Wednesday 17th September 2014

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Questioning Parental Values

January 12, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

I am a great admirer of the columns of Dennis Prager. He fights the good fight for traditional values, taking head-on the politically correct leftists in the media and the academy. His recent column on the plight of conservative parents finding their values being undermined by their children’s teachers is no exception. He urges parents to confront the fact that virtually “every institution outside the home has been captured by people with left-wing values; specifically the media (television and movies) and the schools (first the universities and now the high schools).”
Nothing to take issue with there. But I would argue that when Prager seeks to underscore his point by quoting James O. Freedman, president of Dartmouth College, from a 2002 speech, he may be painting with too broad a brush. In that speech Freedman said, “The purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values.” I don’t know anything about Freedman’s political views. For all I know, he may well hope that Dartmouth will transform the children of middle-class Americans with traditional values into carbon copies of President Obama’s most radical cabinet members.
But it could also be that Freedman meant something very different indeed. I can remember Marist Brothers and Jesuit priests who taught me in high school and college saying virtually the same thing as Freedman. But their purpose was not to weaken the Catholic values of their students; it was to strengthen them. Their plan of action was to submit their students’ traditional beliefs to the most withering attack they could muster from the writing of people such as Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and John Dewey; and then lead their students to come up with an intelligent and effective response.
It was the “no straw men” theory. My teachers were convinced that their students’ values would be weak and easily undermined in their adult lives if all they ever heard were the words of apologists for Catholicism who pictured the Church in the most favorable light. My old teachers proceeded under the belief that it was important for an educated Catholic man or woman to hear the positions of the enemies of the Church in their strongest and most effective form; that it was necessary for Catholics serious about their faith to be able to answer the arguments of an atheist or a secular humanist as the most articulate atheists and secular humanists would present them, not as an artificially frail caricature of those arguments put together for the purpose of easily tearing them apart: the proverbial “straw man.”
Prager is correct when he warns parents to be alert for teachers and professors who are seeking to undermine their children’s beliefs and value systems. There are such left-wing professors. But it is also possible for parents to overreact and react irrationally when they hear their values being questioned in their children’s classes, perhaps when they are studying Marx or the modern deconstructionists such as Jacques Derrida. The teacher covering this material may plan to cover the theories of Edmund Burke and Jacques Maritain a week or two later.
Some may argue that such a scenario is unlikely in the modern universities of the country, dominated as they are by the secular left. But it is not an impossibility. Our goal should be to be vigilant and uncompromising when the situation calls for it, but to avoid being foolish and counterproductive by launching an attack where one is not called for.
Unfortunately, our children are not always the best judges about these matters during their years as students. They may jump to the conclusion that their teacher is a radical with a left-wing agenda when left-wing theories are the topic for a series of classes, not realizing the long-term goal of the professor is to introduce great thinkers who will defend the Church and traditional values at a later time in the course. Parents would be well advised to keep that possibility in mind before making any charges against the teacher to the administration of the school. A witch-hunt is never flattering thing for those involved in it, to say nothing of the injustice it perpetrates against the accused.
On a related topic: David French put together a plan for those getting ready for college in the October 17 online edition of National Review. Not everyone will agree with his recommendations, but he offers food for thought. His first recommendation is to think long and hard about whether college is right for you in the first place, since our “economy is full of hard workers who do well without that English or marketing degree.” That said, French agrees that “college grants you access to jobs that are closed off to those without a degree. Increasingly, that includes jobs that don’t actually require college-level skills, but because a degree requirement is one of the few lawful ways to screen out the vast majority of unsuitable applicants, degree requirements flourish.”
But, he interjects, that doesn’t mean we should “overpay for a credential.” French argues that there are only a few “shock and awe” schools whose degrees offer an edge in the job market over degrees from less prestigious schools. “For the vast majority of private schools, ask yourself if spending $200,000 to go to Disneyland is worth the money — because that’s what they offer: academic Disneyland, with no lasting benefits greater than those offered by your typical state-supported school.”     He offers a corollary: “How well you do matters more than where you do it.” Good grades matter, “standing out matters…GPA and test scores matter much, much more than the name on the diploma.”
Not that prestige is irrelevant. “If you go to graduate school, the identity of your college gets irrelevant fast. Who has more job options: The person who went to the University of Illinois for college and Harvard for law school, or the person who went to Harvard for undergrad and the University of Illinois for law school?” French does not beat around the bush. It is the former. “Save your money and prestige focus for graduate school.”
French’s hope is that if “just a few more families will shift their kids out of extravagantly expensive, marginally prestigious private schools,” it will lead to “real downward pressure on tuition, frivolous expenditures, and disciplines….In other words, the market can work — if only we behave rationally. And college debt is almost never rational.”

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Catholic Education Honor Roll Announced

Today, The Cardinal Newman Society released the list of schools recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as 2014 Schools of Excellence. Since 2004 the Honor Roll has celebrated quality Catholic education throughout the United States. Honor Roll schools receiving…Continue Reading

Hermeneutic of Continuity: Pope Benedict XVI’s 10 Step Guide to Vatican II

pope200

In 2005 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave a Christmas address to the Roman Curia that sparked a “Holy Revolution.” The good pontiff’s comments were received as “epoch-making” by many of those faithful to Sacred Tradition.1 At the heart of…Continue Reading

Satanists Sell Out Controversial Oklahoma ‘Black Mass’ Event, Will Stage Exorcism Despite Christian Protests

The Satanist group that will stage a controversial “black mass” at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will…Continue Reading

Catholic League Bowing Out Of New York’s St. Patrick’s Parade

NEW YORK –  The Catholic League says it will sit out next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York because parade organizers aren’t letting an anti-abortion Catholic group march. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Thursday that his organization…Continue Reading

Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam

Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered Islamic religious phrases and insisted that Islam shares foundational rules with Christianity, during a Sept. 10 press conference in D.C. “In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself…Continue Reading

MURDER OF CATHOLIC NUNS SHOCKS WORLD

The triple murder of three elderly Italian religious sisters in Burundi has their religious family and the local community reeling. The Italian Foreign Ministry has confirmed Monday’s death of a third missionary, Sister Bernadette Boggian, who wasdecapitated, according to a…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Hon. Bob Marshall Sept. 8, 2014 New York’s Cardinal Dolan, appointed as Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, praised the decision to allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I have…Continue Reading

Founder: Catholic Studies programs help colleges fulfill call to faithfulness

St. Paul, Minn., Sep 8, 2014 / 06:03 pm (CNA).- University-level Catholic Studies programs are an essential response to the increasingly fragmented college experience, said the man who founded the first such program 20 years ago. “At the heart of…Continue Reading

A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s decision to act as grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade despite its decision to allow an openly homosexual organization to participate has drawn strong criticism from Catholic writers and outrage from many…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Caves

notredame

The following comes from an Aug. 30 email from the Sycamore Trust, “alumni protecting Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.” Notre Dame is complying with the abortifacient/contraceptive mandate in renewing its student health insurance program for 2014-15. Aetna, the insurer, will now provide students with…Continue Reading

Vatican’s Cardinal Burke dismantles ‘Who am I to judge?’

burk

Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court – the Apostolic Signatura – has given a lengthy televised interview in which he decisively rectifies the false notions about Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” quote that has been…Continue Reading

You’ve Been Dolanized!

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City has finally thrown in the towel and agreed to let gay Irish groups march. The announcement was made yesterday. In response, Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington posted on…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope And Santa Marta: Closeness And Compassion

pope525

(Vatican Radio) Beautiful homilies are useless if you are not close to the people, if you do not suffer with the people and do not give hope, they are vanity: This was Pope Francis’ reflection Tuesday morning during Mass in Santa Marta, the day on which the Church remembers the Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, bishop martyrs. The Gospel of…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Learning From Our Lady Of Sorrows

pope524

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows during Monday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, with a reflection on how Mary learned, obeyed and suffered at the foot of the Cross. The Holy Father said that in the liturgy of the day first we are shown the glorious Cross, then the meek ​​and humble Mother.…Continue Reading

Violence Begets Violence

By REY FLORES Is it me or is violence becoming more prevalent across our society? Is it because most people have a cell phone nowadays with a camera and are able to share these ever-increasing acts of violence across cyberspace on social media? Perhaps it’s a little of both, but it’s definitely a lot more…Continue Reading

Birth Statistics Show Collapse Of The Family

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column; all rights reserved.) + + + If you count a generation as spanning 20 years, then approximately 36 percent of the American generation born from 1993 through 2012 — which has begun turning 21…Continue Reading

Deacon Describes Last Hours… Convicted Killer In Prolonged Execution Was Baptized

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Although most news attention focused on the nearly two hours it took for a convicted Arizona double murderer to die during the execution by lethal injection in July, he had been baptized a Catholic not long before, according to a deacon who helped Joseph Wood prepare for death. Ed Sheffer,…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A “Better Life Index” That Ignores What Makes For A Better Life

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… The Weeping Madonna Of Syracuse

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY This little-known event involves a small plaster figure of our Lady showing her Immaculate Heart, which wept tears on numerous occasions in the city of Syracuse (Siracusa), Italy, for four days from August 29 to September 1, 1953, attracting thousands of pilgrims. Although not an apparition as such, this seems to…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . “And Who Is My Neighbor?” The Embryo And The ALS patient

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 20 bewails his isolation as a result of the scorn of nonbelievers: “The word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.” He describes his temptation to throw in the towel as a prophet tasked by God with a message for mankind: “I say to myself,…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or . . . Supernatural? Celibacy In The Teachings Of St. Paul

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 St. Paul was not one of the twelve, but he is known as “the Apostle,” certainly because of the richness of his apostolic zeal in teaching, possibly more than all the other apostles put together. He was educated in the faith by Jesus Himself, and after that intense training, he became as zealous…Continue Reading

The Implications Of Faith In One God

By DON FIER Over the past three weeks, we have reflected on but an infinitesimal fraction of all that the faithful affirm when they reverently and genuinely say the first four [or five] words contained in the Creeds of the Church: “I believe in [one] God.” In saying these words with heartfelt sincerity, one is acknowledging his belief in who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I have recently read a book entitled Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. I was taken aback by its premise and wonder about its veracity. Do you have an opinion on the book? — E.J.S., New Jersey. A. You have good reason to wonder about the veracity of Constantine’s Sword (and the movie based on the book) since its author,…Continue Reading

Magnify The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9 Phil. 1:20c-24, 27a Matt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, Isaiah cries out to all the people that they are to seek the Lord while He may be found. This becomes extremely important to us because Scripture speaks of the possibility of the Lord coming to…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

By CAROLE BRESLIN After returning from a visit to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and giving a retreat to her Missionaries of Charity there, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, told a class of lay faithful, “Americans are living in a dream world.” He spoke of the thousands of people dying on the streets of Calcutta where Mother had begun her work…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading