Tuesday, December 31

Good stuff Catholics do:

Washington Jesuit Academy:

Funded by the city's Jesuit institutions, including Georgetown University and Gonzaga and Georgetown Prep high schools, the academy is a middle school designed to remove boys from troubled families, corrosive neighborhoods and the distractions of adolescence, and provide them with a rigorous program of high expectations and intensely personal support. The idea is to put them on a path to college and, along the way, perhaps improve the academic strength of the inner-city applicant pool for schools like Gonzaga and Prep. (A similar program serves girls at Washington Middle School for Girls, a five-year-old facility in a renovated apartment complex in Anacostia.)

Ventures like this -- and the city has been blessed with a few of late, including SEED, an in-town boarding school that's part of the charter system, and KIPP, an extended-hours charter school structured much like the Jesuit Academy -- are often dismissed by defensive and frustrated public school administrators as tiny jewels that pluck a few lucky children out of the city's reality and smother them with attention so that they succeed..

Yes, and your point is?.

This is the point: For not much more than the city's schools spend, the Jesuit Academy -- part of a nationwide Nativity Network of small schools committed to small classes (12 is the max) and extended hours -- takes children who were almost certain to fail and infects them with the confidence, love of learning and study skills they need to take full advantage of their curiosity and intelligence. Nationwide, about 80 percent of Nativity students, drawn from a population in which most kids do not finish high school, graduate from college.

The school's philosophy is clear from the start. As headmaster John Hoffman puts it, "Healthy demands are made and accepted" in a setting of small classes, long hours and close relationships between students and teachers. Rather than choose boys by test scores, the academy recruits through boys' clubs, cops on the beat, teachers and tutors who have run across kids with gumption.

The difference between 20 years and 20 months...

Joseph and Christopher reading

..perhaps not so great after all.

From the NYSun:

If the public schools followed the Catholic school example...

If New York City’s public school system could educate a child for what it costs to educate a child in one of New York’s Catholic schools, the city would be spending about $6.5 billion less on its Department of Education each year. ....The Archdiocese of New York is able to administer to about 110,000 students with a total central administrative staff of 28. At that level, the city’s school system would have no more than a few hundred administrative staff. But New York has almost 9,000 administrators, secretaries, clerks, accountants, and other assorted bureaucrats. In total, the city’s school system employs more than 136,000 persons, a ratio of about one employee for every nine students.

What one person can do:

A man whose anti-abortion campaign has led to dozens of Scripture-laced billboards across Indiana and Kentucky says he never anticipated it would grow so large. John DeFriend said he thought the Billboards for Life campaign would be a one-year project when it started in 1994, but has kept at it because he hoped to change some hearts about abortion as well as "save some lives." DeFriend first rented billboard space in 1973 with a friend in Minnesota soon after the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision legalized abortion throughout the country. "I wanted to do something about it right away," he said. DeFriend, who now lives in Floyds Knobs about 10 miles north of Louisville, returned to the billboard idea after he had lived in Indiana for a few years. He says the group has spent more than $2 million on the billboards, with money coming from individuals, Roman Catholic parishes and Knights of Columbus chapters in Indiana and Kentucky. It now has 35 permanent billboards and each fall up to 150 more bear such messages for two to three months.

Man sues Albany diocese, and one of its therapists, in particular, for malpractice

A Capital Region man who said he was sexually abused by several priests filed a lawsuit against the Albany Diocese on Monday, accusing his church therapist of pressuring him to not hire a lawyer and making his psychological problems worse.The lawsuit was filed by an unemployed man in his 30s who said he was repeatedly abused between the ages of 10 and 13 in the Albany Diocese, said attorney John Aretakis, who filed the suit. The victim is referred to in court papers as John Doe.Between March and November, the man met with a nun and trained therapist, Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, nearly 100 times, but she made almost no notes or records of his treatment, according to the lawsuit.Smollin asked the man to sign a waiver permitting her to discuss all aspects of his case with Bishop Howard Hubbard, according to the lawsuit. Smollin also urged him on several occasions not to hire a lawyer and said, "Bishop Howard Hubbard can no longer be your friend" after he did so, the lawsuit said.

A profile of a priest doing ministry in San Quentin

NY Bishops suing state over contraceptive law.

The state's Roman Catholic bishops and some Protestant churches are suing the state to overturn a law that will require employers -- including religious hospitals and agencies -- to offer prescription contraceptives to employees. The New York State Catholic Conference called the law that is effective Wednesday "a governmental assault" that "intrudes on any religion that does not share the goals and ideals of the abortion industry." The Catholic church employs thousands of workers in 40 hospitals, 60 nursing homes and in hundreds of social service agencies and schools statewide. "Such an outrageous law ought to alarm anyone who loves America and the freedoms for which it stands," said eight Catholic bishops including Cardinal Edward Egan, New York's archbishop, in a statement announcing the suit.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the law wouldn't have been passed at all if not for the loss of a certain degree of moral credibility on the part of certain Catholic leaders.

A year-end review of the Situation in Louisville


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