Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord give you His Peace!
The Catechetical Crisis
This is the final day of the Fortnight for Freedom, and in the light of the SCOTUS decision of June 28th, we, the Church in the USA, are faced with a crisis (derives from Greek noun krisiV [=a turning point, danger, opportunity] and ultimately from the Greek verb krinein [= to decide] One of the sources that I found used a Latin derivation of crisis from crux, crucis [= cross]. I think that one was a bit of a stretch, but probably apt in this situation.
This is a crisis that, in reality, did not develop overnight. It has been brewing for over 40 years, and it could be considered one of our own making for our failure to communicate fully the Truth of our Catholic Faith to the past two generations; it is truly a catechetical crisis.
Several years ago I tried to meet this catechetical crisis head-on in one Parish where I asked the RE Committee to find any solid Catholic Doctrine in the catechetical materials (from a Catholic publisher) they had been using for over 10 years in their K thru 8 RE programs both in the Parish school, the Sunday programs for the non-Parish school kids, and in the Sacramental prep programs, specifically in the areas of the Eucharist (Real Presence), the person of Jesus, the place of the Catholic Church in the scheme of salvation, Catholic moral teaching, etc. They tried, and couldn’t, but decided to keep the program anyway, not so much because of the financial cost of obtaining new materials, but because they didn’t want to embarrass anyone or place the teachers in “uncomfortable positions.” The teachings in the books (a warm, fuzzy, “feel good”, form of Christianity) issued to the children were so bland that they could have been used without any problem in any one of the Protestant churches in town. Supposedly the Teacher’s Manuals contained the needed “fill-in” teachings, but these went virtually unused, but even still one would be hard pressed to find anything but relativism in them. I produced supplemental materials on my own but found that the teachers in the school refused to use them because they did not want the non-Catholic kids in the school to feel “uncomfortable.” I found that one of the teachers in the school RE program was not even a Catholic, and she was continued on the payroll! I was accused of being ultra right-wing in my attempts to correct this situation, was told the school was “off-limits,” and ultimately had to seek other employment.
Pax et Bonum!
Deacon Dennis, OFS