Catholic School Matters
March 1, 2021
Dr. Katherine Greiner of Carroll College (MT) helps me to explore section five of Fratelli Tutti (chapters 7-8) on this week’s Catholic School Matters podcast. A former high school theology teacher at a Catholic all-girls high school, Dr. Greiner has a unique perspective as a theologian.
We began exploring truth, justice, and mercy. Pope Francis writes, “Truth, in fact, is an inseparable companion of justice and mercy” (227). Greiner asks, “Can we really have restorative justice without truth?” We explored how in South Africa, truth & reconciliation were intertwined, as it is now on the Native American reservations. In this section, Francis unites his concern for mercy with knowing the truth of our world as well as our common history. Mercy can only become transformed into justice (as opposed to simply charity) without truth.
We spend a little time talking about examples of our common history that impact today’s world. Catholic schools and churches owned slaves, for example, and Catholic European nations destroyed each other in two world wars. But Greiner rightfully points out the importance of the local as well, mentioning that coming to grips with her own family’s history (the local) helps her understand the world’s history (global). Francis addresses this in paragraph 249:
Nowadays, it is easy to be tempted to turn the page, to say that all these things happened long ago and we should look to the future. For God’s sake, no! We can never move forward without remembering the past; we do not progress without an honest and unclouded memory. We need to ‘keep alive the flame of collective conscience, bearing witness to succeeding generations to the horror of what happened,’ because that witness ‘awakens and preserves the memory of the victims, so that the conscience of the humanity may rise up in the face of every desire for dominance and destruction’
We need to appreciate the history can be manipulated and the truth is important. We explore the idea of “penitential memory” (226) which calls us to remember the past, acknowledge the errors, and move forward.
It’s also important to recognize the theme of nonviolence in this section. Francis is clear that “Jesus never promoted violence or intolerance. He openly condemned the use of force to gain power over others” (238). He goes on to declare that war might never be considered just and capital punishment is against church teaching. These ideas will make many Christians very uncomfortable—especially those who espouse a militant Christianity.
We then talk about how to approach dialogue and then Dr. Greiner closes the conversation with song. It’s the first time I’ve ever convince someone to sing on the podcast! Enjoy the podcast and look to the study guide for more resources.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
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Teaching & Learning
Catholic School Matters podcast
Check out the past episodes from this season:
- Part Five, Fratelli Tutti, With Dr. Katherine Greiner
- Part Four, Fratelli Tutti, with Dr. Leonard DeLorenzo
- Part Three, Fratelli Tutti, with Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández
- Part Two, Fratelli Tutti, with Fr. Joe Corpora
- Part One, Fratelli Tutti, with Dr. Ann Garrido
- 12 Christmas podcasts: Michael Deegan of the Archdiocese of NY, Nicole Garnett of Notre Dame law school on religious charters, Maka Black Elk on truth & healing, Dr. Jeannine Hill Fletcher on The Sin of White Supremacy, Dr Leslie Lipovski from the Diocese of Arlington & St. Isidore Virtual Catholic School, Mary Flock of the Diocese of Orange & St. Polycarp Virtual Catholic School, Bruce Davis of Catholic Virtual, Jeff Hausman of AVLI, Kyle Pietrantonio of DIA Schools, Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski of VLCFF, Frankie Jones of ACE, and Mike Derrick of San Diego Cristo Rey HS.
- Thought Leaders: Dave Stuart, Jr., George Couros, Dr. Christian Dallavis from Partnership Schools; Dr. Debbie Sullivan & FADICA reports;
- Pandemic-focused podcasts: Fr. Eric Ramirez, SJ from Regis Jesuit HS; John Galvan from the Diocese of San Diego; Elizabeth Goettl, CEO, Cristo Rey Network; Dr. Tim McNiff of Engineering Tomorrow.; Dr. Brandi Odom Lucas of Verbum Dei (Cristo Rey) HS; Jenny Oliver, the principal of St. Joe's in Auburn, CA; Br. John Montgomery, FSC, the principal of Cathedral High in Los Angeles; Leanne Geise, president of Dominican High in Wisconsin; August 19, 2020 Bea Kaleva (MT attorney) on COVID-related legal issues;
- August 12, 2020 Dr. Daryl Hagan of the Diocese of Evansville on reopening
What I'm Reading
The Last 5 Books:
- The Church's Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching (2020) by Mark P. Shea
The Gunning of America: Business & the Making of American Gun Culture (2016) by Pamela Haag
Nuance: Why Some Leaders Succeed & Others Fail (2019) by Michael Fullan
Parable of the Sower (1993) by Octavia Butler
#Rules of Engagement: 8 Christian Habits for Being Good & Doing Good Online (2021) by Ann M. Garrido
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
Past Issues of Catholic School Matters
Feb 22, 2021 "Pope Francis & the Politics We Need"
Feb 15, 2021 "Fraternity of All"
Feb 8, 2021 "Mercy"
Feb 1, 2021 "Fratelli Tutti"
Jan 25, 2021 "The Common Good"
Jan 18, 2021 "School Boundaries"
Jan 11, 2021 "Reading List on Racism"
Jan 4, 2021 12 Days of Christmas Podcasts
Nov 9, 2020 "God in Disguise"
Nov 2, 2020 "Sharks and Survival"
Oct 26, 2020 "Mt. Rushmore Controversy"
Oct 19, 2020 "The Cleveland Partnership"
Oct 5, 2020 "Governance Reform"
Sep 28, 2020 "Autonomy & Radar"
Sep 21, 2020 "Learning While Doing"
Sep 14, 2020 "Connecting the Disconnected"
Aug 31, 2020 "Racial Injustice"
Aug 24, 2020 "Figuring it Out"
Aug 17, 2020 Serenity Prayer
May 24, 2020 Value Proposition During Uncertain Times
For previous newsletters, click this link
A couple of years ago I set out to write a book which would explore the challenges of Catholic school leadership. My premise that there are no easy answers and that we have to learn from our (and other's) mistakes in order to form a mindset appropriate for orchestrating conflict proved prescient as we all faced completely new and unexpected challenges in 2020. The book,Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic Leadership is now available on Amazon or on the Barnes & Noble site in print or e-book formats. The book explores issues in Catholic school leadership and the tensions between building community and following Church policies and introduces deliberate practice as a method for leadership formation.