Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Several people have asked me, most recently BobK in the combox of my previous post, about my teaching CCD.

First, I am indebted to the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. For the last ___ years our DRE has been one of the Sisters, so we are blessed to have a Religious Education program that is both 100% solid and deadly serious. In many places it's one or the other..and sometimes neither. So, my approach my CCD classes with the serious intent to properly catechize a group of confirmandi is actually met with -- gasp! -- strong support. This is key.

Speaking strictly for myself, I go by straight by the Catechism. After all, what better way to catechize, right? It doesn't matter what students I get in a given year, private school kids from very affluent families, non-parochial Catholic school students, or public schoolers: They all get the Catechism. I riff off the Baltimore Catechism as re. format and content, but try to throw in some analogies and examples that will resonate within the 14 y.o. cranium. My desire is not to prattle on from August to April on arcane matters. I want these kids to own this material. Given the way our culture has changed, giving kids the "why" is crucial.

Since this is a stright-up Catechism, I also make a studious lack of use of whatever textbook I am assigned.

I also try to convey my own passion and my own witness, without being all "rah-rah" or turgid or stolid. Now, I couldn't do any of this without the aforesaid support. In fact, I wouldn't do any of this without the aforesaid support. If our DRE said that kids get confirmed even if they don't know a church from a chamberpot, that's when I'd tender my resignation. I have plenty of material to address at my particular judgment, without the added burden of answering for letting undeserving students receive a Sacrament. Just not worth the additional Purgatory time, nuh-uh.

I have said it eleventy squajillion times: ALL our problems -- show me where I'm mistaken -- as a Church are the direct result of the nonexistent catechesis of the last 40 or so years. So, I take it as my row to hoe to correct this when I am assigned students. If you are giving of yourself to Catechize, God bless you. It can be very frustrating and vexing, but ultimately you are planting seeds. When I see a former student of mine, now in college (!) standing in line for Confession or hearing Mass by him/herself, I realize it has all be worth it.




  • At 3:20 PM, February 25, 2007 , Blogger Steve Bogner said...

    *ALL* our problems? I don't know... Was it a lack of catechesis that led some priests to sexually abuse kids, and for some bishops to cover it up?

    From my perspective, I'd say all the problems are due to a lack of personal holiness, of which good catechesis is a building block (or two). Just my opinio, though.

  • At 10:09 PM, February 25, 2007 , Blogger Joe said...

    I shoulda phrased it better, but yes. Catechesis cuts both ways, in my estimation. A priest who is seriously devoted to catechizing his flock strikes me as rather unlikely to be abusing anyone, ditto an equivalent bishop.

    Since regular people aren't born filled with personal holiness, we need some sort of reliable roadmap, which I believe is catechesis. So, in a slight variation to your point, I'd say that good catechesis is the foundation of personal holiness.

    Just my opinion, too! ;-)



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