Catholic School Matters

October 21, 2018

Getting Out of the Ditch

Earlier last month, I was struck by a brazen act of cheating by Mets 3rd baseman Todd Frazier. Look at it here. I know that baseball has a long history of condoning cheating to a point (see spitballs, emery boards, pine tar, etc) but this act seemed to cross the line and Frazier’s explanation (“It’s Hollywood”) seemed like a terrible example to follow. But is it that unusal?

After all, I’m not sure LeBron James has ever agreed with a foul called on him. Have you been to a high school gym lately? Parents scream at refs, coaches seem to take turns losing their minds, and everyone signals the direction of an out of bounds ball toward their favor. Whatever happened to sportsmanship? Instead we have gamesmanship where everyone subscribes to the belief that screaming at refs, faking injuries, and flopping are part of the game and necessary to win. The end justifies the means.

Is that really so unusual? After all, we have plenty of Americans who support politicians who will get them what they want (e.g. a pro-life court or tax cuts) despite moral failures and outrageous positions. And the same philosophy seems to have infected the Church. As a former nuncio attacks the pope, many Catholics (including prelates) insist on supporting or attacking him. When a bishop’s synod begins, many Catholics (including prelates) insist on supporting or attacking it. As if we need to line up for or against everything. And we can vilify our opponents and ignore everything but our most important objective. Again, as if the ends justify the means.

In the midst of this, Cardinal Cupich offered this intervention (i.e. a reflection) to the Bishop’s Synod on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Especially apropos because the synod’s preparatory documents called for a renewed encounter with Jesus and the Word of God, Cupich presents the metaphor of the church as the fallen man in the ditch and Jesus as the Good Samaritan guiding it to redemption. We need the Good Samaritan in our Church, in our politics, and on our playing fields because we are spending too much time in the ditch, stuck and unable to move forward. And we need to follow the example in order to create a better world.

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Big picture

Community Engagement

  1. Dr. Anders Ericsson, the co-author of Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise (2016) is trying to come on the podcast in November. The book outlines "deliberate practice" and we'll explore its application to Catholic schools. We'll be discussing the book (with or without him!) on the November 21st podcast. If you'd like to participate, pick up the book, read it, and then submit questions to It's time to start the next book in preparation for Catholic Schools Week. Timothy Walch's Parish School can be ordered through the NCEA website. It's a great history book and we'll discuss in January.
  2. I'm putting together a collection of scenarios of Catholic leadership as a means to teach Catholic leaders how to develop their own moral leadership compass. I'll preview a scenario each month and ask you to submit any ideas of Catholic school leadership moral dilemmas to This month's example:

You wake up to the news that a former trainer at the local public high school has admitted to abusing boys and is being charged with systematic abuse spanning many years. When you get to school, you find that he began his career at your school.

  • Step 1: How do you proceed? Who do you notify? How do you respond to inquiries? What information do you gather? How much of a priority is it?
  • Step 2: When contacted by police and attorneys, how do you respond? What do you communicate to your parents and staff? What if you suspect that he abused students at your school?

American Catholic News

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning


What I'm Up To

This week, I'm going to be in Jacksonville at the Catholic Leadership Summit. While there, I'll be recording two great podcasts--one with new Catholic school superintendents and another with a group of veteran Catholic school superintendents. This week, I'll be releasing a great podcast with 3 interviews: Brittany Wilmes of NCR and host of the "In Conversation" podcast; Antonio Felix of Loyola Marymount's PLACE Corps and former inner-city Catholic school principal; and author, professor, and school choice advocate Ashley Berner. Here is the link to the podcast. Here are videos showing you how to download and subscribe to a podcast on iTunes and how to download and subscribe a podcast on Android.

  • Monday: NCEA's Catholic Leadership Summit (Jacksonville)
  • Tuesday: NCEA's Catholic Leadership Summit (Jacksonville)
  • Wednesday: NCEA's Catholic Leadership Summit (Jacksonville) & Catholic School Matters Radio Hour with Brittney Wilmes, Antonio Felix, and Ashley Berner.
  • Thursday: St. Labre Board (Billings
  • Friday: Office (Helena)

Miles this week: 465 driving miles; 4,168 air miles

Miles travelled in 2018-19: 15,422 road miles; 17,059 air miles

Last 5 Books

  1. Parish School: A History of American Cathoilc Parochial Education from Colonial Times to the Present (2016) by Timothy Walch
  2. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 (2014) by Eric Foner.
  3. Teaching and the Case Study Method (1994) by Louis B. Barnes & C. Roland Christensen
  4. The Art of Theological Reflection (1994) by Patricia O'Connell Killen & John De Beer.
  5. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (2016) by Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool.

Click this link for a full list of my professional reading along with links to Wed Book Blogs

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

October 7, 2018 "Truth, Mercy, and the Synod"

September 23, 2018 "Native American Experience"

September 16, 2018 "How Are We Forming our Leaders?"

September 9, 2018 "Where is Your Attention?"