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Thread: Un-religous but sending to Catholic school

  1. #1
    Matryoshka Guest

    Default Un-religous but sending to Catholic school

    I really need to hear from parents who are neither believe in Catholicism nor practice it yet for the educational benefits of private schooling have chosen to send to religious school (primary AND high school).

    How did you overcome the issue of confusion about not being religious at home but at school. (for example a friend has done this and her daughter brings home pictures of Jesus on the cross and sings religious songs "i love jesus" etc)

    I am OPEN to DS choosing any religion he likes when he is older but i feel really uncomfortable with the above scenario.

    DH and I are both Catholic in official terms but we don't follow these beliefs nor are we practicing in any way. DH had catholic education and doesn't see it as much of an issue, felt it was a minor component and that the lessons he was taught had more of a positive effect than a negative one. I on the other hand lean towards Buddhist beliefs so i am struggling a bit with this.

    We initially planned to send DS to a generic private school but there aren't any in the vicinity, so its not an option. We really believe private school education to the better option FOR US but are just not sure how to tackle the religious side.

    For example, when we go to the interview and application process.... am i to lie about my feelings? I feel awful about that. I can admit i am technically catholic but not within my heart. However for DS best interests i can certainly embrace the positives of the religion and be supportive accordingly.



    Sorry its been longwinded, would love to hear from others who've maybe been in the same situation.

  2. #2

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    I think if you send your child to a Catholic school then you can't avoid the above scenario re. Jesus and singing songs. It's a great chance to talk to your child about what they believe and what you belive and why.

    As to lying, well that's a personal thing really. It's only a choice you can make. How does lying fit in to your own personal belief system. Are you allowed to lie for the "greater" good, or is any lie a lie and you should never do it? You would have to think about why you think lying is wrong.

    The reason they want you to be Catholic if you send your kids to a catholic school is exactly so you don't have problems like the ones you are thinking about! Personally, I would trust my parenting that I am able to raise a sensible tolerant rational human being who can make their own choices about things. For the record my daughter goes to a christian school, and we don't always agree with what they teach but we just discuss it with her and tell her why we believe what we do and that not everyone believes the same things, but in our house we think XYZ and leave it with her. (she's 5)

  3. #3

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    I went to a public primary school and a catholic high school.We were taught scripture when we were in primary school by scripture teachers that would come to our school once a week....Don't know about that now though.
    While Catholicism is taught in the catholic high schools part of our HSC was to learn about other religions such as buddhism ,judaism etc...
    While I am a practising catholic I also find Buddhism an interesting religion.
    So I think either way your child will have some degree of learning about jesus whether it be in the public or catholic system..

  4. #4

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    Some schools will require for the family to attend weekly church - is that part of the schools policies, and if so, would you be comfortable with that?
    I would do a bit more research on the school itself. You might be able to be just walking past one day after school and can ask a few mums some q's??

  5. #5

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    Would you only send to a Catholic school? Maybe an Anglican school might be another option. I think that all catholic/ anglican schools are required to take in a quota of students who are not religious. I guess the best thing to do while you have got the time is ring around the schools in your area that you are considering, and talk to them about their enrolment requirements, their curriculum etc.

  6. #6

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    My parents sent me to a Catholic primary school, they felt it was a major waste of time and money because they spent TOO much time on RE and not enough time on anything else.

  7. #7

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    We are struggling with the same thoughts about Private school, we would love to send DS to Private school but both the Private schools in our town are religious, Catholic and Lutheran. i was baptised Catholic and raised Catholic but don't believe in it anymore, DH doesn't have a religion, DS isn't baptised. I just don't feel comfortable with all the religious lessons that they do in the schools so will probably end up sending him to public instead. I guess it just depends on how much you think you can tolerate religion being your childs life. i thought about how every school function eg concerts will be centred around the religion and i don't think i would enjoy that unfortunately.

    Im not udging anyone else by saying this, but for me personally, i feel a bit hypocritical sending my son the a catholic school when our family isn't at all religious. he is free to choose a religion when he is older if he wishes, but i dont feel right letting a school 'push it down his throat' for all those schooling years.

    i hope you can find a way to feel good about the school, im sure your child will be fine and love his school whether it is religious or not, after all he won't know the difference!

  8. #8

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    Just to throw a spanner in - how will your (generic - not a specific question for anyone) child learn about religion to be able to choose later?

    I went to a public school and have one baptised old Anglican parent and one non baptised parent. We did not go to church as a family regularly (weddings and funerals) but there was a belief in God and free discussion about any belief system. I was baptised Presbyterian, went to Methodist Sunday school and attended Catholic mass with my aunt when she visited. I was sent to scripture during primary school. As an adult I lean towards the Catholic faith (despite not agreeing with some of their teachings) but also embrace the principles of Buddhism. My DH is Catholic, went to Catholic school and is not practising.

    I chose my religious leanings as an adult due to the broad exposure of religion I experienced as a child. Our children will probably go to a Catholic school but at home I intend to teach about all religions to encourage tolerance and also to give them the tools to choose their own faith when they want to.

    I guess you need to be comfortable about whether you believe in God and if so, are you happy to have the discussion with your child about why you choose to believe but not practice (as Nickel said) or what your beliefs are. Most Catholic / religious schools do have a number of places that are open to non-Catholics if that makes it easier

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    I had this when we enrolled DD1 in a catholic school back at home. I felt that it was better for her to be in a school where spirituality is an aspect of school life (even if my own beliefs don't mesh 100% with what they teach). We would always discuss the things she was learning and at times that meant I was able to say "the catholics believe.... and that's similar/different to what I believe in that....". It wasn't ever an issue. There's a kernal of common spirituality in all the world's religions and that's what I focussed on.

    HTH

  10. #10

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    My parents are Catholic (although neither are practising these days) and am baptised Catholic as is my DD. DS will be baptised in a few months. DH is baptised in the Church of England.

    I attended private catholic schools and have also attended public schools for short periods of time (12 months in primary school when we moved and for 12 months in high school, again during a temporary move) and from MY experiences, I would prefer my children to attend a catholic school.
    DH had catholic education and doesn't see it as much of an issue, felt it was a minor component and that the lessons he was taught had more of a positive effect than a negative one.
    I feel the same way as your DH. I never felt that religion was FORCED upon me. It was a part of our education and was a big deal at Christmas, Easter etc but on the whole it wasn't the be all and end all of our schooling.

    I think it might be a bit hypocritical to send your child to a Catholic school if you have a very strong opposition to the Catholic faith and religion in school - I just don't see how that works. I guess you need to decide how comfortable you are with it.

    I do however understand how hard it must be wanting to send your child to a private school when the only private option is Catholic.

  11. #11

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    I think that you would find that a Lutheran school does not have the same emphasis on religion as a Catholic one. I went to an Anglican School, and I am not Christened at all. Religion was tought, but there was not the same emphasis as a Chatholic school. Partly due to there being no First comunion and confirmation like they have in a Catholic School. How will you feel about your children participating in these? You might choose for them not to participate, but bear in mind that they will be the odd one out as their school friends will do their first communion etc, and this may be upsetting for them.

    Anglican school didnt teach us Jesus songs etc. We did religion one a week, but unlike Catholic school, we didnt have to bless Jesus every day or anything like that. I have friends that are Catholic teachers, and part of their morning is when they say good morning, they also make some mention of Jesus.

  12. #12

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    but unlike Catholic school, we didnt have to bless Jesus every day or anything like that. I have friends that are Catholic teachers, and part of their morning is when they say good morning, they also make some mention of Jesus.
    I think it really depends on the school, nothing like that went on at either of mine! There were separate lessons for religion, it wasn't a part of everything we did, IYKWIM?

  13. #13

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    I'm concerned about this also. It's a few years until my son will be in school, but I still think about it. I was baptised Catholic, my son was baptised Greek Orthodox like his father. I don't believe in any of the Catholic ideas, in fact I'd probably classify myself as an Atheist. However I really want DS to go to a private school, but I don't want all these ideas forced upon him.
    On the other hand.. perhaps if we view it as him just learning about the religion, rather than adopting it, it won't be as hard?

  14. #14

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    You are probably right Willow. A good point to raise tough, as it would be something to ask the school at enrolment.

  15. #15

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    You are probably right Willow. A good point to raise tough, as it would be something to ask the school at enrolment.

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    All the catholic primary schools I know, the children say "Good morning Mrs Rhubarb, and God Bless Shoe" LOL. Standard operating procedure

  17. #17

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    I agree meggie, I'd probably try and suss out the particular school you are looking at. Not all Catholic schools work the same just because they're Catholic IYKWIM?

    I was having a conversation about this with a girlfriend of mine recently. She also went to Catholic schools and I was shocked by some of the things she told me!

    Maybe my schools just weren't that full on about it? I'm not sure.

  18. #18
    Matryoshka Guest

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    Thanks for the feedback, it's given me some things to consider.

    I feel like this is the most important decision we'll ever make regarding his future, it's so difficult working out what is best.

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