Sunday, May 13, 2012


Please excuse the slang for feces (although feces sounds just as bad to me) and I know the polite company who read my blog might be offended by the word for it below, but it makes my point brilliantly so I take editorial license at the risk of offending innocent eyes!

MY COMMENTS FIRST: Below is a survey that the Camden Diocese recently undertook which confirms the anecdotal evidence I and many others have about the state of catechesis in our Church today. It is abysmal. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, The Baltimore Catechism gives the bare bones fundamentals of the Church in a very clear and concise way. Most Catholics don't do much more "doctrinal development" after the 8th grade. If we don't give them the fundamentals prior to the 8th grade as well as the Baltimore Catechism did, then we end up with the results of the survey below.

For the first time in my priesthood, I used Baltimore Catechism #1 with our 1st through 6th graders this academic year. I visit the school on Thursday and visit the 1st through 3rd grades one week and the 4th through 6th the next. I spend about 15 minutes with each grade. I am amazed at how good and easy it is to teach the Baltimore Catechism. I give the test that is at the end of each chapter to them orally and they really enjoy that part and are learning the fundamentals of our Catholic Faith. The Baltimore Catechism is an easy book for parents to use in the home with their children and keeps the parents informed about the basic fundamentals of our faith which have not changed since Vatican II despite rumors to the contrary!

The survey discovered the following shocking news: "Nearly 60% of practicing Catholics in South Jersey believe that Jesus sinned while he was on Earth, according to a study released by the Diocese of Camden." And one religious educator surmised this was a result of the fact that, "We teach our children that Jesus was human, that he was normal," she said. "We tell our kids that Jesus had a childhood just like them. So they think that includes sin."

My observation: The most disastrous thing we've done with catechesis and devotion in the past 45 years is to emphasized the humanity of Jesus to the detriment of His Divinity. It is clear though from dogmatic teaching, that Jesus is One Divine Being (not a Human Being) with two natures, divine and human. But He is first and foremost the Divine Being, Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. That has to be emphasized in both religious formation and liturgy, especially liturgy!!! Hasn't our post-Vatican II experience of liturgy in the typical Catholic parish in this country failed miserably with emphasizing the awesome Divine nature of the Most Holy Trinity in whose presence there should be fear (fear of the Lord) and trembling (piety)?

Below the survey is another "Catholic" view on her faith. I presume she was taught the Baltimore Cathechism, but has become such a "spirit" of Vatican II Catholic that she says fantastic things about how her Catholic faith motivates her in her politics. Her view of Catholicism very much fits in with the results of this survey and shows once again the dismal state of affairs in the Post Vatican II Catholic Church. It is a fallacy and myth that Ostriches bury their heads in the sand. Catholics should stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to praising the so-called "renewal" that has happened in our Church as a result of the Second Vatican Council that began 50 years ago this October!

CAMDEN, N.J. – Nearly 60% of practicing Catholics in South Jersey believe that Jesus sinned while he was on Earth, according to a study released by the Diocese of Camden.

By John Ziomek, Courier-Post

New Jersey Bishop Joseph Galante says he found survey results both 'disturbing' and 'intriguing.'

That finding, contrary to the church's fundamental doctrine, is both disturbing and intriguing to Bishop Joseph Galante, who spoke about the study Thursday.

"The number of Catholics who have a very flawed, a seriously flawed, understanding of who Jesus is, that's troublesome," Galante said. "Jesus is the foundation of who we are as Catholics."

He considers it part of the reason the Roman Catholic church is having problems, including low attendance at weekend Mass and lack of an inviting and welcoming atmosphere in parishes.

The study, done for the diocese by the Barna Group, a California-based firm known for its work on U.S. religious attitudes, took an extensive look at the beliefs and practices of residents in the six South Jersey counties that form the diocese.

Barna conducted telephone interviews with 621 people 18 and older in February. The study cost the diocese $25,000.

"Too often we work on anecdotal information from within the church," said Galante, who called the investment worthwhile. "We wanted something more solid than that."

Results of the study indicated that 4 of 5 South Jerseyans identify themselves as Christian with a third identifying themselves as Catholic. Another third are Protestant, and the rest are not identified with a specific faith tradition.

"What intrigued me in particular was the high number of people who don't attend Mass simply because they have other priorities," said Galante, including spending more time with family.

"One of the things we need to do is emphasize that worship time can also be part of family time as well. These findings are both troubling and a challenge as we begin to deepen our evangelization efforts."

He said he would ask businesses to allow their employees time off for Saturday or Sunday worship.

"I would like to make observing the Lord's day a priority throughout the diocese," Galante said.

Catholics seem to have a disconnect in learning about the humanity of Jesus and his lack of sin, said Kathy Isherwood, director of religious education at Christ the King Parish in Haddonfield, N.J.

"We teach our children that Jesus was human, that he was normal," she said. "We tell our kids that Jesus had a childhood just like them. So they think that includes sin."

"In effect, we focused more on (his) moral teachings and bypassed the fundamentals," Galante said in regard to the Jesus-as-sinner issue. "Or we presumed that people knew the fundamentals, which was a bad presumption. We have to refocus and reteach."

The old fear factor approach — come to church or go to hell — will not work in today's world, Galante said.

Sister Roseann Quinn, the bishop's delegate for lifelong faith formation, said Thursday it will be a gradual process to turn people's beliefs around.

"We have to figure out ways to gather people and present the faith to them in ways that are meaningful," Quinn said. "We have a lot of work cut out for us."

Survey results

Other highlights from the faith study conducted for the Camden (N.J.) Diocese:

— Nine in 10 residents within the diocese say they have heard of the Catholic church priest abuse scandals and nearly all consider it a "major issue."

— 56% of adults still hold the Catholic church in high regard; 1 of 3 residents have an unfavorable opinion.

— 2 of 3 residents strongly agree that their religious faith is very important in their lives.

— 58% agree that the sexual expression of love should be reserved exclusively for a man and woman married to each other; 39% disagree.

— More than 4 in 10 Catholics disagree that sex should be reserved for marriage.

And this is what a "spirit" of Vatican II Catholic had to say in praise of her Catholic faith:

CWN - May 11, 2012

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that her Catholic faith “compels me” to favor same-sex marriage.

"My religion has, compels me--and I love it for it--to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this a form of discrimination,” Pelosi told reporters on May 10.

The former Speaker of the House welcomed the announcement by President Barack Obama that he would support legal recognition of same-sex marriages. She said that the presidential announcement showed a recognition that the time is right for the move, adding, “what is inevitable to some of us is inconceivable to others.”

Last year Pelosi identified herself as a “devout Catholic” in a speech in which she opposed “conscience clause” protection for health-care workers who are morally opposed to participation in abortion procedures.



ytc said...

Perhaps the Diocese could have saved itself that $25,000 and instead bought a couple thousand Baltimore Catechisms!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This is true, YTC, yet those whose head are buried in the sand and see the roots of all the roses coming up need empirical data to prove it to them rather than anecdotal testimony of some many of us who knew the results of this survey without spending the $25,000.

ytc said...

And yet the good bishop still convinces himself that "hospitality" is what our parishes need. Yes, I'm sure more of that will do just the trick!

I've got nothing against pastoral charity, but unless a parish priest is outright rude or mean, I don't understand how people can complain about "hospitality." Hospitality isn't the problem in the first place. Toilet-worthy catechesis is.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I'm not opposed to hospitality but that shouldn't be the main criteria for coming to Mass--working out my personal salvation in fear and trembling should be! When I was a lay Catholic, I found more community with my classmates in a secular college, most of whom were not Catholic, more community with the people I worked with at Macy's Department store and the regular customers who I knew well. I didn't have that much community with the Church except I knew I needed to go to confession frequently and Mass every Sunday in order to keep me from going to hell. Community is nice, but people always fail and disappoint us, even church goers with whom we are friendly, but the Lord's Sacrifice of the Cross celebrated at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will never disappoint if we understand what it is and how we receive its fruits.

Anonymous said...

If the parish in inhospitable, no amount of catechesis will either get people into the pews or keep them there.

Vonito said...

Nancy Pelosi, bishop,.. very scary!

btw: where'd you manage to get that pic?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I typed in Bishop Pelosi and searched for images and guess what!

ytc said...

Anonymous, I think you'd have to search long and hard to find a parish that is truly inhospitable (and not just indifferent). That's my point.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

When I spoke to RCIA the other night, I told them that I wished for them a more mature faith than one needing a social gathering and constant reassurance (via hand shaking, back slapping, and chit chat)that they are welcome. A mature faith understands that one is there for the Prayer, because one has been apprehended by Christ and is deeply aware of both our sin and Christ's great mercy. If Fr. was saying Mass and you were the only one there every Sunday, it should make no are there to enslave your will to the will of Christ. What greater community than a Church filled with people who believe this and who are praying the same prayers and joining in the same Mass and Sacrifice that has been offered for centuries all over the world? A faith based upon social validation is a rather brittle faith. So, in my most pastoral want a party, get over it!!!

Anonymous 5 said...

What Gene said.

You can get hospitality at many places. You can get salvation at only one. For that reason, the Church should emphasize the latter.

qwikness said...

I know some kids that don't know Jesus is God. They try to correct me and say, "No, he was the Son of God."
I was talking to a young lady this Mother's day who was preparing for Confirmation this week. I asked what confirmation name she chose. She said she couldn't remember?! I said, "What?!" "The patron saint of cancer," she replied. "Jude?" I asked. "Maybe," she said. Ugh. (btw She's an altar server...oh the horror!) Confirmation for me was huge when I was a kid. How does she not know? She hangs out with a bunch of protestants and is going to "Faith Camp" this summer. She won't be Catholic for long.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

"Faith Camp?" Is that anything like band camp?

qwikness said...

In the past, didn't the Bishop ask questions of those being confirmed? When did they stop that?