Is Catholic Education lacking?


#1

Is it just me who's thinking Catholic education is lacking? Maybe your reponses will make me think it's just my very laid-back parish.

I'm not saying my Catholic education was terrible, or universal -- that's why I'm bringing the question to you. But I feel much of the things critical to understanding Catholicism was left out of my education entirely (Catholic school, Sunday school, and youth activities).

For example, I never learned about Apostolic Succession, the Magisterium, Sacred Tradition and its relationship with Scripture, the Eastern Rites, or the Early Fathers. I didn't even learn what a catechism was.

Looking back we instead put some of our time in irrelevant information, like the order of the mass and naming the (seven?) gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I also thought we could have and should have spent more time on confronting the criticisms of the Church, like the sex abuse scandals and the Inquisition.

Any thoughts? What was/is your Catholic education like? Maybe not all of these things are appropriate in a youth enviornment, but should be addressed in a community enviornment.


#2

[quote="Bezant, post:1, topic:245755"]
Is it just me who's thinking Catholic education is lacking? Maybe your reponses will make me think it's just my very laid-back parish.

I'm not saying my Catholic education was terrible, or universal -- that's why I'm bringing the question to you. But I feel much of the things critical to understanding Catholicism was left out of my education entirely (Catholic school, Sunday school, and youth activities).

For example, I never learned about Apostolic Succession, the Magisterium, Sacred Tradition and its relationship with Scripture, the Eastern Rites, or the Early Fathers. I didn't even learn what a catechism was.

Looking back we instead put some of our time in irrelevant information, like the order of the mass and naming the (seven?) gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I also thought we could have and should have spent more time on confronting the criticisms of the Church, like the sex abuse scandals and the Inquisition.

Any thoughts? What was/is your Catholic education like? Maybe not all of these things are appropriate in a youth enviornment, but should be addressed in a community enviornment.

[/quote]

I am 29 years old and went to Catholic schools from k-12 . I admit that the education when it comes to knowing the Catholic faith(in the sense of knowing how to defend it using scripture) is lacking . Now I must also admit that I did not pay attention during religion class. (they called it) They teach you the basics . I grew up North in NJ and now live in SC . Big change . In SC I encounter anti Catholic preaching . I at first did not know enough to talk to them . Now I do . It is fun . I learned much more when I was ready to learn in my early twenties .


#3

Well its a little out of the question to expect more Catholic schools.Most Catholics cant' afford it.I went to Cath.school in late 50's and liked it very much however I can't say that it made me a better person at the time.But I look back now and wonder what kind of shape i'd be in if it weren't for my Catholic teaching.I never followed the rules in school but later in life returned to the Church(my first home and first love).God in His love wouldn't let go of me no matter how bad I broke His laws.I didn't appreciate the nuns or the priests who taught me.But now today I can remember much of what they said.


#4

The unfortunate thing is that many of those teaching religion, at least in the elementary level, don't have a good catechetical basis themselves. I teach courses for elementary school teachers to receive their catechist certificate, and I am amazed how little they know...and they are teaching religion to our kids. Some of them don't even bother to attend courses and their principals don't demand it. So what can we expect? I graded confirmation class workbooks and I can't believe some of the stuff I was reading.

The best (actually the worst) was that Mary was a virgin and became pregnant when Jesus leapt from the womb of Elizabeth into Mary's womb. I kid you not.

They have no concept of sin, in fact they don't like using the word. If I write a comment about sin in their workbooks I am told I am being too harsh.


#5

It's impossible to make a universal statement on this issue... it can vary GREATLY from parish to parish, let alone diocese to diocese.

We're VERY blessed to have a wonderful Catholic School at our parish - and not just in name only. I see what my kids are learning, we discuss it at home and reinforce it.

I know the Parish Religious Education Program (for those who don't attend the parish school) is very good too, but while the kids may be exposed to the proper teachings (even if glossed over in their txt books), it MUST be reinforced in the home to actually make an impact. Teachers are all human, and their own understanding of the theology will vary... that's not something we can control... but we CAN control how and what we reinforce at home.


#6

[quote="Joannm, post:4, topic:245755"]
The unfortunate thing is that many of those teaching religion, at least in the elementary level, don't have a good catechetical basis themselves. I teach courses for elementary school teachers to receive their catechist certificate, and I am amazed how little they know...and they are teaching religion to our kids. Some of them don't even bother to attend courses and their principals don't demand it. So what can we expect? I graded confirmation class workbooks and I can't believe some of the stuff I was reading.

The best (actually the worst) was that Mary was a virgin and became pregnant when Jesus leapt from the womb of Elizabeth into Mary's womb. I kid you not.

They have no concept of sin, in fact they don't like using the word. If I write a comment about sin in their workbooks I am told I am being too harsh.

[/quote]

Great reason to go back to the Baltimore Catechism and have students memorize it.


#7

[quote="Bezant, post:1, topic:245755"]
For example, I never learned about Apostolic Succession, the Magisterium, Sacred Tradition and its relationship with Scripture, the Eastern Rites, or the Early Fathers. I didn't even learn what a catechism was.

[/quote]

If you ask my CCD students if they have learned about these things, they will tell you no. However, I have taught these things every year and have had the same group of kids for 3 years.

Certainly there are problems with religious education in all its forms, but the primary problem is the lack of Catholic life in the home.

I have the kids in CCD 1 hour a week for about 20 weeks during the school year. The parents have them the rest of the time. If Catholic doctrine and practice are not discussed and lived in the home 24/7/365 as they are growing up then, yes, you will have a bunch of ignorant Catholic adults.

[quote="Bezant, post:1, topic:245755"]
Looking back we instead put some of our time in irrelevant information, like the order of the mass and naming the (seven?) gifts of the Holy Spirit.

[/quote]

The order of the mass and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are irrelevant? Hardly.

[quote="Bezant, post:1, topic:245755"]
Any thoughts? What was/is your Catholic education like? Maybe not all of these things are appropriate in a youth enviornment, but should be addressed in a community enviornment.

[/quote]

Put your money where your mouth is, and start teachign CCD.


#8

My experience before I was homeschooled was also lacking. Religion class was such a joke. I was only there up to 5th grade but my brother was there till 8th and he has also said that religion class was pretty pathetic. I also remember when there was a bully problem and my parents went to the principle about it, the principle said to them, "You just have to learn how to forgive."........:shrug:


#9

There is no CCD program at my parish... and no support to home school them in the faith. Discouraging isn't the word. :mad:


#10

I kind of felt it was, but you have to consider the environment of this class. Where I live (New Orleans) the best schools that aren't too expensive tend to be the Catholic ones, so people would send their kids to them regardless of whether they were Catholic. As much as I would have liked more learning on what it really means to be a Catholic, I understand that it may not have been as applicable to everyone in there, and that's probably the case for most other Catholic schools.
But yeah, we did get a lot of memorizing not-as-important things (the specific dates of councils, the names of each part of a priest's vestments, etc.), though there were a little more faith-involved things (reading verses and writing things about them and whatnot).


#11

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:5, topic:245755"]
It's impossible to make a universal statement on this issue... it can vary GREATLY from parish to parish, let alone diocese to diocese.

We're VERY blessed to have a wonderful Catholic School at our parish - and not just in name only. I see what my kids are learning, we discuss it at home and reinforce it.

I know the Parish Religious Education Program (for those who don't attend the parish school) is very good too, but while the kids may be exposed to the proper teachings (even if glossed over in their txt books), it MUST be reinforced in the home to actually make an impact. Teachers are all human, and their own understanding of the theology will vary... that's not something we can control... but we CAN control how and what we reinforce at home.

[/quote]

I completely agree with you -- you can't expect to raise good, educated Catholics without an educated Catholic home. It is excellent that your family makes time for that commitment.

At the same time, however, it is just as important to educate the parents. Many are cradle Catholics slowly becoming more religious, some are converts, and even the more religious may be misled by anti-Catholicism / misinformation (e.g., the DaVinci Code) or criticism of the Church's dirty laundry.


#12

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