Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America


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SKU 31177~BP-0976736802 Category ISBN: 9780976736806.

Steve Kellmeyer

From parochial schools through Catholic colleges and universities, commentators agree that the Catholic system of education in America has broken down. While there remain a handful of schools which still pass on the Faith, most no longer do. What happened?

Using the evidence of Magisterial, European and American history, this book analyzes the historical standards the Catholic Church established for education and demonstrates exactly where and when the concept went off the rails in America. But most important, it demonstrates why it went off the rails.

You will discover surprising facts concerning the American episcopal hierarchy, and even more surprising facts concerning their enemies. You will learn why school reform never succeeds, how and when the schools began to break down (it's not when you think), how the Catholic parochial schools inadvertently fueled the culture of death and you will thereby discover the reason we are where we are today.

But best of all, you will see the way out of the morass. Because the analysis of the breakdown is thorough, the solution is much easier to envision.

Designed to Fail describes three centuries of knock-down drag-out combat between the Catholic Faith and American culture, but it also shows how Catholics can triumph.


"At this pivotal moment in the history of Catholic education in America, Designed to Fail is an important addition to this critical conversation. By examining the past and the present condition of Catholic education in America, Kellmeyer boldly proposes provocative and challenging solutions for its future. Whether you agree with it or not, this book should be read and considered soberly by anyone involved in Catholic education or pastoral work."

— Benedict T. Nguyen, M.T.S., J.C.L., Chancellor, Diocese of La Crosse, WI

"Rarely have seen such indisputable truths packed in so few pages…Steve Kellmeyer has written an intriguing book that will shift American Catholics ways of thinking about parental responsibility for their children's religious education. Kellmeyer insists, and backs it up with both magisterial statements and historical fact that the sorry state of doctrinal knowledge on the part of the Catholic faithful is due not only to to the abdication of parental responsibility but also to the wrongful hierarchal takeover of Catholic teaching to children via Catholic grammar school run largely by religious.

After the Second Vatican Council, these same orders began to lose both personnel and vocations, leaving in their place, teachers who either were not faithful Catholics or ignorant of Catholic teaching . Both the hierarchy and parents seem not to realize that hundreds of years of the handing on of Catholic faith and tradition have been virtually obliterated in the course of decades. The results are all around us. Kellmeyer provides hope that the "new Evangelization" called for by the late Pope John Paul II can be realized by parents reasuming their primordial and inherent responsibility as teachers of the Faith in the family."

— Rev. C.J. McCloskey III, a Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute based in Washington DC.

"Writing with strong conviction, in a clear and direct manner, Kellmeyer captured and held my attention from the very first chapter in which he presents a dramatic, but realistic portrayal of the current crisis in Catholic education. I did not expect to agree with him, but his arguments are indisputable.

Steve Kellmeyer has written a powerfully enlightening and intriguing book which analyzes the historical factors behind the current crisis in the Catholic parochial system. This book will most certainly impact the way that American Catholics view parental responsibility for their children’s religious education and, hopefully, will result in positive changes to bring about a solution to the crisis. Designed to Fail is a must read for all adult Catholic laity and Religious who are interested in the education and catechetical formation of both Catholic youth and adults in America."

— Jean Heimann, retired school psychologist and educator

In the past, fifty percent of all Catholic Children attended Catholic school. Today only twenty percent attend. In Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America, Steve Kellmeyer takes us back in history to the time when the first cracks began to appear in Catholic education and shows how misunderstanding, ignorance, a lack of obedience and at times, authorities misleading us, has brought the Catholic schools to near total collapse. He then explains what each of us, Religious and laity, need to do to pick up the pieces.

From the very first paragraph, this book held my attention as it presented in an easy to read style, why we find our schools and our families in the situation we are currently in. I didn’t expect to agree with the Author, when I first sat down to read this book, but from the first page to the last he presented the crises while adhering to factual truths, that spoke for themselves, in an interesting and understanding way.

I feel that Steve Kellmeyer’s book Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America, should be a must read for every Catholic, from Priest and Bishops to the laity. There is a passage that stood out for me that began with Scripture: “Suffer not the little children and forbid them not to come to me…Many assume it forms part of a divine mandate which authorizes the Church to teach children. It doesn’t…It demonstrates Jesus didn’t teach children…” I strongly recommend that you read this book for yourself and find out why the Author feels this way and what steps need to be taken to correct this crisis.

— Debra Vandelicht

Dimensions0.75 × 5.875 × 9 in
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