National Catholic Register



BY Jim Cosgrove

September 20-26, 1998 Issue | Posted 9/20/98 at 2:00 PM


Inside Home-Schooling

Kudos for your well-written home-schooling article (“Home-Schooling Phenomenon Shows No Sign of Slowing,” Aug. 23-29). There are [more than] 60,000 Catholic families home-schooling and more than one million total American home-schoolers. Yet, this “phenomenon” is still unknown and misunderstood by many parish priests as well as by well-intentioned Catholic family and friends.

Although it is true that many Catholics opt for home-schooling due to declining standards of religious education in parochial schools, that is not always the case. There are still many very good “loyal-to-the-magisterium” parochial schools. Home-schooling, though, allows the prime educators of children — their parents — to build character and imbue in them the virtues necessary to bring Christ to the world. We are striving for strong, well-lived Catholic vocations, whether it be the religious, married, or single life.

Home-schooling children are not isolated. On the contrary, they have more opportunity for interaction with children of different ages, faiths, and economic status. Attending class with 30 other children does not ensure this. It is the ability to charitably interact with others who are different from you in one way or another that constitutes well-rounded socialization.

Some Catholic families feel that home-schooling is an “attack” on the parochial school system or on their own option for traditional schooling. That is not the case either. Home-schooling is not viewed as the one and only best option. It is only one option and it is not for everyone. I truly believe that home-schooling is a calling from God, it is a vocation.

I commend parents who do opt for traditional schooling at their parochial school and become actively involved. They are there to ensure a true Catholic sacramental education for their own and other children. They too are fulfilling a vital duty in our Catholic community.

I hope that many religious as well as lay Catholic families read your article. It served to inform and perhaps lessen the “stigma” of home-schooling among our Church brethren.

Sandra de Quesada

Miami, Florida

Too Ecumenical?

Please help me to understand a statement that was made in “Into the Millennium and Beyond,” Aug. 9-15 issue. Father Avery Dulles said “I wouldn't want Catholics to become sectarian, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world and hoarding salvation as if it belonged to them alone.”

It is with the last part of this statement that I am confused. Is salvation not best sought after by faith in Jesus Christ and receiving grace from him by way of the sacraments administered by the holy Catholic Church? Even then, are we not to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as St. Paul said he would do? If salvation is for those outside of the Catholic Church as well, then why evangelize, why not attend a Presbyterian service next Sunday or join a Universalist Church? I think that this is a case of ecumenism gone too far.

Tim Andrus,

Guilford, Connecticut

Editor's Note: Father Dulles was asked if there wasn't a tendency among some Catholics who are otherwise supportive of Church teaching to adopt “sectarian” attitudes toward other Catholics; for example, those who belittle or shun others who don't share their particular devotions or interests. Father Dulles agreed that there was such a danger.