To the Editor:
Your question is very aptly put.
Why? There would seem to be an underlying antipathy against anything Catholic on the part of some in our society.
These persons may feel justified in their judgement, despite their feeble claims.
But all the indicators suggest that in those few provinces that still have a Catholic school system, it is good for students of those schools (who should be our primary concern), it is not more costly to have such a system (despite the contrary unsubstantiated argument often being made), and I would suggest it is good for society as a whole.
There are many non-Catholic teachers in the Catholic education system. Most if not all of these teachers are eloquent in their appreciation of the “difference” they find in Catholic schools, having often spent time in public schools.
This is not – let me repeat, not – to criticize our public schools which also provide an excellent education for our youth.
What is fundamentally different in the Catholic schools is the element of “faith”. As you state in your commentary, it is not a question of a half-hour of religious education. Rather, the Catholic schools are permeated with faith – belief in God and in Jesus’ message is meant to run through all aspects of school life and culture.
It is little wonder that many non-Catholic families of faith are very happy to enroll their children in Catholic schools.
Rather than attack Catholic education in Alberta, we would all do well to give thanks that it is still alive and well in our Province.
Most Rev. Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan