Friday, May 31, 2013
WHY ARE OUR CATHOLIC LAITY SO ILLITERATE WHEN IT COMES TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH--BLAME THE TEXT BOOKS, BLAME THE TEACHING METHODS AND BLAME THE PARENTS, BUT BLAME THE BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND CATECHISTS TOO, BLAME EVERYONE INCLUDING SATAN, EXCEPT NO ONE TEACHES ABOUT HIM ANYMORE OTHER THAN POPE FRANCIS, DON'T BLAME HIM!
Do our Catholic children and most adults know what these image teaches?
All of us know one of the elephants in the room of the Catholic Church. Our religious education programs are not handing on the essence of our Catholic Faith, our parents are befuddled about their role in handing on the faith and the materials we use are vapid or if good do not make an impression on young minds. We are afraid of asking for memorization and thus most don't remember anything they've learned about God and Church other than some niceties and feel good emotions.
I teach each class of our grades 1-6 (we don't have 7th or 8th) each Thursday, rotating classes from week to week. For the last two years I have used Baltimore Catechism #1 as my text book. It is wonderful to use with children and it is so simple yet has so much content. If Catholics, all Catholics, simply studied Baltimore Catechism #1, we would have very knowledgeable Catholics.
These past two years I've used Baltimore Catechism #2 with our adult religious program which we call Coffee and Conversation following our 9:30 AM Sunday Mass, which coincides with our CCD program which we call PREP (Parish Religious Education Program).
This #2 book has more content and is for middle school, but upper elementary school children must have been more capable of more serious content back when this book was formulated and used through the mid 1960's because it is a great book to use with adults and not childish at all. We all use this same book as a supplemental book for the RCIA because it is so clear, nobly simple and chocked full of content!
Yes, there are some adjustments that need to be made to some chapters, but not that many, in light of Vatican II and the new emphasis we have on certain aspects of Church that are not present in the Baltimore Catechism. But these are really minor.
What is more important though is that when the Baltimore Catechism was used through the mid 1960's it was basically the only book that was used for children in elementary and junior high school. It was used across the board in the USA thus uniting all Catholics in learning the same content. There was not, in other words, a cottage industry of competing publishing houses selling new books and different content each year.
The same thing has occurred with liturgical music, a cottage industry of big bucks has developed around the sale of new hymnals, missalettes and new music put on the open market for parishes to purchase. It is a money making scheme.
Why do our bishop allow this to happen in both liturgical music and parish catechesis? The business of selling stuff to parishes and making mega bucks off of it is a scandal that has not be addressed.
In the meantime, our liturgies suffer and become fragmented because every parish uses a different resource for liturgical music and the same is true of religious formation, everyone uses something different of differing quality or no quality at all.
Isn't it time to wake up and move forward with tried and true practices that were tossed out in favor of a consumerist's approach to our faith that has weakened our liturgies, our parishes and our individual Catholics?