Conformation causing confusion!


#1

My son is fifteen and is pretty solid in his faith for a teenager. He is going through the conformation process this year and has become increasingly upset with some of the things being said by the leader of his class, which happens to be his youth leader. He has been saying things such as “Genises is not facts it’s fable. Stories told to us to expain a point (ex. Noah didn’t live on earth and there was never a great flood but it is a story that is told to teach us that if we have faith in God and obey him, he will protect us and take care of us and that God always keeps his promises.)” I was floored by this. I must say that I grew up a fundamental babtist and have only been Catholic for around seven years now. I was taught growing up that the Bible is gospel. You just believe it and what it teaches. His leader also said that Adam and Eve were not “real” people, again, just a made up story. My son asked him if that were true then why do we believe in original sin and baptise our infants. His answer didn’t really answer anything and has left my son feeling more confused then anything. Most the kids in his class could care less what being confirmed is about and are only there because their parents make them go. No one stands up and questions what he is teaching and my son says the other children just take what he says as gospel because he is who he is. He also said that Revelations is not about the 2nd coming of Christ but was a made up story for the Jews at the time who were experianceing horrible things at that time so the could see that things could be much worse. I must be honest and say I really don’t know what the Catholic church teaches about Revelations and the 2nd coming but I’ve never heard it being described as a “storey to make the Jews feel better”. My question is… has anyone else heard of anything else like this? If these things are not true then how do I help my son to go and present it to the leader? Isn’t conformation suposed to reafirm what young people believe, not distroy everything they’ve believed to be true since they were young. I have never gone through the conformation process but I find these topics disturbing as an adult and wonder why they are being discussed with teenagers. Our family tends to be very conservative and we live in a very liberal diocese. I wonder if you could help me understand what is going on. Either I have missed something along the way or this leader is off base. PLEASE HELP!


#2

Quick!!! Get your son a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have him check the topical index for the subjects you mentioned and review what the Catechism says about them. It’s a great idea for you to have him tell you what it says.

If you find that his teacher is saying things that are at odds with Church teaching, report this to your pastor (I’d write a letter and send a courtesy copy to your bishop - that’ll get your pastor’s attention!).


#3

The authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church does not describe the stories of the book of Genesis as myths, fables or legends. The Catechism seems to take the approach that the stories in the book of Genesis refer to real people and real events which are sometimes described using symbolic or figurative language. Here are some examples of what I mean (emphasis added):

[On Creation]
337. God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God."
338. Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.

[On the Creation of Man]
362. The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

375. The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice”. This grace of original holiness was “to share in…divine life”.

[On the Fall of Man]
390. The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

396. God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” spells this out: “for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die.” The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
397. Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
The Catechism treats Adam and Eve (our first parents), Cain and Abel, and Noah and family, etc., as real people. * The Catechism* also treats the Flood as a real event.


#4

I totaly agree with** thomist:thumbsup: . **

I am a Confirmation Teacher and this concerns Me? It is Great that he is asking Question & that you are there to field the correct Responce.

Other recomendation, I am sure the Teacher(s) would not mind if you or his Sponsor sat in on the class. The extra help & a good Catholic Christian role Model is always helpfull.

Ask what the text they are using for the Class? Or see if they can email or send you a copy of the lesson plan for each week?

A great Resource is “The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth” or Zanzig is Ok also we used that last year…

Plus use this Web site to answer your specific Questions.

This is a Awsome Sacrament to recieve. I am glad you are there with him.

My Prayers and thoughts are with you & your son.

Peace in Christ


#5

In contrast of when I was in Catholic school, our diocese has adopted very rigorous religious training standards. Sometimes I hear things on this forum I’ve never heard in 45 years of being a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic grade school (and was taught next to nothing about the Bible or Catholic teachings) and repeat it to my kids (in Catholic schools in grades 3 through 12) and they not only have heard of it, they then proceed to explain it to me!

Anyway, according to my kids, they are taught that Genesis and Revelation are to be taken figuratively, but not the rest of the Bible, sirduckjr can hopefully take some comfort that we are not throwing out the whole Bible.

I knew that the Catholic interpretation of Revelation differed from many Protestant views, because a friend took a class in Revelation and told me some things about it, in that it was written in a particular style such that certain stories could be told without getting into trouble with authorities, or something like that. As far as Genesis, I had personally come to the conclusion after much study, reflection and consternation that there had to be something “fishy” about interpreting it literally so I asked my kids and that’s when they told me Genesis and Revelation are not necessarily literal.

Alan


#6

At least it’s not as bad as my brother’s confirmation class, in which the his leader told the entire group that if you commit murder, there is no chance of going to Heaven!! :bigyikes:.


#7

You need to go talk to this teacher and discuss fable and symbolic. There is a difference and I don’t think this teacher understands it. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific text. But that does not make Noah a fable.

Assuming your son truly understands the teacher, (even adults have miscommunication and misunderstandings) this teacher needs to be confronted. If he will not modify his statements, go to the Religious Education Director. This is not just about your son, but someday,one of these kids is going to be pulled away from the Catholic Church into a fundamentalist group because of what this man is teaching. Frankly, I find fundamental take on the Bible easier to deal with than this man’s wishsy washy take on God’s inspired word.

I am a revert/convert to the faith from fundamental groups also. What I like about Catholic teaching is that while it is literalist, it is not literal. We believe that some things are written symbolically. But specifically, when it comes to the creation story, I am free to believe each day was one day or that “day” is a million years or more. I just cannot deny God’s hand in the work.

More than just your and your son’s faith is at stake here. Please act.


#8

the confirmation preparation process is supposed to include parents and sponsors. you should be sitting in on every session so you can hear first hand what is being taught. This is your duty.


#9

Hmmm. if each of the creation days were thousands, maybe millions of years in length, the how did Adam live past the sixth day? And how did all those plants live without sunlight, when it wasn’t until the NEXT day that God created the sun and the moon in the heavens?

                                                  Ron from Ohio

#10

Well that would be a new thread Ron, but I am just glad the Church does not require me to think one thing or another. Unfortunately, most fundamentalist Churches require a 6 day literal translation of Genesis, but then try to say that communion is just a symbol. Go figure. That’s where they lost me, Genesis must be literal, but in the other, Christ just meant it to mean a symbol. Didn’t add up.God Bless,
Maria


#11

[quote=MariaG]Well that would be a new thread Ron, but I am just glad the Church does not require me to think one thing or another.
[/quote]

Dear Maria,

Hold the phone! Are you talking about just about Genesis or in general? On other threads I’ve been debating with people who say the Church does require us to believe certain things. Is that the same thing? If you’re saying we have freedom to believe whatever we want, I’d like to know what you’re basing that on.

Alan


#12

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