Closing Catholic Schools
It seems that we are heading for a confrontation over the existence of the separate school system in Ontario. On one hand the government under McGuinty is pressuring separate schools to accept GSA groups. On the other hand, every time the issue comes up there is a flurry of public opposition to the separate school system. It may be useful to look at the thoughts of our current pope on the defense of Catholic schools in Germany.
In Milestones, Ratzinger reflected on the German church's desperate struggle to hold onto its schools under the Nazis, concluding that the wiser course would have been to let them go. "Already it dawned on me that, with their insistence on preserving institutions, these letters [from the bishops] in part misread the reality. I mean merely to guarantee institutions is useless if there are no people to support those institutions from inner conviction." Ratzinger said that the older generation of teachers in the Third Reich was largely anticlerical, whereas the younger was pro-Nazi. "So in both cases it was inane to insist on institutionally guaranteed Christianity," he concluded.
He said in Salt of the Earth: "Once the church has acquired some good or position, she inclines to defend it. The capacity of self-moderation and self pruning is not adequately developed... it's precisely the fact that the church clings to the institutional structure when nothing really stands behind it any longer that brings the church into disrepute."
A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger, John L. Allen, Jr., Continuum, 2000