Discernment Matters: The choices of a lifetime - A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE

Posted by Alice L. Camille
Sunday 31, December 2017 | Category:   Vocation and Discernment
Teacher & student
It’s time to restore respect for the unifying power of learning

SOMETHING RATHER SAD happened to 100 percent of U.S. citizens in the 2016 election. No one felt heard or taken seriously. Half the nation wanted more attention paid to the facts. The other half wanted more attention paid to them. 

Must we choose between ideas and people? Is it impossible to respect both? Social tensions stem from the reality that many people no longer trust the ideas. Facts have become “facts” that mutate dramatically depending on our sources. Experts are now “the elite”—a despised bunch if ever there was one. 

Americans were once keen on developing expertise. This country created the broadest public school system ever attempted. The Old World scourge was privilege defined by dynasty. The American experiment was to invent a nation leveled by literacy. Equal educational access would produce a citizenry of “elites,” fueling progress and prosperity. John Carroll, the first U.S. bishop, recognized an opportunity and rushed ahead to establish the parochial school system. Religious communities were founded to provide the empowering ministry of education. 

Catholic schools were frequently the only schools on the frontier. In the century that spawned the virulently anti-Catholic institutions, Protestants and others still didn’t hesitate to send their children to the sisters for an education. Book learning meant an equal share in the national conversation. It’s time to restore respect for the unifying power of learning. Education must again become the bridge to opportunity, not a source of division and suspicion.

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