What's a Traditionalist doing qt your typical Novus Ordo type First Communion catechism classes? Help!

Why am I there, one might ask, and not at a FSSP/SSPX/Christ the King First Communion catechism classes? My wife. God knows I love her, but that is where her family goes, so I go too, for now, anyhow. But anyways, I really need some advise from whoever. Here are the issues.

First of all, I’m being really “good” (the liberals would say “tolerant”) about keeping my cool, as any “orthodox” Catholic would in the particular environment I find myself in.
But when is being “cool” an issue"? And what would you do, if you were me?Here are the difficulies:

The catechisis is centered around almost “feeling”. How do you “feel” about “sin”, for example. What do you think “sin” is?

Or “What did you get out of Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden”? How do you feel about
Abraham, etc. And, what is emphasized is ,* “There is no correct answer”.*The teachers have yet to say what sin is. What should I do?

The topics are great, such as, “Why does God allow bad things to happen”. And we all give opinions and reflections. but in all this process, never is one told what the Church teaches.

Question 1:: Should I triumphantly say, The Church teaches…"

Question 2: What should First Communion Catechism classes be teaching?


Is this an RCIA class or what?

No, we must take these classes so that our son can receive his First Communion.
it is called “Catechism”, or “First Communion” preperation classes.

Why are you taking the classes? Is your son also involved?

I suppose you as parents are not giving any reflections your self? If that was the case, then maybe you could share what you have been told the official teaching of the Church is. For as long as you do it in a respectful manner, I cannot see why not?

I think the key here is that you should not disrespect the teachers in any way. THAT would be bad teaching for your son!

Could you talk to the teachers? Not to say that what they teach is bad, but simply that you would like your son to learn a little more about the wisdom our Church has gathered throughout the years…

I am not sure if this is of any help but…

Your friend in Jesus and Mary,

First, you need to fix the title of your thread so it uses the correct terminology (Ordinary Form) and isn’t so condesending toward the OF and those that attend it (“typical NO type First Communion…”). Second, you need to lose the patronize attitude you have toward your wife. Third, you need to talk to the parish priest and volunteer to teach the class yourself instead of posting a comment on an internet forum which will do absolutely nothing in regards to ensuring your children receive a proper religous education.

Unfortunately, moral relativism has infected some in our Church and even worse, some who undertake religious education.

Morality is absolute, this is Catholic dogma, and anyone who teaches otherwise is in “error,” to put it kindly.

Thank you for your kind & understanding comments. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but those with orthodox beliefs are, as a de facto rule, banned from teaching at Novus Ordo parishes/Churches. So teaching the class myself would never happen.

Explain to me how an individual with orthodox beliefs are banned from teaching at OF parishes. Are you actually trying to imply that the parish priests at these parishes aren’t orthodox, or that the religous brothers and sisters that teach at these parishes aren’t, or that anyone who attends OF is not orthodox?

Is this true? Can you cite cases?

First of all, there are no such thing as “Novus Ordo parishes/Churches.”

Assuming that you are referring to parishes that primarily celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass, it is completely false to say that those with Orthodox beliefs are “banned from teaching.” Do I have proof? Yes – my own experience as a CCD teacher.

My first question is very simple. What level are these classes?

My second is equally simple. When did the course start?

The reason that I ask is because often courses start off by engaging the person at the experiential level before moving on to the doctrinal level. I don’t know what your parish is like or who runs it, but this has been the Franciscan approach to teaching the faith since 1209. We begin with the senses and slowly proceed to the intellect. It is at the latter level that we teach definitions and give concrete information. It’s a well known method of catechesis.

If after a reasonable amount of time the course does not move toward the concrete, then one should ask if it’s going to happen and if so when.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

Brother is there an on-line description of this method as used by Franciscans?

This isn’t true at all. Several of the people involved with the Religious Education classes for children in our parish are definitely “traditionalists” who attend our parish (OF Masses) instead of the parish downtown that does the Latin Mass.

I’m wondering if perhaps in the parishes in your city, certain groups of traditionalist Catohlics who are not necessarily in communion with Rome have been disruptive in the orthodox parishes (both those that offer OF Masses and those that offer EF Masses) , and for this reason, these “traditionalist” groups or people who appear to be associated in any way with these groups have been “banned” from teaching ministries in the parishes. You might want to ask, and then make it clear that you ARE in communion with Rome.

Your use of the word “orthodox” in your posts concerns me. Many parishes that use the OF Mass ARE orthodox. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience, but that doesn’t justify using the word in a way that implies that parishes that use the OF Mass are not orthodox in their beliefs.

This could be one reason why you would not be welcome to teach religious education to children. If you use words differently than the Church intends for the words to be used, or use words incorrectly, then the Church will not allow you to teach, especially children, who will be confused by the misuse of words.

I’ve worked with children in church setttings for many years. Frankly, I am really amazed, blown away, actually, that parents are allowed to sit in on the children’s religious classes. Are there any other people reading this thread who are wondering about this?!

It makes me think that perhaps some really bad things have happened in your city, and this is being done as a precaution. Normally, when children are old enough to take religious education classes in preparation for making their First Holy Communion, they are old enough to be away from their parents and under the influence of other teachers/coaches. This is part of a child’s upbringing–they must learn to function without their parents.

I’m really wondering what is going on, that parents are allowed to sit in on the class, but as I said, perhaps there are extraordinary circumstances–I’ll come right out and say it–episodes of sexual misconduct that have scandalized the Church in your city and made it necessary for parents to sit in on any children’s religious activities for safety and legal reasons.

I agree with JReducation–a child is at a different learning level than an adult and must be taught differently. If your child is intellectually and emotionally more advanced, then perhaps you could supplement the information that is being dispersed at the class with more advanced teachingsat home. I think that would be an excellent thing for ALL parents to do–discuss the child’s religious education and review what they are learning.

But please remember, not all children are as advanced as your child, and it would be a disservice to them to lecture them about theology when they don’t even understand the most basic religious facts. Many children are from broken homes, and perhaps the “easy, feel-good” approach is being used because these children are hurt by a more hard-hitting approach. It might be worthwhile to ask the teachers–no doubt, the diocese has studied various teaching methods and has learned over the decades what approach is most effective with the little children preparing for First Holy Communion.

It would be good for you to “vet” the teachers in the class, kindly and charitably, of course. Do you know them personally? Are you friends with them? Do they have children of their own, and have they taught religious education for many years? Do they have training in teaching? I know that the teachers in our parish are absolutely stellar, and as I say, quite traditional in their Catholicism. Perhaps you could invite your child’s teacher over for a meal, or out for coffee, and just get to know them and ask about the class and where it will go in the weeks to come. That might make you feel better about this whole situation.

Not that I know of. It has never been systematized. It’s just the way that Francis evangelized and we have maintained it for 800 years.

The proof that it works is the fact that the Franciscan family is the largest religious family in the Church. On a bad vocation day, we number 1.7 million around the world, not to mention that Francis of Assisi is the most beloved saint in the history of the Church. He is loved by Catholics and non-Catholics, as well as non-Christians. His approach works. It transforms people and even opens them up to hear the call to follow him on his way to Christ.

I don’t think that we would want to systematize it. That would make us like the rest of the religious orders around us. One of the qualities that attracts us to enter the Franciscan family is the informality of its spirituality and at the same time, its profound mysticism.

If we systematize our method of catechizing, we would look like Dominicans. Each order has to retain its individuality. But it is well known that Franciscans appeal to the heart first and then to the head. Read the works of the great Franciscan doctors and you’ll see that they all begin with feelings and after 300 pages, then they get into concepts. This is also very Teresian (Teresa of Avila).


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

Bold is mine. There is no such thing. There are Catholic parishes, Anglican parishes, Lutheran parishes, etc.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

I’m going to add one more thing to my post above.

The WORST mistake that parents make in raising children is to undermine each other and not present a “united front” to their children.

I trust that you are scrupulously careful to show absolute respect and LOVE for your wife and that you never, ever, EVER, in any way by look (rolling eyes, slight chuckle, soft “harumph”, irritated grunt, etc.) or by word, give the impression to your children that their mother is “less” than you, or that something is lacking in her beliefs and practices.

To do so is to put your childrearing in peril, and you are setting yourself and your wife up for heartbreak.

You might have a hard time believing this, but experienced parents will validate what I say. It is NOT so important to your children’s upbringing that their parish be absolutely, totally orthodox in all teachings and practices as it is for YOU AND YOUR WIFE to be on the same page.

Children can recover from incorrect religious teachings if their parents are on the ball and careful to teach them properly at home. In fact, children can be stronger in their faith, because they will understand both the incorrect and the correct teachings.

**But children will suffer for a lifetime if their parents are opposed to each other and do not work together as a united, strong “team.” **

If there are teachings and practices in your wife’s parish that are truly un-orthodox (e.g., they teach that Jesus is not Truly Present in the Eucharist), then you and your wife need to talk this out in a location where there is no possibility that your children will overhear you, and then you and your wife need to make a decision about how you will both teach your children the truth about their faith so that they will not be misled by an errant parish. Also, of course, you and your wife should begin some work to see the errors corrected; starting with meeting with your parish pastor, and then moving up the ladder in your diocese so that the bishop will be informed of the un-orthodox teaching and be able to make corrections.

All of this will help your children to grow in their faith, as they will see love for the Church and the teachings lived out in your home.

IF your parish and diocese are indeed teaching heresy, then perhaps you and your wife should consider a move out of that diocese to protect your innocent children. It would not be a good move to begin attending a Catholic “church” that is not in communion with Rome. The best thing to do is get into a diocese where the bishop demands orthodox teachings from all the parishes, both those that offer the OF Mass and those that offer the EF Mass.

But first, make sure that the teachings and practices that you are labelling “un-orthodox” are TRULY unorthodox. E.g., a lot of traditionalists rant against Communion in the hand, but the truth is that in 2012 in the United States, bishops have the right to allow Communion in the hand.

If you are constantly picking apart things in the parish that you don’t personally agree with, this will hurt your children’s faith and put them at great risk for attrition once they are old enough to depart. After all, if Dad never thought much of Church, why should they?

That sound a bit to me like a teaching method using or derived from the Montessori method. It is best respected as a teaching method in the preschool age bracket. however it does offer programmes up through high school.

I am not a teacher, but I suspect the following:

  1. preparation for 1st Holy Communion, including preparation for recieving the Sacrament Of Pennance requires some fundamental understanding of right and wrong as it applies to children of that age. - If these children hav an appropriate level of such understanding from their parents then the Montesori method could be beneficial.
  2. When preparing to receive these sacraments it is required that you understand what they are, and how to receive them in a proper and respectful manner. - That is hard fact. Hard facts are alien to the Montesori method and it should therefore not be used for teaching this.
  3. Morality can be usefully explored in a “no wrong answers” method, which explores feelings , but such methods must then be followed up with a clear statement of the Truth in an authoritative and accessible manner. Such a summary would be prohibited by the classical Montessori method.

Centralised guidance on exactly what the curriculum for such preparation classes is hard to come by, and some several national bishops conferences have authorized some very dubious and criticized programmes. - I dont know what the rules are in your diocese.

No, this comes as no surprise. The program “Come Join Us at the Table” that we use for First Communion (and for Confirmation for the 9 years that we celebrated both together) preparation in our parish is a family-based process that involves the parents and the children together. The parents are expected to be there as were the Confirmation sponsors if it was possible.

That process takes into consideration the fact that the parents are the primary catechists of their children. Parents, in turn, are able to deepen their understanding of sacramental and liturgical language as they follow the rhythm of the liturgical seasons. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve heard parents say “I never knew that!” or “Now, I understand. I never got that before.”

Make sure that your son understands that he can receive Holy Communion with the hand or with the tongue, that it is entirely his own preference and decision. It is your obligation to teach this truth of the Church to your son.

[Here’s a proper fix to your erroneous title:

“What’s a Catholic doing at your typical Catholic-type First Communion catechism classes? Help!”]

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