Why Are Catholic Schools Today Giving The Wrong Message to Young People?

Young people urged to ‘change the world’ at Paisley youth Mass – click here to read more While across in Glasgow, St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch has put a stop to the high-sugar and caffeinated beverages, following calls from both teachers and experts in the UK –  click here to read about that nonsense...  


I don’t remember being made to feel obligated to “change the world” during my schooldays.  Some pressure! 

Instead, the focus was on God and on our own souls.  We were to change ourselves, not “the world”.

What about you?  Would you be hurrying to get to Catholic school these days or do you prefer the “old” model where we were brought to understand that it is holiness of life, achieved by being faithful Catholics,  that changes us… and thus, the world?   Isn’t that the message Catholic educators should be delivering? 

34 responses

  1. Catholic schools are giving the wrong message because they have a purely secular agenda with a bit of Catholicism Lite added in.

    They teach the same graphic sex education as non-denominational schools, albeit taught within the context of the Scarament of Marriage. When challenged on this they simply say that it is “the government” who have decided this and the Church have tweaked the government guidelines to ensure that Catholic teaching on Marriage is included. It’s an outrage and totally against the philosophy of Catholic education. They do not consider what’s appropriate for the age and stage of children, they simply go along with the secular agenda of sexualising children at a young age.

  2. Not only are children told they need to change the world, but the Church as well. In the first link above, it says: “Bishop Keenan spoke to the young people gathered about their very important role to change the world and the Church, not just in the future but starting now. ”

    He doesn’t say in what way he wants kids to change the world and the Church, so we’re left to speculate. I don’t think children are feeling pressured to change the world and the Church – they’re voting with their feet and not bothering with the Church. They know by instinct that it’s not their job to change the world and the Church, so it’s not just that the schools are giving the wrong message, they’re discrediting the Church in the eyes of the young.

  3. I think the schools are giving the wrong message and really giving the same message as the non-denominational schools, because the teachers don’t know the teaching of the Church themselves, they don’t know that it comes from God, but they think it is man-made, coming from a “patriarchal” era etc. They are heavily influenced by the feminist movement and all the rest of the pc thinking.

    Personally, I don’t see any point in them at all. They’re really no different from any other school, and some even avoid prayers or statues/crucifixes in case they offend non-Catholics in the building! It’s a joke. I’d close them down and re-open them after the Consecration of Russia.

    • Margaret Mary,

      Having been in many Catholic schools these last few months I have to say that every school I’ve been in has crucifixes and statues on display.

      • Don Bosco,

        Generally speaking it is true that probably most Catholic schools do, indeed, keep the trappings. That’s often what fools people into thinking they are solid Catholic schools. When I set foot in my very first Catholic school, as a teacher coming from the non-denominational sector, that’s what I thought when I saw the beautiful statue of Our Lady, flanked by flowers, in the entrance hallway. “I’ve come home” was, more or less, what came to my naïve mind. Little did I realise that one day I would be heading back to the non-denominational sector – that statue was not only in the front hallway, it was, itself, “a front”. Long story, not for now…

        However, I once taught in a Catholic college where there were so few (if any) statues or crucifixes, that I placed an advert in the local parishes for any going a-begging to be donated to us.

        I received a few responses, including one large statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was placed in the exam hall. This statue drew a complaint from a member of the English teaching staff – whom students informed me turned every piece of literature into a “gay” friendly text. He wrote to the Head complaining that it was a typically patriarchal portrayal of women as white and submissive, eyes raised heavenwards, hands joined. Tut tut.

        So, yes, very likely most Catholic schools have statues and crucifixes on display, but there are exceptions – indeed, further, in one school in which I taught, the custom of beginning lessons and staff meetings with a prayer was dropped in the typically one-sided ecumenical gesture that we’ve all come to know and hate.

        All is clearly far from well in the Catholic sector – but that’s not exactly breaking news, is it? 😀

        • Editor,

          I had very little time when I responded to Margaret Mary, hence the quick reply, but I was intending to come back on and say almost exactly what you have said. The external trappings can be very misleading. Of course it is nice to have these, but it’s the doctrinal orthodoxy of the curriculum that really matters, not to mention the faith of the teachers!

          It’s a bit like modern priests who say the Traditional Mass. Of course that in itself is good, but if there’s no real substance then the external trappings are mere affectations.

          • Don Bosco,

            Interesting that you should use that word “affectation”. Archbishop Tartaglia, whilst still Bishop Of Paisley, asked if my attachment to the Traditional Latin Mass was an “affectation”. Nasty! He then showed his own contempt for the Mass of All Time by stating that he would never, ever see any circumstance in which he would celebrate it.

            So, I don’t think the modern priests who offer the Traditional Latin Mass do so because of an “affectation”. I think they have a long way to go before they can be truly deemed “Traditional” but they are incredibly well intentioned.

            I do note the “if” in your last sentence and it’s a big “if”, so I know you weren’t saying that those priests have an affectation, but the use of that word brought back bad memories!

            • Petrus,

              Well said. I think Don Bosco, with all due respect, has almost slipped over into the forbidden territory of judging the souls of those Summorum Pontificum priests, some of whom do, indeed, we must believe, have the best of intentions in offering the TLM and preaching; indeed, I’m sure they preach about more than helping to make the world a better place!

  4. This sounds suspiciously like the messages being cranked out in advance of the so-called Synod on Young People, etc. Here is one of them, from a year ago:

    “A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity,” he [Pope Francis] said, telling them not to be afraid of the “bold choices” proposed to them by the Holy Spirit and to not delay “when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.”


    Gee, I just can’t wait to see what heresies the god of surprises has in store for us at THAT phony event….

    (No, I would not be hurrying to attend a Catholic school these days, unless it was a school that taught Catholic Tradition, and was open only to Catholics or those interested in converting.)

    • RCA Victor,

      So true. The irony of churchmen at the highest level, not to mention just about every priest on the planet, urging young people to change the world and bring their vision to the Church blah de blah, seems to be lost on the majority of the Catholic population.

      It’s a bit like asking scores of senior students who’ve failed their English exam to teach Shakespeare to this year’s new intake. Crackers.

    • The youth in the UK are now systematically being taught to despise the elderly…..new phrase being bandied about (INTERGENERATIONAL UNFAIRNESS)….bed blockers in hospitals,state pensions too generous, bus passes and winter fuel allowances, tanking the NHS….the young cannot get on the housing ladder due to pensioners…..they JUST stop short of the phrase ‘useless eaters’….carbon footprints, save the planet, too many people in the world and then they move to euthanasia….So we go down the slope..it becomes a right, then a duty and years down the line it is up to a SOCIAL WORKER doing a cost/benefit analysis on YOU to decide your fate.The youth are then in the same position they enabled when they grow old.This is what the really mean by BOLD CHOICES.

      • St Miguel,

        I imagine that “bold choices” refers to the usual suspects – condoning adultery and permitting same-sex unions, and even throwing in a church blessing for good measure. Think Amoris Laetitia.

        The following quote is very revealing of how the Pope has lost sight of the Church’s fundamental mission:

        “Multiculturalism is another point emphasized, since societies are increasingly more intercultural and interreligious. From the faith perspective, the document says, “the situation is seen as a sign of our times, requiring greater listening, respect and dialogue.”

        The growth of false religions should result, NOT in “greater listening, respect and dialogue” but in renewed missionary zeal. How to convert these poor souls, is the key work for Catholics. Ultimately, if this is NOT the aim of the Church, the young will stop “listening, respecting and dialoguing” with members of false religions and simply examine those beliefs to see if they can find a religion more amenable to their own taste!

        That’s what I’d have done in my youth if I’d been given the message that all religions lead to Heaven and it is our duty to respect them. I’d have moved in a jiffy to check out the key beliefs and once I’d identified one that allowed me to live an easier life, I’d have been on the case. No question about it.

        Who wouldn’t?

        • Yes I agree with that. The whole idea of the Youth being solicited for their opinions is the new craze…look at the programmes on tv about the young enjoying themselves…nowadays it is a stag/hen weekend in Amsterdam or Ibiza, money no object. We have a generation of young who having been at Catholic primaries and 6 years in Secondary who really do believe that abortion is de rigeur, no questions asked, that ‘hook ups’ are normal. Now Rome is getting ready to provide their Imprimatur on such activities in usual ambiguous language, (accompanying them) . Always money for hedonism but can’t save a deposit for a flat, usual stuff, find a scapegoat. Rome is writing the script and appears to use the Youth of the day to underpin it. Catholic schools teach nothing these days, they are Catholic in name only.I believe that Rome is actually leading opinion for the Youth (aka grooming) and letting the Youth take the credit for the New Paradigm shift coming down the turnpike.

      • Couldn’t agree more with you on the Euthanasia Age Platform. I have a very good friend who has been wheelchair bound for over 30years he ran his own company and now nearly 70’still works . I on the other hand roughly the same age do not . He has told me the remarks that have been made to him especially since Margo McDonald went on her Euthanasia crusade . It always astounded me that ( God Rest Her ) if she wanted to she could have ended her own life if she so chose to do so . But no in this Society now if someone wants Euthanasia you have to go along . If someone wants to cut off parts of their body to be Transgender you have to go along. And if they all want to play who’s The Daddy and all wish to be Homosexual then by God you better not say anything against them . It would most certainly have been better if the young were taught to be the best they can be in the sight and in the Commandments of The Lord their God in the one True and Apostolic Catholic Faith.

        • And if you want to be a so called Traditionalist in the RC Church today,there will be ‘no going along’, you will be vilified, labelled a bigot, a schismatic, right wing extremist etc with impunity. No diversity, equality or tolerance there and that’s just from other Catholics. I believe the Neo Church is going through a Rebranding operation, we the elderly, are not worth caring about anymore as they search for a new customer base ~ the young.Our Traditional psyches will not accept the new software coming down the line (AL as an example,with more updates to follow) as we are not reverse compatible.Rome is just trying to flatter the young..we value your ‘opinion’ and all that jazz. No where these days in the N O Church do we hear about Heaven, Hell,Mortal sin.

  5. Since the disguised purpose of the entire Vatican II project was to destroy the existing identity of the Church and replace it with a harmless, secularized syncretism that fit nicely into the world and into other religions, I’d say modern Catholic schools are doing a bang-up job in terms of fidelity to that project. They are also doing a bang-up job, as others have noted above, of keeping certain accidentals in order to maintain a certain facade. But it is just a facade; the substance – i.e. the Faith – is gone, replaced by Social Justice Warrior rubbish, which is just a variation of liberation theology.

    In the Passion of the Church, we don’t have one Judas, we have an entire army of them, starting at the top.

    I know Editor is growing tired of the conspiracy aspect of said Passion, but I think it is helpful to remember that Freemasonry, whose “philosophy” took over the Church in 1958, always aims at control of government, finance, education and the means of communication in order to effect their revolution against God.

    I had two of my sons in a Novus Ordo school in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and I still remember an incident in which I noticed a poster in the school hallway listing the 10 most prominent and successful women in America. Hillary Clinton, probably the most corrupt evildoer and virulent hater of the Church ever to enter American politics, was on the list! I complained to the Principal, and the poster was removed. I’m sure, though, that the classroom teacher who put up that poster put me on her enemies list….

    • RCA Victor,

      How could you?! How could you accuse Freemasonry of trying to “effect their revolution against God”. I’m shocked! No wonder those poor men feel discriminated against…

      The poster incident doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately. Hillary has fooled the superficial thinkers big time – I’ve been astonished at the people in my own circle who thought she was great and should have won the election! It’s incredible how easy it is to fool most of the people all of the time!

      • Editor,

        “We Freemasons have a reputation for being a bit odd. You’ve probably heard rumours that we roll up our trouser legs, give strange handshakes and meet in a blacked out room guarded by man with a drawn sword in his hand. Guess what? It’s true. We do these things not just because we’re eccentric free spirits but because at one time this was normal behaviour for people who wanted to learn how to improve themselves.”

        What knee-slapping entertainment! So THIS is what passes for thought amongst the Satanists! With poppycock like that, it’s a wonder they were ever able to organize a revolution in the Church!

      • Spot on Ed that about the not so Freemasons was Hilarious and I only read the Headline as there was noway I was going to read about that lot saying they were being discriminated against. We are not fools . From the Top of the Tree in this Country Their from . They run everything none more than our Police Force with that al tell a true story. Many years ago I let’s say got in a little bother with our Local Hard Man . I went to the Police about him and NOTHING was done . At that time I happened to do a Job for a very influencel Gentleman and told him of my plight of being Bullied with this man . He said leave it with me I will get the Police to take care of him . I told him that I had already been to the Police but nothing had changed.
        He said to me Agh but I will get The REAL POLICE on to him . I never ever got any bother of that Man in my Life Again.

    • And that’s what we’re up against Victor. At the U.S. Elections am sure if it would have been a Vote on Scottish School Teachers that the wicked Hillary would have won very handsomely. I certainly know of 2 Catholic Teachers who hate President Trump with a vengeance. The fact that both of them read The Guardian and The Daily Record certainly doesn’t say much for their common sense and these really Marxist People are teaching our Children. God Help Us

      • FOOF

        Anyone with hate in their heart should never be teaching in a Catholic school.

        I wonder what the craic would be if Trump was black or Jewish.

  6. What puzzles me about Catholic schools, talking to some youngster who attend them, is that there is never any encouragement to pupils in sex-ed lessons to remain virgins. It’s always assumed that they are, or soon will be, sexually active.

    This is worrying because there are young people, both boys and girls, who don’t want that and who feel pressured or think there must be something wrong with them. Even when priests visit their classroom and are asked about celibacy, it’s always a case of “well, before I was a priest, I had girlfriends” (which these days means sexually active) or it’s put to them as a big sacrifice. Nobody ever speaks to them about being single and celibate – and happy!

    Not everybody wants a “sex life” – I have single friends, both genders, who consciously did not want that, and are very happy and “together” individuals. I’m sure I’ve read Editor say that about herself. So, why is it never even mentioned in Catholic schools? How many kids in schools are suffering anguish because they think there’s something wrong with them because they don’t want that side of life? What if, for whatever reason, somebody doesn’t meet a suitable partner and instead of settling for “anyone’s better than no-one” decides to remain single and celibate?

    IMHO, Catholic schools should be leading the way in being positive about abstinence from sex, whether for family planning, priestly celibacy or single celibacy.

    • Fidelis,

      I couldn’t agree more. Young people are being put under pressure on this all the time. It’s like it’s a badge of shame to be (or want to be) a virgin! It’s a complete turnaround from when it was utterly shameful to be sexually active outside marriage! It’s truly incredible how things that were once considered bad are now good and vice versa. I think it talks about that somewhere in the bible!

    • Fidelis,

      I perceive that, in recent years, there has been more of an effort to promote a message of abstinence.

      As an example -a few years ago, a speaker (Pamela Stenzl) visited St Andrews secondary in Paisley to deliver a talk promoting abstinence and the importance of marriage,

      This caused all kinds of alarm among idiots and various organisations objected, such as the NHS, secularist groups and homosexual groups. There were the usual pathetic attempts to generate controversy, which didn’t get off the ground (also as usual).

      Homosexual and secular activist Mr Gary Otton – who claims to have attended – still regularly rants about this particular talk on forums such as The Herald newspaper comments sections. (What a busy and full life he must have).

      At the time, the SCES said the audience of pupils at the non-obligatory lecture (out of normal school hours) responded well to Ms Stenzl’s message.

      However, to this day, Mr Otton can be found spreading lies about it online, in particular claiming that Ms Stenzl was “screaming” at the pupils who reacted so badly that one needed medical treatment (?!?!).

      Secular groups tried to make a fuss over everything from who paid for Ms Stenzl’s flights, to what University she attended.

      I don’t know anyone who was at the event, but it seems to have been very worthwhile judging by who got angry over it!


      Since then, Michael McGrath has retired from the SCES, to be replaced by Barbara Coupar. I am concerned that she is much more conciliatory towards non-Catholic influences than her predecessor, but hopefully the abstinence message is still promoted.

      • Gabriel Syme,

        I don’t think a one-off visit out of school hours from a “chastity” speaker is what we need. They can be too easily rubbished as gimmicky.

        The young people in sex-ed classes don’t hear about chastity or virginity, at least not the youngsters I’ve been hearing from. That’s the point I was making. The fact that there was such a fuss caused over the visit you mention goes to prove that it is a very unusual occurrence, yet teachers and priests should be encouraging abstinence as a normal part of life for a young Catholic.

        • Fidelis,

          I agree. Most children won’t hear the “chastity” message if it’s held out of school hours – it needs to be a routine message in RE and sex-ed lessons.

      • Gabriel Syme,

        Barbara Coupar is responsible for organising “safe spaces” for LGBT pupils in Catholic schools. I don’t think she’s likely to be promoting abstinence, not for a second do I think that.

      • Gabriel Syme,

        Your example (Pamela Stenzl) is, as you acknowledge yourself, from a few years back. I don’t think you can make an argument from that one example that Catholic schools are promoting abstinence, especially since it was an extra-curricular meeting, voluntary to attend.

        I would say that the fact that there was such an outcry at the time in the secular media, would be all the excuse the SCES would need to shut them up about abstinence for good. LOL!

      • Gabriel Syme,

        As others have noted, “one swallow doth not a summer make”!

        I once sought permission to bring in a couple of Natural Family Planning women to speak to a top sixth form group, some of whom had ambitions to become doctors. Refused. Instead, I was told to invite them in during a lunch time and advertise the event for those who wished to attend. As it happens, the trio of would-be doctors didn’t find out about it until too late and they were livid. They stopped me in the corridor to complain that this should have been during class time, they would have liked to have attended, since they hoped to be doctors in due course and being Catholics, it would have helped to know something of NFP. I told them to be sure to mention that to the Principal.

        That refusal to encourage morality – which is what it amounts to – is very typical of Catholic schools today. A certain tolerance is extended for extra-curricular events, but it’s a step too far to have Catholic morality promoted during lessons. Your example of the speaker invited into a Paisley school some years ago is very typical of what goes on in Catholic educational establishments these days. Let’s pay lip-service to Catholic family values, and hope that nobody notices, is the message, in summary.

        I’ve been up against it, during my time in the Catholic sector. I once used the story of St Maria Goretti with a second year cohort since the saint was around that age when she defended her purity against an attacker. The pupils loved the story and we spent a couple of weeks working on it, talking through the issues (carefully, age-appropriate, absolutely NO explicit sexual language – the word “rape” was never used, Maria experienced inappropriate advances from a young lad whom she knew as a neighbour, was it). Discussion centred on whether or not Maria was a good role model for young people today, with the pupils answering in writing in their exercise books, creating posters etc.

        A colleague, reading over my shoulder when I was marking some of the work in the staff-room, expressed amazement at the very positive remarks she was reading about purity from the pupils. “If I were you” she said: “I would photocopy those comments because they give the lie entirely to the claims that young people do not want to hear about purity.” As a result of that remark, I asked pupils to copy out their answers from their exercise books onto a sheet of A4 paper because they were so good, and I wanted to keep them to use with other classes. I subsequently used those pages with senior pupils, to spark discussion. Always, but always, the response from young people was positive with only one (second year girl) writing that, no, she didn’t think Maria Goretti was a good role model for young people today – the Spice Girls were better! One “denier” out of an entire year group is not a bad percentage!

        Yet – and here’s the rub – other staff disapproved big time of the use of St Maria Goretti, arguing that the story might make the girls feel that they had to allow themselves to be raped. Incredible. Even the prominent “orthodox Catholic” Joanna Bogle was published in one of the Catholic newspapers around that time, mocking the story of Maria Goretti as not the right approach to teaching purity. Truly, you couldn’t make it up. When she was canonised, the Pope explicitly stated that Maria Goretti was to be a role model for the youth in our times.

        So, while, undoubtedly, there will be individual teachers here and there doing their utmost to impart Catholic teaching on purity, modesty and chastity, there is nowhere, to the best of my knowledge, where such values are explicitly included in a Catholic scheme of work in any Catholic school anywhere in the UK, Scotland very much included.

        Remember, not so very long ago, there was a Bishop in England who did produce an authentically Catholic programme of work for the schools in his diocese – and was hauled before a parliamentary committee for his trouble, to explain himself!

        Dark days, Gabriel Syme. Very dark days.

        • Dear Editor & all,

          I take the point that it would be better to have such a message as an integral part of ordinary lessons, (assuming it is not), rather than as a ‘special event’.

          Even still I was happy to see that the message was not a dead letter, even if it is being pitched in a way which is far from ideal. Maybe I am too easily pleased!

          I suppose if parents took their faith and values seriously, they would have ensured their children attended. I think this reveals what is a central issue with Catholic schools of today – that they cannot be relied upon, left to their own devices, and so the parents must ensure they actively wring everything worthwhile possible out of them.

          Another problem is that few parents are motivated to do so.

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