Setting facts straight on home schooling

Re “Home-schoolers sometimes at odds with dioceses” (News Analysis, June 5). 

Father Peter Stravinskas’ ignorant and offensive claims about the psychological and academic shortcomings of home schooling have been thoroughly refuted by researchers. If he would like to engage in a serious discussion about the role of home-schoolers in American Catholic society, he should at least have his facts straight. Of greater concern to me is the claim that home-schoolers are “anti-clerical” and that they set themselves in opposition to traditional Catholic schools and parish communities. Far from being anti-clerical, all of the home-schoolers I know pray for vocations among their children. 

Furthermore, Catholic home-schoolers do not do what they do because they oppose Catholic schools; they feel deeply the call of the Second Vatican Council’s “Declaration on Christian Education,” which names the parents as primary educators of their children. My husband and I prayerfully considered how to educate our children — to give them the best opportunity to learn, to grow in wisdom and virtue and live in love with Our Lord. Our parish school was simply not up to the task. We home-school because God had given us four beautiful souls to care for, and home schooling is the best way for us to keep those souls pointed toward heaven. 

— Debbie Wallace, Fairfax, Va.

Heroic home-schoolers 

I am appalled by Father Peter Stravinskas’ disrespect toward home-schooling parents’ heroic concern for the faith, education and proper upbringing of their children. “Catholic” is not some corporate label — it means that we follow and embrace the person of Jesus Christ. We try to exhibit that in our homes. Father simply ignores the rot in American culture that pervades even our Catholic schools, and then derides parents who raise their children in a better environment, surrounded by love, faith and purity. 

Schools have no monopoly over education, especially in the acquisition of wisdom. Today, technology and a variety of curricula make it possible for dedicated parents to home-school and achieve outstanding results.  

Finally, it’s no secret that Catholic schools are increasingly cost-prohibitive for large families who welcome children into their homes. 

— Rosario Reilly, president Aquinas Learning LLC, Manassas, Va.

Scandal not behind us 

I am surprised to read that your May 29 editorial (“Abuse accountability”) ended with the paragraph, “The [sex abuse] scandal is in large part behind us. Much work has been done. But the Church at every level needs to hold itself accountable.” I find your conclusion surprisingly naïve, to say the least. 

No, the scandals are not behind us and never will be until we get on our knees as a national Church in a spirit of penance and reparation as called for by Pope Benedict XVI in his apostolic letter to the Church of Ireland or any national Church that finds itself in the same scandalous condition. 

Deacon John M. Edgerton,Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Pro-life feast day 

Greg Erlandson’s suggestion that we need a pro-life feast day is a wonderful idea (Spectator, May 29). The feast of the Holy Innocents would be a most appropriate day. It recalls the slaughter of innocent babies by Herod, in his desire to kill the Christ Child. The parallel is appallingly close to contemporary society’s killing of babies through abortion. 

Al Donner, Orinda, Calif.

Bishop’s words 

Re “The pope ‘removes’ some bishops, leaves others” (News Analysis, May 29). 

The article inaccurately states that Bishop William M. Morris of Toowoomba, Australia, wrote in his pastoral letter for Advent 2006 “suggesting that the Church should ordain women to the priesthood.” Had you read his letter you would have seen that he clearly did not say such. His letter said, “We may well need to be much more open towards other options for ensuring that Eucharist may be celebrated. As has been discussed internationally, nationally and locally the ideas of ... ordaining women, married or single.” He is not advocating their ordination but merely the need to be much more open to such options. In fairness to the bishop, you should have noted this distinction.  

Deacon Joseph Keenan, Netcong, N.J. 

Editor’s note: Valid point. At the same time, it could appear disingenuous for the bishop to describe women’s ordination as an “option.” 

Hooray for modest dress 

Re “Capturing the beauty of the big day” (Faith, May 29). 

This article showed a photograph by Renata Grzan with a bride in a modest dress. What a breath of fresh air. We are all so tired of seeing brides half dressed. 

— Jackie Baumgartner, Crystal City, Mo. 

Corrections 

Home-schoolers sometimes at odds with dioceses” (News Analysis, June 5) should have quoted Colleen Bennett as saying her goal in home schooling is “to get my children into heaven.” 

Uncovered WWII note adds to Pius XII debate” (News Analysis, June 12) should have stated that Franklin C. Gowen wrote the 1944 cable. 

Due to a production error, the key to a pie chart on Eastern-rite Catholics (In Focus, June 5) did not include Ukrainian Catholics, who have a population of 4.35 million, and Italo-Albanians, with a population of 61,487.