The Trouble with Saints: Fact and Fiction About Catholic Schools | Teen Ink

The Trouble with Saints: Fact and Fiction About Catholic Schools

May 26, 2010
By Jane_P PLATINUM, San Clemente, California
Jane_P PLATINUM, San Clemente, California
25 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
When asked about race...

"Well, when I went to the bathroom I was Russian, and when I came out I was Finnish."

or, alternatively:

"Irish I could tell you."

And lead us not into temptation...…

Temptation being pretty much any assumption or prejudice for or against Catholic schools. Well, not just Catholic schools, but misconceptions against most things is like a dark alley at night. Just don’t go there, lest fall prey to muggers and weird-looking cats.

Anyhoo, moving on.

Stereotypes in general are bad news, but it’s particularly bad and flagrant when it comes to Catholic schools. These parochial institutions are either assumed to turn spoilt or misbehaving kids into bobbing prayer heads, or, on the flip side, to contain the rowdiest, most promiscuous lot anyone’s ever seen. And not to mention the whole “priest” issue. It’s like my room when I neglect it for two days, weeks, months, or years. You don’t really know what is what anymore.

So, I’ve decided to do a little housecleaning on this issue. I’ve attended five years of Catholic schooling, three in a middle school and two in a high school. While I might not be the oldest veteran, I’ve been on a couple tours around this ecclesiastical battlefield. So I’ll try to shed the little wisdom I have on what is true and what is false about Catholic school. Here is your straightforward, brutally honest guide. No muggers or weird-looking cats that gnarl guaranteed.

Do Catholic schools make people better?

For the most part, no. While Catholic schools do excel at making you examine your conscience (a.k.a. realize that you’re not awesome), if you’re heart is not in the faith or trying to reform yourself, having some lady with face powder, red lipstick, and a resume of charity work so long it makes you feel like a slob couch potato (a breed of women quickly replacing nuns) telling you to shape up probably won’t help you much, if at all.

However, this is not just a general statement. My experience at Catholic school did do me a lot of good. Personally, I think with the right teachers, these schools can be empowering and inspirational. I’ve met some of the most amazing teachers in my life at Catholic school, and I would definitely consider a Catholic college. However, do not be fooled. There are bad apples which definitely spoil the bunch. And I’ll stop right here in fear on going on a long diatribe.

Are Catholic school girls promiscuous?

The girls at Catholic schools are the same as the ones in secular private schools and public schools. You have the best, the good, the bad, and the worst. They’re just all wearing essentially the same thing. The only real difference is on the days we don’t have to wear our uniforms, there’s fierce competition to strut out in our best garb.

Are Catholic school boys rowdy?

Look above. You have the good and the bad. There’s not much more I can say. I’ve met incredibly nice guys here and incredibly horrible jerks. A lot of them are also rowdy, but fun too. It’s the same, just different clothes.

Are all priests child molesters?

No. As far as I know, most of the priests I’ve met are genuinely good guys who want to preach and serve their faith and church. They just want to help. I’ve never been molested or known anyone that’s been molested. But unfortunately, there are bad ones out there. Pedophiles can be any profession: doctors, engineers, teachers, anyone. The sad truth is that it includes priests too.

Are nuns evil?

I’ve only met two nuns in my whole life, and as far as I can tell, they’re nice. I could see how they could be strict, but they’re really nice ladies, at least the “new age” ones, I guess. Not much more to say.

Are Catholic schools insanely strict?

It really depends on your teacher (whether they’ll rag on you for stepping out of line in school policy), but for the most part, I would say they go between moderately and extremely strict. They usually have logical reasons behind the punishment, although so many arrogant kids whine about it constantly.

When it comes to certain policies, however, they are often hypocritical. For example, a student at our school was forced to leave because she was pregnant. They expelled her for having sex, but at the same time, she also chose to keep the baby, which was the Christian thing to do. It seemed counterproductive to me, but I guess not for them.

Any advice for attending a Catholic school?

Well, I have a couple tips:

First, if you haven’t attended a Catholic K-8 school since kindergarten, do NOT attend. The students have known each other for practically their whole lives, and new kids struggle. Typically, Catholic middle schools are bleh, but high schools are much better. But isn’t that the typical pattern anyway?

Second, try to give religion classes a chance. They can be a lot of fun if you put the heart into it. Also, they’re little to no work.

Avoid attendance or discipline ladies. Evil. Just stay away. In fact, just as a general principle, just steer clear of haughty and mighty ladies trumping around with their pale, baby-powder skin and clean souls. Stay far, far, away. Even if you have to go into a Shrek movie, hide there! I won’t be able to pay your ransom if you fall into their death grip! Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but really, don’t cross their paths.

Okay, I feel like I have so much more to cover, but that’s the extent of my ramblings for now. I hope I’ve fixed this confusion a little bit, or at least, made whoever has to fix it’s job a lot harder. And please note: the insight I give now is basically made of opinions. The large part of it, if not all of it, is based on my own experiences. People do, see, hear things a different way. This is just one perspective, but hopefully, it helps.

Now, time to wander away until my next ramble…

The author's comments:
Jane P. shines some redeeming and critical light on Catholic schools.

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This article has 6 comments.

on Jul. 8 2010 at 9:06 pm
Just.A.Dream SILVER, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 430 comments

Favorite Quote:
Part of the J7X team. :)

I just went to a C.atholic high school, without going to the elementary school, so I kinda disagree with you on not going. Because my school had people from like 5 main different schools come in.


But I agree with you on the rest of it. I like how your personality is in it like with the "anyhoo". Hahahaha.


Nice job writing this. :)

S_Oehvren_ said...
on Jul. 7 2010 at 7:29 pm
S_Oehvren_, San Clemente, California
0 articles 0 photos 22 comments
I have no personal experience, but have plenty of time observing kids from Catholic schools.  I think you are right that what people put into something they receive in like kind.  You can fail at just about anything you don't put your heart into, and succeed in most things you do.

on Jul. 7 2010 at 3:20 pm
mary.brodeur BRONZE, Westerly, Rhode Island
3 articles 34 photos 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Cause sometimes you just need to throw yourself a party."

True true true...I can totally vouch for all of dis! :) I went to Catholic school for nine years and my class was wicked close together (there was only 12 of us) and it was awesome. And also, about the nun thing, I know like 8 or 9 nuns and they are awesome. They are regular people and everyone judges them all the time and its annoying. Once me and a sister went on Youtube and were like listeing to David Archuleta and stuff and it was hilarious :)

Bethani GOLD said...
on Jul. 5 2010 at 12:21 am
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

I agree somewhat. 

Bethani GOLD said...
on Jul. 5 2010 at 12:20 am
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

My friend went to Catholic school and agrees with some of this stuff. 

Bethani GOLD said...
on Jul. 5 2010 at 12:20 am
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

From what my friend said who went to a Catholic school, some of this stuff is true.