The following is a brief part of a speech the late Dr. William Marra gave in Toronto in 1993.
In homeschooling, aim at a certain academic excellence. I claim that is the bonus that is always thrown in. If you seek first to defer harm, if secondly you permeate the situation with a Catholic atmosphere, the easiest part is the academic subjects.
Those few people who are destined to be the cultural leaders will have a far better preparation homeschooled than they will going to the most prestigious, expensive private school around.
When Catholic culture naturally exists, formal education is almost superfluous. The citizens of that culture, from the babe in arms up to the oldest man, will gain strength and light and solidarity as it were, through a spiritual osmosis: the very stones of the street, the very Stations of the Cross at the crosswalks, the very names of the cities, the very fact that we say “on St. Michael’s Day, we are going to do this,” instead of saying “on September 29th.”
When you start using the saints as your chronology, illustrations from the Bible and the lives of the saints, when Joan of Arc is a topic among you, and not some rock star—that is Catholic culture.
The beauty of Catholic culture is that when you practice it, you don’t have to articulate your Faith—you live it. That is where we get the great treasures of Western Civilization, such as music, the fine arts, architecture, without any great effort on our part, because these accompany Catholic culture when it is authentic.
Catholic culture is the cause of the wonderful harmony and the high level of civilization that was enjoyed in the past. There is no such culture today.
Today we have small homeschools. Because there is no existing Catholic culture, Catholic families must work to create it. Thanks to Christ-centered homeschooling, these children, born into this barren culture, will be the future heroes. These heroes will have a dedication to Truth.
These homeschooled heroes will understand who Christ is, what Truth is, what the Church is, who the enemies of the Church are.
Some of these heroes are going to swear a vow to be holy, and they will mean it. These home schooled heroes will reject our secular materialistic world and all its vices. These homeschooled heroes will understand that life on Earth is a pilgrimage. Some of these homeschooled heroes will be dedicated to a zealous pursuit of the Truth, no matter what it costs them in study, dispute, or controversy.
Because of their dedication and formation in homeschooling, parents will give us the young people who will be the heroes of sanctity in the first place, and the heroes of Catholic culture in the second place.
It is these homeschooled heroes who will make the cultural barren desert bloom once again.
Dr William Marra
The late Dr. William Marra, a philosophy professor at Fordham University for many years, gave numerous speeches at Catholic conferences, including homeschooling conferences. He homeschooled his own children. Dr. Marra passed away on December 12, 1998, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom he had a great devotion. May he rest in peace.