Parsing the Pope's words

What to make of Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Catholic schools? Here are a few thoughts.

First, note that he described ???contribut[ing] generously to the financial needs of our institutions??? as ???a highly commendable opportunity for the entire Catholic community.??? Translation: Bishops should ask their parishioners to open their wallets and help support Catholic schools (as has happened in Wichita, where widespread tithing has allowed the diocese to make all Catholic schools free for Catholic families).

Second, he said that ???everything possible must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to ensure that [Catholic schools] are accessible to people of all social and economic strata.??? Translation: it's not just the Church's responsibility to support Catholic education for poor children; the larger public should help, too--perhaps through school vouchers and the like.

Bottom line: if these words reach the ears of Catholics, and other Americans, too, they could do a world of good.

UPDATE: Education Week's take here.

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