Poorly catechized adults/parents


#1

Hi all,

(I don’t really know what I expect to come of this post, but I felt I should get it out there)

So I was recently in the car with my parents and they somehow got on the subject of religion (they’re both Catholic); they are also 'cafeteria Catholics". My mother can be considered non-practicing and my father makes no effort to go to church, but he goes when he has nothing else going on.

Anyway, they both don’t like BXVI a lot. They think he handeled the scandals poorly (they read the NYT. Sigh…). My father even said he should resign :eek: My mother said that she thinks the Church is filthy corrupt, possibly more so than it was in the medieval ages (she somehow worked the Spanish Inquisition in there :confused:). Furthermore, my dad thinks missing Mass isn’t a mortal sin (:confused:) and that dogs go to Heaven (:confused:).

Oy vey!

(end rant…)

Well, why does it seem that so many Catholics are so poorly catechized? I know my parents won’t leave the faith, but it can hurt to hear them say such uneducated things about the Church and it pains me to be the only religious one in my house. I feel ostracized sometimes. Are a lot of people like this, or are my parents a minority?

Thanks for hearing me out, as I know this post probably wasn’t the most coherent thing you’ve heard all day :stuck_out_tongue:

coolduude


#2

It's hard to be properly catechized in today's world. Our society is so fast-paced and materialistic that people don't really care about going to church. I know durind religious ed up through 8th grade, I just went and didn't pay attention.

My mom is a lot like your parents. She doesn't think you have to go to confession:shrug: my dad isn't Catholic, so he doesn't really are. It seems like quite a bit of baby boomers aren't properly catechized (a result of V2?)


#3

Because they don’t want to know. If they did then they wouldn’t have any excuses to not go to Mass on Sundays, complain about the pope; not go to cofession and Holy Communion. I have a son I just got into with him; he doesn’t want to know the truth and got mad at me. I just told him to go talk to his priest. I didn’t think I’d hear from him again, but I got an email and all is well, he actually apologized!!! Thank you Lord. I pray for my son and your parents coolduude.


#4

They don’t understand the need to continually convert. They’re moving from being a lukewarm Catholic to being cold. :o

EWTN is a wonderful resource, so many great television programs on there including daily Mass. They’re online and on youTube.

I enjoy both Catholic and Protestant radio stations.

Of course, communicating here is a lot of fun.

I’m thinking about buying a subscription to Magnificat and Magnifikid.

I rumage through GoodWill once a week looking for Catholic and Christian books. Great buys there, $1 to $1.50 a book.

RCIA was very helpful and good for my understanding of the OT / NT and participation in the Mass.


#5

Duude,

Your post was very coherent and I understand what you’re saying – I’m amazed that you have your head on as straight as it apparently is about the Church - good for you!

Please don’t be too hard on your parents. I don’t think it was the effects of Vat II as much as it was the whole 60-70’s era when SO MUCHt of the social structure of the American culture was turned upside down.

There really was a significant break with the past over those years – enter the drug culture, the sexual revolution, the Pill, women’s liberation (yay), the tumult of the Vietnam war, the beginnings of the technical era, and the “freedoms” we all thought we had without the responsibilities. (Personally, I blame disco…)

It may be that your parents really were catechized properly, but all those outside factors contributed to the continuing secularization of our society. We’ve had Hollywood and the media bringing us graphic models of life – which in no way reflect what real life should be – and so many people have partly, or completely, bought into those messages we’re bombarded with 24/7.

If you read between the lines on CAF, you’ll see that many people here were away from the Church for long periods of time. It’s not unusual (although certainly not the best thing) for people to take a break from beliefs and observances, and then return when they need something more substantial, something authentic, something more sacred in their lives – and when they respond to the invitation of grace that God always extends.

There are objective reasons to regret some of the things the Church has been responsible for over recent years – the Church is not without blame. Some of us just concentrate on our parishes, where the real life of the Church occurs, and try to forget about Rome.

I’m sorry you don’t have more support from your parents in your Church life, but you do have a parish community that you can serve and which will give you that support.

Don’t worry about your parents, if you can help it. The mercy of God is*** infinite*** and His love never ends. Your example will be wonderful for them – and He’ll chase them down sooner or later as He draws us all to Him.

God bless you, duuuuuuude.


#6

Your parents’ opinions and attitudes are unfortunately very common today. The Cafeteria mentality is common not just among Catholics but among all types of Christians. The increasingly secular, sexualized, and anti-religious world is making it harder and harder to be a true Christian. You have to break away from what the rest of society is doing much, much more than in the past when Christian values were common. Think about it, we used to have prayer in schools! :eek: Now saying the Pledge of Allegiance is controversial because it includes the words “Under God.” Society has become very hostile to religion. If you are more than a Christian in name only you *will *get called a religious quack, and some people don’t want to risk it. Others have been so blinded by the world they aren’t even aware of what true Christianity is all about or why it is so important.


#7

Well, I think it's a catechism/indoctrination problem, but not the one mentioned. There is a whole generation that was taught that the conscience was the ultimate thing that should be followed. You can discuss the correctness of this, but that's the vibe that many priests projected and the lay people latched on to.

When you add that to the abuse scandals that the Bishops did indeed handle poorly, you get a bunch of cynical older Catholics who believe that the Church really is a cafeteria, and because of the management, they don't actually eat there a lot.


#8

Hi coolduude,

It's not unusual for families to express a wide range of responses to the Church. I'm going to daily Mass; my siblings haven't gone in years and have no intention of going. My parents are observant, but they have no idea how deeply I've been going, and it's scary for me (and would be scary for them, too.)

I think we have the opportunity to be witnesses of the faith - but not converters. Does this distinction make sense? This is not simple or easy, but we can express our beliefs and why we believe so without telling the other person - you are being heretical, or evil, or whatever. People rarely respond positively to that. We are trying to share God's love and mercy, not judgment.

Re: BXVI - To be honest, I don't think BXVI handled the scandals well, either. We will let history decide how to critique his papacy properly. Until then, I think it's important to ask people questions about what they know and don't know about BXVI and his papacy. Asking questions invites dialogue.

When I was frustrated at a friend's critique of BXVI, I started reading his biography so that I actually know something about the man beyond the newspaper stories.


#9

My parents Catholic education was complete by the end of VII, as were many of their siblings. My dad, while a defender of the faith, also hasn’t taken steps he needs to take for his soul (like starting the annulment process). My mom does not attend mass, but b/c of my dd’s questions to her (including, “Why don’t you go to Church grandma, don’t you love Jesus?”) has really upset her but seems to be pushing her to start making some changes (like actually researching mass times for the local parish). But I also have family members who believe in women’s ordination, priests being married and are overly critical of the Church and her teachings. So to say it’s just post VII would not be accurate (one of my most vocal aunts finished all of her Catholic education before VII).

I think it’s a combination of things. The two I would stress most are the dependence on television to pass the time that otherwise could be spent learning and growing in relationships. The second is a lack of true love. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. I struggle with growing to know more about He whom I call my savior, He who I thank daily for major things and little things (like indoor plumbing :smiley: ). Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve read most of the Bible, some of the CCC, and many other theological writings, but lately I’ve struggled to calm my mind enough to focus. I do know that God hasn’t stopped loving me, but my actions haven’t shown much love to God because I haven’t been focusing enough on him, instead I’ve given in to just “relaxing” a lot more. I’m blessed in that I recognize this and the nagging in my heart to show more love and less selfishness. I think many don’t pick up on this nagging as well.


#10

Small steps - maybe something like suggesting a retreat you are volunteering at that would invoke an emotional response would be the best - before you can argue logically sometimes you need to tug heart strings.,


#11

People speak of being "properly catechized" as if it were a piece of software that can be downloaded into someone's head. It almost sounds as if the software is flawless and any lapsed Catholics must have had a bad connection or an unskilled programmer at the keyboard. The simple fact is that not everyone wants to be Catholic. Even if you locked them in a tower with history's best apologists and teachers, at the end of the day, it either rings true with someone or it does not.

Cafeteria Catholics are as common as they are because the Church emphasizes quantity over quality. Since converting the western world by hook and by crook, the game has always been about maintaining Catholic identity through cultural inertia and family pressure. Historically, kids are baptized and confirmed WAY before they have any concept of what they're signing onto and way before they have had a chance to form their own identity and conscience in any meaningul way. They're assigned this identity, told there's nothing they can ever do to change it, and it was all done with little to no personal investment or informed choice. Why would anyone expect them to feel invested in it? I see the problem not so much as Catholics failing to toe the line as much as the dishonesty in insisting to label people as Catholics who have no real desire to live as such.

Besides, this kid doesn't have it that hard. Imagine trying to be Catholic if you had Muslim parents or a dad like Chris Hitchens. (It happens).


#12

[quote="kenofken, post:11, topic:211879"]
People speak of being "properly catechized" as if it were a piece of software that can be downloaded into someone's head. It almost sounds as if the software is flawless and any lapsed Catholics must have had a bad connection or an unskilled programmer at the keyboard. The simple fact is that not everyone wants to be Catholic. Even if you locked them in a tower with history's best apologists and teachers, at the end of the day, it either rings true with someone or it does not.

Cafeteria Catholics are as common as they are because the Church emphasizes quantity over quality. Since converting the western world by hook and by crook, the game has always been about maintaining Catholic identity through cultural inertia and family pressure. Historically, kids are baptized and confirmed WAY before they have any concept of what they're signing onto and way before they have had a chance to form their own identity and conscience in any meaningul way. They're assigned this identity, told there's nothing they can ever do to change it, and it was all done with little to no personal investment or informed choice. Why would anyone expect them to feel invested in it? I see the problem not so much as Catholics failing to toe the line as much as the dishonesty in insisting to label people as Catholics who have no real desire to live as such.

Besides, this kid doesn't have it that hard. Imagine trying to be Catholic if you had Muslim parents or a dad like Chris Hitchens. (It happens).

[/quote]

You are right - Faith is a gift from God - it is a Grace. And no matter what kind of teachings or catechesis we have - we either have Faith or we don't. The choice to love God, or not to love God is what makes us different from the Angels, and gives us dominion over the animals. God bless you for mentioning it.


#13

[quote="kenofken, post:11, topic:211879"]
People speak of being "properly catechized" as if it were a piece of software that can be downloaded into someone's head. It almost sounds as if the software is flawless and any lapsed Catholics must have had a bad connection or an unskilled programmer at the keyboard. The simple fact is that not everyone wants to be Catholic. Even if you locked them in a tower with history's best apologists and teachers, at the end of the day, it either rings true with someone or it does not.

Cafeteria Catholics are as common as they are because the Church emphasizes quantity over quality. Since converting the western world by hook and by crook, the game has always been about maintaining Catholic identity through cultural inertia and family pressure. Historically, kids are baptized and confirmed WAY before they have any concept of what they're signing onto and way before they have had a chance to form their own identity and conscience in any meaningul way. They're assigned this identity, told there's nothing they can ever do to change it, and it was all done with little to no personal investment or informed choice. Why would anyone expect them to feel invested in it? I see the problem not so much as Catholics failing to toe the line as much as the dishonesty in insisting to label people as Catholics who have no real desire to live as such.

Besides, this kid doesn't have it that hard. Imagine trying to be Catholic if you had Muslim parents or a dad like Chris Hitchens. (It happens).

[/quote]

I was born into Roman Catholicism. My father's family is Irish Catholic. My mother was a convert. We went to Mass every Sunday, every Holy Day of Obligation, for the Stations, for everything the Church demanded. I had 12 years of Catechism of Christian Doctrine.

I don't want to be Catholic. I definitely signed the papers without my reading glasses. I was sternly told it was what God wanted. My Catholic community was riddled with the miserably unhappy "faithful". The solemnity, the standards, the "celebration" that never rejoiced because it was so busy exuding humility all combined to seduce a child of six and then turn and repulse the child of 12. No, not every child. But enough to perhaps partially explain the exodus from the Catholic Church.

Out of the four children in my family, my sister was the most compliant Catholic, the one who followed orders like a soldier. Married a non-Catholic but went through pre-Cana classes. Raised her one son as a Catholic, an altar boy, a participant in any and all Catholic activities for young boys and men. My sister went to Mass so much she almost lived at the Church. She worked there. She gave her soul to God there.

One of the last things she said before she died of cancer a year ago was, "I'm scared." I understand it from a death-as-"uncharted-territory" viewpoint, but honestly, shouldn't sixty years of coloring between the lines have afforded her even a small measure of serenity and wonder as she lay dying?

I'll never know. As far as the Church is concerned I'll never be in her presence again, anyway, much less enjoy the radiant love of God. Hell is going to be Standing Room Only.

tammy57


#14

Why? Because Vatican II was implimented poorly, the Baltimore Catechism was thrown out and there were already rebellous people in the Church just waiting for an opportunity to water down the faith. Meanwhile you’ve got people educated in the 50’s who get the impression that infallibility means that whatever the Church does is the will of the Holy Spirit and its hard to fathom what these changes mean. For some, these rapid changes which they think are all official makes the Church lose its creditibility. Then in fact you do have a rough history of corruption (even if it gets exagerated in history). For some even giving an explanation to these bad things that happened seems to be just a ploy for the hierachy to gain some of its authority back. “Well that’s not what I was taught as a child. The Church was supposed to be perfect.”

Honestly something my husband has made me realize in myself is that sometimes I’m too quick to defend the Church. I too like adopting and over-perfect view of the Church. Sometimes is a parish level thing, an image I have of a particular priest. Then I’m faced with parish politics and find my own faith gets a little shaken till I realize that the human weakness is distracting me the fact that I have found Christ in the Church and wisdom in the Church’s teachings. I have to look for the creditability of God.


#15

I'm under 30, but I know that our faith depends on examples.

Did these folks see any amazing examples ad witnesses to the CC during their lives? We had Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa from the late 70's on, but by then, the damage was done.

Birth control, wars, increasing wealth and failing social structures cut into Western society's religiosity in the past half-century. Those who turn away from such things and steadfastly follow a religious doctrine are seen as"weak" and out-of-step with the times.

Your parents were probably encouraged to be "progressive" and shown examples of how to be happy while being "progressive" in their youth - 70's and 80's were all about "ME." They, and many others, need to see strong examples of their faith. Talking doesn't cut it anymore.


#16

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