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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Boycott OSV!

Father Peter Stravinskas, who used to be a fairly orthodox priest, has apparently gone off the deep-end.

In an article for Our Sunday Visitor, he viciously attacks home-schoolers. In addition to his absurd and completely unsupportable claim that homeschool families don't produce vocations, Fr. Stravinskas apparently suffers from the misconception that Catholic parochial schools - which have only existed in their present form for about 150 years - are essential to the Faith.

Obviously, Jesus established only seven sacraments, and Catholic schools wasn't one of them.

As Matt Abbott's column points out, the Church does not require all Catholic children to attend Catholic schools. Needless to say, Father Stravinskas doesn't understand Church documents.

But Father Stravinskas isn't the only ordained man whose ignorance is on display. He merely follows a number of bishops who evince similar ignorant bigotry.

For instance, who can forget the inestimable Bishop Vasquez of Austin, or his Quasimodo sidekick, Ned Vanders?

“Bishop Vásquez received your invitation to celebrate a Eucharistic liturgy for the fall home-schooling blessing Mass.Bishop Vásquez believes Catholic education, and in particular Catholic school education, is an essential part of the life of the Diocese of Austin. As you know, Catholic schools are at the heart of the mission of the Church.“Bishop’s presence at the home-schooling Mass would convey a contradictory message equating the importance of Catholic school education with Catholic home schooling; therefore, Bishop Vásquez must respectfully decline the invitation.Sincerely in Christ,Ned F. Vanders, Ed.D.”
Ned, a little tip for you. People know they're dealing with a twerp when they see "Ed.D" behind the name. A Doctorate in Education and a dollar won't buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It's one step up from Sanitation Engineer, except Sanitation Engineers actually perform a vitally necessary service for society.

Now, let's ignore the fact that these dinosaurs are being heavily thwacked across the head with green lumber from multiple directions:
  • 9% unemployment is driving Catholic parents to abandon high-tuition Catholic schools,
  • Rising inflation has dropped charitable giving across the board, which means parish revenues are down, and thus parish tuition-support for the school is also down. After all, a parish can easily spend over 90% of every Sunday collection on the local parochial school - dioceses have even been forced to deliberately cap parish contributions to keep pastors from pouring too much money down the rat-hole which is the Catholic school.
  • The Internet is creating a complete grade school environment, one that doesn't require children or parents to leave home at all, even for public school,
  • Catholic parents contracept and abort at the same rate as the general population, so they aren't having enough children to support the schools in any case.
As I say, let's ignore the fact that these idiots don't realize they are shouting at a strong wind blowing in the opposite direction.

Let's instead focus on the fact that Our Sunday Visitor is still quoting Father Stravinskas as if he mattered.

Remember, Father Stravinskas was the fellow who LOST HIS JOB as editor of the OSV magazine The Catholic Answer. His reactionary attitude towards Catholic homeschooling caused such an outcry among the readership that OSV had to fire him.

But OSV keeps returning to this broken cistern in search of a drink.

Why is anyone quoting him on education anymore?
Why would a magazine company who has so many family-based products insist on utilizing a man who is so inimical to the Catholic family, specifically the important role of the Catholic parent in the formation of a child?

It's time to boycott OSV until they drop all connections with Father Peter Stravinskas.

An article from the NYT on the status of Catholic schools.
It confirms everything I've been saying.


Jim Dorchak said...

What this has really become is the Orthodox home schoolers who are just trying to pass on the faith to their children and get them to heaven, against the liberals in the Church.

How dare we circumvent the liberal establishment of control! Don't you know the liberals can't stand being co-opted and beat at their own game.

They have been stealing the Catholic Church from with in for 40 years. To them there was no Catholic Church before VII and it is their perversion of the "NO" or the highway!

Jim Dorchak

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yes, I'm afraid you're right.
There's just no other way to explain the unnatural attachment so many Catholics have to the Catholic school.

It's kind of ironic, really.
Traditional Catholics are tagged for their "inordinate love" of the liturgy, even though the liturgy is central to salvation.

Meanwhile, heterodox Catholics have an "inordinate love" of Catholic schools, especially parochial schools, but no one is permitted to question that "orthodoxy" despite the fact that Catholic parochial schools are completely incidental to the Faith.

The only way to explain it is that they lament the loss of control they have over the children as the schools disappear.

Tom said...

"People know they're dealing with a twerp when they see 'Ed.D.' behind the name. A Doctorate in Education and a dollar won't buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It's one step up from Sanitation Engineer, except Sanitation Engineers actually perform a vitally necessary service for society."

Fr. Stravinskas has a Ph.D. in school administration from Fordham. Does the same apply to that kind of a doctorate?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

In spades.

Look, I've got undergraduate degrees in medical lab technology and computer science and graduate degrees in European history and Catholic theology. I am certified to teach math in three states: Illinois, Missouri and Texas.

Now, in order to get that "teaching certification," I was required by law to subject myself to education courses. Without exception, every education course I took was as intellectually challenging as a grade school PE class.

When you look up "Mickey Mouse," it lists these classes in the definition.

I worked at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for five years. I knew many, many people who had Ed.D.s or school administration "doctorates" or some such.

In every case, when they described to me the work they did to get their "doctorate", it amounted to the kind of work I did to complete an undergraduate course assignment in computer science. Completely ridiculous.

In my experience, education degrees are, without exception, pablum. The purpose of education courses is to create a vocal union-like minority who will actively push for school funding.

It's much like Mormonism - Mormons go on mission for two years not to evangelize other people, but to evangelize themselves. No one wants to think he lost two years of his life pushing a stupid idea.

Similarly, anyone with an "education degree" wants to think s/he didn't spend all that time getting something worthless.

So all the "rah! rah! Schools!" rhetoric is more to convince themselves they haven't wasted their lives than it is anything else.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I spoke to a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. who commented on the number of home school families he knows who are fostering vocations to religious life. Fr. Stravinskas' assessment is so biased and just plain wrong it is hard to believe he is just ignorant. There appears to be malice in his attack on home schoolers. Perhaps his "education" explains it. He is an educrat who would be comfortable working for the NEA.

Estase said...

Also note a recent article in Our Sunday Visitor that explicitly concluded that the Tea Party was "incompatible with Catholicism." Places like OSV act as though social responsibilty is synonymous with big government. Meanwhile, the nuns running the hospitals in Pennsylvania supported Obamacare despite the fact that they were fully aware it would put their own hospitals out of business, and that whomever recieved their facilities would perform abortions.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Well, if they don't find Tea Party compatible with Catholicism, I don't find them compatible with either.

Sad. OSV used to be a fairly decent organization, but it has descended into the pit.

Victor R. Claveau, MJ said...

Father Stravinskas was ordained a priest on May 27, 1977. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in Classical Languages and French from Seton Hall University, a master of arts in School Administration from Seton Hall University, a master of arts in Biblical Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary (Darlington), a doctor of philosophy in School Administration from Fordham University, and a licentiate of sacred theology in Systematic Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C. He also has earned a doctorate in sacred theology from the Marian Institute at the University of Dayton and the Marianum in Rome. He has taught in and administered Catholic educational institutions at the elementary, secondary and university levels. Father Stravinskas founded The Catholic Answer in 1987, editing that periodical for seventeen years. In 2004, he founded The Catholic Response; he is also the author of thirty-four books and more than 500 articles.
Father Stravinskas is eminently qualified to express his opinion on this matter and he makes some very good points. To say that Father Stravinskas does not understand Church documents is ridiculous. You may not agree with his comments, but that is not reason to vilify him. He is a fine, dedicated priest and these personal attacks are shameful.

Kevin said...


His crusade against homeschooling shows he may understand, but he's wrong in applying them.

As far as the idea that local Catholics simply don't trust the priests to educate their children, is that so surprising? Archbishop Sheen said the same, and not much has changed in many areas.

His ideas also violate the concept of subsidarity. While catechesis is the job of the whole Church, God will not judge my pastor individually if he doesn't teach me the faith in-depth personally. Yet when i have a son, and I neglect to teach him on a personal and individual level in-depth, that will be held against me. Why? because the family unit is the one responsible for these things first and foremost to their children. To facilitate this, the church provivdes sound instruction to the parents.

If the local Catholic school becomes the primary educator of the child, it is because the parent has chosen to delegate that authority they have over their children. (Even then, they are still responsible before God for it.)

Fr. Stravinskas hasn't tried to actually produce evidence that "more homeschooling = less vocations" for one simple reason, such evidence doesn't exist.

It's sloppy analysis. For example, the FSSP seminaries are busting at the seams with new seminarians. FSSP are traditionalists. Traditionalists are big into homeschooling. Ergo, homeschooling - vocations! That's several leaps I'm stating as fact without proving.

Sorry if I'm taking up too much space here Steve, but the idea that the good Father is being wrongly attacked and such criticism is "shameful" doesn't pass the smell test.

If Fr. Stravinskas didn't try to set himself up as the Magesterium, and paint faithful Catholics as the enemy, nobody would be criticizing him.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


I am reminded of an old movie, don't remember which one, in which a character proclaims, "I know this is the right way to do it because I've been an engineer for thirty years!"

To which another man replies, "Yes, and you haven't learned a damned thing in the whole long time."

That pretty much sums up Father Peter Stravinskas.

If you feel his claims have merit, do what he failed to do - back them up.

Produce a study that demonstrates homeschooling produces no vocations and/or fewer vocations Catholic schooling.

For that matter, produce a Church document that says parents are morally obliged to choose a local Catholic school over homeschooling.

BTW, good luck with either one. I wrote a book on this subject a few years back, and I can state with perfect confidence you can't produce the evidence, precisely for the reason Kevin asserts - it would violate subsidiarity.

Stravinskas is a priest, and for the office he holds and administers via the sacraments, I honor him.

But Stravinskas is also a man, and an ignorant ass of a man at that, and for that I call on OSV to boycott him.

Victor R. Claveau, MJ said...

Ad hominem attacks such as calling Father Stravinskas "an ignorant ass of a man" is shameful. He is entitled to his opinion. He does not need me to go to his defence, as he is quite capable of speaking for himself. If you want to debate the issue, do it with him, but do so civilly.

Kevin said...

Actually, considering his track record, he ISN'T able to defend it himself. If he were capable, he would not have been canned over precisely this line of argumentation in the past.

He claims home-schooling is somehow rooted in anti-clericalism. That is only true if you believe the parish priest has absolute authority over every aspect of their flock's lives. When he says things like that, Fr. Stravinskas corrobates every wild caricature Protestants give of the Church acting as an imperial institution/cult.

He's been doing this dog and pony show of demonizing faithful Catholics for at least 10 years now, and he hasn't provided any evidence yet other than wild accusations.

He needs to repent and apologize. And he needs to recognize he is but a humble priest. he has no doctrinal authority over any soul. He isn't the Magesterium. On those issues the Church has not issued certain judgement on, he should respect them, and do the best he can to facilitate the needs of his flock.

If homeschoolers lack social communication, why not establish volunteer networks to encourage socialization? Why not spend 5 bucks on a website for the Church and build a resource for homeschoolers to get in touch with each other so they can cover things they are strongest at, and father could verify these people are competent by speaking to them?

I guess the real question: why don't we have any innovative pastors anymore? I am constantly told by my non-traditionalist brethren that priests nowadays are a lot more "pastoral" and less command and control. Yet Fr. Stravinskas' proposal is about as far from pastoral as you can get. It takes something that isn't Church dogma, and demands dogmatic like obedience to it.

Jordanes551 said...

While I disagree with Father Stravinskas, he is known for his opposition to homeschooling and was long affiliated with OSV. So it's hardly surprising that when OSV wanted to write a complete, balanced story about homeschooling and varying atttitudes towards it in the Church (note, it's an OSV article on homeschooling, not an article for OSV by Father Stravinskas), they would call Father Stravinskas and ask him for some quotes for their story. Overall I think the tone of the story is fair and generally open towards homeschooling. Father Stravinskas is opposed to homeschooling, but the article in which he is quoted is not. They would not have been doing their jobs as journalists if they hadn't attempted to fairly represent both sides of the story. Boycotting Father Stravinskas and those who agree with him would only make their story less helpful and informative.

Kevin said...

Actually I think it has an obvious bias against homeschooling.

"Some people would disagree, and they cite...." they are trying to give the opinion of Fr. Stravinskas a lot more authority than it really has. They cited a local synod before Vatican II, and before two major papal encyclicals on Christian education. From a standard of Catholic teaching, there is no question as to whether it is legit to homeschool, it obviously is.

The article also omits financial considerations as a reason people don't attend catholic schools. At 6500 yearly per child in some schools, try doing that with a family of even 4 on middle class salary.

This was written by those who really detest homeschooling, but wanted to try and be "impartial." The only problem is to anyone who is remotely educated on the controversy, their bias becomes easily apparent.

When I was in school ( a public school) we took a class on "20th century media" where the teacher instructed us, in a stunningly nonpartisan way, how to detect bias. If more people took that kind of class, the Fr. Stravinskas' of the world would either have to change their inclinations in line with Church teaching, or run the risk of nobody ever reading him. If he keeps it up, he is certain to arrive at the latter soon enough.

Reactionary said...

Please -- stop employing such unhappy constructs as "homeschooling." One does not "homeschool" or "home school" a child; one teaches a child.

Parents are a child's first and best teachers; they are not "homeschoolers."

Steve Kellmeyer said...


If Father S. were capable of defending himself, he wouldn't need you in the comment box.

You're fine with defending him up until someone asks you for an actual defense.

Then you scuttle home.

I have given you my opinion of him, and have already written a book-length demonstration of why he is an ignorant ass on the subject of parents educating his children.

You, on the other hand, haven't supplied so much as a sentence of evidence supporting your opinion.

Thus, I see no reason to change my opinion.

Victor R. Claveau, MJ said...

Mr. Kellmeyer,
For what it's worth, I have always been a proponent of home schooling. However, I do believe I would prefer to send my children to a good Catholic school with professional teachers rather than trying to do the job entirely on my own.
Unfortunately, good Catholic schools are hard to find and usually too expensive.
I would like to see Catholic schools financially supported by the entire diocese, not just by the parents of the children who attend.

I did not say that you should change your opinion. However, as far as I am concerned, you lost your credibility, when you attacked Father Stravinskas, rather than his opinions. Argue with Father's ideas and don't try to trash a his reputation. He is entitled to his opinion, even if it does not agree with someone who is such an expert on the subject that has written a book. I'm curious, do you have a PhD in education as well?

Steve Kellmeyer said...


I didn't trash Fr. S's reputation: he did, by making ignorant, completely unsubstantiated comments. If you don't like blunt descriptions of reality, I can't help that. I am sure the Cretans didn't like it when Paul said all Cretans are liars, but I suspect Paul wasn't far off the mark.

I, too, used to support Catholic schools. But, after having researched what the Church actually has to say about Catholic schools, I no longer do.

The Catholic parochial school system was set up to solve a specific problem, a problem that no longer exists.

It was NOT a particularly good solution at the time, it is an execrable solution today. As they stand, Catholic schools cripple the families they are meant to help, in no small part by creating the idiotic attitudes in ordained men that we see Fr. S. display.

Those schools need to go away.
Everyone who is paying attention knows that. In a few decades, it won't matter. Market forces are slowly eating them up, and eating up public schools as well.

Just as it did in the 1800's, the school system as we know it is about to change dramatically and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.

As to your question, no, I don't have a Ph.D. in education. What I do have is the sense not to make appeals to the authority of a degree, which is, as Aquinas notes, the weakest possible argument that can be brought forward in support of an argument.

Kevin said...

There is no doubt the school system is about to undergo a dramatic change.

The question is: What will the Catholic church do about it? She has been historically one of the biggest education pioneers.

Yet in order to do anything relevant or useful, we need to stop listening to the Father Stravinskas' of the world, and he, quite frankly, needs to stop talking until he can represent the Churches teaching accurately.

His personal opinions are irrelevant when discussing what the Church actually says, just as my opinion is irrelevant. that is why we have a Church.

Anonymous said...

@ Steve Kellmeyer: No, you did trash Fr. Stravinskas' reputation when you said that he "used to be a fairly orthodox priest" and that he has now "gone off the deep end." He expressed an opinion in an article that differs from our own, on a subject that is only incidental to Catholic faith--this might make him incorrect, but not un-orthodox.

The most objectionable thing he was reputed to say (that the chief responsibility for catechesis lies on the shoulders of the pastor) was not a direct quote, and anybody who's ever had personal dealings with the media knows that sometimes what you are trying to say isn't perfectly re-stated in an article. I highly doubt he would dissent from the standard Catholic teaching from Vatican II that parents are the primary educators of their children. He rightly points out that the pastor has a crucially important role to play in forming his flock in the Catholic faith; indeed, it is true to say that priests have a unique calling to preach the Gospel in a fashion that is different from a parent's responsibility, since priests have a particular sacramental grace by virtue of their reception of Holy Orders to assist them in this task. I think Fr. Stravinskas takes an illogical next step in saying that Catholics who homeschool today shouldn't be doing so, and I think he takes a far too rosy opinion of the state of Catholic schools in this country.  A large number of priests and Catholic schools have abandoned their duties of actually teaching the Faith and teaching it rightly; parents are right, in many cases, not to trust their kids' education to those institutions, and that is why many people turned to homeschooling. It's why my parents homeschooled me, and pretty successfully (I graduated from Notre Dame last year and am now in my first year at ND Law).

So, Fr. Stravinskas' opinion is incorrect and naive; fine. You can be a good Catholic and have incorrect or naive opinions about things that are incidental/not essential to the faith. Argue against the incorrect position.

However, to go off of this one small snippet of his opinion from the article, and then to say, based on it, that Fr. Stravinskas is lacking in orthodoxy, is really just uncharitable and an act of extremely rash judgment, at the best. What's more, it's totally unnecessary for combatting his incorrect opinion, which you are both correct and justified in doing.

Also, to say his degree is totally worthless...I don't know, I guess you have more knowledge of education postgraduate studies than I do, but I'm loathe to think that the years of study needed to obtain a doctorate mean absolutely nothing. Whatever it means, it seems to be an unnecessary personal attack that doesn't reach the substance of his argument.

All in all, I think a reaction like this does nothing more than confirm whatever negative stereotypes people like Fr. Stravinskas has about us homeschoolers, and I really wish you'd retract all of the negative statements you made about his orthodoxy.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The authority of parents is not "incidental to Catholic Faith."

The pastor's "unique pastoral grace" does not apply to children. Parents are the primary educators of their own children in re the Faith, not bishops, priests, deacons, DREs or Sally Schoolteacher.

Indeed, it's quite the reverse. PARENTS have a "unique pastoral grace" to preach the Gospel to their own children, and that grace, as Aquinas observes, is a GREATER grace than that given to priests.

As for Father's opinion, I think it fair to say I've had more interaction with him than you have, since I actually published in his magazine while he was still editor. I didn't just point out this article - I also pointed out he got FIRED for the same trash-talk in the past.

Father S. has demonstrably gone off the deep end - he trashed his reputation. I merely observed.

As for your educational problems, I'm sorry to hear you went to ND, but it's not my fault that you chose to do that, so you can hardly blame me for your inability to read (e.g., this article), know or reason about the Faith.

Given the skill set you display here, you really should have tried to find a Catholic college. Perhaps you could sue ND for non-performance.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

One of my favorite poems is Hillaire Belloc's Courtesy. Is calling people names really the best way to engage with those with whom we disagree? Chesterton and Belloc are great role models for apologetics and it would be hard to find them EVER insulting their adversaries. "The grace of God is in courtesy" as Belloc says.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yes, we shouldn't call people names. Especially proscribed are:

blind guide
den of vipers
sons of perdition
idiots of Galatia

At least, if you do, say this, "I am a man like yourselves, and I have nothing against you personally."

And I will therefore point out that I am a man, like Father S., against whom I have nothing personally.

Now, is everyone happy?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

As an aside, could anyone explain to me the difference between being an "educrat" and being an "ignorant ass"?

Personally, I always thought the two epithets interchangeable...

Anonymous said...

@ Steve Kellmeyer, dude, chill out. Yeah, I'm well aware Notre Dame has its problems, and that they are many and significant. Is nobody allowed to express an opinion that differs from yours on this blog unless they went to Steubenville, TAC, or Christendom? And fyi, I got a very solidly Catholic education at ND--there are in fact a good number of orthodox and solid professors at ND, and I sought them out (a number of Ralph McInerny's fellow-travelers and former students in the philosophy program, several good theology professors like Fr. Neil Roy and John Cavadini, and excellent professors in a variety of other programs). In fact, I'd say ND has more of an orthodox presence among its faculty than 95% of Catholic schools. I was one of the kids who got the EF Mass at ND started. Throwing out ad hominem attacks against people you don't even know is not engendering any confidence in me that you're being fair to Fr. Stravinskas.

Priests DO have some responsibility for communicating the faith to kids, as they have responsibility to communicate the faith to all of their parishioners. I recognize that parents have a particular sacramental grace and that this supercedes the priest's grace; however, it's a slightly-complicated question of overlapping responsibilities, and I could see how the reporter could confuse what was said to her, particularly given that she didn't give a direct quote. I guess you have inside knowledge that Fr. Stravinskas definitely does not believe that parents are the primary educators of their kids; I'm sorry I didn't understand your level of interaction with him. I just thought that from the article, given the fact that he wasn't specifically quoted on that one point, and given the complexity of the issue and the possibility the reporter could confuse the matter, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn't directly opposing Church teaching. Sorry for assuming the best about a Catholic priest who seems in every other respect (to my knowledge, as someone who's never met him) to be impeccably orthodox.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


1) I worked in Fort Worth diocese for three years. FW diocese has boatloads of ND graduates through an exchange/training program with the university. I never met one that was worth spit when it came to theological knowledge, but every blessed one of them were viciously serious about "social justice."

2)You're right, I have no confidence in a university that prosecutes 88 pro-lifers. It's pleasant that you're trying to be orthodox, but my experience with ND grads has been uniformly crappy and you haven't much improved it yet.

3) I have an MA from Steubie, and I wouldn't trust half the FUS grads they produce either. I don't recommend FUS to anyone. I don't give them any money. I don't have an opinion on Christendom. As for TAC, most of the grads I've met have been solid.

4) I attend an EF Mass and have for several years. I've heard absolutely wrong theology from FSSP priests from the pulpit on multiple occasions - I even blogged about a couple of instances that were unbearably egregious recently, and got attacked by FSSP groupies for daring to point out theological problems with FSSP sermons.

5) The pastor's sacramental responsibilities are to everyone. The pastor's teaching responsibilities are to the adults. He's supposed to get the adults taught, the adults are supposed to teach their own kids. That's subsidiarity.

Pastor is responsible for testing the kids to make sure they are ready for the sacraments (and adults, for that matter), but the parents are the ones who teach the kids the sacraments.

There isn't much in the way of crossed lines. There is a TON in the way of confused ordained men, though, which in turn leads to a TON of confusion among lay faithful about who has what responsibilities. Your remarks have so far demonstrated the problem in spades.

Indeed, if you look at the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia article on Catholic education, it states that parents draw their authority to teach their own children from the bishop.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an imprimatur.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is wrong.

As both Aquinas and JP II pointed out, parents draw their authority to teach from the sacrament of marriage.

In my book, I describe the historical events that led bishops, especially American bishops, to incorrectly think ordained men were primary educators of children, and parents were secondary educators.

It's been over a century, and we're still dealing with the repercussions of that misunderstanding and that violation of subsidiarity.

Jordanes551 said...

Indeed, if you look at the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia article on Catholic education, it states that parents draw their authority to teach their own children from the bishop.

That, I think, is partly a deduction from St. Ignatius of Antioch, who urged Christians to do "nothing" with their bishops -- a hyperbole, of course, certainly not to be taken literally.

Jordanes551 said...

Indeed, if you look at the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia article on Catholic education, it states that parents draw their authority to teach their own children from the bishop.

That, I think, is partly a deduction from St. Ignatius of Antioch, who urged Christians to do "nothing" with their bishops -- a hyperbole, of course, certainly not to be taken literally.

Kevin said...

Let's try and bring things back on topic.

Little trip down memory lane. Around 7 years ago, Fr. Stravinskas was going around saying that if you homeschooled your kids, you weren't just mistaken. You were in clear violation of canon law.

That's right, he said the Catholic Church unequivocally condemned homeschooling. He based this off an interpretation of canon law and Vatican II which stated that you are only allowed to educate your children in establishments the bishop permits you to. (For a defense of homsechooling that deals with these arguments, one can goto

It is that kind of behavior that led to him getting fired. He isn't just saying homeschooling is a bad idea. He was judging someone's catholicity by it. In his mind, if you homeschooled, you were deficient in your faith, and disobedient to the Church.

On this issue, Fr. Stravinaskas is not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong. This line of thinking undercuts the very core of Catholic social teaching.

Greg said...

No publisher likes to see calls to boycott his publication, but I appreciate the strong feelings engendered by our news story on the occasional gulf that appears between home school advocates and some in the institutional Church. However, I would like to correct one error of fact: Father Peter Stravinskas was never fired by Our Sunday Visitor for his opinions on home schooling. He was never fired by us, period. Greg Erlandson

Steve Kellmeyer said...


My mistake, and I do apologize for the mix-up.

All the more reason to boycott OSV, though, eh?

Victor R. Claveau, MJ said...

Mr. Kellmeyer,
Enough is enough. You have done your best to denigrate and vilify anyone who dares to disagree with you, and your slander of others appears to have no boundaries. Shame on you sir! You need to repent and apologize. Whatever credibility you once may have once had you have destroyed.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, Victor, you're just angry that you have no defense for Fr. S. and neither does OSV.

All either of you do is sing the praises of a man who is ignorant of Catholic teaching on education.

You claim to be a Catholic apologist. So far, you don't seem to be providing any reasons in support of the Catholic position.

Why don't you give it a shot?
Who knows?
Maybe you're competent?
I mean, at this point, that seems pretty unlikely, but go ahead and try. Go ahead and back up Fr. S's position with some evidence from the Magisterium. Cough. cough.

Victor R. Claveau, MJ said...

Mr. Kellmeyer,
The answer to your question can be found in Matthew 7:6.You're just not worth the trouble.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Well, Victor, for a man who claims to be very upset about someone not showing the love of Christ to another, your complete dismissal of my worth as a human being would seem somewhat... hypocritical.

You don't have a defense, Victor.
You're just a blowhard.

And a hypocrite to boot.

Kevin said...

Mr. Erlandson,

Can you perhaps indicate how many pro home-schooling priests you talked to for the story in OSV? Maybe the Bishop of Toledo, who runs at least 3 "home-school Masses" a year?

That's why a lot of people were so upset. You weren't pointing out a gap between those in the "institutional Church" and those who educated their children at home. You pointed out a gap between a few sources that are not the majority or the mind of the Church.

The article was incredibly biased on that fact alone. Just look at the poll you guys placed up. Nowhere does it state "on a case by case basis, sometimes it is best to educate your child at home." The majority I know who do so do not homeschool dogmatically. They weighed the options, and in that particular case, it was the best deal for their child.

We get that you guys don't like homeschoolers. Yet perhaps you could do a bit more balanced reporting?

Kevin said...

One could point to several dioceses which give "guidelines" for how homeschooling works in relation to religious education.

In reality, this could've been a fascinating look at how the Catholic church responds to the needs of the faithful being educated.

Instead, it was a rather slanted jab at homeschoolers. They get one quote from Vatican II, then the "anti" side gets a lengthy treatment of an obscure regional synod (whose teachings were essentially superseded by later popes and Vatican II) and a free interpretation by Father Stravinskas.

Kevin said...

Turns out OSV did some pretty substandard work on their research for this article.

The Baltimore Synod they reference, interesting what they say about Catholic Education:

Title vi, Of the Education of Catholic Youth, treats of (i) Catholic schools, especially parochial, viz., of their absolute necessity and the obligation of pastors to establish them. Parents must send their children to such schools unless the bishop should judge the reason for sending them elsewhere to be sufficient. Ways and means are also considered for making the parochial schools more efficient. It is desirable that these schools be free. (ii) Every effort must be made to have suitable schools of higher education for Catholic youth.

It is obvious the words of Vatican II trump this. (Heck, the words of Pius XI trump it, but that's for another time.) Even in this statement alone, that "obligation" has one strong qualifier, and several weaker qualifiers.

The text clearly didn't anticipate educating a family of 4 taking up 60% of more of a families income. They also didn't ancipate schools which were not teaching the Catholic faith.

If OSV quoted the Synod in whole, how much do you think it would make their (and Fr. Stravinaskas) position look better? On the contrary, it would make it look worse.

Intentional? Probably not. A case of citing something they haven't fact-checked? Almost certain. Don't boycott them for harboring bad opinions. Boycott them for being a travesty of journalism.

Brendan said...

Boycotting OSV is a non-starter, and I do not believe Steve is really serious.

I received and read this publication for a year some time ago, and it was such a waste of time. It reads like any other third-rate local secular paper. All reporting is superficial, research inadequate, and the writing hasty and poorly edited. I actually responded to some of the idiocy presented at times. Of course my letters were never printed. I doubt anyone actually tried to verify any of my researched and reasoned corrections. A total waste of my time.

Anyone who can actually bother to read OSV regularly must be incapable of recognizing the bad journalism and crooked bias described here, so would not be interested in a boycott. Those who would boycott would scarcely find OSV very interesting anyway.

I sure don't. I cannot understand expending the energy to pick apart this one article so carefully.

Anyway, what would dropping connection with Fr. Stravinskas look like? How long do they have to not quote him until we get to hold our nose and try reading that bilge again?