Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas: No Hyenas for Us, only Saints

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John Paul II with schoolchildren in Philadelphia in 1979

By Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, The Catholic Thing, May 9, 2023

Father Peter Stravinskas holds doctorates in school administration and theology. He is the founding editor of The Catholic Response and publisher of Newman House Press. Most recently, he launched a graduate program in Catholic school administration through Pontifex University.

Note: Many thanks to all of you who responded – and so generously – to the beginning of our mid-year fundraising campaign yesterday. We’re off to a good start. I receive and read all your messages and wish I could respond to every one of them. But time and sheer volume prevent that. Please be assured, though, that all of us – staff and writers – deeply appreciate your support. One reader commented that she particularly liked the 1000-word limit on our columns. I do too and enforce it strictly, to the annoyance of our writers – except for today. I think we need to hear this slightly longer message on Catholic education, which I believe is going to be the only effective way out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves, in both the secular world and the Church, though it may take a generation or two. – Robert Royal      

(The following is excerpted from a homily preached at the Mass inaugurating the Awards Night of the Catholic Education Foundation at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City on 26 April.)

St. John Henry Cardinal Newman was once asked by his Bishop what he thought might be the place of the laity in the Church. He retorted:  “The Church would look foolish without them.”  An uncharacteristically laconic response for Newman.  Which leads to the next question: If the Church would look foolish without the laity, what kind of laity would redound to her edification and effectiveness?  Newman tells us clearly: “I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold, and what they do not, who know their creed so well, that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity.”

And what will such a “well-instructed laity” accomplish?  It will be ….

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