We occasionally hear comments that Seton is too Catholic. Some families have taken their children out of local Catholic schools and have noted that those schools did not “saturate” all of their classes with the Faith as Seton does.
Others say they want their children to have “both sides of the story” so that they can “find the truth.”
Yet most of our families are extremely happy that Seton does present the Catholic Faith throughout the curriculum. Seton is proud to follow the teachings of the Church and to inculcate the Faith throughout the school day as recent popes have asserted should be the goal.
The Supremacy of God
There should be a coordinated curriculum that never loses sight of God’s supremacy in all things. The importance of this was declared by Pope Leo XIII in the 1897 encyclical, Militantis Ecclesiae, “The Church Militant”, where he wrote:
“Religion must not be taught to youth only during certain hours, but the entire system of education must be permeated with the sense of Christian piety. If this is lacking…small benefit will be derived…; instead damage will be done.”
Pope Leo XIII is the same pope who had a vision of great evil in the 20th century and who wrote the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and ordered it prayed after every Mass to minimize that evil.
This statement in his encyclical is very clear and direct. “The entire system of education must be permeated with the sense of Christian piety.”
Seton does its best to follow this command.
When Lay Teachers Replaced Nuns
It is no secret that a large number of nuns have left the Catholic school system since about the mid-sixties. Tens of thousands left Catholic school teaching to find other ways of life. This meant that Catholic schools were forced to hire lay teachers to replace the nuns.
The nuns lived by vows of poverty, so they did not command large salaries. The lay teachers had families to support and they needed larger salaries, so the expenses of the schools jumped.
At about the same time, many state governments made state-funded textbooks available to the Catholic schools for free. Most Catholic schools accepted these books in an attempt to keep tuition down and keep the Catholic families in the schools.
However, these textbooks were necessarily secular, so there was no permeation of Catholic content any more. Therefore, Catholics who grew up using Catholic schools were not accustomed to a fully Catholic content as Pope Leo directed.
Seton publishes many of its own textbooks, so we are able to maintain that Catholic content. Most other Catholic textbook publishers have ceased these operations because schools that accepted government money for books were not permitted to use this money to buy Catholic books.
Bringing Balance to the Issues
Sometimes people are concerned that the “Catholic viewpoint” might be an attempt to downplay historical misdeeds by Catholics. But this does not account for the fact that most secular books tend to overstate misdeeds by Catholics, and understate misdeeds by secularists.
For example, secular textbooks tend to portray the Spanish Inquisition as a singularly terrible institution, while portraying the French Revolution as a good thing. They do this despite the fact that the number of executions during a single year of the French Revolution vastly exceeded the number of executions during a hundred years of the Spanish Inquisition.
When we write that the French Revolution was worse than generally thought, and that the Inquisition was not as bad as generally thought, this is not to make excuses, but simply to bring some balance to the issue.
Truth is something that is absolute, not relative. Either 2 + 2 is 4 or not. We don’t teach that 2 + 2 = 4 in one book and 2 + 2 = 7 in another and then work to find the truth. The Catholic Church has the fullness of all Truth necessary to obtain the one final goal in life, Heaven.
It cannot compromise with what is less than true in the world. St. John warned us that we are in the world but that we are not to be “of the world.” Our Lord said that we are not of the world, because we are His, and He is not of the world.
Our Lord also told Pilate that He was the Truth, and Pilate, speaking for the world, could not recognize the Truth and even asked “What is truth?” We ought to strive for the Truth that will set us free—free to know, love and serve God, so that we can be happy with Him forever in Heaven.
That is the Truth that Seton does its best to include throughout the curriculum.
Header Image CC Giampaolo Macorig