My first reaction was an Austin-Powers-like "Yeah baby!" But after thinking about it, I kind of have mixed feelings.I do really like the idea that they're not kicking kids out whose parents aren't attending Mass and just charging them (what I assume is) the non-Parishioner rate. I mean come on, if you can't make it to Mass 70% of the time I'd consider you more of a visitor than a Parishioner.But then i started thinking about myself having to "check-in" each Sunday. Maybe it's pride, but I think that would start to get a little under my skin. And what’s to stop the family from saying that they went to another Parish – would that still count?But I think the bigger concern for me is that for most people who wouldn't make it 70% of the time, charging them full price would result in them pulling their kids. And these kids that will someday be adults whose only model of the faith were these parents who didn't go to Mass 70% of the time. If they had stayed in the school would they become solid Catholics? I have no idea, but I would have to guess there would be a better chance.I've read about schools that promise reduced tuition to kids whose families put extra effort into living their faith. Like attending Mass, serving Mass, donating time (the whole family) to approved charities, working Parish events, weekly adoration, etc. I guess the problem with this model would be the risk of rewarding the expected.So I really like the concept behind the idea, but I'm not convinced the results would match the expectations. The fact that less than 70% Mass attendance would be an issue is pretty sobering. From the CCC #2041:"The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor""The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor")"
Good points, I had a similar initial reaction then thought about how the heck you could implement that and how it might open the door to "tattle-tellers" who would "report" people missing Mass, etc.. I did think it was interesting that nobody really complained about the request and new rule, though. I guess people, deep down, might really WANT to have better expected of them and if they are willing to attend Mass when they normally wouldn't have, that might be a nice idea. Of course, some people might just go to get the discount but I guess when I think about it, that might not be a bad thing. I do like the parish involvement idea or parent volunteer expectations, especially when the church partially funds the school.As far as the question of "does Catholic school itself make children into better Catholics?" I would have to say, "NO", but parents who actually care enough to send their kids to Catholic school because of its Catholic teachings probably will have an edge. When I was in the parish school, some parents sent their children because of the higher social status of paying for "private school". They never went to church or cared much about Catholic culture or teaching their children about their faith. None of those kids really lived out their faith because, truthfully, unless parents are the primary educators of the faith, the rest won't hold much weight for the future of their faith. It's a good start, but unless you have very strong parent involvement...you know the rest. I'm preachin' to the choir here! I do wonder what the expected results would be to this experiment? Maybe it's just a good thing that the parish/priest puts out the expectation at all. I've found in this day and age that things that make us go, "DUH" really aren't all that "DUH" inducing to the general society. For instance, so many of my co-workers come from/have broken families, made bad choices in men, had children out of wedlock and too young, date casually, swear like sailors and are generally crude (they are all good people, I'm mostly blaming society as a whole). I feel like I'm in the twilight zone half of the time and sit there nodding while I hear another story about how they had 4 different children by 3 different men some of whom they were married to, some not. It's as if no one told them EVER that "THAT IS NOT A GOOD WAY TO START A FAMILY! THAT IS NOT NORMAL! YOUR CHILDREN ARE GOING TO PERPETUATE YOUR HORRIBLE BEHAVIOR IN SOCIETY! BREAK THE CYCLE NOW AND START TO LIVE A DECENT LIFE! QUIT WORRYING ABOUT YOUR DATING AND RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO BE DECENT! AT LEAST GIVE IT A SHOT!" But I'm sure that if I even HINTED at any of this, I would be looked at like I'm from another planet and that I must be some kind of old fashioned fuddy duddy that doesn't understand what it's like to live in the world today. They would probably be mostly right. That makes me happy. I don't ever WANT to know what that kind of life is like.
This pastor was on Relevant Radio yesterday, and did seem to get a lot of immediate call in support. I agree with both of you-- it feels good as a short term "gotcha" but has a lot of longer term shortcomings. I'd rather have voluntary attendance as part of a well rounded faith experience for children-- I suspect the parents who feel forced to attend Mass to save their money bitch and moan about it in front of the kids anyway...
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