What we have witnessed in Western societies since the end of the Second World War is the development of mass education on a scale unprecedented in human history -- resulting in economic growth, scientific and technological advances, and the cultural and social enrichment of billions of people's lives.
However, every human endeavor has a dark side, due to original sin and concupiscence. In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical skepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism. Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.
One of the great truths recognized by the Second Vatican Council is that the Church is part of human history and culture. Therefore, it shouldn't surprise us that the shadows cast by the distortion of education, and corresponding societal changes, have also touched members of the Church. As Pope Benedict XVI puts it, even in the Church we find hedonism, selfishness and egocentric behavior.
The Second Vatican Council tends to be misinterpreted most by Catholics who have had a university education-- that is, by those most exposed to the intellectual and moral spirit of the age. These well-educated Catholics have gone on to occupy influential positions in education, the media, politics, and even the Church, where they have been able to spread their so-called loyal dissent, causing confusion and discord in the whole church.
This failure of leadership has exacerbated the even greater problem of the mass departure from the Church of the working-class and poor. For example, the relentless diatribe in the popular media against Christianity has undermined the confidence of the ordinary faithful in the Church.
I strongly support Catholics receiving a university education, but we have to ensure that they also have a firm grounding in the fullness of the faith from an early age in our homes, schools and parishes, and that they are equipped to challenge the erroneous thinking of their contemporaries.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
PO'D does it again
At the end of October Bishop O'Donahue gave an interview to Zenit about his document Fit for Mission, in which he said that Catholic graduates are spreading scepticism and sowing dissent. The story still continues to rumble on, the former priest Nicholas Lash had a go in last weeks Tabet being characteristically silly by saying everything is alright from his Cambridge Ivory Tower, and yesterday the Telegraph took up the story.
I am a great believer in original texts, here is the relevant passage from the interview.
I think the context of his remarks is that we fail to prepare young men and women at school and in the parish to hold their own in Universities. The constant theme of Fit for Mission is that we have failed to evangelise and catechise effectively, to the point where the brightest who hang onto the faith, do so without any real understanding of the Catholic Faith.
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