was a time
when Catholics knew and recognized Jesus Christ.
That it is no longer so is deeply
revealing. It reveals a spiritual malaise that is the
result of a lack of example, and a systemic failure
so deep, so broad, and so prevalent, that our children
no longer see God ... and neither do we.
What will suffice for proof? Perhaps a casual glance
in the direction of the Most Blessed
Sacrament of the Altar is a pretty
good indication. How many people walk past God (Jesus
Christ, really and truly present in the Tabernacle,
Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) without so much as
a nod, let alone a genuflection? Indeed, how many even
know that He is there? How many recognize
Few. Very few, indeed. Why is this? Why do so many people
identify themselves as Catholics without knowing
where God is — and, in fact, Who God is?
Who will dispute it? Ask a dozen Catholics leaving Mass
the following elementary questions about what
is most fundamental and central to Catholic
belief as uniquely distinguishable — that is to say,
simple tenets that distinguish Catholicism from other
and incompatible religions:
the Son (Jesus)?
the Holy Ghost?
In the Eucharist?
In the Tabernacle?
In all three
We are present at the Crucifixion of Christ
We gather at the Table of the Lord.
We eat Jesus flesh and drink His blood, literally.
We primarily engage in a Communal Meal.
All of the above.
None of the above.
Just two of the above.
(If you , too, are really uncertain, go to the
bottom of the page)
The answers that you most likely will receive will range
from stunning ignorance to patent heresy (and yes, the
notion of heresy still obtains, ecumenism notwithstanding,
not only in Catholicism but in Judaism.) Those whom
you had asked had just left Mass — some, after many,
many years — and had no clue about the most basic features
of their faith. Why is this? How can this be?
The answer is surprisingly simple: it has been a failure
in Catechesis, a catastrophic failure in teaching
the most fundamental doctrines of our faith as Catholics
to our children — just as they failed who had
taught us! That is to say, it is the result
of not one, but two entire generations that have failed
— and failed miserably — in handing on, transmitting
to future generations, the Faith of our fathers, the
authentic teachings of Holy Mother Church.
The Buck Stops Here
President Harry S. Truman kept a sign on his desk for
which he is famous, and it was a daily reminder to him
that, as President of the American people and as the
interests apart from the conflict of interests that
plagued and continue to plague the House and the Senate
... the responsibility was ultimately his. The buck
was always passed from the special interest groups to
the Representatives who passed the responsibility off
to the Senate which in turn passed the buck on to Truman.
He alone took the responsibility, and with it he took
the heat. Perhaps that is provenance of his other famous
you can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen.”
Truman was from Missouri, and if you are an American,
you understand what this means.
is synonymous with,
me! I am skeptical ...prove it!”
None of the Cardinals of the Archdiocese of Boston were
from Missouri ... O’Malley is from Ohio, Law was from
Mexico, and Medeiros from the Azores. That stubborn
practicality and low tolerance for equivocation, together
with the keen sense of responsibility to his office
and to the American people ... to make the decisions
that no one else was willing to make, and to accept
their consequences — largely characterized the
person and the Presidency of Truman ... much in the
way that the absence of these qualities and attributes
have notoriously characterized the Episcopacy of Boston.
Not one of them, in any manner of speaking, were
from Missouri ...
The point of this brief digression is that Catechesis
has failed miserably largely because our
Bishops have defaulted on their primary
responsibility as Teachers of the Faith. They are largely
involved in more pressing functionary issues:
things administrative, social, legal (especially
here in Boston, and elsewhere ...) public relations,
photo ops, etc., and appear to have no time, or simply
lack the dedication or the inclination to bring us,
or failing that, ensuring that we are brought, the authentic
Faith of our Fathers ... and are unwilling to accept
their responsibility for it. There are, after all, numberless
to deal with such
things ... many and many an eager committee to relegate
this tiresome responsibility to.
Is it really any wonder that so many Priest have adopted
as their model of pastoral leadership the role of
Master of Ceremonies at Mass, and mere advisors
to the lay leadership in their parishes — rather
than that of the preacher, pastor and prophet? From
whom did they learn such irresponsible behavior? They
have taken their cue from their Bishops, whose poor
example they sadly but brilliantly emulate. Make no
*, but form committees to make the decisions for you
— and if they do not pan out, no one can lay the responsibility
at your doorstep. In fact, you were, in a Trumanesque
sense, out of the kitchen at the time ... so to speak.
For a scandalously preponderant number of bishops, here
and abroad, the Episcopacy appears to be more a matter
of the promotion of their personality, and good copy
for the press ... rather than enacting their
primary role as
of the Faith”
and in ensuring the proper teaching of the Faith; the
dignity and responsibility for their office is so often
reduced to a perfunctory stamp of approval on some issue
or other with which they are only remotely acquainted,
but which is, for the moment, highly visible and publicly
in favor. In a word, it redounds to their notability
and good name ... both of which, deservedly, have
taken a rather bad drubbing of late.
Instead of delegating what are essentially peripheral
issues to other ecclesiastics and enacting the primary
role in which they are presumably most competent, they
have relinquished the greater for the lesser. We could
charitably attribute it to mere indolence, or even incompetence,
did it not verge on culpable neglect in their having
entrusted it to those unworthy of it,
to so many who manipulate, distort and often entirely
expunge the genuine teachings of the Church to conform
to their own largely social agenda.
They, in turn, pass this distorted doctrine on to
our children — with the Bishop's rubber
stamp of approval which they hold, and which came with
the job. After all, were they not
by him? Surely, then, he knows what they are teaching.
Or does he? It is frightening either way. If he does,
then he is complicit in the fraud. If he does not, he
is guilty of inexcusable neglect. His
after all, is
of the Faith.”
Everyone Wins but the Kids
How often a job not to our liking is palmed off to someone
else, and washing our hands of it, we gladly forget
the unsavory matter. If it prospers we take the praise,
and if it fails we plead ignorance. It is a win-win
Except for the children.
For them it is a no-win situation.
They never come to know Christ.
So what do we walk away with?
Parents, be very clear about
you do not
bring Christ to your children, it is extremely
unlikely that anyone will
We are too quick to surrender this responsibility, which
is really a blessed gift ... the gift of Faith
that will carry our children through so many difficulties
in life ... long after we are gone. It is a patrimony
to generations beyond us, a sacred trust that we
cannot entrust to another: not your son's or your
daughter's CCD teacher (who probably knows far less
than you do), not your parish priest through his cute
and irrelevant homilies punctuated by jokes and laughter,
and not, sadly to say, to your bishop. In fact, if you
write your bishop in your growing concern about the
laxity in your parish, you will, in all likelihood,
receive no reply ... or a
from Microsoft Word with the blank spaces appropriately
filled in. Been there, done that.
In all fairness, of the two scenarios offered, it is
very likely that your bishop is clueless of
what is being taught under his auspices — and it is
as equally likely that he really does not wish
to know more, and could not appear to care less. This,
of course, is the best scenario. The worst is that he
Most parents are familiar with the scenario: pay CCD
(the Religious Education Office in your parish) to pass
out books that are never opened, solicit "teachers"
who are as ill-informed as their students, hire a Director
of Religious Education (DRE) irrespective of a genuine
commitment to authentic Catholic Doctrine – and it is
a fait accompli! The Gospel is preached! The
ignorant are enlightened. The children are taught. Process
them through to Confirmation regardless of their complete
ignorance of the Faith, kiss them off, and tell yourself
that you have done a magnificent job! Just look at the
the auxiliary bishop who comes to Confirm them will
tell you, "to the vibrancy of your
as the Church is most often called in these times of
doctrinal indifference and ecumenical correctitude.
Do not, however, look at the dwindling numbers: in the
pews, in the Priesthood, in Religious life, in successful
marriages, in chaste lives free from the misdirection
of a perverse, and increasingly homocentric society.
And do not tabulate the divorce rate, or the number
of abortions that verge on exceeding the number of baptisms.
Pretend that the sexual abuse of our children has no
correlation with the number of homosexual priests knowingly
ordained, and that their predatory pederasty has nothing
at all to do with their being homosexual – that it is
just a coincidence that the abused have been, with few
exceptions, boys. Just a disturbing and terribly repetitive
coincidence ... right?
The effects of the longstanding negligence of our bishops
have been far-reaching ... to even the smallest among
The frightening question, really, is this: not,
will teach our children better?”
– but this:
will teach our Bishops better?”
His unconcealed disdain for genuine Catholic
teaching — that for 2000 years has been found in the
immutable and Sacred Deposit of Faith — approaches
contempt! No. Francis is the “Innovator”
nonpareil — endowed, he claims, with a “personal
(whatever that is, apart from the
of the Catholic Church” with which it does not coincide).
He is an Innovator of the Faith — not
of the Faith”. Saint Paul speaks of this unsparingly
(2 Timothy 4.3) Would that we were wise enough to give
In very deed, the question still stands: ...
who will teach our bishops to teach our children?
If they will not — and
it is likely they will not — then we must teach our
we ourselves must learn
... before it was poisoned and distorted by Modernism,
Ecumenism, and Feminism — an unholy trinity close
to the hearts of too many bishops ... and especially
the Innovator of the Faith.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
*Of one's own accord
Comments? Write us:
Totally Faithful to
the Sacred Deposit of Faith
entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem,
et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti
know your works ... that you have but little
power, and yet you have kept My word, and
have not denied My Name.”
Copyright © 2004 - 2023
Boston Catholic Journal. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, permission is granted
by the Boston Catholic Journal for the copying
and distribution of the articles and audio
files under the following conditions:
No additions, deletions, or changes are
to be made to the text or audio files in
any way, and the copies may not be sold
for a profit. In the reproduction, in any
format of any image, graphic, text, or audio
file, attribution must be given to the Boston