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I was wondering if you could help me with understanding the catholic religion better. See my husband is Roman Catholic but doesnít go to church, Iím I guess follow more of a pagan belief. I was raise in an agnostic family, my father believes in god but my mother says sheís more spiritual. I have some but not much knowledge in the catholic religion. My main reason for wanting to learn more is that my husband wants our future children to go to a catholic school because of the education system. Of course if the education is better than public Iím all for it, anything to give my children a great start in life. What is better is there is a polish emersion school in the city I live in. My husband is ľ polishes and with how sot after bilingual people are in the work force I figure this could give my children a great advantage in the future when they become adults. But since Iím far from religious Iím not fond of the idea of religion classes and itís a bit of a sore spot to talk about between my husband and I. I fully respect his beliefs but I suppose as a mom you naturally want your children to believe in what you believe in, but I understand that my husband probably feels the same way. Would learning about the catholic religion help with this situation? Can you give me any insight to what a catholic school would be like? I donít want this to cause any hardship on my marriage between my husband and I, heís a wonderful man and all I want to see is him happy. I just want what is best for my family; Iíll do anything to see my family succeed.

Answer
Hi Stacy, I converted to Catholicism as an adult so don't know too much about the separate school system. I did substitute teach there once and didn't find it much different from the public school system except for the fact that the cross could be seen. I do know, however, that world religions are taught in the RCC schools.

I suggest two things: First, you and your husband seek a third party to discuss this. Possibly a marriage counsellor. Second, you investigate each school system you are considering. There are many factors to consider. And maybe some outside help could help you to find what's best. I'm afraid I can't say much more because that would be going outside of my expertise.

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Michael Clark, Ph.D.

Expertise

I'm a progressive Catholic--not a liberal, conservative nor a single-minded critic of Catholicism. I simply believe that adults in the 21C should use the mind God gave them and not just repeat ancient and medieval modes of thinking.

I can probably help with questions that intelligently and respectfully question those aspects of Catholicism that are not infallible. But if you're looking for someone to vigorously defend or perhaps refute Catholicism as a whole, that's not me. So please ask another expert.

Experience

I run an educational website earthpages.org and know what the web has to offer. I might suggest hyperlinks and/or book titles as I have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a considerable personal library.

Publications
Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

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