Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WILL THIS FURTHER WEAKEN THE CATHOLIC FAITH OF ADULTS???????????????? WILL WE SEE LESS THAN 12% OF CATHOLICS ATTENDING MASS IN THIS DIOCESE AND OTHER NORTHEAST DIOCESES?


His Excellency Peter Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire, explains in his diocesan newsletter  how he is reintroducing the historical order of the Rites of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion.

The timing will be as follows:

1. Infants will be baptized as is our tradition.

 2. In the Second Grade, the child will make First Confession as a renewal of the forgiveness of Baptism

3. In the third grade, First Holy Communion and Confirmation will be celebrated together at the same Mass.

Bishop Libasci wants to develop better adult formation as well as strengthen youth ministry.

In 1962 (pre-Vatican II rite)  I received Confirmation in the 4th grade.

Today however, most catechists and priests will tell you that a significant number of parents usually bring their children for religious instruction for the sacraments. Thus we see them in the 2nd grade and then in the 8th Grade and that's it. There is a very shallow commitment to religious instruction and to Mass attendance.

Will restoring the traditional order exacerbate the number of adult Catholics who are clueless about their Catholic Faith, merely cultural Catholics, if that, and seldom if ever go to Mass or even get married or buried from the Church. I fear so given the nature of our culture and Church today.

Those who are of the Eastern Rite or Eastern Orthodoxy where  all three Sacraments are celebrated at the same time for infants--how does that work with later formation in the Faith?

30 comments:

Marc said...

If you're basis for withholding Sacraments is a desire to provide an incentive to force people to continue their "formation in the faith," then your understanding of the Sacraments is askew, in my opinion. (I'm not referring to Fr. McDonald as the "you" here.)

The Sacraments should not be predicated on the attainment of a certain knowledge or the completion of a community service project. If we truly believe that the Sacraments do what we say that they do, then our personal knowledge has nothing to do with their effectiveness (although our personal disposition, of course, impacts their efficaciousness).

Eastern Orthodox churches simply teach children the faith without holding the reception of the Sacraments out as a carrot for participating. This is not a novel idea.

Not only should the proper order of the Sacraments be restored, infants should be confirmed and communed. That is the proper initiation into the Church.

Marc said...

I was thinking about this question a little more: how can the Church help to ensure that people are properly educated in the faith? I wonder if most Catholics are aware that the duty to send one's children to a Catholic school is a grave responsibility, meaning that if one fails to do so without sufficiently good cause, one commits a mortal sin.

This is something that is somewhat routinely discussed in traditional priest's sermons, whether they are admonishing the parents to homeschool (in parishes lacking a school) or admonishing the parents to send their children to the parish school. It should be said too that traditional priests often give these sermons to point out the danger of sending one's children to the diocesan schools.

At any rate, it should not require the withholding of sacraments to compel parents to see to it that their children are properly educated about the faith. The presence of solid and affordable Catholic schools should address the education issue.

Carol H. said...

It seems to me that if we withhold the sacraments, we place more stock in our ability to teach, than in the grace given in the sacraments. Also, isn't it better to allow our children to receive the graces of the sacraments BEFORE the world tempts them to disbelieve? Why do we withhold the weapons necessary to stand up against the Evil One from our children?

Julian Barkin said...

This is where I agree with Carol H. However the question of keeping them in the Church still remains. I say focus on the parents in educating them just WHAT being a Catholic truly is. If they are NOT willing to invest the time and energy into forming children in the faith then its better they leave the Church at the priest's determination and NOT call themselves Catholics, than to lie just to give their kid a sacrament.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

This is not correct: "...the duty to send one's children to a Catholic school is a grave responsibility, meaning that if one fails to do so without sufficiently good cause, one commits a mortal sin."

Parents, not "traditional" priests, have the primary responsibility for the education (rearing) of their children. That means the choice of school for the children belongs to them, not to the "traditional" priests.

I would much prefer that all Catholic children attend parochial schools. But to hold the threat of eternal damnation over those who, for perfectly good, but not "sufficiently" good reasons, send them to other schools is simply erroneous.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

To the question at hand, restoring the proper order is ALMOST achieved by Bishop Libasci, though I have not encountered his formula previously. Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, I that order, should be celebrated at initiation.

The "renewal of the forgiveness of Baptism" seems to me to be a stretch, although I think I understand the point the bishop is making.

My mother was confirmed in second grade the week after her first communion. I was confirmed in fifth grade. Most students celebrate the sacrament in 8th or 9th today.

"Confirmation: A Sacrament in Search of a Theology" by Fr Bill Bausch is a book I read ages ago. By muddling the proper order, we have had to concoct a theology of Confirmation that, too often, has little to do with initiation.

Joe Potillor said...

In Eastern circles, we have the not so strange idea of teaching the Faith as they come along. The intellectual capacity (or lack there of) is not an impediment towards the holy Mysteries.

The Liturgy is full of the Faith, in Eastern circles, we have the constant motion of the Divine Liturgy, there are icons to kiss, candles to light, Troparia and Kontakia to sing, so to speak, it's rather difficult to get "bored" if one is doing something.

As far as keeping people in Church, consistency and authenticity are key. Where the Faith is taught, and being lived out, the Truth has no problem attracting unto itself. Where it is not, well, that doesn't spell well. All of the gimmicks are not of use if they don't lead towards Christ our God Himself.

It's quite well true that Truth can't be imposed, one can lead a person to knowledge, but one can't make them think.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Joe - Well said.

Marc said...
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Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

What errors might be taught here? Remember, you are impugning the teachers...

More to the point, the idea that parents risk going to hell for exercising their parental rights is supported by what divinely revealed Truth?

Marc said...

Michael, as you see, I deleted my comment. If you don't understand that the Church teaches that parents have a grave obligation to raise their children in the faith, which includes the duty to educate children properly, then it is unlikely I'm going to bring you around to understanding.

Yvonne said...

This is very good news, and something I hope more bishops are open to doing. Although Bishop Libasci is not my bishop, I do attend Holy Mass at the FSSP parish in Nashua. Based on what I have seen I think Catholics in New Hampshire are very fortunate to have him as their bishop.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - Parents have the obligation - I have already stated that.

But, to say that if parents choose not to send their children to a school acceptable to you that they face eternal condemnation and hellfire, is false.

It is not supported in ANY Church teaching.

Marc said...

Michael, You claim that the duty of Catholic parents to send their children to Catholic schools is not supported by ANY Church teaching.

Code of Canon Law, Canon 793, s 1: "Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children."

Code of Canon Law, Canon 798: "Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper catholic education of their children outside the school."

Also, the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI Divini Illius Magistri is instructive on this issue, serving as the basis for the canons quoted above.

That you are either unaware of the Church's teaching on this matter or choose not to adhere to it does not mean that the teaching does not exist.

Contrary to your opinion, it is possible for parents to sin when they neglect the duties owed to their children. As all good examinations of conscience point out, these duties arise from the Fourth Commandment. They are, then, grave obligations. Failure in grave matter is the sort of thing that can lead to eternal condemnation.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - My assertion is that your claim that parents who choose to send their children to schools that do not meet with your approval will or can result in eternal damnation.

Your Words: "I wonder if most Catholics are aware that the duty to send one's children to a Catholic school is a grave responsibility, meaning that if one fails to do so without sufficiently good cause, one commits a mortal sin."

There's your eternal damnation claim.

In your now deleted comment, you made reference to the school attached to my parents, asserting, in complete ignorance, that children here would be taught error.

There's your non-approval claim.

Your assertions are not supported by the Church's teaching.


Marc said...

Michael, I maintain that children educated at any school with which you are involved are like to be taught error. That is not an opinion formed in ignorance.

Your statements in this discussion bolster that opinion where you deny the Church's teaching that parents have a grave responsibility to send their children to Catholic schools, when such schools area available, and that grave responsibilities have eternal consequences. Of course, you deny many things that the Church teaches, so I'm not surprised that you deny this as well.

The fact that you are a despicable and unlikable person makes me question the judgment of any parent who would entrust their children to your care.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Michael, I maintain that children educated at any school with which you are involved are like to be taught error. That is not an opinion formed in ignorance."

Yes, since you have no knowledge whatsoever of what children in our parish school are taught, you opinion is based on ignorance.

It is also a scurrilous attack on the people who teach in our school.

Your interpretation - and it is just that, your interpretation - of the Canons regarding education is faulty.

793 - Parents have the right to choose the means and institutes...which can best promote the catholic education of their children/

Parents, not you, not a "traditional" priest, have the right.

798 - "Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper catholic education of their children outside the school."

Again, parents make the choice.

You find those who disagree with you to be "despicable and unlikable." That is your issue, not mine.

Marc said...

Michael, you don't understand what this means: "Parents are to send their children to those school which will provide for their Catholic education"? Further, you don't understand the word "cannot" in the sentence, "If they cannot do this . . ."?

Parents assuredly make the choice. One of the choices is potentially sinful, and one of the choices is not.

Your inability to understand this makes me doubt not only the faith as it is taught in your parish's school, but also secular subjects, especially English and grammar. I'll assume your school doesn't teach logic.

I don't find everyone who disagrees with me to be despicable and unlikable. You are despicable because your life is a lie as you draw an income from an organization that you are destroying through your perfidiousness. You are unlikable because of your haughty personality and disingenuousness. You're a fraud, and that bothers me.

ByzRC said...

To me, such a change will not likely have much impact on what, for so many, is an already weakened faith. It seems it would be an adjustment of when they present their children for reception of the sacraments as opposed to having a profound impact on formation. Also, I don't believe the reception of sacraments should be delayed simply to encourage formation over a period of years. It would be helpful to know what His Excellency has in mind to "develop better adult formation as well as strengthen youth ministry".

I cannot add to or, improve upon Joe Potillor's response. I am regularly drawn to the east for many of the reasons he mentioned. Further, I support his assertion that in terms of formation, gimmickry will fail - young people will see right through it. Authenticity, on the other hand, draws one to it leaving that person yearning for more.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - Where does the Church teach condemnation to hell for parents who choose not to send their children to schools you approve of?

It doesn't. "Parents are to send..." Doesn't not equate to "If they don't, and if their reasons are inadequate, they will burn in hell."

Haughty? No, but I know what the Church teaches, and what it doesn't. I'm sure you find anyone who corrects your errors to be haughty. And, again, that is your issue, not mine.

Gene said...

Marc and I seem to agree pretty much on Kavanaugh. "I know what the Church teaches..." doesn't really say very much. Hell is full of people who "know what the Church teaches."

Marc said...

Michael, your position, so far as it can be ascertained, seems to be that parents have a duty to educate their children in the faith, but failure of that duty is not a sin. Your ignorance on this appears to be willful, so I'm sure nothing I can say will convince you that you're wrong -- even though it is very clear that you are.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - No, my position is not "that parents have a duty to educate their children in the faith, but failure of that duty is not a sin."

Look again at what I have posted. You have, in this last post, conveniently left out the condemnation to hell portion of your previous assertions.

Where does the Church teach that parents who choose not to send their children to schools you approve of commit a mortal sin that will result in condemnation? (Yes, the "schools you approve of" is part of your argument, given the accusations you have made about the school in the parish I serve.)

Marc said...

Michael, in your first comment, you asserted that parents have the freedom to decide which schools their children attend. You say that this comes down to "preference." I have now explained the Church's teaching to you and pointed out your error. Now that you know what the Church teaches, let's try to isolate which part you disagree with so we can focus the discussion.

Do you now agree that parents commit a mortal sin if they do not send their children to Catholic schools when they have the ability to do so?

Do you further agree that one who dies in a state of unrepentant mortal sin goes to hell?

Do you, then, dispute the inference that it is possible for a parent who commits this mortal sin and fails to repent could be condemned to hell for it?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Code of Canon Law, Canon 793, s 1: "Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children."

"Parents have the right and duty to choose..."

If they have the right and exercise the right, they are not acting in a way contrary to the Faith or the Canon. While YOU may question their choices, while YOU may believe that this or that school is a danger to the faith of their children, while YOU, along with your "traditional" priest may prefer homeschooling to other forms of education of children, that does not alter one bit the right of the parents to choose. Nor does it elevate your prudential judgments to the level of doctrine or law.

No, they do not commit a mortal sin if they exercise their God-given right and their canonically expressed right "...to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children."

The rest is Midrash...

Marc said...

You're putting too much emphasis on the right to the exclusion of the duty. And you are interpreting the canon in isolation, which is not how laws are interpreted.

Let's clarify your position with a hypothetical:

If parents have a Catholic school equidistant to them as a public school and both are free, assuming no other extenuating factors exist, do the parents sin by electing to send their children to the public school?

Fr. Miuchael J. Kavanaugh said...

Parent who, in their local circumstances, choose not to send children to a Catholic school are well within their rights. They commit no sin in doing so, since they are exercising their God-given and canon-protected rights.

And you can't simply walk away from 1) the threat of condemnation you raised or 2) the aspect of your assertion that involves you personal opinion regarding a Catholic parochial school.

We can "hypothetical" till the cows come home, but doing so does not address your error in threatening parents will eternity I hell for exercising their rights.

Marc said...

I will leave you with one further consideration since you have now made your error clearer. The New Catechism says: "2229. As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise."

Parents have the right to choose schools that correspond the Catholic faith. That right, as the Church points out, cannot be infringed by the state. Commensurate with that right, parents have the duty to choose schools that will best educate children in the faith. That duty binds the conscience of parents as a moral precept.

You write: "And you can't simply walk away from 1) the threat of condemnation you raised or 2) the aspect of your assertion that involves you personal opinion regarding a Catholic parochial school."

Can't I?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators."

Parents have the right to choose the school which, in their judgment, is the best school for their children. Having that right, they may choose a Catholic school, another private school, or a public school. They may even choose to homeschool.

The right to choose in not infringed on by the state, since no parent is prevented from choosing a Catholic school.

Yes, you can walk away from your previous assertions. But that does not change the fact that those assertions were wrong.

Marc said...
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