What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity.

                          Pope St. John Paul II


Boston Catholic Journal

I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.

                          Pope Benedict XVI

 

Suggested Reading:


The Problem
of Evil

The Problem of Evil: Exonerating God

Exonerating God


CCD

CCD: Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

Crisis in
Catholic Doctrine:

the Grave State of Religious Education in America


Boston Catholic Journal

Write us:

editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

Boston Catholic Journal
PO Box 80171
Stoneham, MA 02180 US
 


 

Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

The Death of CCD and the Grave State of Religious Education

The Grave State
of Religious Education in America

"What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not
know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but has in great part lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity."  
Pope John Paul II January 26, 2004

 

Your child is in the 10th grade, the 10th year of Religious Education — and does not know Who God is, what the Church is, and why either should have any impact or influence on their lives. Except for their Baptism in Christ and their First (and probably last) Holy Communion — the significance of which they know nothing — they are effectively pagans. This sounds harsh. It is meant to be. We need to be shaken out of our indifference and awoken from our illusions.

Our children — your children — do not know their Catholic Faith. In fact, most of them do not even know God.

And they are in the 10th grade of Religious Education. Think on that for a moment.

They have already had nine years — 9 years — of something dubiously dubbed, "Religious Education".

In less than a year they will make their Confirmation, which is to say, they will publicly "confirm" their belief in a God they do not know and ritually assent to the teachings of the Church ... of which they know nothing.

We will congratulate them and shower them with money and gifts, and tell them how proud we are of them. They will wear caps and gowns, as befitting graduates of some form of learning, and be absolutely clueless as they stand before the Bishop who would not dare embarrass himself or them by asking them the most basic question about what — in this defining moment — they are assenting to, what they are standing in Confirmation of — fully aware that, with rare exception, the student will be unable to answer.

This is not the sad state of CCD today — or as we more disingenuously call it now, "Religious Education". It is the dismal and utterly reprehensible state of Catholic Religious Education everywhere in America, and likely elsewhere, for the past 50 years.


Warm Bodies

"How can this be?", you ask.

It is stunningly simple: students know little or nothing about God and the Church because, by and large, their teachers know little or nothing about God and the Church. Religious Education north of Boston is the only venue of formal education in the world in which the recruitment process for teachers has two criteria only: a warm body and a willingness to teach what one does not know.

There is no formal training for a Catechist. Not in this "faith community" (the awkward New Age neologism for the apparently now defunct, "Church" or "Parish") in this small town just North of Boston — and very likely not in America at large. The "DRE", as they prefer to be called, or "Directors of Religious Education" do not question the prospective Catechist in any way pertaining to his or her grasp, knowledge, or understanding of the Faith that they will be teaching. If the candidate can read, they are qualified to teach. Period. There are no such things as "competencies", no courses, no required readings, no demonstrable qualifications.

To fully grasp the egregious nature of this absurdity, try to imagine your local school hiring a teacher of Ancient History who never studied it, does not know Homer, Thucydides, or Virgil, nothing of the culture and politics of Classical Greece or Rome — but who has sufficient visual acuity to read the text of The Iliad or the Aeneid. The only credentials required for the position are a warm body and a willingness to teach something of which the candidate knows little or nothing. This absurd disproportion is not likely to inspire confidence in parents. But it does in DREs ...


The first thing to grasp is that, in many parishes, the DRE is a "Professional Catholic"
— not in the way that, say, a Catholic physician is said to be a "Professional Catholic" — a practicing Catholic who is in "one of the secular professions". "DRE"s are "professional Catholics" in another way. That is to say, they are paid Catholics who are paid to teach Catholicism through unpaid Catechists. Catholicism is not just presumably their Faith, but their livelihood, their living, their income — in a word, it is their "job". The DRE typically — and most often defectively — knows her faith, and is selling it to the highest bidder. The Catechist, hopefully learning as he or she is teaching, at least follows the injunction of Christ Himself: "Freely you have received; freely give." For all their admirable charity, many, regrettably, have little to give because they themselves were not taught by their Catechists who had, in turn, been given little — or much that was counterfeit — by their Catechists.

Before the decimation of the teaching Orders of Sisters — and vocations in general — following the Second Vatican Council, our children were taught their Catechism by Nuns (Sisters, really) who were unpaid consecrated women who taught with a passionate conviction not only what they knew well, but, by and large, lived well. This had been the case almost universally until the confluence of Vatican II and the anti-culture of the 1960's. It was a climate saturated with permissiveness, and a clamoring not so much for freedom as for license. Any notion of "authority" and anything less hedonistic than what verged on euphoria became synonymous with "repression" — ecclesiastical, civil, moral, and sexual. As the doors — behind which incense and silence had stirred for 2000 years — were flung open, the miasma — and the animosity — of the world rushed in. The vocations — unable to accommodate this inimical influx — either rushed out or were systematically driven out. Social manifestos replaced religious evangels; the Realpolitik of man became the summum bonum, the greatest good, not the salvation of his immortal soul — a quaint and at best, anachronistic notion effectively abolished by the now socially enlightened masses.

It was at this point that the great teaching orders of Religious Sisters either evolved into, or were subsequently replaced in toto by the Professional Catholic, the Catholic for whom Catholicism became a profession, not of faith, but of emolument. Much like the Sophists of Classical Greece (the great antagonists of Socrates) who "sold" their wisdom and made a handsome living off it (ever proving themselves clever, but never wise), today we confront the Professional Catholic who sells Catholicism for a living, and with a vested interest in what is sold because it redounds to their wages. That the goods they sell are shoddy and defective is of no concern to them. They have a captive market: every Catholic with children must pay them each and every year for ten years. Not bad work if you can get it ...

It is true that St. Paul said that "the workman is worth his wages", but it remains equally true that St. Paul sewed tents — not Christianity — for a living. The DRE, you must understand, does not sew tents.

 

Alternative Methodologies

One DRE north of Boston appears convinced that the way to reach the children is not through tiresome doctrine, text and study (as, for example, Jewish children learn their faith), but through the oxymoron called "Christian Rock and Roll" (the term, "Rock and Roll", we will remember, derives from the bodily movements associated with copulation) to which she herself sprightly dances in her office. She is not alone. The "Ministers of Music" (among the many "Ministers of this and that" which proliferate throughout the "Faith Community" and within the "Worshipping Spaces" — neologisms for Church, pew and Altar respectively — have even brought in drums complete with trap sets to punctuate the Mysteries of the Mass. It appears to be a mind-set that prevails among those employed by the Church as "Professional Catholics".

And yet the numbers of the young who appear at Mass (especially those unaccompanied by a parent) continue to diminish. Given the failure of "Religious Education" through what can only be loosely construed as formal and textual instruction, is "Rock and Roll" really the inducement our children need? Will syncopation suffice where formal instruction does not? Can we "Rock and Roll" our children to God through "Christian Rockers"? After 9 years of "formal" instruction with so dismal a result, perhaps another, some alternative, non-textual pedagogical avenue is open? Perhaps the new evangelizers are not the Catechists (if ever they were), but the musicians, the "Rock and Roll" Catholics?

Piqued by this, I began to ask around — first my own children, and then their acquaintances.

"Can you please tell me the name of a Christian "Rock and Roll" group?

"No."

"How about a Christian "Rock and Roll" artist?" "Mmmmm ... no.

"Well, what about the music at Mass?" Their eyes roll and they giggle.

This is cause for uneasiness.


"No Child Left Behind ..."

It is also why children can pass through 9 years of "Religious "Education", end up in the 10th grade preparing for Confirmation — and not know God and what He expects of them, or the most basic precepts of the Church to which they will formally ... and obliviously ... bind themselves.

It is also why no one fails "Religious Education". There is no "staying back". The bindings of the Bibles given the students remain unbroken, as well as their Newer-Age Catechisms-of-sorts. The queue leading to the Bishop is always as long as the year before.

Why are there so few young Catholics at Mass? To begin with, no one has taught them even the simplest and most basic Catholic precept: that attendance at Mass on Sunday is obligatory — even if you are oblivious to why you are there.


Not a Member of the Better Business Bureau

But you have paid to have them your children taught their religion. It is you who drive them to "CCD"— and it is you who go back to pick them up. Cash and carry ... So why are they — your childrenas oblivious to the Faith — as you are ... too?

"I have paid the tuition, you complain — and the return on my investment is total ignorance?

In the world of business, had you paid that money for a product — and received in the mail an empty envelope in return, you would call the owner of that business a con-man, a "rip-off". But for the next 8 years you continue to buy "the product" and receive an empty envelope. Who is the fool?

I encourage you to ask your DRE: "Why does my child not know God?"

The Church has ever taught that we, as parents, are our children's' primary teacher — and we have failed. It is an uncomfortable truth.

Ask your DRE why she has, too ... if only to know where your money is going, and why. If you do not receive a satisfactory answer —and you will not  — acknowledge that you have been a fool and demand a refund, as is reasonable and just. But be advised: you cannot call the Better Business Bureau and tell them that you have been scammed. Still less can you call the Chancery, or the Bishop. The BBB will at least reply to your letter. The Chancery will just "push the empty envelope", and in the unlikely case that they do reply, they will most likely tell you that the Bishop deems your "CCD" program an outstanding model of religious education, and that he personally holds the pastor and DRE in the highest regard."

In truth — at least here in Boston — Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley is as clueless of the reality of "Religious Education" as your children are of their Faith.
 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal


 

   Printable PDF Version
 


 

Comments submitted on this Article:  

Please write us and tell us what you think: editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

Dear Editor,

Hello from Santa Paula, California.

I have been blessed by finding the wonderful Boston Catholic Journal website and greatly enjoy your articles. I would like to offer a hopeful response to the November article "Religious Education in America." I live in Ventura County, California, which is very much a biracial community - Caucasians and Latinos (particularly Mexicans). This community provides interesting contrasts in religious education and practice. What you have described in religious education I most certainly see in the dominantly Caucasian churches of the county - a strange watered down mix of new age, populist, and pop culture "theology." These churches have bands during Mass, gongs in middle of the church, and tend to regard the Eucharist as symbolic. The Latino churches stand in sharp contrast: youth attendance is high, people of all ages still take the Eucharist on the tongue, many women still cover their heads, NO ONE leaves early during mass, and either Sisters or students from St. Thomas Aquinas college perform religious education. I am a man in the middle of two cultures: biracial Irish and Mexican. I have lived this contrast, wandering the area for several years trying to find a church that has not abandoned 2000 years of rich Catholic tradition and culture. It was truly a very despairing period in my life and I almost gave up. Fortunately, I have found most of these traditions alive and well in Latino churches and I finally feel like a whole Catholic again. This shouldn't be too surprising as with Mexicans, there is no line between Mexican culture and Catholic culture. To be Mexican is to essentially be Catholic. While forces of secularism have often split our religious and ethnic identities in White America, these forces have been largely unsuccessful with Latinos in the Americas. Most likely, all this is a function of socioeconomics and materialism. When you look at it that way, it is not surprising that White America has grown, fat, lazy, and arrogant due to high standards of living, with all of this affecting religious practices and education. The faithful and traditional Catholic Christians (generally speaking) continue to be the poor, working class, and politically disadvantaged - those closest to Christ. So through Him, it is these communities that may prove to be the salvation of religious education and tradition in Catholic America...but we'll have to swallow our pride first!
 

May the peace of Christ be with you,

Jason Miller


Editor's Response:

Dear Dr. Miller,

Thank you for your kind and extremely perceptive letter. We share in your anguish, and equally share in your hope that the burgeoning Latino community in America will bring with it — and resolutely maintain — its strong and authentic Catholic identity. May it be the leaven needed in in this self-indulgent Anglo-Saxon society that has, as you correctly observed, become complacent and to a large extent spiritually bankrupt and liturgically corrupt. It remains to be seen if the promise of affluence at the cost of its Catholic identity will prevail — or if that that genuine Catholic impulse historically prevalent in the Latino community, that indefeasible identity that is inseparable, even inalienable from 2000 years of Catholicism, will overcome the increasingly defined "American Catholic Church" that has made God in man's image ...
 

 


Dear Editor,

I read your latest article on religious education in American with sense of sadness that yes, I too, have been there as a parent and as a former DRE. During the 70's I began to see what has been referred to as the "cookie, kool-aid and sweet Jesus" times. My own children were in elementary school and attended CCD classes. Our DRE was a sister with pierced ears, polished nails, and pink lips. I do not mean any personal disrespect, but we as parents and teachers were urged to the point of being pushed to forget the old ways and get with the new. No confession before First Communion, Confirmation, well, maybe if you really want to ...

I became so confused, disgruntled and yes, angry that I pursued my own degree in Religious Education at a Catholic university so that perhaps with God's grace I could make a difference. That DRE degree could have been the beginning of the end for me as well had God not been with me every step of the way. I was taught by adjunct professors flown in from hither, thither and yon with new agendas, their own! I heard and saw things that shocked me and scandalized those in the program who were non-Catholic. What I took from that experience besides my DRE was a determination to save the baby that was being thrown out with the bath water. Sadly, my time as a volunteer DRE in an newly organized parish was short-lived as mid-year I was called to a parish council meeting to ask why I was I teaching all of that "old Catholic stuff." In trying to defend our beliefs and actions, my assistant and I ended up having to resign or be fired.

Years later when my youngest daughter was ready for school, we made the sacrifice in distance and money to send her to a Catholic school. In her sophomore year in high school, the class watched and "critiqued" current movies. Her teacher was a sister. Now my children are married with children of their own, and they do NOT know their faith. Each one has chosen to join the denomination of their spouse. Yet, privately each one has come to me to express as best they can how much they wish they knew the Catholic faith of their family.

It is now much later and my sister is experiencing a crisis in faith for so many of the same reasons as were alive and well in the late 60's and 70's. She also attended CCD classes and has had nothing since ~ not for the lack of searching. In my own parish we listen to the paid, professional band, sit for the entire Mass (no kneelers in church) and the homilies revolve around the sports world. My heart aches for the truths of our faith that were tossed out the door along with the communion rails, statues, prie-dieus and holy water fonts.

I do not have specific answers for this growing cancer of secularism in Holy Mother Church, especially here in the United States. At this time in my own life, it is prayer. Active participation in parish life is needed, but how can one get a foot in the door if one has a rosary in hand? I do think that with the growing Hispanic population some reverence and respect for our beautiful Catholic faith will return. However, how can the younger generation of even the devout Hispanics escape this secular society and the laxity in the practice of our faith? There are dark moments when I fear we have come too far, and I ask why are prayer and penance the foreign language we do not understand?

In closing I would like to pose this thought although it is not mine alone. A friend of mine suggested that much of the dilemma in the Church in the US is a result of disobedience. We don't like to obey; it goes against our own will, rubs us the wrong way, how dare anyone tell us what to do......and yet He was obedient unto death, death on a cross for you, for me. With prayer, penance and obedience ... and the mercy of God perhaps, just perhaps, we will live to see our faith rightfully restored and preserved.
 

a former "DRE"


Dear Editor,


We live in a small South Texas town with about 300-400 families in our parish. What you described in your article seems to mirror our parish; "a warm body and a willingness to teach". Our recruiting systems is a signup sheet on the bulletin board in the church. There's no requirements regarding qualifications with the exception of required certification training which nobody attends. Lets say, there's no enforcement where if you don't become certified you don't teach. Therefore, we have well meaing people that are ignorant of their faith teaching the children. The teaching curriculum is never reviewed or updated. I am told it would be too expensive to make any changes that would require a newer, updated curriculum. We must pinch pennies in order to pay off the parish's new community/basketball center. I've never known of or seen where the teachers are monitored to see what they're teaching the children. If a parent were to complain they'd be "gilt tripped" into shutting up by being told "if you don't like it then why don't you teach?"

We've had a few DREs that were run out of their jobs because of a small crowd of "other ethnic origin" that wanted only a person who was bilingual and wouldn't follow church rules. Of course they never tried to become trained for the position when the courses were offered and definitely didn't know anything about their faith. Now the church secretary is running the operation among all the other duties she does. In some classes there's about 30-40 students in the class room with one teacher; what a hoot, how can anything be taught here? I've suggested to the Pastor that if there aren't enough teachers don't have the class. He just looks at me with a blank stare. I don't know what to make of it. We continue to pray for him....

My wife offered to provide the teacher certification courses in the parish. She's given about three now and only 4-5 people show up. I don't mean to sound so negative but, this is the reality of it. My wife and I have taught high school R.E. for over 20 years and we always have to begin with the basics (i.e., who is God, why are you here, etc)It's most perplexing to observe clueless children when one wonders what are the parents doing with their children since they are the first teachers of the faith. Of course some think its the church's duty to be the primary faith teacher just like they think its the local school's job to teach their children discipline among other subjects. I've worked in law enforcement for over 12 years and am now retired but I remember parents giving up on their children and expecting the criminal justice system to straighten their children out after the parents failed at their jobs miserably in raising their children.

This is the reality of it and it is a sad dilemma we're in...

Mike
 


Editor's Response:

Dear Mike,

Thank you very much for your letter. We commiserate with you. The sad state of "Religious Education" in America — and very likely elsewhere in the world — is a reflection of the widespread indifference of the Bishops of every diocese who, in their primary role as Teachers of the Faith, have defaulted upon it, panning it off to "Professional Catholics" — Catholics who earn their living off being Catholics. This coterie of very "progressive" and often disaffected individuals and groups within the Church are clearly more concerned with social and sexual issues than actually teaching children what is most basic, most elemental, in their faith.

We are not suggesting that the bishops teach Catechism; we are simply emphasizing the fact that bishops do not, to our knowledge, and in our experience, do anything meaningful and measurable to ensure that the true Catholic Faith (and not the personal opinions of uninformed and unqualified teachers) is in fact being taught within the Churches in their diocese. Clearly, they cannot monitor each classroom, nor can the parish priests (although they ought to make an effort). It is the DRE who is "being paid" to do the job, and like her bishop, she in turn pans it off to "unpaid" Catechists with no questions asked, no qualifications required. They get to teach their opinions, she gets to cash her check. And that is why "Johnny does not know God" in the 10th and last year of CCD or "Religious Education".

A great deal of pretension surrounds this, and there is much make-work and self-aggrandizing meetings, from the bishops Chancery down to the local DRE's office, applauding themselves on their success in the face of a sobering reality that discloses a catastrophic failure in the transmission of our Catholic Faith, a failure that has become both systematic and pandemic.

No one is going to call the DRE to account; not the bishop, not the pastor, and certainly not the "parish council". No one is asking the most blatant question: why do our children know nothing of God or of their faith after ten years of "instruction"? You, the parent, must ask your DRE why. You're paying her — and you are not getting the goods. What is worse, neither is your child.

 


Dear Editor,

My wife and I are so fed up with the way the Church is heading. All we hear is “spiritual froth”; is there someone out there with the courage and fortitude to take a stand for their faith? Don’t get me wrong, there’re some excellent priests and religious out there that lay down their lives for their people every day. We pray every day that our Pope, bless his soul, will pull in the reigns on the American Church. However, we’ve got some “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and they’re in the “hen house”.

We really need to inquire with total honesty and objectivity of ourselves as a Catholic people, are we ready to claim our identity in order to respond to the call of the Gospel, in such a way as to be real signs of the Kingdom of God. God is simply waiting for your responses.

Jesus called Nathaniel, the recliner, the prejudiced one. "- Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Nathaniel said. Nathaniel lacked openness. Nathaniel wasn't ready.

Jesus called Simon, the Zealot. Simon thought redemption required military and political force. Simon lacked nonviolence. Simon wasn't ready.

Jesus called Andrew, the cynic. "-Five loaves and two fishes! What can anyone do with that-"? Andrew said. Andrew lacked a sense of risk. Andrew wasn't ready.

Jesus called Thomas, the doubter. Thomas couldn't see beyond the obvious. Thomas lacked vision. Thomas wasn't ready.

Jesus called Judas, the realist. Judas didn't want God, Judas wanted good business practices. "-This perfume could have been sold for 300 denarii’s". Judas lacked spiritual maturity. Judas was definitely not ready.

Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector. Matthew had spent his whole life succeeding at the expense of others. Matthew lacked a sense of social sin. Matthew wasn't ready.

Jesus called Thaddeus, the realist. Thaddeus was looking for authority and official recognition but definitely not foresight. Thaddeus asks: "-Why don't you reveal yourself to the world?-" -- a loose translation would be: "-You tell them who you are. Don't leave the burden to us!-" Thaddeus lacked commitment. Thaddeus wasn't ready.

Jesus called James the Lesser, the bigot. James insisted that Christianity was only for the Jews. James had no idea whatsoever of world redemption. James lacked awareness. James wasn't ready.

Jesus called James and John, the sons of thunder. James and John were well on their way to becoming career ministers, ambitious men who wanted a good church position. James and John wanted to be bishops. James and John lacked a sense of servant hood. James and John were not ready.

Jesus called Peter, the rock. And Peter..? Peter wanted to lead the leader on his own terms. "-Don't go up to Jerusalem, Jesus-", Peter said. Peter lacked courage. Peter was not ready.


The point you see, is that Jesus doesn't call the “ready”. Jesus calls the willing. Jesus didn't call individuals as individuals. Jesus took the disciples in their personal weaknesses and made of them a powerful, -- no, an “empowering – Church.”

Are we Catholics ready, with all our sins, fears, faults, inadequacies and weaknesses willing in the light of our baptismal commitment to claim our identity and vocation?

There is a very brief story by the late Father Anthony de Mello. The story goes something like this: “Once a farmer found an eagle's egg and he put it in the nest of his backyard chickens. The egg hatched and the eaglet grew up thinking he was a chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and flopped about in the dust as chickens do. One day, he looked up into the sky and saw a great and beautiful golden bird gliding effortlessly in the clear, blue sky. He said, "What's that?" The chicken said, "That's the eagle, the king of the birds. He belongs to the sky. We're chickens, we belong to the earth". And so the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that is what he thought he was”.

Catholics, both clergy, religious and laity: Who do you say that you
are…?
 

Name Withheld by Request
 


Editor's Response:

Dear Sir,

You ask, "is there someone out there with the courage and fortitude to take a stand for their faith?"

Yes, Mike — you do! We do! Don't give up!  As Father Corapi emphatically states: "Surrender is not an option."

The "Counter-Church" within the Church is relying on the silence of the genuinely faithful who fear to speak, fear to be labeled "reactionary", "traditionalists", "backward", "not in the 'spirit of Vatican II", not "progressive"; who fear to be marginalized, criticized, and persecuted — as Jesus Christ promised every follower would be. In fact, I would venture to go so far as to say that if you are on good terms with "the world", "the parish council", "the clique" who run every Church; if you are welcomed, praised and lauded ...... you cannot possibly be following Christ. Think on that — then stand up, be heard, and fight the good fight. When you received your own Confirmation you became a Soldier of Christ — and as a Soldier you cannot leave your post, however menacing they are who encroach upon you and God's Holy Church.

You are not alone. How can you be, in that Communion of Saints that extends back 2000 years ... and to eternity? You may be surrounded by antagonists, but as St. Paul tells us, you are also "surrounded by a cloud of witnesses".
 


Praised be Jesus Christ. J+M+J

Dear Mr Editor,

I would like to express my gratitude for your courageous , inspiring and informative article entitled, "The grave state of religious life in America".As a consecrated religious residing in Europe it is of particular interest , it enables me to see and
presumably others too, both the comparisons, differences and what could become the reality here, and indeed should act as a warning to us all and be a rally for greater vigilance regarding the religious education of our young.

Some of the things that you have written about we could already identify with, but not all, could I please request that you could give on your site a succinct précis of the ' format ' of the American Catechesis, CCD is? At least on paper, in this country catechists have to take a formal training and they are accountable to their bishops.

If by the age of 13 the children have no idea of the fundamentals what actually are they learning at their classes? Or at least should I say what are the teachers filling their allotted and precious time with?

For the teachers not to be accountable is some way is a sure way of these children wandering into error, even heresy because it sounds as if the whole lesson depends entirely on the whim of the teacher his/herself.

For the children, given to us by God, entrusted to us is this really the best we can do? It speaks of apathy, affluence and a dying faith, not the Faith, by the faith of those who have the responsibility to hand down the richness and beauty of the Holy Catholic Faith.

Teaching a child how many bricks constituted the walls of Jericho, or which way the River Jordan flows does nothing to bring them into a relationship and furthermore develop a relationship with Jesus Christ , whom they should come to know as their dearest, closest, best and enduring friend.Children have a natural perception for the true and the beautiful, they also have at quite a tender age perceptions of some being beyond themselves, this is God given and our task is to nurture that.

Children and teenagers are attracted by genuine examples and witnesses of authentic holiness, by persons, religious, priests, and laity whom they perceive to be living out what they profess.

Here in Europe 'Pop Masses ' have been tried and in time found to be wanting, of course there can be , have been specific celebrations where music of the culture have been used successfully, but these are special events catering for thousands, I am thinking in particular of various Papal Masses for the young and other centres of pilgrimage. However the music has usually been tastefully chosen and well executed because of the young people who were involved obviously alive within their Christianity. But when this is applied on parish levels just to attract the young, or attract anyone it is invariably failure.

Young people can listen to pop music 7 days a week 24 hours a day, when they attend Mass they do not come with the intention of being entertained, but desperately hoping that they will find something relevant for they lives, some meaning... they want genuine spiritual experiences they want God, they have a hunger to know Jesus as their personal Saviour not band leader.

If they find Mass boring its because they do not meet Christ in the celebration.
I would consider your article to be in fact a very important one and I hope you will develop it further.

Children, teen-agers want to know how to come into contact with God, they want to know how to pray, they are as we all are seeking for love, they will only find love in a person, not in ideas. The amount of religious literature, graphics downloaded on the internet by young people is yet another proof that they are seeking and we are failing them miserably it seems. In one way, you have an answer on the Boston site, I see you have a link to Children and the Eucharist, how much we could learn from their example and this wonderful priest who leads them, to be present to Jesus totally before the Blessed Sacrament , to both know and give love.... but they can only do this if we stand up and take our responsibilities serious....when all is said and done GOD himself has entrusted this to us ... to nurture, feed and care for the young.
"let the little ones come to me "


Please ask your readers to visit Children of Hope http://www.childrenofhope.org: it is a wonderful site dedicated to leading children into the mystery of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, that they may come to realize how much he loves them! Bring your little ones here!

Thank you again for this splendid article and reading the responses from other readers I get the impression that the pain caused by it all is far more widespread than one would of initially believed, God bless you all.

I will pray that service that your website is will bear good fruit for Christ, In His Joy.


Sister Laetitia


 

Boston Catholic Journal

 

 



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The Practice of the Presence of God

by
 Brother Lawrence

Audio Files


Father Michael Schmitz

Father Mike Schmitz — Homilies

A Passion for Preaching


Pope Saint Pius X
Pray for us

Pope St. Pius X Pray for us

“I shall spare myself neither care nor labor nor vigils for the salvation of souls”

 

 

             Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome

 Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. (Apocalypse 3.8)


 

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