The home schooling apostolate is a truly counter cultural movement, a contradiction to the current self-obsessed culture. The home schooling apostolate is evidence of an attitude of service to others most in need of our leadership, our love, our spiritual help, our teaching.
Many leaders of today’s society are insistent that religion is unimportant to public life, that America is not and never was a religious place, and that the Christian Faith is an obstacle to national life, national service, and public education. Some even tell us that religion itself is the problem, that if only people believed in nothing then they would have nothing to fight over. Radical indifference is presented as the guarantee of peace in the world.
We Catholics understand that peace comes only through acceptance of the Prince of Peace. We see that those who have given up hope for eternal salvation do not find peace, but rather despair. To us Catholics, nothing is more clear than the continuing hunger for Jesus Christ. This is the great unmet need of today: the need for Faith in Jesus Christ.
It was only recently that the Christian Faith was rejected as the basis for our national life, but the signs of deterioration are very strong. No great nation has ever tried to live a life dedicated to the proposition that Nothing unites people.
We are seeing what it is like for a person and for a society to live without public dedication to religious values. Like Pontius Pilate, many American leaders declare they are personally opposed to grave evil, but publicly wash their hands of any commitment to Christian values.
The loss of Christian Faith in individuals is rapidly following its repudiation in public. Whichever came first, each loss now prompts the other, and the end of Christian influence in this society is now in sight.
It has even reached the point where true morality itself is seen as evil, or as a sign of mental illness. This is shown most clearly in the debate (or lack of debate) about same-sex marriage. When a beauty pageant contestant gave a very limited endorsement of traditional marriage, she ended up losing her title. In California, supporters of traditional marriage, as well as the businesses that employ them, have been subjects of campaigns of intimidation. Readers of the Washington Post recently complained bitterly when an article in that paper called a supporter of traditional marriage “sane”—that’s right, it is objectionable to write that a supporter of traditional marriage is not mentally ill. (Washington Post, “‘Sanity & a Smile’ and an Outpouring of Rage,” 9/6/2009)
We home schooling parents are well aware of the limits of the gifts of this world. We are all too accustomed to the indifference and the obstacles that have been carefully erected around the works of Jesus Christ. We need not go over the difficulties further. We want to recognize them, to discuss solutions, and to strengthen ourselves against the works of the devil. We need to fortify ourselves to continue our Catholic home schooling because it is a promising new effort that can and will break through the offensive demonic strategies of this world.
The prospects of Catholic home schooling are greater than we expect. Catholic home schooling is not just a reaction to the current crisis situation both in the Church and in the Nation. It is not just a well-meant but temporary diversion from the troubles of the Church; nor is Catholic home schooling a temporary necessity to which Catholic families have been driven by the educational corruption.
Catholic home schooling is necessary for the survival of the Church and of the nation, as in the past, now in the present, and for the future.
For generations, the popes have called for parents to be recognized as the first and primary teachers of their children. Catholic home schooling is the authentic fulfillment of the call to family holiness. Catholic Home Schooling will bring permanent benefits to the Nation and to the Church.
Catholic home schooling is not peripheral to the life of the Church today. It is central to the life of the Church. It is a principal cause for hope. Catholic home schooling is the key to true Catholic Renewal in the Church.
A Vatican cardinal told me that he believes that the immigrant spirit of determination of Americans has made the Catholic home schooling movement successful. It is the same spirit that once caused our grandparents or great-grandparents, for the sake of their religious convictions, to leave their homes and worldly possessions, and bring their families across raging seas to find religious freedom in America.
Home schooling families are pioneer families who believe there is no place like home, who believe there is no place like a Christian home. And for us Catholics, who believe there is no better place than our Domestic Church to raise, and train, and teach our children.
Catholic home schooling is not simply a new way of learning, or even a return to the home schooling situation that existed in the colonial days. It is a cultural revolution in family life that proclaims the worth of the family.
We Catholics who belong to a Church 2000 years old should have a long vision. We need to have hope and trust in the future. We Catholics have a long memory. We have all the saints who preceded us. We have survived the worst of times. A 17-year-old girl, St. Joan of Arc, can teach us how to survive, not only by attacking the enemy in front of us, but also by trusting in God when we are betrayed by the very people who should be protecting us.
Perseverance cannot be just of past days and past times. Perseverance is needed and can be lived just as much in our own time. The soldiers at Gettysburg fought in order to stand at the top of a small outcropping of rock. We Catholics already stand upon The Rock established by Jesus Christ. We fight not for a patch of land, but for the Rock of the Church which we must preserve for our children and our children’s children.