EPIC FAIL of the Catholic Leadership in America

It is a sad commentary on the state of Catholic catechesis in America when we have a 22 year old student attending a Catholic University who can write an opinion like this.

religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/10/my-take-why-im-a-catholic-for-contraception/?iref=obinsite

One of the most telling quotes from the ariticle is this one:
“I have been a Catholic my whole life. Baptized as a baby and confirmed in the seventh grade, I attended weekly catechism classes and received a Jesuit education. Never once did the opinion of the church on a person’s use of contraceptives surface”

Seriously?!

Perhaps the USCCB should get out of politics and go back to the basics; strong catechesis, oversight of faith formation programs for compliance to Church teachings, building more Catholic elementary and high schools, and raising money to help subsidize tuitions to those schools so more people can afford to send their kids to them.

I my opinion, this is a true evangelization issue. We need to “evangelize” our own kids!

What about parents? If parents dont teach and re-inforce, it’s not going to matter a whole lot what the bishops teach in many ways.

One problem (though not the only problem) is that many non-parochial Catholic schools, such as “Jesuit” or “Holy Cross” high schools, are not in fact governed or staffed by priests or brothers anymore. They are more-often-than-not governed by boards, which are usually comprised of a bunch of laypersons, although their charters sometimes have provisions requiring representation from the order that founded the school. Sometimes that’s not even feasible. And they are more-often-than-not staffed by laypersons as well.

Marie5890
What about parents? If parents dont teach and re-inforce, it’s not going to matter a whole lot what the bishops teach in many ways.

Havard
One problem (though not the only problem) is that many non-parochial Catholic schools, such as “Jesuit” or “Holy Cross” high schools, are not in fact governed or staffed by priests or brothers anymore. They are more-often-than-not governed by boards, which are usually comprised of a bunch of laypersons, although their charters sometimes have provisions requiring representation from the order that founded the school. Sometimes that’s not even feasible. And they are more-often-than-not staffed by laypersons as well.

:clapping:

" strong catechesis, oversight of faith formation programs for compliance to Church teachings, building more Catholic elementary and high schools, and raising money to help subsidize tuitions to those schools so more people can afford to send their kids to them.

I can agree we are in need of all these things.

Sorry, but this is one time where the Bishops aren’t really to blame. The USCCB has spent a ton of time and money reviewing the conformity of the texts approved for use in CCE and Catholic schools. Schools and parishes are only supposed to use texts on the Conformity list. I served on the textbook committee for my parish when we were interested in switching texts and reviewed books from almost every series on the approved list. There is not an approved series out there that does not include the objective sinfulness of contraceptive use - at least in their high school texts and often much earlier.

This is not to say there isn’t blame but it’s not fair to lay the blame at the Bishops’ doorstep (this time). Several possibilites come to mind.

A. The kids is telling the truth but he went to a particularly horrible school which did not use any approved religion texts.

B. The school used approved texts but all of his teachers were negligent and skipped those parts.

C. The kid didn’t retain much, if anything, from his CCE and religion classes.

D. The kid is just spinning a story to get his 15 minutes of fame since this is a hot topic.

I vote for C or D (or a combo).

We need to realize that she could also just be full of it and completely clueless or simply lack accountability. I have any number of college students claim they were never taught things in other classes, or even in my class after I give them an exam. I have had to literally sit down with students who complained and show them in my course slides and in the text “*this is where I taught you this; this is where we discussed that: etc.”. I have had parents of 22 years call me or e-mail me to talk about their kid’s grades. I could go on and on forever with this sort of stuff.

Bottom line, yes we need to do more, and better, catechesis. And, Frankly I think 7th grade is way too young to hold confirmation. We have an extended adolescence in this country where people who are 30 act like what those who are 20 did 15 years ago. 7th grade is no longer really an age of discernment in our society.

But with all of that in mind, do not dismiss the idea that this student, and many others, are simply lying or just totally and completely clueless.*

We need to support groups like FOCUS on our universities. As a college student myself (at a public university, not even a Catholic university) they have had a major influence on me and the strengthening of my faith. The student group they have created here is full of some of the strongest Catholics I have ever met, regardless of age. FOCUS is expanding, they plan on having at least 4 missionaries in every parish across the country within the next couple of years.

That being said it is sad to see young so-called Catholics speaking out like this. It is impossible for our leadership to prevent each and every person from misrepresenting the faith. But they are young and God still has plenty of time to work in their lives.

The overall university culture has a negative effect on students moral values. The best way I see to combat this is parental influence and supporting groups like FOCUS. Also with age hopefully will come more wisdom. Like I said give God time to work in their lives.

Or you’ll sit in a classroom full of presumably educated people for a test, all the details are clearly spelled out at the beginning, how much the test is worth towards the final grade, that only lead pencils are to be used and sure enough someone will raise their hand and ask a stupid question. Do not underestimate some people’s inability to retain information. I’m sure there are elements of the Faith I could swear I’ve never been taught but I’m positive in most cases reality would contradict me.

I’d like to second the importance of strong, faithful Catholic role models in college (not to discount the importance of proper instruction before that). I’m at an engineering college – scientism is fairly rampant. FOCUS has been absolutely wonderful ever since the missionaries first came to campus 3 years ago.

Also, I can relate to being poorly catechized – I went to a Catholic primary school and distinctly remember being told in Religion class that sex was OK outside of “formal” marriage as long as the couple made an “informal” agreement to stay together for life :eek: And now I of course realize this was clearly wrong and not something 4th-graders should be told… So we really don’t know what is actually going on in that article, it could be any number of things.

I haven’t been a member of a lot of parishes since coming to Canada at age 19 (probably 8 in three dioceses) so I can’t speak for the whole Canadian Church, but I have honestly never heard a priest say that artificial birth control is wrong during my 33 years here. A few months ago our priest sponsored an NFP seminar in the parish and encouraged people to go, but that’s where the message stopped.

Last week at my daughter’s confirmation the Bishop preached strongly against abortion and euthanasia (you rock Bishop!) and that is one of maybe 2 or 3 times I’'ve heard preaching on those topics.

Without direction people lose the way!

Preaching against abortion and euthanasia is one thing. Birth control is quite another.

My own view is that priests and others don't speak out against artificial birth control for two reasons: (1) they themselves don't agree with the position of the church, or (2) they know that if they spoke out against it most adult parishioners - and college youth, too - would personally disagree and probably be annoyed and perhaps alienated.

What really frustrates me is the fact that because so few teach that ABC is wrong, high school and college-aged Catholics will naturally use contraceptives because they haven’t learned why it’s wrong.
This is regardless of whether or not they’ve waited for marriage.

When my Fiance and I went through our marriage-prep classes NFP was only brought up once and that was during the Pre-cana class. The couple did not describe what NFP was except hand out a pamphlet and praised how much it worked.

I was the only one at the table who was fairly excited because I was ALREADY practicing NFP for my own natural/granola purposes and had NO CLUE the church was against ABC. I took the pamphlet, gladly, as I hoped to find some more insight on NFP I hadn’t known before. But I didn’t know that using contraceptives was wrong.

Abortion and Euthanasia I knew about…but contraceptives? No idea. I went for NFP as an alternative for pumping my body with unhealthy hormones and my Fiance disliked condoms. It was an alternative that worked for us. Thank-God for that.

I wish NFP was practiced more and more widely taught and accepted. It’s not taught in schools anywhere. I stumbled across it online one day and bought a book.

Another thing that frustrates me is that no one is mentioning that NFP is the Catholic alternative to contraceptives during all of this crazy HHS nonsense. I suppose most people are thinking that the Catholic church expects the average family to have 15 kids regardless of their situation…because, Hey! You can’t abort and you can’t use ABC so it’s either a million kids or no sex!
I’ve listened to my Priest’s homilies and other, fantastic homilies online and no one mentions NFP as an alternative.

“For lack of teaching, the people perish.”

:frowning:

  1. and perhaps stop putting money in the collection each week

We have an associate pastor and priest in residence, both of whom speak about these issues. The pastor does not.

I have lots of kids tell their confirmation teacher they were “never taught” X, Y, or Z.

The problem is that their confirmation teacher is my husband and their prior teacher was me. So, their bald face lies go nowhere with him.

  1. You can teach and drill and teach and drill in your one hour a week of parish religious education. The kids don’t remember squat from week to week. The kids refuse to do anything resembling religious education homework and the parents think that it is outrageous that you would even consider sending work home for them to do.

  2. The kids get zero religious education and zero religious practice in their homes the other 167 hours of the week. And their parents wouldn’t know a Church document if you tripped them with one. They can spend hours watching Survivor and Modern Family, but read the Catholic newspaper that the parish pays to have delivered to their home? Forget it.

You are blaming the wrong people.

@Marie5890- I agree that the parents should be paramount in education of their children in the faith. However, I fear we have lost an entire generation of parents who follow the faith.

We my need to start over with the kids.

@Corki- I agree the Bishops aren’t entirely to blame. But, clergy are involved in Catholic education institution at some level. they shoudl be held accountable for what is taught in their schools.

I agree with this for the most part. There are certainly problems in religious ed in certain places as well. But you are right, the biggest responsibility to pass on the faith lies with parents.

What this tells us is that we really do not have as many practicing Catholics as we think we do, even among those who go to Mass regularly.

I attended a Catholic school for a few years and my religion classes were taught by laypersons. I remember one of them looking at my brown scapular and asking me what was that (along with some other students as well).

I really empathise with this thread and the sentiments expressed.

I am 34, and I do not feel I received any form of proper catechis at school, in the 80s and 90s.

I do not recall any church teachings ever being presented / explained to us, by any of religious, parents or teachers. All I remember from school is:

Primary School (aged approx 4 - 11)

  • playing an inn-kepper one year in the nativity play
  • building an Altar to Mary in the month of May and then the class signing about it (“May is the month of Mary, month we all love so well”)
  • preparing for and receiving the sacraments in classroom groups

Secondary School (aged approx 12-18)

  • discussing modern issues such as nuclear weapons and homosexuality from a Christian perspective. A typical exercise was writing a mock letter to a friend who had just come out as gay. (Church teaching on homosexuality, or any topic, was not presented or defended).

Thats it.

No wonder I always thought church was a great irrelevance / bore, and stopped going altogether between the ages about 16-29.

Fortunately I always did believe in God, so I guess the Holy Spirity never gave up on me and finally managed to win me back in my late 20s.

Since returning, I have been catechising myself retrospectively using books and credible online sources.

I am hoping to start a family in the near future, so - based on my own experience - I will definitely be trying to engage my kids about their faith, at home, to interest them and equip them to understand and/or defend it.

In the UK Catholic Herald this week, it said that recovery from poor catechis has already begin in the USA and Australia, with improved teaching methods and materials for kids rolled out. The UK is lagging behind however, but heres hoping we catch up!

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