Spanish education course similar to 'totalitarian indoctrination,' says Cuban immigrant
Madrid, Spain, Apr 30, 2010 / 02:52 am (CNA).
Madrid, Spain, Apr 30, 2010 / 02:52 am (CNA).
A Cuban immigrant living in Spain stated this week that the Socialist government’s mandatory education course, “Education for the Citizenry,” reminds him of the indoctrination students receive in Cuba under the Castro regime.
Omar Rubio Garcia, who has objected to the fact that his daughter is required to attend the class, remarked that he found it unbelievable that 20 years after leaving Cuba he has had to confront totalitarian indoctrination once again. “Now I have to defend my daughter from indoctrination in the radical fascist culture of the left,” and ensure that it does not “undermine, manipulate or cast doubt on” the love, belief in God and upbringing Garcia has worked to provide for her. (In my own personal case, science courses provided most of the impetus to question the religious upbringing I received.)
Garcia recounted the harassment he and his daughter have received from school officials for being the only family to object to attending the course. He criticized the content of Education for the Citizenry as “provocative, morbid, anti-democratic and totalitarian,” and added that the course “divides parents and children.”
Garcia urged parents to resist the efforts by “ideological mercenaries and left-wing ‘fascists’ to manipulate without any moral or ethical scruples the relationship of love and formation between parents and children.”
Experience has taught him, he warned, that the failure to resist “these left-wing, fascist ideologues can be very costly, as our children will question us first because of our ignorance and later they will judge us for our lack of action.” (Someone's identity is really wrapped up in the notion that 'Father knows best'.)
The reason I posted this article is contained in the last sentence. That sentence could have been spoken by any number of bishops and Cardinals with regards to the laity. The implication is that children should shut off the information stream when it conflicts with parental belief, just as Catholics are being asked to shut down certain information streams when they conflict with Church teaching. Ultimately it's never a matter of which information stream carries the most truth, it's a matter of who has the authority to enforce their version of truth, and more often than not, it's who is enabled to enforce their version of truth.
In my own family, my father bent over backwards to enable my mother's version of the truth. The joke amongst us kids was that dad talked the Republican line around the dinner table, but probably voted Democrat in the privacy of the voting booth. Both my parents had this interesting ability to forgive disobedient actions, even when it patently enabled the behavior they were objecting too, but my mother especially, could not forgive 'disobedient' thinking. It was never enough for her to illicit conforming behavior. She demanded obedience to her world view. It was never our actions which specifically made us untrustworthy, it was our thinking.
It's obvious to me the very same dynamic is playing out in the Church. Clerical authority has always found it much easier to forgive egregious abusive actions than it ever has non conformist thinking. It's never mattered that those non conformist thinkers were frequently pillars of Christian living, conforming their actions to doctrines with which they disagreed. Just as it's never been hard to find forgiveness for abusing priests who thinking appears to conform to the prevailing hierarchical world view. The paramount issue is not behavior, it's conformance of thinking to a particular world view.
Catholics in the west are seeing this dynamic being played out in sexual morality issues. In an attempt to underscore the necessity for conforming one's world view to the official Catholic one, abortion has become not just an unthinkable issue, but also the unforgivable sin. Like heresy, it mandates automatic excommunication. There is a movement now to equate as many forms of birth control as possible with abortion, even though science does not support many of the contentions espoused by the hierarchy. The issue is not about scientific truth, it's about stretching the abortion doctrine to cover another issue. This is also why gay sex is forgivable, but gay marriage calls for bankrupting dioceses in order to fight the whole unthinkable idea of sanctified sexual relationships as opposed to sinful sexual acts. The Catholic world view does not view sex in terms of relationship, it views them in terms of acts.
The problem with all of this is that it compartmentalizes thoughts from acts. This in turn profoundly effects personal integrity. When any spiritual system encourages the separation of thoughts as distinct from acts, it encourages acts like bishops placing the forgiveness of the sins of abusive priests ahead of any thoughts of compassion for the priest's victims. The spiritual path is all about integrating thought and action. It's fundamentally about personal integrity. You must walk both your internal and external talk and they must all be congruent. Other wise you send a lot of mixed messages and mixed messages really under cut authenticity.
Lack of integrity also seriously effects one's spiritual communication. This is expressed in the notion floating around in spiritual circles that the higher one vibrates, the clearer and more powerful the spiritual communication. Frank Fool's Crow, the Souix Holy Man, taught that the goal of a spiritual life was to become a hollow bone through which God's gifts could pass unimpeded. In order to become that hollow bone, one had to be congruent in thought and action, and those thoughts and actions had to be oriented around unconditional love. If God is love, then our love attracts that Love as much as we are able to actually love. This essentially means the choices about our relationship with God are all ours. The integrity in our thoughts and actions directly determine the strength of the relationship. God doesn't change in His love for us. We change in our understanding of love. In this sense it's really not about obedience. It's about a willingness to change behavior and to act with more integrity, in order to increase our capacity to love and to relate.
Somewhere along the line my mother, like the father above, grabbed onto this thought that successful parenting meant raising children who replicated her thinking. Behavioral transgressions were just bumps which she could forgive and then use to point out the correctness of her thinking. That's a useful strategy up to a point. Eventually a parent has to let their child develop as their child's experiences and education influence that development. The parent has to learn that their own validity and authority as a person is not dependent on whether their children think exactly as they do. It is not infrequent that parents learn a lot from their children--if they are open to the thought, and wonder of wonders, the relationship deepens.
Pope Benedict might find the laity have a lot to teach at this particular moment in Church history, but in order for that to happen, he would have to continue to be a student. He's demonstrated a learning curve on the abuse issue, at least as far as abusive priests go, and the damage this has done to victims. The question is can he open himself up to the thought that the nature of the Church and it's priestly theology is itself a part of the problem? My guess is he can't, but if he could, he might find out that the relationship between laity and sacramental celebrants deepens enormously.