November 21, 1998

Catholic Home Education Fax Alert Distributed By the

Keeping It Catholic Faith, Family & Home Education Network

In Conjunction With

Roman Catholic Faithful

For Further Information, Please Contact:

 

Keeping It Catholic

Phone (810) 412-1959/Fax (810) 412-3973412-3973

Website: http://members.tripod.com/~catholic_homeschool/index.html

email: keepitcatholic@usa.net

 

or

 

Roman Catholic Faithful

Phone (360) 379-5221/FAX (360) 379-5319

Website: http://www.rcf.org/default.htm

Email: jbendell@olympus.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Fellow Catholic Homeschooling Families and Advocates:
You may be aware that NACHE (National Association of Catholic Home Educators) announced its intent to become a Church recognized organization. This past spring, the organization also expressed interest in attaining a "juridic" personality. As faithful Catholics living our vocations through the Sacrament of Matrimony, we oppose and object to NACHE's publicly stated intent to become a homeschooling "bridge" to the hierarchy.

The first step in receiving this kind of status is to gain approval by the local ordinary - in this case, Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore, MD. Once this is accomplished, the second step is to receive national recognition through an appeal to the NCCB (National Council of Catholic Bishops). The third step - Vatican approval - would give NACHE "international" status.

According to NACHE's public reports, Cardinal Keeler has volunteered to sponsor (i.e., approve) their organization. NACHE has already met with members of the United States Catholic Conference Committee on Education. Cardinal Keeler is a principal member of this committee -- as well as the NCCB which is a "strictly ecclesiastical body in and through which the bishops of the United States act together, officially and with authority as pastors of the Church." (Catholic Almanac, 1995).

This means that Cardinal Keeler is likely to have strong influence in providing NACHE both the local, national and world-wide Church recognition it desires as a homeschool "lay association of the faithful."

It appears that Cardinal Keeler has also made the preliminary steps to assist NACHE gain Vatican recognition. This occurred in April 1998 when the Cardinal accompanied the NACHE board in visiting various Vatican offices. It must be noted NACHE did this without Fr. Hardon, S.J. who says NACHE decided among themselves to remove him from the board. Fr. Hardon was told by the NACHE board that he would not be allowed to attend the bishops' meeting with them because he was not a board member. Nor was he invited to participate in the Vatican trip with NACHE.

OUR OBJECTIONS
Both Keeping It Catholic and Roman Catholic Faithful object to NACHE's initiative to attain "lay association" status for the following reasons:
--Three years ago, NACHE offered cooperation to the parochial school teacher union, the NCEA (National Catholic Education Association). The NCEA is not an official Church authority but merely a civil one. However, it cannot be refuted that the NCEA wields enormous influence in dioceses across the nation. The NCEA has shown an alarming interest in what they call the "homeschooling phenomenon."
--NACHE views Sacramental guidelines for homeschoolers - without considering content - as a "positive." Further, NACHE does not object to the current "negative" guidelines in Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and elsewhere but merely labels them as "challenges."

--NACHE and the national board of a closely affiliated grass-roots support group called TORCH (Traditions of Roman Catholic Homes) publicly endorse Pittsburgh diocese's Secretary of Education Fr. Kris Stubna, STD, the editor who approved the sex ed series Catholic Vision of Love (CVOL).

Point: The "end result" materials of CVOL have never been approved by the Vatican offices. The appropriate Vatican office had only seen an outline draft for the series, but Bishop Wuerl, Fr. Stubna's superior, continues to insist CVOL received Vatican approval.
Point: Catholic Vision of Love contains reference to receiving Holy Communion "in our hands" while advising children to contemplate Jesus and their own sexuality, adding, "This close relationship enables us to piece together the puzzle of life, love and sexuality" (from CVOL, "Jesus and Our Lives," grades 5-8, p. 6) CVOL includes over 100 "Media Options" for grades 5-8 which include the controversial In God's Image video by Patricia Miller, a "sex educator" certified by an organizational arm of Planned Parenthood.
Point: In Cardinal Keeler's Baltimore Diocese, Mrs. Miller has hosted "Human Sexuality" workshops for Catholic educators (including Directors of Religious Education) in which she made blasphemous references to the sexuality of Our Lord.
Point: NACHE accepted an ad for Catholic Vision of Love last year. Rather than apologizing to the homeschoolers who expressed their outrage, NACHE defended its decision by writing in its newsletter, "Several people have complained about …what they assumed is a sex education program. The Catholic Vision of Love does not teach sex education…[it] is a family life curriculum for Catholic schools."
Point: However, Fr. Stubna himself admitted that Catholic Vision of Love does teach sex education when he wrote -- in a letter to Pittsburgh parents -- that "…the Diocese of Pittsburgh has developed a program of human sexuality education called Catholic Vision of Love" and that it was to be "integrated into the religious education program of your children." (Emphasis ours)

 Point: Many months after a number of homeschoolers informed NACHE of their objections to Catholic Vision of Love, NACHE's 1998 homeschool convention featured Fr. Stubna as a speaker of a workshop entitled, "The Pittsburgh Story: Working WITH Your Diocese." In his speech, Fr. Stubna urged homeschoolers to continually strive toward "communion" with the Church, thus claiming homeschoolers are not members of the Catholic Church.

Point: In addition, TORCH (NACHE's sister organization on a grass-roots level) has printed excerpts of Fr. Stubna's speech in their national newsletter as well as their website at http://www.catholic-homeschool/index.html However, TORCH did not include the revealing Question and Answer session in which homeschool parents asked Fr. Stubna pertinent questions. That session can be found at the following Keeping It Catholic Website page at http://members.tripod.com/~catholic_homeschool/stubna.html
--The NACHE board consists of a mere handful of individuals who claim they will represent Catholic homeschoolers nationwide (and in the future, internationally). NACHE claims it is not a membership organization although homeschoolers who subscribe to their newsletter are called "members." Thus, homeschoolers will have no say in NACHE's policies, their agenda, or their ultimate influence with the hierarchy. It appears very clear that the NACHE board is carrying forward their own agenda while claiming to "serve" Catholic homeschoolers.
--NACHE presents itself as the "clearinghouse of information" for Catholic home educators by offering an annual convention and a newsletter, The Catholic Home Educator. Increasingly, NACHE has shown a disturbing inclusiveness toward Protestant and secular materials.
Point: Just one example includes a NACHE board member's role as a "moderator" during a panel discussion at the 1998 convention. NACHE previously selected the panel's participants and knew their views. As a matter of public record, the board member endorsed the secular Calvert program over Catholic home study programs. For NACHE to allow a board member to publicly announce a preference for a secular program makes it very clear that the national "Catholic" home school organization's primary concern is not Catholic education at home.
--NACHE's most recent newsletter (The Catholic Home Educator, Michaelmas 1998 issue) featured an article by Mary Hasson (a TORCH and NACHE board officer) who wrote, "Nothing in canon law gives the parent the right to limit how a pastor or bishop may discharge his duty to ensure that the child has received the content of the faith adequately, is properly disposed, and otherwise prepared to receive the sacrament."
Point: By this inference, the NACHE board clearly illustrates that they do not grasp Canon Law as a whole. They made no further reference that parents and pastors together judge the readiness of a sacramental candidate. There are many canons, too numerous too quote, that teach of the primary and principal role of parents in catechesis and education, provided they are in keeping with Church teaching. The pastoral role is one of assistance in promoting and fostering the role of the parents in family catechesis. However, parents are not obliged to accept that assistance.
Point: Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, former president of the Pontifical Council of the Family, explained this years ago when he wrote, "…while the Code [Canon 843, #2) states that the pastor should judge about the fitness of a child's preparation for the reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist (Canons 890, 914), it also requires that the pastor's judgement be made together with the parents. This judgement is to be based, not upon the arbitrary criteria of the pastor, but upon the truths of the faith and legitimately established norms." (Emphasis ours)
Point: Thus NACHE excludes the principal, primary role of parents and fails to acknowledge the role of pastors as secondary. The pastoral role - whether cardinal, bishop or priest - does not overshadow, usurp or replace the natural and Divine rights of parents.
--While NACHE claims to invite communications from and relationships with other homeschool leaders, they consistently refuse to reply to those who do not agree with them. Recent and repeated fraternal attempts by this network to communicate with NACHE continue to go unanswered.
--NACHE and TORCH board member Mary Hasson has made the serious accusation that those who object to abuse of legitimate hierarchical authority are working outside of the Catholic Church founded by Christ. (Mary Hasson wrote in the May 1998 TORCH Newsletter, "As for me, I stand with the Church, and invite those who have chosen to be adversaries of the Bishops and priests of our Church to make a step for unity and come back to the fold.") Not one other board member from either NACHE or TORCH has ever refuted this terrible charge of schism against other Catholic homeschoolers.
OUR STANCE

 

Since the Sacrament of Matrimony specifically imbues the parents with the graces necessary to raise their children morally, academically and civilly, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity must be respected.

Catechesis is not to be forced or coerced into a method of uniformity. Parental decisions regarding how we catechize our children, what catechetical text we use, and what help we accept remain ours. We recognize that a pastor has the duty to ensure our children's readiness for the Sacraments but we also know that he must do so in conjunction with us, the parents. It is not the sole decision of the pastor (or bishop) nor can there be illegal imposition of anything that opposes or usurps parental judgement.

We are not opposed to legitimate authority that is itself obedient to the Magisterium and expresses a filial love for our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. We are especially opposed to any group that desires to be the liason between homeschoolers and the hierarchy yet at the same time allows charges of schism to be directed at those who merely disagree with them.

To even suggest that a bridge is needed is to reinforce NACHE's claim that homeschoolers are somehow "separated from the Church." We strongly reject this unjust assertion and once more proclaim our obedience to and love for the Catholic Church. We will continue to defend the rights of Catholic homeschool families against unlawful interference.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ASSIST

Homeschoolers and pro-homeschool advocates are invited to actively take part in the SAY NO to NACHE and TORCH campaign. This is done to show both our alarm with the TORCH national board's endorsement of sex ed editor Fr. Kris Stubna and NACHE's intention to become the "liason" group for Catholic homeschoolers under Cardinal Keeler.

The following suggestions have been submitted by homeschoolers who know that, according to Church teaching, we have the right to oppose unlawful interference by any individual or group as well as illegitimate pastoral/diocesan interference in the religious and academic training of our children:

1. Distribute this fax alert to fellow homeschooling parents and advocates. Feel free to make copies for such distribution. For your convenience, we have provided a copy, ready for printing, at the Keeping It Catholic Website (Internet address is on page one).
2. We need hundreds - even thousands of copies of this alert faxed to the Vatican. It is imperative that Rome hears from the many justifiably concerned homeschoolers and advocates. We ask that anyone who receives this alert in turn fax it in its entirety to the following prelates and Vatican offices as a strong show of support, respect and appeal to the Church.
Papal Nuncio

FAX (202) 337-4036

Congregration for the Sacred Doctrine of the Faith

FAX (011)-396-698-83409

Or

Alternate FAX (011)-396-698-85378

Pontifical Council for the Family

FAX (011) 396-698-87272

Pontifical Council for the Laity

FAX (011) 396-698-87214

Congregation for the Sacraments

FAX (011) 396-698-83499

Congregation for the Clergy

FAX (011) 396-698-84645

Or

Alternative FAX (011) 396-698- 85378

3. Contact Cardinal Keeler's office and respectfully inform His Eminence that we as homeschoolers will continue to oppose NACHE's intention to gain any kind of Church recognition and that we likewise reject NACHE's claim that homeschoolers are "out of the fold" simply for questioning or opposing abuses of legitimate authority. Cardinal Keeler's chancery office can be contacted at phone number (410) 547-5437, fax (410) 727-5432; email facts@archbalt.org, or Website www.archbalt.org (Faxes gain the best attention but do not hesitate to call or email the Baltimore diocese.)
4. Respectfully contact Fr. John Hardon, S.J., who retains his post as spiritual advisor to NACHE but who was unceremoniously dismissed from the Board. Share with him our objections and opposition to NACHE's plan to attain status as a lay association which will represent all Catholic homeschoolers. Fr. Hardon's address is 13800 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48205. His phone number is (313) 839-1871; his fax is (313) 521-6429.
5. Respectfully contact NACHE and inform them of your opposition to their developments and agenda. NACHE's editor Lesley Payne can be reached via email at lpayne@mbay.net, NACHE board member Mary Hasson can be emailed at khasson@erols.com or faxed at (703) 264-5831; Rachel Watkins, also a NACHE board member, can be emailed at mdwrm@juno.com. At release time, these were the only NACHE board contacts we were able to provide.
A Last Comment
A letter from Mr. James Bendell of Roman Catholic Faithful to His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler follows with the next four pages.
Keeping It Catholic is proud to have the support and cooperation of Roman Catholic Faithful and we are honored to include their letter in our fax alert.(See link below.)

 


Roman Catholic Faithful Letter on HS Issues

Back to Keeping It Catholic Home Page


Please keep this fax alert for future reference.
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