Thursday, August 12, 2010
I'd probably think that the fact that it mandates Latin in its core curriculum was not necessary on account of a reasoned commitment to solid pedagogical principles, but an attempt to turn the clock back on the liturgy. Frankly, for some at the Academy, it might be about the latter rather than the former. For some it might be a little bit of both. For me it has next to nothing to do with the liturgy, but with both a) pedagogical principles and b) connecting with the sources of the Faith (esp. with Sts. Augustine and Thomas). There is nothing wrong with a solid commitment to the liturgical tradition of the West - which is Latin, by the way - but there is something very wrong with a rejection of Vatican II. And that is something I would never have anything to do with!!
I learned nearly everything I know about grammar (groan, says theologyofdad reader!) from studying Greek and Latin. I wish we offered Greek with as great a regularity as we do Latin. We also offer Hebrew from time to time.
Our parish is not the School. Sure, nearly all the faculty and staff are parishioners of St. Hedwig's, but Fr. Shalla runs it, not us. Fr. Shalla has done some really neat things with the liturgy, I must say. I love mass ad orientum, but it is in English according to the Rite of Paul VI. Fr. Shalla has encouraged the singing of Latin hymns, etc., but he only celebrates the mass in English. He is as committed to his Polish heritage as he is to his Latin heritage. In this he is being consistent, isn't he? The Catholic Church is bigger than the CBWII.
Cwazy Fashions Thare!
Yes, we have a dress code - so should everywhere! It's not, "Cover-up them ankles, there, ladies!" Nor is it "Put on those doilies, too!" - meaning those things that some women wear on their heads to mass. Some wear skirts to the ankle and some wear those head doilies too - so what! Why won't you come to the defense of those who err on the side of modesty with as equal vehemence as you would for those who err on the other side? But no one has ever been told to wear a doily (after all, their PhD. in Theology doesn't even remember what they're called). A minority of the girls wear them - say, one-in-ten. So what!
Yes, the school was founded by some homeschooling families, and these families continue to occupy a high percentage of our student body. But as one our profs says: with homeschooling you get the best and the worst. That's been my experience at OLSWA. I highly recommend homeschooling, even from the mere academic perspective. It is the superior way to learn - well, I don't know, perhaps some elite private schools somewhere come up with better results. Our home-schoolies are both our best and worst students (usually on the better side - but our students are well above average anyway), and they are also the most well adjusted and most poorly adjusted young people at the School. It is interesting to note that only one of our faculty was homeschooled - and that was just for high school, I believe. I would have killed to have been home schooled. My parents would have been awesome at it. I would have learned so much.
One Rotten Apple, A Few Maybe?
It's always unfair to judge a whole group by a single instance. Sure, every once in a while one of our students or staff or faculty members do something stupidly-over-the-top-self-righteously-Catholic. But generally all of these people are very good Catholics and human beings. Sure, I could sit here and cast aspersions on diocesan chanceries just because most of my experiences with them have boarded on the ridiculous, but why would I do that? No group is perfect, and each group is made up of fallible individuals. But I would say that you'd be hard pressed to find a more generous, self-sacrificing, positive, friendly, caring, and faithful group of people anywhere than one would find at OLSWA!
So in conclusion, I would say that the School is more characterized by the desire for renewal typical of the 'JP II Generation' than by anything smacking of reactionary 'tridentinism.' The place is fresh with the energy and enthusiasm of youth.