I've spent the last couple of days reading through the papal speeches made last week. Pope Benedict consistently drove home the message:
a) the individual is in the image and likeness of God,
b) the family is the necessary context in which the individual is formed into this image and likeness, and
c) the Faith is the only thing which can effectively enable the family to do its task.
Oddly enough, social science confirms every one of those assertions. As both my book and
George Will's latest column point out, the family is the single best predictor for success in education. On average, if a child comes from a stable, husband-wife family, that child will learn better than children who don't.
This family effect is greater than all other influences combined. Class size, dollar expenditure, socio-economic class, education level of the teacher - all of it pales in comparison to family influence.
Home schooling works primarily because only stable families can do it.
Unstable families don't have the emotional resources, the willingness and ability to sacrifice and to make culturally unpopular decisions, that is necessary to handle the task.
Support for the family has to be paramount. The school, the parish, the diocese exists to serve and sanctify the family - that's how the Catholic Faith survives.