Friday, May 12, 2006

Catechetical Rant

Yesterday, I attended my last Parish Catechetical Leaders Council Meeting. I was invited to join the council last year. The council is made up of all of the members of the staff of the diocesan Catechetical Office and at least 2 representatives from each county our diocese serves. I was supposed to serve a 2 year term, but this little girl on her way later this summer has gotten me out of my term of service a little early and none too soon.

I was the youngest person in the room by at least 15 years. That means that I am the only one not full of the "Spirit of Vatican II." And I mean that in the worst sense. I don't think that the Second Vatican Council was a bad thing. I also don't happen to think that everything that came out before the Council should be thrown out. We have a thing called Tradition in our Catholic Church, people. 2000 years of it. Pentecost didn't happen in 1963.

So, at some point, the conversation turned to homeschooling and sacrament preparation. Apparently, our Archbishop has asked the Director of the Catechetical Office to draft a policy on homeschooling. The director's comments were not really friendly to homeschoolers, in my opinion. Someone mentioned that some homeschooling families are using the Baltimore Catechism to prepare their children for Confirmation. She and he snickered at the idea.

Well, is there anything in the Baltimore Catechism that contradicts the faith? I mean, it was only used for 150 years with great success. People make jokes about still being able to remember the questions and answers verbatim from the Catechism. What's wrong with that? At least you knew what the Church taught! It's more than I can say for people in my generation who grew up pretty clueless about the basic tenets of our faith. Those who grew up learning "Jesus loves me" and making felt banners.

And people who homeschool tend to really live their faith, practicing great works of charity and praying daily. You cannot make the argument that they can learn how to practice their faith any better from a "new" textbook.

There was also some discussion between these two about the kids being isolated from the wider parish community and the world. Well, these are kids who are at Mass at least once a week, who are altar servers and who interact with other homeschooling families on a daily basis. They play sports, they go out, they run around. They have fun. What's so wrong about growing up in an environment where your faith is nutrured by other people who share your faith? More specifically, I'd like to ask them, what's so great about American culture that these kids are missing out on? The sexualization of our culture is rampant. Entertainment is garbage. There is next to nothing decent on TV for kids. You can't even turn on PBS and let it run. You just never know what's going to pop up on the screen (hello, Postcards from Buster!). When was the last time there was a rated G movie out that was truly worthy of the rating; one which had no objectionable content? Probably 1967.

Now I'm not saying that these families don't have to engage our culture. They do. How else are they going to change it?

I'd be very interested in seeing in the next few years as the kids who are in this homeschool boom become adults what the percentage of them who become priests and religious is compared to the general Catholic School and Public School population. I'll bet it's higher. Know why? Because they have been immersed in their faith and they have more interaction with priests and religious on a regular basis than their counterparts have.

I'm just glad I don't have to listen to this crap from these middle-aged women and men anymore. I'm glad I don't have to worry about my blood pressure four times a year. I'll pray for them. And I thinkI'm going to put some of this into an email for mister director man. I think he could stand to hear some of it. Mostly my defense of homeschooling. Not the most ranty parts of my rant.

/end rant

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