where they will have to defend their faith, not to catholic schools where they will lose it”.
[I suspect much of the problem arises from snobbishness. The catholic school boards don’t want to appear backward; you know children of immigrants stuff. The president of Boston College years back did say that he wanted to outclass Harvard].
November 28, 2008 at 2:54 am
Just to add a positive note please see my blog for a NY Times article on my alma mater which is quite different:
“UNLIKE most Roman Catholic schools in the New York area, which embrace students regardless of their religion, Chaminade High School here requires a baptismal certificate to register.
“No exception,” said the Rev. James C. Williams, a cherub-faced priest who is the school’s president. “We advertise that pretty clearly because this is who we are. I don’t have room for all the Catholics who want to be here.”
“Chaminade, founded in 1930 and now the Island’s only all-boys Catholic school, has thrived by staying unabashedly Catholic and traditional.”