An idea whose time has returned?
ED NOTE: I stumbled upon a fine article yesterday at WDTPRS on challenging false teachings within the Church. The original can be found [HERE] at ALIVE–a Catholic news monthly from Ireland. But, I was further impressed with the idea(s) found below concerning catechetics of our Catholic children (and their parents). I hope such ideas receive the serious consideration they deserve from the powers that be… What do you think, back to Baltimore?
COMMENTS FROM LEE ON WDTPRS:
Regarding catechetics, I often think of how involved we are with our adult concerns: abortion, the economy, stem-cell research, Notre Dame, the liturgy, etc. Meanwhile growing up all around us are uninstructed children.
How pliable they are, how receptive and docile. They don’t need to be convinced of anything, only taught. Yet we do not teach them.
Virtually every concern of Bp. O’Donoghue used to be addressed by the Church in this country (the USA) in a massive and systematic way, so that a typical Catholic child of age 8 was infinitely better instructed in the faith then than a person with 12 yrs of Catholic education is now. The main instrument of that education was, of course, the Baltimore Catechism.
Of all the tragic ruptures that have happened in the Church after Vatican II, that catechetical rupture seems to me to be the absolute worst. Nuns abandoned the classroom. The Baltimore Catechism was taken away. The religious, moral, political,and social consequences of that lapse have been horrendous.
How to repair this rupture?
As enthusiasts of the Baltimore catechism now entering into dialogue with the catechetical establishment to repair that rupture, let us simply cede that it had many deficiencies. For the life of me, I don’t know what they are, but that is beside the point. Politics is politics. Perhaps it was the rote memorization, perhaps that it was generally disliked by the students, perhaps that it does not take Vatican II theology into account.
Granting all that, we only ask the catechetical establishment to acknowledge that for all its deficiencies, by and large it worked. It produced a devout, well-instructed Catholic people.
So, in the spirit of compromise, acknowledging that there have been many excellent Catholic religious ed texts produced over the past forty years, we only have a few modest requests:
1) That instruction in the Baltimore catechism become the norm in the Catholic home and school only from about age 4 (see The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers) to age 10. Children, especially very young children, love to memorize. The let us give them something substantial to memorize beyond Mother Goose.
2) That this effort be absolutely massive, with parents being encouraged to catechize their children with it at home, that it become the text in Catholic schools through 4th grade. After that, let the children be brought up to speed with post Vatican II religious ed texts. This would round out and fill out any lapses of the Baltimore Catechism, would it not?
It seems to me that this approach would go a long way toward repairing the catechetical rupture, especially if the parents are involved, since they also badly need to be instructed.
Comment by Lee — 15 June 2009