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On the NACHE website, there is a letter allegedly written and sent to the 1997 Round Table of Catholic Home School Leaders meeting. Whether or not this is the original letter appears doubtful.
At any event, NACHE asked Laura Berquist to read this letter aloud at the meeting. While at the actual Round Table meeting, she had second thoughts and declined. Whatever was contained in the original NACHE missal sent in 1997 was not read at the RT . The organizer of that particular meeting decided it would serve no purpose, especially as NACHE decided not to attend. No one, except the organizer, read the original NACHE letter.
Over a year later, NACHE decided to publish this letter on their website.
There's one problem.
Dated November 5, 1997, NACHE's letter refers to events that did not occur until April 1998.(specifically, the Mothers Watch article). There is NO mention of an addendum to the original.
For two years, NACHE has NOT made any date corrections to this particular letter.
Incidentally, this same letter was sent to Katie Moran (CHSNA) in early June 1998 via email from Mary Hasson. The same discrepancies exist, except that NACHE presented it entirely in letter form, and not broken up in links.
The question remains, then: How can NACHE's 1997 letter reply to events that did not occur until April 1998??? The only reasonable conclusion to draw is the following: The letter dated November 5, 1997 which now appears on the NACHE website cannot be the original sent to the Round Table.
To see this discrepancy, go to http://www.nache.org/novfax97.html
Note the date the letter was allegedly written. Then...Scroll down to the link "Sex Education" and note the references to the Mothers Watch article which was not published until April 1998.
NACHE's Useful Links?
Although NACHE claims to provide all kinds of info on Catholic homeschooling, for over one year, they had just one link. As of June 18, 2000, their single link was to TORCH. Within months after this website pointed out that singularly interesting fact, NACHE updated their links page. Homeschoolers might find their explanatory note and their newer links just as "interesting." What's still missing? We can think of two ideas: Links to the five most well-known Catholic homestudy program, for starters. And links to Catholic homeschool support groups or websites that have not yet succumbed or capitulated to TORCH or NACHE in some way. one http://www.nache.org/links.html
TORCH Logo: The Family in Flames?
A homeschooling mother wrote KIC and commented that her child 's first reaction to TORCH's logo was to ask why there was a "family in flames"? This is not the first time that question has been asked.
Catholics will have to discern for themselves by viewing the TORCH site: http://www.catholic-homeschool.com
The "New" NACHE: Bridge Under Construction
NACHE had no advisory board for years, but they do now. Is NACHE laying a foundation of "names" in order to build its bridge? In the Lent 1999 issue of The Catholic Home Educator , there were names spanning the "conservative-liberal" array on the fairly new advisory board.
Homeschoolers Say No to NACHE
An increasing number of homeschoolers are avoiding NACHE conferences, tapes, and speakers.
Homeschoolers: Why We're Not Happy with NACHE
Homeschool leaders and families report give reasons why they are not happy with NACHE.
Priest Resigns from TORCH
John H. Miller, CSC, PhB, S.T.D., publisher/editor of Social Justice Review resigned from the TORCH St. Louis after the chapter's president made an apparent allegation of schism to him and other members who wouldn't comply with her wishes.
"Official" (enforced?) homeschool program?
Might current sacramenetal guidelines be the preparation for a future, "enforced" homeschool program for Catholics?
Dialogue with the Diocese - Is It Prudent?
TORCH members alarmed about the group's officer iniating dialogue on homeschool guidelines contact KIC.
No Previous Experience Wanted!
Learning Lesson: Remember when Monterey, CA homeschooling parents were manipulated by diocesan personnel? It was reported in the October 1995 issue of Catholic World Report. Has TORCH learned the lesson?
Rome Didn't Deny It!
The Pope's and Vatican officials's comments to Round Table delegates about Catholic homeschooling.
Diocesan Tricks of the Trade
Learn how to read and interpret phrases found in "homeschool" sacramental guidelines.
Beware: Faith and History Quiz
Why is so much of your personal information needed for a simple Catholic quiz contest?
homeschool magazine and book company
Catholic Maureen McCaffrey purchased controlling interest in S-Squared Products, the parent company of the evanglical Homeschooling Today Magazine. Miss McCaffrey also operates the Catholic-owned publishing company Lost Classics Books. Three years later, both the magazine and book company still flourish with a strong fundamentalist flair.
The "New" NACHE -
Bridge Under Construction
NACHE's (National Association of Catholic Home Educators) seven board members have given their organization a little face lift. As reported earlier both on this site and elsewhere, NACHE has announced its intent to pursue status as a "lay association of the faithful,"in order to be a "bridge" between homeschoolers and the hierarchy. KIC's earlier reporting was verified by NACHE itself in the Michaelmas 1998 issue of its newsletter, The Catholic Home Educator.
By the fall of 1998, the association printed a small advisory board to their newsletter masthead. With their new advisory board, it appears the NACHE "bridge" is well under construction. See the current list at the NACHE website. Why are these people "jumping on board"?For Your Information: Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Michael and Teresa Aquilina, and Fr. Stubna, STD are now involved with NACHE. A new position was created for Kimberly Hahn as Chairman of the Board. As for the others mentioned here, all of them were members of the first meeting Pittsburgh homeschool study group. Those who continued with the group were Kimberly Hahn, Michael Aquilina, and Fr. Stubna (as well as others).
NACHE tries to claim ambiguity concerning guidelines - so the question remains: What message was NACHE sending when it asked those involved in Pittsburgh guidelines to "jump on board"?
Homeschoolers Say No to NACHE
An increasing number of Catholic homeschooling parents are saying NO to NACHE. They report they will avoid NACHE conferences, will not subscribe to their newsletter The Catholic Home Educator, will not purchase their conference tapes, and will boycott any of their board members who appear elsewhere as speakers. Others are writing to Catholic vendors who host tables at NACHE conferences and asking them to reconsider. These homechoolers feel it may be the only way to get the message through that NACHE is no longer serving the needs of Catholic homeschoolers.
Homeschool Families Report:
Why We're Not Happy with NACHE
When it comes to NACHE, more homeschool families and support groups report they are not happy with any of the following:
- NACHE's plans to be the "bridge" between homeschoolers and the hierarchy and their new association with Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore, MD to attain that end;
-NACHE's 1998 invitation to Fr. Kris Stubna of Pittsburgh, editor of the highly controversial Catholic Vision of Love, to give his side of "Pittsburgh Story" without likewise offering workshops from those homeschoolers who encountered serious problems in the Pittsburgh diocese;
-NACHE's acceptance and printing of an ad for the sex ed series Catholic Vision of Love (edited by the same Fr. Stubna),
-nor do they appreciate NACHE's refusal to apologize for the error in judgement.
If NACHE claims they only exist to serve homeschoolers, why are they not listening to parents and leaders from grassroots groups?
KIC is listening and the message we're getting from homeschoolers is clear: The majority of Catholic homeschool families do not want and did not ask for "representative" group to be a bridge to the hierarchy who offer reams of evidence they themselves are not obedient to the Magisterium or the Holy Father, to make decisions for them, to represent them or to speak for them.
Homeschoolers point out that....
-NACHE has no real membership; subscribers to NACHE's Catholic Home Educator are called "members."
-subscribers (members) are not ever asked to vote on any issues with which NACHE involves itself;
-homeschoolers are *not* allowed to vote for or against any of NACHE's plans;
-NACHE claims a willingness to dialogue, but what does that mean? They have demonstrated time and again their own definition of dialogue means working with people who will assist and support NACHE. On the other side of the coin, NACHE works very hard to discredit, dismiss, outcast or silence those who disagree with or correct them.
-NACHE has never been known to apologize for its mistakes. Their mistakes are either defended or else blamed on outside sources.
-NACHE's board - all lay people - refuse to comply to the wishes of their spiritual director, Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
Priest Resigns From TORCH
Fr. John H. Miller, CSC, PhB, S.T.D. is the publisher/editor of Social Justice Review. He is a former Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Fr. Miller was acting as spiritual advisor to TORCH (St. Louis, MO) but he resigned from the homeschool group in the summer of 1998. Local TORCH Chapter president Donna Meyers insisted that she, on her own authority, could claim to represent TORCH and write the St. Louis Department of Religious Education to thank them for guidelines - guidelines which were never officially signed by the bishop. Fr. Miller and the majority of TORCH members continued to resist this for almost an entire year while Mrs. Meyers continued to pressure members to give in to her wishes.
At a summer 1998 meeting she again addressed the issue of writing a letter to the DRE in St. Louis. Fr. Miller said that Mrs. Meyers insulted those who did not agree with her views and labeled them as being "disobedient to the hierarchy" and, therefore, "in schism."
Because of the TORCH president's longtime insistence that she could impose her will upon the group, Fr. Miller finally called for a vote of Donna Meyer's resignation during the meeting. Mrs. Meyer insisted that such an action was not allowed. Fr. Miller then said he would resign himself. The TORCH St. Louis group disbanded for a time and then resurfaced.
"Torch is run by the elite. The rest must obey," said Mrs. Meyers at that last meeting which was taped. She further stated that, since a good number of the TORCH leaders are members of Regnum Christi (lay members of the Legionaires of Christ - LC), and are under personal spiritual direction of LC priests, TORCH is in direct contact with the Magisterium and thus, ipso facto, neither the TORCH group nor individual board members can be questioned or challenged. Mrs. Meyers casts a questionable light upon the LC's by this comment and also shows her ignorance of the Magisterium's true definition.
As reported earlier on this site, TORCH "Central" (as Mrs. Meyers calls it, meaning the "national board") has appointed a new leader who will attempt to reinstitute the TORCH St. Louis Group, continuing Mrs. Meyers' earlier attempts. The latest report is that Donna Meyers has since been asked to join the TORCH National Board.
On a related note: Fr. Miller congratulated Keeping It Catholic's Marianna Bartold for her "excellent articles" which brought to the public light of day the principles and actions of TORCH and NACHE. The articles were published in Mothers Watch and Catholic Family News.
---This information was literally taken from the homeschool guideline recommendations in the diocese of Boise, Idaho. To date, two dioceses (the other is in California) have made offhand remarks about some kind of approved or official homeschool curriculum for Catholics. Boise is the first to state that this subject is now - at this very moment - being dealt with on a national level.
This cryptic remark makes one wonder: Who "on a national level" exactly is addressing this?
By national level, is this meant at a diocesan level? By DRE's (Directors of Religious Education) or, as many allege, by the NCCB?
Will homeschoolers be forced to use a "diocesan approved" homeschool program in order to be recognized as "official Catholic home educators"? This is just a breath of a whisper of what many believe is the beginning of a "crack down " on Catholic homeschoolers by those who fear that somewhere, the true Catholic faith is being preserved.
Is Initiating Contact with Diocesan Personnel the Prudent Course?
The problem or concern, repeated by a number of TORCH Chapter members from various parts of the U.S., is that the leaders want to initiate dialogue with their local diocese or congratulate those within the diocese responsible for existing guidelines. Of the alerts received, the following are a small sample of the typical complaint from TORCH members:
From the Deep South: an existing homeschool group that affiliated itself with TORCH has some members thinking second thoughts about the TORCH group's ideas. The member who introduced the concept that the group become a "new" TORCH chapter now wants to approach the diocese to discuss and possibly assist in the construction of sacramental guidelines for homeschoolers. As it stands, the bishop of the diocese has not shown any interest, negative or positive, in homeschoolers, guidelines, etc. Many homeschoolers prefer to leave matters as they stand. (They believe: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!)
From the East: TORCH leaders in three different eastern states have introduced to their groups the idea of approaching diocesan people and offering help to institute homeschool guidelines. In two cases, guidelines are now being formulated with the cooperation of TORCH leaders who are keeping information under tight wraps in order to avoid "misunderstandings" and "critical opposition" from other homeschoolers. In the last case, the TORCH leader wants to make the first contact and "dialogue" with the diocese about a sacramental policy statement. One of the TORCH members also happens to be an employee working in the office of Bishop McHugh (who has been exposed as a major player in Planned Parenthood, sex education, and SIECUS in The McHugh Chronicles by Randy Engel, the investigative reporter who also gave us Sex Education: The Final Plague).
From the Midwest: The entire membership of the local TORCH group rejected the suggestion of the TORCH leader who desires to contact the diocese and thank them for issuing guidelines on homeschoolers.
The leadership wanted to especially express gratitude that guidelines were drawn up without including homeschool families in any prior discussions. The TORCH leader's reason given for believing "no diocesan dialogue" with homeschoolers was a good idea is paradoxical: that homeschoolers in other dioceses who "worked in good faith" (i.e. TORCH and/or NACHE leaders) with diocesan officals later become the target for complaints (from other homeschoolers who realized that guidelines would open a Pandora's box to all kinds of abuses against homeschoolers -which it has). This also appears to be a vague reference to the reported and alleged secretive behavior of the eastern state TORCH leaders who refuse to discuss their involvement and associated actions in constructing sacramental policies and guidelines on others. Reports say that eastern state TORCH leaders claim they would rather not inform other homeschoolers until guidelines are actually released - in order to avoid what TORCH dubs "uncharitable criticisms" from those parents who voice any valid concerns.
No Previous Experience Wanted?
The layers of bureaucracy in any diocese and the personable facade presented by diocesan personnel has fooled many a well-intentioned Catholic homeschooler before. The fact that Monterey, CA homeschooling parents were manipulated by diocesan personnel was reported in the October 1995 issue of Catholic World Report.
No matter how many times experience has pounded in the lesson, a growing number of the TORCH leadership, per members' reports, fail to grasp the truth that, philosophically, diocesan personnel will be opposed to homeschooling, even though the Church has always taught parental primacy of their children's education of all forms. The diocesan schools know they have lost their influence and any perceived authority with parents who desire a pure Catholic education for their children. Therefore, the bottom line issue is the attempt to control homeschooled children's access to the sacraments. Guidelines are not needed in any diocese that is obedient to the Magisterium and recognizes Pope John Paul II as the Vicar of Christ.
Remember, Church law requires nothing more than the pastor's evaluation of any child's readiness to receive the sacraments. That responsibility does not lie with the Director of Religious Education or any other pastoral appointee.
When the Round Table of Catholic Home School Leaders (RT) visited Vatican officials (twice since 1995), interest and support were expressed by the various cardinals, bishops and monsignors.
The Holy Father said, "Good work. I give my blessing to you and your families."
Cardinal Alfons Stickler, prefect emeritus of the Vatican library and archives, expressed his hope that "...all bishops everywhere" would support homeschooling.
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was enthusiastic over parental willingness to personally educate their children. Further, he expressed his support of the Catholic educational materials provided by the Catholic curriculum provider and Round Table attendee, Seton Home Study of Front Royal, VA.
Monsignor Peter Elliott, representative of Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, openly commented that homeschooling would preserve the Catholic family and thereby the Catholic Faith.
At no time did any Vatican official, from the Pope to Cardinals to Monsignors, deny the parental right and responsibility to personally educate their children - spiritually, academically or socially.
Catholic dioceses should do no less.
Many sacramental guidelines for homeschooled children include phrases like "we recommend," " we invite" and "we hope." Still, these are are not mandates by the bishop.
Some guidelines also include phrases meant to sound authoritative but are still not mandates and in no way conform to the teachings of the Catholic Church. To say it plainly, the phrases are simply an abuse of authority and a blatant attempt of coercion.
Examples include "homeschoolers must...", "homeschoolers are required..." ,and "homeschoolers are expected," while others quibble that sacraments are part of "community life" and cannot be relegated to mere parental preparation. Still others try to push the idea that the parents and the "parish community" share some vague partnership. (If, indeed, this were always true, why is one partner enforcing policies and guidelines on the other?) Even worse, some dioceses are "requiring" parents to be certified catechists to give their own children the truths of the Faith!
Catholic parents are already certified by the graces from the Sacrament of Matrimony. Tangible proof exists if diocesan personnel want it. It's called the marriage certificate.
Homeschoolers must be aware the "policies" and "guidelines" are not equivalent to Church law. Resisting guidelines that do not comply with Church teaching is morally correct, not an act of disobedience.
Homeschoolers must be aware the a large number of diocesan personnel are trained to answer parents that don't agree with their position. On the surface, such personnel can and will appear agreeable and cooperative with parents. It's a trick of the trade.
He dropped fairly well-known names in Catholic circles, including the names of Immaculata Magazine, Seton Home Study, Ignatius Press, etc. He claimed these familiar names were either approving of his contests or would provide prizes to winners.
He also asked for and received the endorsement of the NW Pacific group, which sent out a letter to homechool leaders, asking them to cooperate with Mr. Koop.
In a telephone interview in which Mr. Koop attempted to attain the assistance of Marianna Bartold (founder of The Catholic Family's Magnificat Magazine, Sursum Corda's first Home School Editor and co-founder of the Catholic Homeschool Network of America), he asked questions like:
Which priests in your area are pro-homeschooling?
Which priests in your area are anti-homechooling?
Are there other places homeschoolers gather together?
How many families are in your groups?
Give me an estimate of the number of children in the groups.
How many homeschoolers are in the state?
Who are the other leaders in your area?
What are their addresses and phone numbers?
It turns out Mr. Koop is not married and has no children. He provided a discombobulated story about Immaculata Magazine's brothers intention to help in some way with the faith and history quiz but were later prevented from doing so when the superior had to retire earlier than expected.
When asked how he received Mrs. Bartold's personal home phone number, he first said it came from a homeschool leader on the West Coast. Later, he claimed it came from a home study school and then even later said NACHE provided it.
His relayed that his interest in homeschoolers issued from his failure to receive the cooperation of diocesan schools in running his Faith and History contests.
Most importantly, he said, he felt offering such a contest would help "mainstream" homeschooled children into the "community." His private agenda, his "method of mainstreaming" homeschoolers, was to eventually have the homeschooled children contest against diocesan school children. He did not want others to know of his ultimate plans for homeschoolers.
Keeping It Catholic considers that a major alarm bell.
His interest in puzzles and quizzes were simply a hobby, he claimed. He offered information that he had "several" Catholic journals which had printed his quiz work.
When asked for the names of those publications, Mr. Koop could not recall even one. Mrs. Bartold's experience as both an editor and a writer thought that kind of forgetfulness unusual.
When asked what kind of prizes Ignatius Press was going to donate, he said he wasn't sure. In fact, it wasn't yet guaranteed that Ignatius Press was going to "follow through" as he put it. Earlier in the conversation, however, he stated IP's involvement as a given fact.
He also alleged he did "this sort of thing" (i.e., religion type contests for children) when he lived in the Chicago area "some years back." He could not (or would not) provide the exact city name, nor the names of the parishes where he had conducted the contests.
In short, Mr. Koop offered very vague information about himself, which was a curious thing from an unknown person who expected unquestioning trust from homechool parents as well as such detailed information from and about Catholic homeschoolers.
Consequently, Keeping It Catholic advises caution when dealing with Mr. Koop.
Catholic Maureen McCaffrey purchased controlling interest in S-Squared Products, the parent company of the evanglical Homeschooling Today Magazine. Miss McCaffrey also operates the Catholic-owned publishing company Lost Classics Books. Three years later, both the magazine and book company still exhibit a strong fundamentalist flair.
The press release issued in the summer of 1997 focused on the fact that the evangelical magazine promoted the educational philosophies and methods of Ruth Beechick and Charlotte Mason. The founders and original contributors of the magazine were retained - all of them promoters of Protestant views on matters of faith, the Holy Bible, and history.
Debbie Sayer, who was slated to remain with Homeschooling Today, is also the author of the Learning Language Arts through Literature series - which promotes anti-Catholic ideology, especially reinforced beginning in the 5th grade level books. Mrs. Sayer left the magazine three months after the acquisition by McCaffrey. No public reason was given.
No plans were announced to introduce the Catholic Church's teachings on education into the magazine.
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