Monday, February 04, 2008
What does "Catholic" mean?
I had a very unpleasant conversation on the phone last week with someone who was very involved in Catholic Secondary Education, in it he described Catholic as meaning "inclusive of everything", I suggested he read the definition of "Catholic" in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
There is still a pernicious trend in the Church were the very institutions that parents and priests trust to hand on the faith that Christ and his Apostles handed down to us actually distort it out of all recognition. Think of the madness of "Catholic" adoption agencies that support adoption by single gay or divorced and seperated people, or aid agencies that hand out condoms or support other that do, for example.
Paul Priest, a young parent, on his excellently written, now re-formatted blog, examines one instance of this.
We really do have to rethink the purpose of Catholic education. We place so many of our resources in our schools and yet our young men and women leave without even the most basic understanding of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or the Nature of Christ, or the purpose of the Church, the result is they lapse. Our Sunday evening Mass is full of young men and women but practically all of them are foreign, hardly any went through the Catholic educational system. An English priest friend of mine working abroad, said "When I was in England I knew that by the age of 18 at least 90%, perhaps even 100% of those who were baptised have lapsed". Thirteen years of Catholic education should produce better results than they do. The trouble doesn't seem to be with our Primary Schools, except perhaps they infantalise the faith, and fail to teach children to worship in an adult way.
There are so many things in the Church in England and Wales that we simply accept without question, which bishops and priests ask the laity to support, which really are distructive of the faith that we want to pass on.
The elephant in the room is Catholic education, and in particular the Catholic Secondary School. In England we have a number of former Anglican married priests with young children, all of those I know are looking at some alternative to the ordinary local Catholic comprehisive schools.
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