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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Just saw this movie a couple nights ago — I regret not having heard of it until recently.

I won’t launch into a full-scale review or commentary, but I want to say a quick word about I.S. 318.  While the school’s thriving chess team is, in many ways, the main focus of this movie, chess is not the only thing I.S. 318 has to offer.  They also offer their students a variety of great programs in the arts, music, technology, etc…and you get a nice snapshot of these at the beginning of the film.

Plus, they appear to have a very active student government; and whenever their school’s programs are threatened with budget cuts, the students work hard to raise necessary funds — and with remarkable success.

The whole thing reminded me very much of the the story of Eden and God’s original vision for humanity.  When we hear “Garden of Eden,” we typically think of God’s prohibition: “Do not eat from that tree.”  But we tend to become so focused on the prohibition that we forget about the far greater permission given in the very same story.

God gave to our first parents the right and the mandate to cultivate the Garden.  Many of the Early Christian Fathers saw in this His endorsement of the human project — of human flourishing in the arts, sciences, politics, and all of those very exciting things that show forth the dignity of God’s children.

When we talk about educating “the whole child,” we are getting at something much deeper than we think.  Would the world be made magically perfect if a school like Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 was replicated everywhere?  By no means…but I hope you are presupposing my acknowledgement of this in reading this article.  But I do think that in a school such as this, we can see something of the Edenic ideal in action.

One more thing: I was very impressed with the fact that the students in this documentary didn’t whine about their school’s budget problems or sit around waiting for the City to give them more money.  They took ownership for their school, and for the programs that meant so much to them.  That’s another aspect of God’s vision for humanity that we need to recover: Personal responsibility…agency…free will.

Anyway, I’d recommend the movie. (I would also recommend reading the first few chapters of Genesis, but one thing at a time :))

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The clip I’m going to share — which is roughly 11 minutes long — is from last week’s episode of “The World Over,” a weekly news show on EWTN.  Two guests share concerns about the new Common Core (CC) that is being implemented for education in America.

Please note that while the interviewees’ intended focus is specifically on how the CC will affect Catholic education, the issues they touch on reflect the concerns of many public school teachers as well (in fact, I would say that the overall focus is on the CC itself, not on Catholic education as such).

Click here to see the interview.

Image from Wikipedia

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Looks pretty cool…

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Actually, I just embedded the full video because I wanted this post to have a visual of some kind.

Click here to view the selected portion, and watch up until 21:06 (it’s less than two-and-a-half minutes long).

In this clip, youth evangelist Gabriel Castillo talks about his experience teaching troubled students at a Catholic school in Texas.  His testimony shows the power of the Rosary, when prayed faithfully.

Please note that praying the Rosary is not required of Catholics.  It is an optional devotion.  But one can gain many graces from it, and I, personally, have profited greatly from it.

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Wanted to share this brief video (it’s less than 5 minutes), which was a top entry in an online film contest that took place last year.

It features a young married couple who chose to manage their family growth using the Creighton Model, which is based on natural bodily cycles and, as I understand, has a 99% success rate.

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Pope_Francis_in_March_2013

Much has been made of a comment Pope Francis made a couple weeks ago in a homily — I think you probably know what I’m talking about.

The Holy Father made two points:

1. All human beings are called to do good; and

2. Christ has redeemed not just Catholics, but all people — even atheists.

Many have taken this to mean that everyone basically gets a free pass to heaven.  But a little clarification is needed.

Really, there is nothing newsworthy here.  The Pope was, in fact, merely reaffirming Church teaching on God’s universal salvific will and the fact that the Body of Christ extends beyond it’s visible boundaries (which is to say, the Catholic Church).

But here’s what we have to keep in mind: Christ, for His part, has redeemed all humanity of all times and all places.  But salvation is a two-way street.  Our salvation required the initiative of Almighty God Himself, “who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

But, as Peter Kreeft says in his great book “Catholic Christianity,” God seduces us, but He never rapes us.

No one can be forced into heaven.  Heaven is an eternal relationship with God and with the assembly of the blessed, and one which must be entered into freely.  God has freely and gratuitously redeemed us, and now we must freely and generously respond with our lives and hearts.

Here is the official Church teaching on the subject:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

…they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.*

But even those atheists (and others) of goodwill who obtain salvation are, just like the rest of us, saved by Christ, not by their own merits.  When they turn toward the good as they know it, they are turning toward Christ, though they may not realize it.  For Christ is the Source of all that is good, true, and beautiful.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit.

* From “Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (italics mine), quoted in reverse order — full text here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

Photo from Wikipedia

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Relevant to parents, businesspeople, artists, insurers, and pretty much everyone…

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