Why doesn't the Catholic Church catechize its members??

This is virtually the only criticism i have of the Church… it doesn’t teach its members the Faith…

Then we wonder why those outside the Church don’t get Catholicism right… when most of those inside don’t know it well themselves…

It seems the Church is getting rid of more & more Catholic schools… something even non-Catholics don’t like because they like to send their children there to LEARN… even if thye have no intention of becoming Catholic…

There are no Catholic orphanages anymore, no unwed mothers’ homes… that i know of…

something really awful is going on here…

and it is causing many, many people to sin… and as we all know, sin leads to Hell - or long stays in excrucitating Purgatory…

sometimes it seems the RCC doesn’t care (generally speaking)… :frowning:

I used to feel the same way.

No more, though. Education is a two-way street.

Trouble in catechesis could be attributed by consequence to the trouble in the seminaries after Vatican II, which led to a more liberal clergy which de-emphasized the traditional Catholic faith.

But it’s not fair to blame everything on priests. Everyone has an obligation to share their faith. The Church does not consist only of the clergy, but of the laity as well. Everyone needs to do their part.

Boy, ain’t that the truth. I’m a public school teacher, and the saying, “you can lead a horse to water…” really applies.

Originally Posted by distracted
This is virtually the only criticism i have of the Church… it doesn’t teach its members the Faith…

Then we wonder why those outside the Church don’t get Catholicism right… when most of those inside don’t know it well themselves…

It seems the Church is getting rid of more & more Catholic schools… something even non-Catholics don’t like because they like to send their children there to LEARN… even if thye have no intention of becoming Catholic…

There are no Catholic orphanages anymore, no unwed mothers’ homes… that i know of…

something really awful is going on here…

and it is causing many, many people to sin… and as we all know, sin leads to Hell - or long stays in excrucitating Purgatory…

sometimes it seems the RCC doesn’t care (generally speaking)…

Perhaps misery loves company, but there are times I feel the same way about Lutheran catechesis. I also know that when parents and godparents bring a child for baptism, they promise to bring that child up in the faith, which means more than going to church every Christmas and Easter. We may feel like our respective communions aren’t doing as much as they can, but I think the bigger finger should be pointed at those of us who are parents and aren’t living up to our promise to Christ and our children.


I feel the same way. I got involved as a catechist for seven years. I believe I did some good. We had DRE that was really anti-magisterium however. It went so far as:

  • She, the DRE, leading the catechists several times in a spiritual exercise where everyone had to chant “Om Nama Shiviya, …”. this literally means, I bow to the god of shiva.
  • She made scandalous statements toward Pope John Paul the Great, and Pope Benedict XVI in religious education board meetings

I could go on with a long list of incredible stories, but we all have them to tell. I did my best during those seven years, to just patiently shine the light of truth. This is my first year not teaching in the CCD, or PREP program. I needed a break - only temporary.

Our pastor has similar behavior. He routinely denies gospel miracles during the homily. He threatened a rebellion against the pope just after Easter last year ('08).

I have spoken with many priests in the diocese about what goes on in our parish. I get surprised responses but little help. I called the vocation office last week to ask about credentials to become a DRE. I was asked to stay involved as much as possible to help manage the damage others are doing in this day and age. This is the key. It will not last much longer.

I believe most of this chaos is normal just after a church council. As time expands between now and Vatican-II, we will see better results. I am a big proponent of Vatican-II. I just believe it caused a temporary state of confusion in the church.

I recommend we stay involved as the first priority. Keep learning the faith with EWTN, Catholic Radio, and other solidly catholic media such as Envoy magazine, and this website. Let’s help those around us with their formation also. I am trying, for example, to start a prayer group in our parish. The day is coming when we will really make a difference.

Till then, know that a lack of teaching by the pastor or DRE may be a good thing. :smiley:

I would argue that the Catholic Church does catechize its members…my question would be why don’t the faithful listen? Why do the faithful decide it is a pick and chose faith?

First off, ~ it is the primary role of the parents to catechize the children…not the Church. I can quote you numerous Church documents the place the parents as the first educators of their children…and only the parents. I have never come across an official Church document that says it is the Church’s role to be the primary educator of the child. The role of the Church is merely to support the parents and be resources for them. It is the parents and family where the faith is to be taught. We have all come from families…so none of us is exempt from this first and primary “school” of catechesis. Our faith ought to have been passed on to us within our family ~ the “Domestic Church” or Church of the Home (Ecclesia domestica) (CCC 1655-1658). Was it? Many will say no.

In addition, whether we “like” our pastors or not…their homilies are catechetical in nature every week…and if we cannot “hear” the message…at the very least…the Gospel message itself is forming our faith every week.

There are numerous weekly reliable newspapers that will form our faith, periodicals, magazines, trustworthy publishing companies that we can increase our own knowledge on our own time, and exceptional web sites we can use.

Now all that being said…as a Director of Faith formation in a parish…could we do more? Always…however we can only do as much as parents are willing to reinforce and sustain within their own family lives. As an adult ~ if you are not being fed by your “Church” you need to seek out ways on your own to fill your desire for “more.”

I may just be tired of hearing it is the "Church’s fault for the faithful for being “uncatechetized”…maybe it is time for the faithful to stop pointing the finger at the Church and take some responsibility for the problem. I am not saying all I am only saying*** some***.

If we meet half way perhaps this ongoing arguement will cease to be!

Actually I would argue otherwise, especially in regards to the younger generation. I’m 15 and in the Catholic School System, and I think it’s fair to say that most people there have learned virtually nothing about the faith in spite of the mandatory “Christian Education” class. In three years we’ve only covered Genesis, the Gospels (badly), and they’ve tried to teach us common sense things we already know regarding conscience and morality. I’ve talked to others about it, and they agree with me that Catholic Education should be more like “this is what we believe and why,” almost like it were a course in apologetics.

Believe me–I’ve learned more from reading Wikipedia articles on Catholic topics that what they’ve taught me over the course of three years. It’s actually kind of sad.

I know what you mean. It is hard to be true to the faith when you have people in leadership roles opposing it all around you. Chin up though the tide is turning. In my Parish we are at a point that something must be done about the school enrollment is down and cost are up. AS much as I would not want to close the school it may come to that. But as other here have said parents/and in the home is were the child needs to be feed the most and bases of the faith and it formation.

In today’s world there is no limit on being able to get the information to any question that might arise even if you can not get to a good and faithful Priest.

I believe it was his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI that said we become a smaller church but we will be a stronger Church. As another on here has said there has always been a period of unrest following a council. things are settling down I am in my 40’s and those my age and younger and especially the teens today have a passion for the heritage that the faith gives us and a fire burning in them. I see every day more and more old traditionally customs returning as few weeks ago I looked ove during mass and there was a Lady i would say in her 30’s with a veil on her head and this at a OF Mass in and Parish that does not offer an EF Mass. So anything is possible.

I agree with conder. We are taught the basics and we are called to dive deeper into the faith. We must not act like babies who need help in everything, but use our adulthood to seek out the truth. And Catholic children are greatly catechized - first by their parents, second by their religious teachers, and third by the lives of the saints. But if the parents fail in their duties, or if the teachers fail, than it is them to blame, not the Catholic Church.

=puzzleannie;5322133][since catechetics is my profession and ministry, I consider OP’s criticism to be directed to those like me, so we would really benefit from your suggestions on how to improve the situation. May I ask, if OP wants to share, are you involved in catechetical ministry in your parish or diocese? If not, why not?

Isn’t it rule #1 of group membership: “Never complain about the size of the hole without your shovel in your hand.” :wink:


The opportunities for Catechesis in the Catholic faith are virtually endless. There are summer camps, there are Catholic schools, there are Youth Groups, there are Sacramental Preparation programs, Bible study groups, Rosary groups, Charismatic prayer groups, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League, the Monahans, marriage preparation classes, Baptismal preparation classes, etc. and none of these things are hiding away in corners - most of them are mandatory for parishes and Dioceses to offer them at least somewhere within driving distance, if not in every parish. On top of that, there are Catholic seminaries retreat centres, and colleges all over the place.

On top of that, we have so much programming on the Internet and on television - Salt and Light television, EWTN, Catholic Answers, Catholics Online, and many, many more. Hundreds of really good books to read, as well.

I think I’d want to rephrase the question and ask, "Why are people starving their minds to death from lack of knowledge, in a veritable Garden of Eden of books, and classes, and seminars? What is preventing them from taking advantage of the opportunities that abound all around them? It’s like seeing a hobo sitting under a fully loaded, ripe fruit tree, next to a clean rushing stream of water, and starve to death, because he can’t reach out his hand for what is right there, free for the taking.

it it isn’t it should be

I prepared a flyer a few years ago listing opportunities for adult education in the faith available in our parish and deanery, and a 2 or 3 line description of each filled both sides of the paper in 12 point type. any of those classes, bible studies etc. however is considered a resounding success of attendance reaches double digits. Do we blame THE CHURCH, the parish, the pastor, the dre, or who? for poor participation.

The Church isn’t “getting rid” of Catholic schools. Many Catholic schools are closing due to low enrollment. Parents are not putting as much value on strong teaching in the faith as they do to having their kids go to a school with competitive sports teams. Our diocese closed one high school last year. It was built for over 400 students and had about 150 at the time they finally decided to close it. The only schools that are full are those that downplay thier Catholicism and appeal to those parents who are mainly looking for a good private school.

There are no Catholic orphanages anymore, no unwed mothers’ homes… that i know of…

I contribute to at least one home for unwed mothers. Fortunately, the public stigma of unwed pregnancy isn’t as bad as it used to be and unwed mothers don’t have to be hidden away. The are many more groups that help unwed mothers but do so in their own homes and communities.

From Wikipedia:

Catholic Relief Services provides assistance to 120 orphanages with 9,000 children in the West, South, Southeast and Grand Anse

and that’s just in Haiti!!! In the US, the paucity of orphanages has little to do with the Church. Child agencies handle parentless children much differntly than they did even a few decades ago. They don’t terminate parental rights easily and almost always look for foster parents instead of institutional placement.

something really awful is going on here…

and it is causing many, many people to sin… and as we all know, sin leads to Hell - or long stays in excrucitating Purgatory…

sometimes it seems the RCC doesn’t care (generally speaking)

As for Catecesis, there is something awful going on but the Church is trying. Our diocese offers tons of classes for adults They are offered days, nights and weekends in locations throughout the diocese. Hardly anyone signs up for them. I am one of one 2 certified catechists in my parish. Most of the others haven’t taken a single class towards certification. We have an awesome Catholic Bible study which ties scripture into Catholic teaching and have 6 people who attend. Ours is a small parish but I used to go to a bible study at a parish with over 4000 families. The Bible study there had more people - a whole 15.

My own pastor does a great job of including catechesis in his homilies but less than 1/3 of the registered famiies go to Mass on any given Sunday and even less than that bring thier children.

You can lead a horse to water… The Church, locally and internationally has lots of resources to teach the faithful but if people don’t come or send thier kids, how can she force them?

Our parish is starting the “Why Catholic” program to teach the Catechism to our parishioners and anyone else that wants to attend. Wehave a huge banner in front of the Church inviting everyone to come. I will be one of the facilitator leaders.
I hope we have a good amount of people to take advantage of this.

Again, I refer you to CCC 1655-1658 ~ the “Church” does not hold the primary responsibility for “teaching” you in regards to matter of faith and morals…it is your parents. Read the Catechism paragraphs I have suggested.

This is the greatest problem in catechesis of our Catholic faith…people believe it is the “Church’s” responsibilities…when in fact is the responsibility of the parents…you will not find a single Church document that says it is the “Church” that is responsible. The official Church says repeatedly it is the responsibility of the parents to pass on faith and morals to the child.

So if we are upset that the faithful today are not informed of matter of faith…we have to look to the family and not the Church…let’s be honest here.

We must remember there are several levels of the Catholic Church when it comes to “teaching.”

The most fundamental level is the Domestic Church (CCC 1655-1658). It is the original “Church” of our faith because it is where Jesus Himself was born and raised. Then we have the Church of our parish…the Church of our Diocese…the Church of our Archdiocese…the Universal Church…all of these have a responsibility to “teach” us. However, the primary and foundational responsibility comes where Jesus Himself was taught (according to the CCC itself and the Holy Scripture and Holy Traditions itself) within the Domestic Church…the family.

We often blame the parish Church…the Diocesan Church and the Universal Church for the lack of teaching…when in reality those have probability given us more teachings than we have listened to or read. I believe the real lack of teaching about our faith comes in the failure within the family.

I may be willing to agree the parish Church could be weak in teaching and perhaps some Diocesan Churches…however the Universal Church makes up for all of any of those.

Therefore, I stand firm…any Catholic who wishes to be fully catechized…can be if they desire!

Just a few of things:

  1. If people of all ages are NOT taking advantage of whatever educational programs are available at the parish level, it’s not the fault of the priests and bishops.

There are all sorts of good instructional books and sites on line (and some ****, too I’ll admit). If people are not willing to do some study and homework on their own, it shows their priorities.

  1. The whole system of orphanages, whether religious or secular, has been replaced by foster care.

As far as homes for unwed mothers, who do you think is responsible for most crisis pregnancy centers?

The stigma of unwed motherhood has, for the most part, disappeared.

If you want something with more guts to it, ask for it. Your teacher probably thinks that what she’s giving you is all you’re capable of handling. (Even though in previous generations, kids your age had already memorized the whole Baltimore Catechism and were moving on to Theology and Philosophy classes.) Let her know that you’d like a bit more of a challenge.

People have to want the Faith. that is the bottom line. I was born and baptized in the Church My parents divorced when I was four years old. I stayed with my father who reverted back to his Protestant upbringing other than one or 2 weekends a month with my mother never went to Mass. At age nine I joined the Baptist and at age 12 I on my own converted back to the Catholic Church. I went to public schools and what i have learned about the faith is from my own private study and asking question. I had a really good Priest that taught my privately for my first communion and confirmation. then it was up to me to make the effort to go were the knowledge was ans ask for it. It all there all one has to do is ask.

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