Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Opening Up Of An Important Dialogue

I would like to thank everyone for their input and for all of the conversation generated from my last blog post. Dozens of people have made their thoughts and feelings known and I believe that the continuing conversation on this topic will be important for our community. For this I am grateful as it is an open discussion that we have been in need of for quite some time.

In the past day I have also had an opportunity to spend quite a bit of time in dialog with Mr. Jay Heiler the Chairman of Great Hearts. We have had a very frank discussion about the concerns and assertions that I made in my blog. I believe he has heard my concerns and taken them seriously which I hope will lead to a number of positive developments surrounding these issues. It also provided me the opportunity to hear his perspective and allow myself to be corrected about some things as well.

With that in mind one assertion that I made in my blog is in need of retraction. I suggested the possibility that Veritas/Archway could be manipulating the waiting list and admissions process for their schools. After further conversation I now believe the charge to be false and I regret having made it.

I have also heard many people remark that my comments also conveyed a significant amount of truth. I have received many expressions of gratitude and have heard comments such as “it needed to be said.” I have also heard many people thank me for making some clear distinctions about the difference between a Catholic School and a non-Catholic charter school. These comments have helped me to refine some of the concerns that exist within our parish community.

There is no doubt that confusion exists as to the true nature of the education found at Veritas/Archway and whether or not it is Catholic or even Christian. As I said, many people are confused about this issue. Given the amount of confusion it seems that this idea is perpetuated within the community in some sustained fashion. How it is sustained is open to some debate but what is not open to debate is that it ought not to be.

It needs to be said, once again, that any assertion that Veritas or Archway are Catholic or even Christian schools is completely false. To assert such a claim is a great disservice to both Veritas/Archway and also to St. Thomas the Apostle School.

It is a great disservice to Archway and Veritas because it places their organizations at risk. But it is also a great disservice to all of the people who work hard and sacrifice greatly to make St. Thomas the Apostle School the finest Catholic School possible.

Because there are a number of parishioners who attend both Veritas/Archway and, of course, our own parish school I believe that it is crucial that we consider our words carefully as we engage in conversation about these matters and, at the same time, not be afraid to say what something truly is and what it is not.

One of the great blessings that we enjoy as a community is that we are people who passionately seek the truth. Yet sometimes that passion can lead us to say things which are either too strong, imprecise and even hurtful to others. I must recognize that I have also been guilty of this very thing.

Moving forward it is important that we try to align our passion for the truth with mutual charity and opportunities for forgiveness.

In Christ,
Fr. Ehrich