Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 15 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Isidore the Farmer
home iconUncategorized
line break icon

How Catholics Can Fix Healthcare and Education (And Save Everyone’s Soul At The Same Time)


Brantly Millegan - published on 09/04/13

While everyone else is groping about for solutions, Catholics are sitting on a major resource from their tradition that could make quality healthcare and education very affordable and available to all.

We all know it, at least from the news, but likely also from our own experience: healthcare and education are very expensive. This constitutes a very grave problem since access to good healthcare and a proper education are important for human flourishing.

Since the solution shouldn’t be to give fewer people healthcare or education, we’re left with questions like: Are we paying teachers and doctors too much? Or not enough? Many point out that it doesn’t seem as though our education system is very effective. Is the problem that we need better teachers? Or smaller classes?

All of these problems can be solved at the same time.

While everyone is looking for new ideas, the real solution is actually one that is very old. We Catholics are sitting on a major resource from our tradition that could make quality healthcare and education very affordable and available to all: monasticism.

Our world is in desperate need for a new army of young people with vows of celibacy, poverty, and stability to band together in communities, founded on prayer and devotion to Christ, for the service of others.

Just think: instead of paying 50 teachers’ salaries, we could reduce salary costs to only what’s needed for 50 people to live communally in voluntary poverty and simplicity. And with all of the savings let’s double the number of teachers to 100 and cut class size in half. And since they are doing their work not for themselves, or even to support a family, but for God (in theory), they should be just as, if not much more, committed to their work. (St Paul points this out in 1 Cor 7.32-34.)

Sounds impossible? We already have the hospitals, schools, and monastic communities in place, along with centuries of experience of how to run monastic communities effectively. We even have a bunch of "super-star" monks and nuns whose lives new religious brothers and sisters can look to for inspiration (think St Francis of Assisi, St Katharine Drexel, Fr St Damien of Molokai, Bl Mother Teresa, etc). We just need the people.

Of course, this idea is nothing new at all: religious brothers and sisters have been serving in hospitals and schools for centuries. And I don’t mean to ignore those religious brothers and sisters who are currently faithfully serving in hospitals and schools. But with the recent decline in the number of people taking monastic vows, religious brothers and sisters have become so scarce in hospitals and schools here in the US as to be virtually absent. And of course, this decline is well known, and many are praying for more religious vocations.

But as we are praying and hopefully trying to raise our children to see the immense value in the monastic life, we should remember how absolutely urgent the need is for more religious brothers and sisters. For we are not only letting the world down temporally but spiritually: we are losing one the biggest means we have to witness to the saving Gospel of Jesus.

And as a great side benefit to all of this, a surge in religious vocations would also offer a much needed celibate witness to a world that is more and more obsessed with sex and convinced of its necessity to any happy, or even just healthy, human life.

The opportunity is right here before us. Healthcare and education are two of the biggest issues in our country today, with everyone groping around for some sort of solution. I pray that a new generation of young people would rise up and seize this enormous opportunity to bring Christ to this broken and needy world.

EducationHealth and WellnessVocations
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
Philip Kosloski
What happened between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus?
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
J-P Mauro
We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines
Philip Kosloski
What was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.