NACHE's Response to Marianna Bartold


Received via email, Monday, July 5, 1999.


Dear Mrs. Bartold:


This is our response to the questions addressed to NACHE in your e-mail of Saturday, July 3rd. You have our permission to quote this response only in its entirety, without any deletions or edits to these three paragraphs. I regret that our past experience with you forces us to impose this condition.


Your "interview" request is a sham, as your KIC website alreadycontains accusations against NACHE and erroneous reporting concerning Seton's absence, in statements almost identical to the "questions" that you have now sent us. Further, you sent your request on Saturday afternoon of the July Fourth holiday weekend, requesting an answer by Monday morning, less than 48 hours later.

(KIC Note: Regardless of the date, those who felt it important to respond made time to respond. This includes CHSNA, Roman Catholic Faithful, Our Lady of the Rosary, Seton, and Our Lady of Victory - and NACHE. This letter itself is the proof that Mrs. Hasson of NACHE responded by deadline...and it's clear she could have answered the questions if she so desired.)


NACHE has issued a statement regarding Seton's absence from the 1999 NACHE convention. That statement, its supporting documents and letters, as well as the earlier NACHE statement regarding the inaccuracy of your 1998 fax alert campaign, contain the facts of this situation and are or will be available from our website at and are attached to this email.




Mary Hasson

For the NACHE Board

Below is the first attachment sent by Mary Hasson to Marianna Bartold. Particular phrases will be emphasized by KIC for the reader's special attention. It should be noted that Seton's Authority in the Church article was reviewed by Fr. Hardon, S.J. (NACHE's spiritual advisor), who found it free of doctrinal error.

Tragically, the letter below, by NACHE's own secretary, was not first submitted to Fr. Hardon (even though he is NACHE's spiritual advisor) and, as admitted in the first paragraph, only addresses Mrs. Hasson's views on the various subjects relating to canon law. Additionally, the letter also contains slanderous remarks, which were unashamedly repeated by Mrs. Hasson and the entire NACHE board on both the TORCH and NACHE websites.



The National Association of Catholic Home Educators

6102 Saints Hill Lane, Broad Run, VA 22014


July 16, 1998


Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Seton Home Study School

1350 Progress Dr.

Front Royal, VA 22630


 Dear Dr. Clark:


The recent article in the Seton newsletter addressing authority in the Church misinterprets both my TORCH newsletter column and, in my opinion, canon law. As such, it damages my reputation and the reputation of NACHE. I believe that charity and justice require you to rectify this situation.


Regarding my original column, you mislead your readers with the assertion that "In reading Mary Hasson's article, one cannot find the slightest hint that parents are the primary educators of their children, or that parents should use discernment in their children's religious upbringing. One would have to conclude from this article that bishops could simply ban religious home education, and that if they did so, Catholics would simply be bound to stop."


You are implying that I do not acknowledge or defend both the parents' obligation to be the primary educators of their children or a parent's obligation to use discernment in that education. Certainly you are aware that everything I have written relating to homeschooling is based on those two principles. I refer you specifically to the book I coauthored, Catholic Education Homeward Bound, as well as my past TORCH columns and articles. Just because a person doesn't cite a particular statement of Church belief (for example, the belief in the Pope's authority to teach infallibly as to faith and morals) in everything he writes does not mean he rejects that belief whenever it is not mentioned. In contrast, such a belief would be assumed on the basis of a person's previous writings and statements of belief.


To imply that I hold a different position is an intellectually dishonest attempt to mislead your readers as to my beliefs. Your conclusion that my article suggests that the bishops could rightfully ban religious home education derives from your false assertions and is unjust as well. It suggests a position to which I have never subscribed and which is contradicted by everything I have written.


You go on to say that I imply that "those who are not happy with some diocesan guidelines are opposed to the institutional Church." I did not imply that at all. In fact my comments take note of the fact that many parents legitimately will find a particular set of diocesan guidelines to be "burdensome, ridiculous, unnecessary, or [to provide] inadequate catechesis." (TORCH newsletter, May, 1998). That fact alone obviously does not make a person opposed to the institutional Church. I went on to say that such deficiencies cannot be used to justify defying the authority of our bishops and pastors. ("None of that justifies defying our pastors or Bishops or treating them disrespectfully." TORCH newsletter, May, 1998).


You and I are both aware that over the past several years a number of homeschooling leaders (most notably Marianna Bartold, whose unfounded accusations in the Mothers' Watch newsletter precipitated my TORCH column) have maintained that bishops have no authority to create any sort of guidelines pertaining to homeschoolers and that homeschoolers should resist any attempt by a diocese to create such guidelines. There is nothing in canon law that prohibits guidelines per se. On the contrary, canons 775 sec. 1, 776, 777, 841, 843 sec. 2, 890, and 914 all extend a degree of responsibility for sacramental preparation and oversight to the bishop or pastor with canon 381 giving the bishop discretionary power in the exercise of his pastoral duties. To categorically reject the rightful (though shared) authority of the bishops and pastors regarding sacramental preparation is to reject the authority of the institutional Church.


A parent who in good conscience cannot adhere to particular guidelines must follow his conscience and refuse to obey it. (Certainly that is one aspect about which we both agree.) But, as in other matters, a Catholic is bound to form his conscience well. A bishop's guidance on matters such as sacramental preparation is not simply one opnion among many to be considered. The Church teaches clearly that Catholics must have an attitude of docility, respect, and submission towards their pastors and bishops in the exercise of their authority, for example the specific authority given by canon law in the areas of catechetics and sacramental preparation.


You go on to state that, "Mary Hasson makes no distinction between the Church as a whole and the actions of a particular Church official. She writes, 'The Church as I know it is not in the business of usurping or denying anything that is God-given.'" You then critique this statement by ignoring the context in which it was made. You state, "True enough, but is it therefore impossible for an individual diocese or an individual parish to usurp parental rights?" The sentences immediately preceding the portion you quote address the attitude reflected in the Mothers' Watch article. I went on to quote from the Mothers' Watch article which accused NACHE, saying that we had "allowed [our]selves to become entangled in the Bishops' web. How could they [NACHE] not have the foresight to see that 'sacramental' guidelines will, in fact, usurp or deny the God-given duty of parents to educate their children."


My statement replied to that blanket assertion that "the Bishops" (plural and general, not a particular bishop) and "guidelines" (in general) "will" (not may) usurp or deny parents' obligation to educate their children. You chose to take my remarks out of context and implied that I meant something different from what my article clearly intended.


Finally, you state that I am "offhandedly charging people with the serious matter of schism." I did not make any statement to that effect, nor would I charge anyone with schism or heresy. That is a judgment only the Church can make. My comments instead addressed a certain attitude of "those who have chosen to be adversaries of the Bishops and priests of our Church." (TORCH newsletter, May, 1998). At least one other national leader, in addition to Marianna Bartold, has stated the view that the safest way for Catholics to pass on the faith is "apart from the institutional Church,"(KIC NOTE: another false remark) rather than in collaboration with the Church. I believe such a view is seriously mistaken.


(KIC NOTE: Mrs. Hasson is correct when she says such a view is mistaken. But she is mistaken,too, because Marianna Bartold never stated in any article, in any conversation, at any time, that Catholics should pass on the faith apart from the institutional Church. KIC's stance has always been one of obedience when bishops legitimately command; it is abuse of authority to which KIC, Marianna Bartold and many faithful Catholics, including Roman Catholic Faithful, object.)


My article closed with an invitation to those who have chosen the adversarial approach. I asked them to join those of us who, in accord with the obligation to promote union and communion within the Church, choose to collaborate with rather than oppose Church leaders. The phrase "back to the fold" in that context would be construed as a charge of heresy and schism only by those who are in the habit of making such accusations themselves.


(KIC Note: Mrs. Hasson, who is so careful to quote others in order to further her own views, neglects to quote her own earlier words. And who among those who disagree with Mrs. Hasson and her NACHE's policies have exposed a "habit of making such accusations of themselves"? No one. Her statement, like her actions, are simply retaliatory.)


I would hope that your misinterpretations are simply a matter of superficial reading and inadequate analysis. However, your misinterpretations contrast so sharply with the otherwise careful wording and precise analysis in your discussion of canon law, that it suggests instead that your statements are a deliberate attempt to mislead your readers, particularly those who have not read my prior writings, and to damage my reputation and, by association, the reputation of NACHE. (KIC NOTE: Readers are reminded that Fr. Hardon, S.J., previewed and approved Seton's article.) I am tremendously saddened by this. If you were honestly in doubt as to my meaning you could have contacted me to clarify my thoughts and ideas. The fact that you chose to write without a single attempt to contact me or give me the benefit of the doubt in your interpretations is uncomfortably similar to the irresponsibility and bad faith shown by Marianna Bartold in her recent articles in The Catholic Family News and Mothers' Watch.


(KIC NOTE: Mary Hasson demands that which she herself will not give. She complains of the "bad faith" allegedly shown by Marianna Bartold, who only quoted Mrs. Hasson, Kimberly Hahn and others directly from published sources. Mrs. Hasson, who wrote a rather rash article following Mrs. Bartold's House Divided article in Mothers Watch, did not make a "single attempt" to contact Mrs. Batold, nor did she give Mrs. Bartold or Mary Kay Clark the "benefit of the doubt" in the allegations she makes in this letter.)


Perhaps, Dr. Clark, it is time for you to be candid about the extent to which you are collaborating with Marianna Bartold as she continues to villify the reputations of several NACHE Board members, NACHE itself, and other homeschooling leaders as well. You told me that she is in regular communication with you, and that you spoke as recently as last night. If you are not collaborating in Mrs. Bartold's defamatory and divisive work, then I invite you to disassociate yourself completely from her and her writings. Indeed, I believe charity and the seventh commandment require you to do so.

(KIC NOTE: Mrs. Hasson not only presumes much, she actually had the gall to write it and send it both Dr. Clark and Marianna Bartold. Keeping Mrs. Hasson's own rule in mind, then surely we homeschoolers can safely assume that anyone Mrs. Hasson speaks to or with must be collaborating with her to destroy the reputations of Seton Home Study School, as well as Marianna Bartold. How long will homeschoolers tolerate such juvenile behavior coming from the "national" asssociation?)


Perhaps you could emulate the example of the Catholic Homeschool Network of America. The CHSNA leadership recently made a mutual commitment with NACHE leaders to avoid personal attacks, to communicate directly with each other over differences without making presumptions, and to foster an honest unity, born of charity and faithfulness to the Church, among all homeschoolers. We are tremendously grateful to them for their courage and willingness to work together for the benefit of the Church and homeschoolers, in spite of any practical differences that we may have on particular issues. Similarly, we are gratified for the support and commitment towards unity that has been extended to us by several West Coast leaders in the homeschooling movement.

(KIC NOTE: This is another ludicrous supposition. At the time, CHSNA was speaking with NACHE simply to iron out differences. However, what came out later was that NACHE was "tremendously grateful" because Kimberly Hahn worked very hard to get CHSNA's president Katie Moran to denounce Mrs. Bartold publicly. It didn't happen. As a side note, Mrs. Bartold founded CHSNA, and NACHE knew this.)


Regarding your interpretation of canon law and authority within the Church, we agree on many things and disagree on some. (And I believe that the interpretation of canon law is something about which Catholics in good faith are free to disagree unless the Church gives definitive guidance. Indeed numerous canon lawyers disagree among themselves as to the meaning and application of many provisions in canon law.) While I believe that a specific set of guidelines may in fact prove to be helpful to homeschoolers, depending on their content, neither I nor NACHE as an organization has ever initiated or requested guidelines from any bishop, diocese, or pastor.

(KIC NOTE: If NACHE's Mary Hasson believes that canon law is open to interpretation, why did she make such a big fuss? It was Fr. Hardon who affirmed that Seton's view on canon law was correct. The real issue, the driving force behind the continued aggression against Seton, is that Mrs.Hasson believes Seton hurt her credibility and NACHE's. Yet she isn't averse in her continued attempts to destroy the reputation of others...)


Although I agree with the first seven paragraphs of your article, Ipart company with your analysis when you make a leap in logic toconclude that, "These kinds of requirements [CCD attendance requirement, pastor's home visits, covenants between pastor and parents] make the parent the mere agent of the diocese" and are therefore invalid.


These requirements (while cumbersome, annoying, and burdensome) do notmake the parent simply an agent of the diocese, acting only on the diocese's behalf and with authority granted by the diocese. The parents has his own God-given authority to teach and form his children in the faith. But the examples you cited do not remove pr purport to remove that authority. Instead they are an attempt (perhaps clumsy or misguided) to help the bishop and pastor discharge their duty to ensure that a child has received the content of the faith accurately, is properly disposed and otherwise prepared to receive the sacrament.

Nothing in canon law gives the parents the right to limit how a pastor or bishop may discharge those obligations. For example, canon law does not specify that the only way that a pastor or bishop may assess a child's readiness is personally to quiz him on certain doctrinalquestions. Certainly that is one way of assessing readiness. But a bishop or pastor has a certain amount of discretion on fulfilling his obligation, provided he does not unduly restrict or deny access to the sacrament.


A covenant relationship is a commitment between two people (for example, a husband and wife) to fulfill certain responsibilities. It does not make the wife the agent of the husband, capable of acting only on behalf of and with the authority of the husband. In the religious education context, parents remain free to teach their children however they choose. The diocese, however, decides what fulfills its own criteria for determining sacramental readiness. Fulfilling the diocesan criteria does no prohibit the parent from continuing to teach his child at home, according to his own methods, in addition to fulfilling the diocesan requirements.


I respect your right to disagree with me on interpretations of canon law. Indeed, if I am wrong I will gladly change my views. However, to portray my views falsely to serve your own purposes is wrong.

(KIC Note: As time has shown, Mrs. Hasson did not really mean the statement above. She does not respect others rights to disagree with her. And, as Fr. Hardon approved Seton's article as "free of doctrinal error," it is clear that Mrs. Hasson's views were wrong. She did not change them, but rather dismissed Fr. Hardon's input, claiming he didn't know the whole story.)


I invite you to make amends, and believe that charity and justice require you to do so. Please met me know what you intend to do. You may contact me by fax at 703-264-5831, phone (7030264-3976), e-mail (, or at my home address (2566 Huntington Dr., Herndon, VA 20171).


In Christ's service,


Mary Hasson

Board Member, NACHE









National Association of Catholic Home Educators

6102 Saints Hill Lane

Broad Run, Virginia 20137


April 10, 1999


Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Seton Home Study School

1350 Progress Drive

Front Royal, Virginia 22630


Dear Dr. Clark,


I am writing to you on behalf of my fellow NACHE Board members. We are

finalizing our plans for the 1999 NACHE East Conference in Manassas,

Virginia and look forward to offering another exciting convention for


fellow homeschoolers.


Since the inception of our conferences, Seton Home Study has been a

welcome vendor and has provided many excellent materials for


across the country. In addition, our organization has supported your

work by

promoting Seton conferences and materials in our quarterly journal The

Catholic Home Educator. Indeed, Catholic homeschoolers have been


over the past several years with an increasing number of Catholic


providers, in addition to Seton, that offer diverse, comprehensive, and

professional materials. I am sure you welcome their contributions as



While we have felt that your presence at our conferences has

contributed to

the range and quality of materials at our vendor fair, several troubling


have arisen over the past two years that we would like to discuss with

you in

person. These are issues that must be resolved before we can finalize

arrangements for your participation in the 1999 NACHE East Conference.


Specifically, we would like to discuss the following:


1. The differences in approach and attitude taken by NACHE and



* the hierarchy in this country;

* specific bishops; and

* diocesan statements for sacramental preparation for homeschooled


In particular, we are concerned that you have misrepresented the


of NACHE¹s position and have implied that our position is not consonant

with Church teaching. It seems untenable that you could hold this view

and yet continue to attend and profit from our conventions.

Therefore we would like to have the opportunity to understand your

position more fully and to be sure that you understand ours, so that

there will be no miscommunications or misrepresentations in the



2. Your failure to respond to NACHE Board member Mary Hasson's

letters over the past nine months, letters in which she asks you to

retract the misrepresentations made in your July, 1998 Seton

newsletter regarding her positions, and by implication, those of



3. The nature of your continuing association with Mrs. Marianna


who slandered NACHE repeatedly during 1998 and who has a long, public

record of unfounded, malicious, and personal attacks on other


homeschooling leaders. These attacks hurt all Catholic homeschooling

readers, not just

the persons she slanders.


It is my hope that many of these conflicts can be resolved simply by


opportunity to speak together face to face, with the graces of charity,

patience, and wisdom as our aid. Therefore, we would like to meet with


at your earliest possible convenience.


For the convenience of our Maryland Board members and in recognition of

the distance to Front Royal, we would like to meet at St. Timothy¹s

parish in

Chantilly. Recognizing our mutual desires to serve the Church and


homeschooling, I am hopeful that a meeting between you and the NACHE

Board will provide the opportunity to understand each other¹s positions


purposes more fully and to resolve these issues.


I look forward to hearing from you. I can be contacted at 540-349-4314.



Sincerely yours in Christ,



William Bales

Kimberly Hahn

President, NACHE

Chairman of the Board







The National Association of Catholic Home Educators

6102 Saints Hill Lane, Broad Run, Virginia 20137




June 30, 1999





Dear fellow Catholic homeschooler,


As you may know, Seton Home Study School will not be a vendor at the

1999 NACHE Convention in Manassas, Virginia. Seton's absence is the

direct result of Dr. Mary Kay Clark's refusal to meet with the NACHE

Board in order to discuss several serious and specific grievances.


The current situation is best understood in context. Over the past

several years, several organizations, notably Mrs. Marianna Bartold's

"Keeping It Catholic" organization and the Catholic Home School Network

of America, have misunderstood or misrepresented NACHE's positions on

issues such as Church authority and parental responsibilities, Catholic

homeschool curricula, and relationships with the hierarchy. We believe

that Seton and Dr. Clark, whether intentionally or not, also

misrepresented NACHE's views on these issues.


Our concern over the seriousness of these matters heightened last

spring. In March, 1999, Mrs. Marianna Bartold wrote a series of

articles in the Mother's Watch newsletter and The Catholic Family News,

in which she made numerous misleading and false statements and personal

attacks, all directed towards NACHE, its board members, and an

unaffiliated organization, TORCH.


In response, NACHE Board member Mary Hasson (who is also a co-director

of TORCH) wrote a column in the May, 1999, issue of the TORCH

newsletter. Mrs. Hasson's article addressed the attitude underlying the

Bartold articles--an attitude that perceives the institutional Church as

a homeschooling parent's adversary.



In July, 1998, Dr. Clark published an article in the Seton Newsletter

(which she sends to over ten thousand homeschooling families across the

country) taking issue with Mrs. Hasson's TORCH column. In her article,

Dr. Clark made statements that were both misleading to readers and that

seriously misrepresented Mrs. Hasson's views on questions regarding

Church authority, how homeschoolers ought to relate to the hierarchy,

and parental responsibility in the education of children. Further, Dr.

Clark's column began by identifying Mrs. Hasson as "an officer of the

NACHE organization" and mentioned NACHE again at the end of her article,

thus directly associating NACHE with the views she falsely attributed to

Mrs Hasson.


We believed at the time (July 1998) and continue to believe that Dr.

Clark's article damaged the reputations of Mrs. Hasson and of NACHE,

particularly because the misrepresentations concern issues so vital to

all homeschoolers, to Mrs. Hasson's own apostolic work, and to the very

mission of NACHE itself.


Following the Scriptural mandate that, "If your brother sins against

you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone," (Matt

18:15), Mrs. Hasson immediately sought, both for herself and in an

official capacity for NACHE, to resolve these grievances privately with

Dr. Clark. At the July NACHE convention, Mrs. Hasson personally

delivered to Dr. Clark a letter outlining the misrepresentations and

misleading statements contained in Dr. Clark's article and asking Dr.

Clark to rectify the situation. Dr. Clark refused to respond to this

letter or to Mrs. Hasson's subsequent requests, over the following

months, to discuss the matter with Dr. Clark.


On April 10, 1999, the NACHE Board sent Dr. Clark a letter requesting

a meeting between Dr. Clark and the Board at her "earliest possible

convenience" to discuss these matters, clearly indicating to Dr. Clark

that her participation at the annual NACHE convention and book fair was

contingent on meeting with us and getting these matters settled.


Dr. Clark refused to respond to NACHE and instead contacted Fr. Hardon

who, in a letter dated May 17, 1999 but not received until June 1st,

urged us to invite Dr. Clark to be a vendor at the convention. Fr.

Hardon's letter to us reflected his understanding of the situation at

the time, an understanding that was based on several inaccurate points

of information.



As Dr. Clark still had not responded, the NACHE Board sent her a fax on

June 16, 1999, indicating that her participation at the convention was

contingent on our receiving from her, by Saturday, June 19th, a

commitment that she would meet with us to resolve these matters. On June

17th, Dr. Clark faxed us a letter refusing to meet with the Board.

Shortly after receiving the fax, NACHE spoke with Fr. Hardon, and

stated our willingness to invite Dr. Clark, provided that she first meet

with us and rectify the situation. Fr. Hardon contacted Dr. Clark and

urged her to talk with the President of NACHE, Mr. William Bales.


After her June 17th fax communicating her refusal to meet with the

NACHE Board, Dr. Clark took no further initiative to contact NACHE

before the June 19th deadline. NACHE President William Bales tried to

reach Dr. Clark on each of the days leading up to the deadline, leaving

messages for her each time. The deadline of June 19th came and went

without our receiving any indication from Dr. Clark that she would be

willing to meet with us. It was then, in light of Dr. Clark's insistent

refusal to commit to a meeting, that the NACHE Board decided not to

invite Dr. Clark to be a vendor at the 1999 convention.


On Monday, June 21st, Dr. Clark called Mr. Bales to discuss matters.

Mr. Bales communicated to her the Board's decision that she would not be

invited to the convention.


It needs to be made very clear that NACHE has not "ousted" Dr. Clark

from its convention. In choosing to ignore Mrs. Hasson's and NACHE's

repeated overtures to meet and resolve our grievances, Dr. Clark has

herself chosen not to participate in the convention.


We are saddened that a few homeschoolers have used this regrettable

situation as an opportunity to spread more false information about

NACHE. We invite interested homeschoolers to read the following

materials posted on the NACHE website: Mrs. Hasson's May, 1998, TORCH

article, Dr. Clark's July, 1998, Seton Newsletter column, Mrs. Hasson's

July, 1998, letter to Dr. Clark (outlining the errors in Dr. Clark's

Seton Newsletter column), and the April, 1999, NACHE letter to Dr. Clark

(requesting a meeting before a vendor invitation would be given). A

limited number of copies of these materials will also be available at

the NACHE table at the 1999 NACHE convention.


NACHE continues to hope and pray that, in a spirit of reconciliation,

Dr. Clark will reconsider her refusal to discuss our grievances and that

these issues may be resolved prior to the NACHE 2000 Convention. We ask

that you join us in prayer for unity and reconciliation over the coming







The NACHE Board


Kimberly Hahn,

Chairman of the Board

William Bales, President

Lisanne Bales

Mary Hasson

Michelle Hill

Timothy Hill

Rachel Watkins

Matthew Watkins









> Dear Mrs. Hasson:


> An attachment of sorts accompanied your reply. I trust that attachment is not

> your response as I cannot open it.


> If so, please resend it in the body of the email.


> Sincerely,


> Marianna Bartold



> In a message dated 99-07-05 10:25:24 EDT, you write:


> << Subj: Re: ATTN: NACHE - A Request

> Date: 99-07-05 10:25:24 EDT

> From: (Kevin J. Hasson)

> Reply-to:

> To:

> CC:,,,



> File: ATTNNACH.mim (192027 bytes)

> DL Time (28800 bps): < 2 minutes


> This message is a multi-part MIME message and will be saved with the default

> filename ATTNNACH.mim

> --------------------

> Dear Mrs. Bartold:


> This is our response to the questions addressed to NACHE in your

> e-mail

> of Saturday, July 3rd. You have our permission to quote this response

> only in its entirety, without any deletions or edits to these three

> paragraphs. I regret that our past experience with you forces us to

> impose this condition.


> Your "interview" request is a sham, as your KIC website already

> contains accusations against NACHE and erroneous reporting concerning

> Seton's absence, in statements almost identical to the "questions" that

> you have now sent us. Further, you sent your request on Saturday

> afternoon of the July Fourth holiday weekend, requesting an answer by

> Monday morning, less than 48 hours later.


> NACHE has issued a statement regarding Seton's absence from the 1999

> NACHE convention. That statement, its supporting documents and letters,

> as well as the earlier NACHE statement regarding the inaccuracy of your

> 1998 fax alert campaign, contain the facts of this situation and are or

> will be available from our website at and are attached to

> this email.


> Sincerely,


> Mary Hasson

> For the NACHE Board