Where is the religious instruction?

“Sixteen college freshmen, most of them Catholic in one way or another; and not one of them could recall, “Woman, behold your son.””

In some ways, it seems, an illiterate peasant of the Middle Ages might have been more religiously literate than a college freshman today.

Anthony Esolen contemplates the fate of religious instruction here.

Sadly, he’s all too right. :frowning:

Wow, he sums up the situation of college youth quite well. And as a disclaimer, I am a college sophomore.

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:

26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)

In the students’ defense, John 19:26-27 is not typically read at any Sunday Mass or any other holy-day-of-obligation Mass. Even a daily Mass attendee might never hear it read, as it is but one of two possible Gospel readings for September 15, the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

True, but I rather think the point is that the students aren’t receiving the kind of religious education they ought to be getting/they deserve as Catholics. Religious Ed ought to include more than they may have heard read at Mass–a lot more than that. :slight_smile:

They’d have to show up to class though. THAT is was is not happening. People don’t enroll their kids. Soccer and cheerleading is way more important. :rolleyes:

It begins with the domestic Church, doesn’t it? Of course, their parents were the children of the 60’s and 70’s whose parishes, all too often, taught them “all we need is love” ala the Beatles, instead of the truths of the faith. It’s no wonder they don’t see religious education as necessary.

You left out the burlap banners. Lots of burlap banners.

:rotfl: Yeah, I forgot about those. :stuck_out_tongue:

It is read every single Good Friday. Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, true, and not a public holiday at least in some parts of the US, but few Catholics would literally never in their lives have been to a Good Friday service. Nor would many Catholics have literally never heard St John’s account of the Passion, which is used in many contexts outside Mass such as in movies about Christ’s life and so on.

Many priests in my experience will also reference the verse when discussing Mary in the context of other biblical texts and Church feasts, such as the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, Mary the Mother of God (which is obligatory in the US) and so on.

Well, they don’t even think attending Mas sis necessary. You can hardly blame that on their upbringing. People just don’t care. And they all think their kids will excel at something else and get a scholarship.

But why don’t they think attending Mass is necessary? Because they weren’t taught that it is necessary. The milk toast kind of teachings these parents received isn’t sufficient to stand up against the onslaught of the secular culture in which we live. So, of course all they care about is their children exceling in some secular pursuit–that’s where the money and the glory are, as far as they’re concerned. I don’t fault the lay people who taught them nothing but love, love, love (whatever that was supposed to mean), but those who were in charge of RE at the time and the priests and religious who ran RE instruction, who themselves thought all people needed to hear was to love one another, forgetting that they had a good theological background on which to draw, but those they were teaching did not.

As late as the 90’s I was given material to teach junior high students that was pure nonsense and didn’t have a scrap of real Church teaching in it–nothing that would stand them in good stead as adults–something they could remember when needed.

Good RE has to start early and it has to be solid teaching, not just “be nice” to one another kind of stuff. As an RE person you know this. But the damage has been done. The parents cannot give their kids what they don’t have themselves–neither the proper teaching, nor the desire to know it, cherish, and live it. We have a lot of catching up to do. It could take several generations before people will once again take teaching their kids actual Church teachings/precepts as important/necessary.

I think the article is quite on point.

hmmm, just checked with my college freshman, and she got it, nice generalization though.

Yes, the change in religious instruction and religious textbooks seemed to be quite sudden. I don’t recall the year, but I was teaching CCD/PSR at the time. One year there was a change in textbooks. We went from a solidly doctrinal text to one that was mushy and confusing. I talked to a bishop once who said he had no good religious education until seminary, where someone finally explained the Real Presence among other things.

Another factor is that homilies no longer are teaching tools. In my pre-conciliar youth there were heavily doctrinal and teaching sermons. Now, the homily is supposed to focus on explaining the readings. So people who didn’t learn doctrine in religious ed will not learn it in church either.

If you are a faithful-knowledgeable Catholic, be a catechist.

If only it were that simple. Parish catechists do not make up their own curriculum. They have to teach from the materials the parish RE chooses, and that can be quite dicey.

But shouldn’t we all take it upon ourselves to seek out scripture literacy. it seems regular readings should be a habit supported with sound guidance. The bible is the most exceptional book ever made available in English. I cant imagine one could consider themselves educated at all if they haven’t read the gospels. also, moms and dads are the primary defense in catechesis. thats something we need to take responsibility for as parents

I must say, this conversation is very familiar in my evangelical background. As a former youth Pastor, it seems to me that the issue of poor catechesis is a cultural stronghold. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of wickedness in heavenly places.” I presume we all recognize that quote. For me, a big part of why I learned to care a lot about scriptural literacy was because my dad demonstrated it to me. His bible was worn out. He also brought me along for communal prayer and worship in a way that it was more like including me instead of dragging me. I still remember the first time he invited me to a midweek bible study. “Do you want to come with me?” I was too young to follow along the subject, but I understood that I was being included. We were exercising our faith–me and my dad together. He also surprised me with a 15 cent milky way afterword. It wasn’t a bribe; it was sharing a treat together. That builds a bond. When we got to a certain age, my dad took me and my brother to a christian book store and bought us each bibles. I remember it distinctly that the bible he bought me was in a similar style as his. It was the same translation too. There is something about mentoring here because somehow the way he did it, It seemed like a rite of passage. I wore out the new testament portion before I was 13. When I left for college, I had a new copy, but I kept the old one for a long time until it literally fell apart.

I have three bibles in my semi truck with me. I admit its a bit excessive, but… its the most awesome book you ever heard of!!! one of them was given me my dad. its an unusual translation that helps get a different angle on a language I don’t speak. I also have a King James (I know, not very catholic but still a pretty good translation) and I have a Reina Valera my wife bought me. I hope my kids love scripture as much as their grandpa.

Young children are inclined to find joy in the things their parents sincerely love. If we want young people to know and love scripture and doctrine, we have to be “poster child” adults who love the word in word and deed. If we act like scripture doesn’t mean much to us or that the community of faith is a drudge, they will not want to join us–why would they?

:amen:, Mammoths.

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