I am still contemplating a more in-depth post on the subject of His Grace’s Alive in Christ school plan, but the more I thought about it the more I was struck with the cost/benefit analysis of concrete changes that would make an immediate difference.

Vibrantly orthodox faith, imparted to the students. This is a goal of the plan, and it is one with which every Catholic can agree. Yet to some this is a mere buzz-phrase that can be morphed into any modernistic stew that fits the fad of the day.

You may recall my wife being driven nuts by the constant desire of some schools to pour money into computers for every tot instead of using a board and chalk to actually teach something. In the same vein, though I am sure that consultants and surveys and market research have their proper ends, let me give you three low-cost items to immediately and dramatically improve the vibrant Catholic orthodoxy of your parish school. Right now. And with long term effect:

The Baltimore Catechism

Yes, the Baltimore Catechism. The image above is the new, lovely Baronius Press edition, $4.95 each (though I’d bet they’d give a volume discount).

Summorum Pontificum, the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, given motu proprio, free on the internet. It reaffirms the vitality of, and encourages the celebration of, the Classical Roman Rite, now juridically labelled the Extraordinary Form. Good enough for lots of saints and sinners for more than 1,500 years.

Finally, the Missale Romanum, 1962 edition. This is the Missal to implement the motu proprio on a practical basis, every single day. It seems pricey at $155, but you only need one per school.

So, there you have it. In a school of 200 children, you have a ready-made religion and sacramental program of undeniable Catholicity and time-proven success, all for the low, low cost of $1,145. Surely you can cut $1,145 from some other part of your budget. Like maybe 2 laptops? Or some Sadlier “religion” workbooks?

But no– it couldn’t possibly work. Could it?

Could it?