Thursday, 23 August 2007

Adult Sunday School

In light of what I have been writing about recently HERE is an excellent article that says what I have been saying-only he says it better.

The UK seems on the whole to be a Catechism-Free-Zone. We need to teach the faith so that we can live the faith.

I have spoken to those who take the children for 'liturgy' who admit they don't know the faith.

I watch people struggle to be good Catholics with hardly any knowledge or support.

As you are seeing from my own journey into the fullness of the faith I was left floundering for years and given erroneous information by priests-let alone fellow laity.

In the USA they have EWTN and from there has grown a number of radio stations and programmes that feed the faithful and teach them the Truth. They cover the spiritual war as well as just teaching the faith. They discuss Pro-Life not just as an 'issue' bit as an active campaign that has borne good fruits.

They help Catholics fight against the pro-death culture in politics.

They are fighting for the rights of the Christians in Iraq.

we have nothing here that even touches on those resources. We need to start something.

Small talks in churches; my dream of a Family Festival every year that gives families the chance to get together and learn and live the faith; radio station for the UK that reaches out to us about the faith HERE in the UK-about our churches, our pro-life campaigns, our education system and so on.

Of course we need to undo a lot of damage done by the Weaving the Web and Icons teachings in schools.

I would love to do some of this. I must remind Father of my offer...


Philip Andrews said...

You've hit the nail on the head! The lack of good catechesis is, I believe, THE major problem today. I had to resign from being a catechist for First Confession / Communion because I was unable to teach the Faith as I had received it from orthodox sources. Instead, I was expected to teach a strange pseudo-Protestant/liberal Catholic hybrid “thealogy” (feminine intended, originating from one of the catechist’s ‘professional’ understanding of the word Spirit, “pneuma”, in Greek employing feminine pronouns and an overdose of Rosemary Radford Reuther and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, I’ll wager). Not once, did the “authorised” text, which we were obliged to use, refer to the “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity” of Jesus Christ, even abstractly in a “child-friendly” manner. Duh! I learned more about the Real Presence and Transubstantiation as a child of the high church Anglican tradition (even the difference between substance and accidents), prior to converting to Catholicism, yet now, I found myself unable to tell nearly 20 young Catholics about their faith. Instead, I was obliged to talk about, “Jesus’ Party Meal” and “ripples of love” and not the Sacrifice of the Mass and how to receive it worthily within the believing community.

Dumbing down the traditional vocabulary has led to the dumbing down of the Faith. You can't re-interpret an absolute - that's the whole point of it. You see it everyday in today's Church: the bread and wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, while retaining the outward appearance of bread and wine. No!! That's too hard! Let's just tell the children that they represent the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is my experience of Catholic catechism (in a cathedral parish, no less). When I raised the issue, I was treated like a trouble maker, trying to rock the boat. At that time, I was very deferential and just resigned quietly. Today, if the same thing had happened, I'd be on the 'phone to the Holy Father, naming and shaming. This matter is too important to ignore. With the exception of a few parishes, our Catholic children are being taught liberal Protestantism, presented as Catholic Faith. It's a disgrace and it’s heresy!

Rita said...

I have done some catechism work with young adults in our parish. I would dearly like to make this official but the only courses on offer are the Maryvale ones and whilst they look good, they are unaffordable (even with the parish saying they would pay half).

I was able to use the Evangelium material and found it very helpful, though not perfect. It is blatantly obvious why it isn't getting more support than it does from the heirarchy, it's too damn orthodox!

Teenagers I've worked with love the moral authority of the Church, they love thinking on the 4 Last Things, they love the richness of our faith, they understand the need for purgatory and the communion of saints, and most of all they want to be immersed in the sacramental life of the Church (yes, that includes regular confession).

Why does it become so difficult to tell it as it is? Philip's experiences are tragically not uncommon. I'm grateful that now I've moved into the wilds of the West Country, well away from any notable centres of Catholicism my work may continue to bear fruit unnoticed, God willing.

Anonymous said...

Good point...

gemoftheocean said...

Bingo. This is all too often the case in many places. Back in the mid-70s and early 80s I had at various times 3rd and 6th graders. (8-9 year olds) and (11-12) year olds. And one year I also assisted with a confirmation class.

That "happy clappy" crap was too often the only thing available then, (though not to the extent you mention!) but I was lucky that in my own formation/training I had caught the tail end of the Baltimore catechism era, and knew the text from even 10 years before were lightweight.

This is *especially* bad for CCD kids (kids who go to catechism once a week during the school year who don't attend a Catholic school.) They already suffer from not having a catholic infused formal learning environment...and then they would get shorted on the nuts and bolts of the faith on top of it for what little formal training they got.

I know I heavily suplemented what I taught them with my own books and handouts and goodies. I made sure they learned the sacraments, prayers, knew how to say the rosary, knew their commandments by heart. And yes, I even used the "T" word (hush "Transubstantiation") I figured any kid who knew "supercalifragilisticexpealidocious" should be able to remember the "T" word if drilled enough! [Why some "professional" educators think all children are ding-bats, I don't know. Spoonfeeding pap guarantees they will never grow out of that stage."

We did have some theologically orthodox pastors back in the day.
And they had always backed me to the hilt in that. Gave good support for the stations, May flower crownings -- I'd see to it that they got holy cards and medals, and the "Standard" Catholic stuff that I loved getting as a child.

But hereabouts, in the last 5 years, I have witnessed a new pastor get rid of an orthodox RCIA instructor, because she dared to teach the FULLNESS of the faith. Even the hard parts like "no artificial birth control."

I've long not been teaching CCD - as I have had work/schedule conflicts ... but I'm glad I'm not anyway, as I know with the powers that be I too would have a head butt situation.

A certain party bristled a while back when I suggested that perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for the confirmation class to have a clue about apologetics for defending their own faith. [What a novel concept....] He then informed me he didn't think I had "discernment." Whatever. The feeling is mutual.

Apparently he is in the ozone whenever Timothy is read, because otherwise he wouldn't have said anything that dumb.

But NOTHING surprises me any more. ****es me off, but doesn't "surprise" me.

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, and Rita, believe me, your work isn't at all "unnoticed." Those kids "notice" it - hopefully their parents do too....and in the end that's what counts.

White Stone Name Seeker said...

I know all too well the female Holy Spirit business being taught. I had that with my older children. I pointed out Our Lady's Spousal relationship with the HS and how referring to Him as She was confusing to my children. I got a nasty letter back telling me the Church had NEVER taught Our Lady as spouse of the HS. This from the head of RE in the school.

I was also involved in rewriting a book for First Communiion and Confession prep. My text was edited by the published so words like "SACRIFICE" were removed. She told me it was not allowed.

Keep praying and doing what you do. God sees and the children learn.
I sympathise fully with the difficulty in finding the money to do the Maryvale courses. In the end the Sisters of Mercy paid for mine-otherwise I would never have been able to afford to do it.

Try writing to some of the orders and see if any of them have educational funds to help you. If the parish is willing to pay something (and God knows that is unusual) an order might be willing to put something in as well.

We need a Baltimore Catechism again I think. I use the CCCC with my own children, but for the little ones I think a simple Penny Cat with illustrations would be great.
And children LOVE big words like Transubstantiation.

As for RCIA- honestly sometimes people know more about the faith when the enter the classes than the instructor.
When my husband went to our parish for RCIA I was nervous but Father took him on himself and simply taught him the Catechism. He even bought him a Compendium as as welcome to the Church gift.

God bless

Philip Andrews said...

These guys are trying to destroy the Church. What I am uncertain of is whether they realise what they are doing?

Marianne said...

Yes, the situation is dire but we can try our best to do something. I completed a six year BA in Theology for Parish Catechesis at Maryvale. As part of my work as Catechetical Co-ordinator in a large parish I run a course every year for adults in the parish. Maryvale has produced courses which are cheap, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and user friendly. The 'Echoes' programme is brilliant, over 160 parishioners have completed it including all our catechists for whom it is mandatory . Published by the CTS it only costs £5.95 for the participants pack. The latest programme is based on the 'Our Father' from the Compendium which of course has the Catechism as its foundation is again published by the CTS for the same amount. Some of the other courses are cheap if you just want the course books and not the certificate. I presented the the course on Ecclesia de Eucharistia during the Year of the Eucharista, special price of £10 or £12 including a copy of the encyclical. The adult course in the Catechism is only £25 for each of the six modules if you want to 'audit' rather than study for the certificate. So the materials are there!! However as has been pointed out you need people who have the qualifications to run the courses and a love for the true teachings of the Church. If you can introduce people to these programmes and then possibly help and encourage some of them to go on to the Maryvale certificate and degree programmes you can really serve the Church. Beleive me, I have experienced it!!! God Bless.

White Stone Name Seeker said...

That is some very good information thank you.

It seems a lot of people come out of Maryvale fully armed.
Slowly we will be able to put the Truth out there-and it is so attractive compared to the rather patronising "ripples of love" stuff.