Sunday, August 8, 2010

St Francis was not a left brained professional academic cleric.  Maybe that's why he understood preaching was about religious acts and not theological thoughts.

The Anne Rice defection: It's the tip of the religious iceberg
By William Lobdell - LA Times - August 8, 2010

Novelist Anne Rice's surprise post last week on Facebook — she announced she had quit Christianity "in the name of Christ" because she'd seen too much hypocrisy — brought cheers and smug smiles from critics of institutional faith, and criticism and soul-searching among believers.

But there's something more at play here than one of America's most famous Catholics — Rice re-embraced the faith of her youth in 1998 and published a memoir just two years ago, "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession" — walking away from the church.

Rice is merely one of millions of Americans who have opted out of organized religion in recent years, making the unaffiliated category of faith the fastest-growing "religion" in America, according to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The Pew report found that 1 in 6 American adults were not affiliated with any particular faith. That number jumped to 25% for people ages 18 to 29. Moreover, most mainline Protestant denominations have for years experienced a net loss in members, and about 25% of cradle Catholics have left their childhood faith, the study showed.

And in a 2008 study by Trinity College researchers, 27% of Americans said they do not expect a religious funeral.
American Christianity is not well, and there's evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize — or at least want to admit.

Pollsters — most notably evangelical George Barna — have reported repeatedly that they can find little measurable difference between the moral behavior of churchgoers and the rest of American society. Barna has found that born-again Christians are more likely to divorce (an act strongly condemned by Jesus) than atheists and agnostics, and are more likely to be racist than other Americans.

And while evangelical adolescents overwhelmingly say they believe in abstaining from premarital sex, they are more likely to be sexually active — and at an earlier age — than peers who are mainline Protestants, Mormons or Jews, according to University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus.

On the bright side, Barna's surveys show evangelicals (defined by Barna as a subset of born-again Christians, which he sees as a broader group with more flexible beliefs) do pledge far more money to charity, though 76% of them fail to give 10% of their income to the church as prescribed by their faith. Various studies show American Christians as a whole give away a miserly 3% or so of their income to the church or charity.

"Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change," Barna has said. (In the Evangelicals, this can be seen by the prevalence of the 'prosperity' gospel, making Jesus out to be some sort of super Wall Street Broker and an uber American patriot.)

Barna isn't the only worried evangelical. Christian activist Ronald J. Sider writes in his book, "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience": "By their daily activity, most 'Christians' regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is their Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate their allegiance to money, sex, and personal self-fulfillment." 

How to explain the Grand Canyon-sized gap between principles outlined in the Gospels and the behavior of believers? Christians typically, and rather lamely, respond that shortcomings of the followers of Jesus are simply evidence of man's inherent sinfulness.

But if one adheres to the principle of Occam's razor — that the simplest explanation is the most likely — there is another, more unsettling conclusion: that many people who call themselves Christian don't really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs. (I think this is because Christianity has historically been mutated to be a set of intellectual abstracts.  Intellectual abstracts aren't known for changing behavior because they are never fully integrated into the belief structures from which people actually act.  An example of this would be the huge amount of energy expended by historical Christianity on notions of the Trinity.  The truth is no one's behavior is changed by what they believe about the abstract construct of the Trinity.)

That might explain why Roman Catholic bishops leave predator priests in ministry to prey on more unsuspecting children. Or why churches on Sunday mornings are said to be the most segregated places in America. It also would explain why most Catholic women use birth control even though the practice is considered a mortal sin.

Culturally, America is still a Christian nation. The majority of us still attend church at least occasionally, celebrate Christmas and Easter, and pepper our conversations with "God bless you" and "I'll be praying for you."

But judging by the behavior of most Christians, they've become secularists. And the sea of hypocrisy between Christian beliefs and actions is driving Americans away from the institutional church in record numbers.

Some, such as Anne Rice, are continuing their spiritual journey on their own, unable to reconcile the Gospel message with religious institutions covered with man's dirty fingerprints. Others have stopped believing in God. Those with awareness who remain Christians are scrambling to find ways, like St. Francis of Assisi, to rebuild God's church.

But remember, St. Francis offered a radical example during a time when the institutional church had grown corrupt and flabby. He was a wealthy young man who took a vow of poverty and devoted himself to the poor. His motto: "Preach the Gospel at all times — and when necessary use words."

A well-informed hunch says American Christians aren't ready for the kind of reformation that will realign their actions with biblical mandates. And in the meantime, the exodus from the church will continue.

(William Lobdell, a former Times staff writer, is the author of "Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace.")


The last sentences in the above article don't take any prophetic ability to utter, especially concerning Catholicism.  The reformation of Institutional Catholicism is not about to happen no matter how much we might wish and pray and hope and dream for it.  That's not just true for Catholicism, it's true for most Christian denominations.  What we will see is what organized Christianity has traditionally done and that's change certain doctrines or dogmatic conceptualizations to acclimate to the current secular trends in culture.  The changes will be determined by which of the secular powers a given denomination determines is best for their continued survival.  The determinations will be made on the basis of continued denominational survival and have nothing to do with what Jesus actually taught.  In the sense I'm using denominational survival, I mean the survival of the institutional and governing structures.

This propensity to change for the sake of institutional survival is used by both progressive and conservative denominations.  The issue has very little to do with making the reality of Jesus and His teachings more tangible in culture.  For both sides it has far more to do with preserving the institutional structures which provide sustenance for the ceremonial careerists. Change then becomes a job preservation strategy enacted by those whose jobs are to be preserved. 

To be honest this is the reason I don't become an Episcopalian and that my support for women's ordination in Catholicism is luke warm at best.  On a very fundamental spiritual/religious level I do not see how self perpetuating institutional structures have much to do with the Sermon on the Mount or the Way as Jesus taught.  We put a lot of money into preserving institutional structures who clerical professionals do not do as Jesus did.  I suspect one reason we do that is because then we are not under a great deal of pressure to live as Jesus lived. The fact those who profess to embody the teachings, and are paid to do so, very often fail miserably just proves we are all sinners in need of the salvation they sell to us.

Most Christianity, as a source of real religious experience, fails the kind of reality test that makes religion an important and useful experience for humanity.  The connections with the greater reality that religious practice has always been grounded on provided answers about immediate important questions to it's community.  Holy people got real answers to real problems when they prayed or connected with their spirits.  They healed, they engaged in prophecy, they could come up with technological improvements, knowledge of the healing properties of plants, have some control over weather, demonstrate our perceptual reality was part of a greater reality, manifest material goods when needed, interpret dreams, and cast out interfering spirits.  Jesus demonstrated every single one the above and so did his disciples.  We even have a book about these first disciples entitled "Acts".  Notice it's called "Acts", not "Thoughts".  Now all we get are "Thoughts" called Encyclicals.  Thoughts are nice, acts are far more useful.

The pentecostal and charismatic branches of Christianity are the only ones demonstrating any growth at all, and in some locations, it's astronomical.  Whatever one wants to believe about such groups, what matters is that they are providing in some sense real religious experiences and fostering dynamic communities.  There is no question the leadership of the New Apostolic Reformation has taken the lead in exploiting this longing in disenfranchised groups of people.  A lot of their growth is coming at the expense of Roman Catholicism and because Christians have been conditioned to pay for professional clerics, their pyramid scheme structure entices a lot of narcissistic fraudulent opportunists.  We ignore this movement at our own peril, and I suspect it's convenient to ignore it because institutional churches with their intellectual academic professionals have no way to counter it on any terms but 'thoughts', and thoughts, no matter how well conceived, are not acts.

In truth, professional Catholics both lay and clerical need to study the phenomenon of Catholic pilgrims flocking to sites like Medjugorge, Fatima, Lourdes, and San Giovanni Rotondo where Padre Pio lived and is buried.  We are talking millions and millions of pilgrim seekers looking for real religious experiences.  These places will host more Catholics in one month than will ever read one of Benedict's encyclicals. That would seem to me to signal a major disconnect between the professional Catholics and the average Catholic.  Jesus Himself made this disconnect a major part of His teachings.  Maybe that's why most of His teachings are ignored. 


  1. Excellent post Colleen. The exodus will continue and God is with us on our journey of faith. One has only to believe in that! To Jesus, it was all about believing in Him and God who Sent Him. That is the Faith that Jesus taught. Jesus was not about power for Himself. He was all about empowering others with His Holy Spirit, regardless of gender or marital status....etc. etc. etc.

    Trying to read, let alone comprehend, one of Benedict's Encyclicals is a torturous and arduous journey to take & doesn't bear good fruit. I've tried. It would be better for one's soul, body & mind to take a pilgrimage into a good book or to a holy site and be drawn into the love of the Holy Spirit. There is enough discouragement in the world and people need encouragement in an enlightened spirituality that will give them wings, not weights or chains to bind them into mental intellectual slavery, material and physical deterioration. I think God puts that into every person: a desire to be free and in the light, to seek it and to find it. "Seek and you shall find." We are seeking peace, love & joy & that can only come from a source that is Divine in nature, not institutional.

    There are predators about in all the Christian churches preaching twisted theological thoughts and not acting the Gospels in true Faith. They are like wolves in sheep's clothing. We ignore them or excuse their hypocrisy at our own peril as you point out, Colleen, with the Apostolic Reformation movement with its presence of monetary, political and spiritual predators.

    "Some, such as Anne Rice, are continuing their spiritual journey on their own, unable to reconcile the Gospel message with religious institutions covered with man's dirty fingerprints. Others have stopped believing in God. Those with awareness who remain Christians are scrambling to find ways, like St. Francis of Assisi, to rebuild God's church."

    I'm with Anne Rice & "scrambling to find ways, like St. Francis of Assisi, to rebuild God's church."

    The one's who have stopped believing in God are perhaps of several types. The first group were indoctrinated to a false god of wrath, or to idols, within a Christian Church or any other religion and they cannot reconcile it with what they have experienced negatively from those who profess to be of such a faith, see the hypocrisy & have given up on any other notion of God. This is a very sad group of people. They suffer depression, for they know not who to seek for true help & healing. Jesus.

    Then there are those in the Churches who are liars and deceivers who are opportunist and use religion for their own agenda, not the will of God. They do not believe in God either. They believe they are gods.
    "Most of His teachings are ignored." You point this out very clearly in this blog Colleen. Thank you.

    Apparently Benedict and the Curia & Opus Deiers believe that their encyclicals & Canon Law are more important to honor and follow than Jesus' teachings. That would account for their ignoring them & for their desire for us to ignore them too. They should not expect true followers of Jesus to ignore Jesus' teachings. It will not be done by Jesus' followers. "His will be done."

  2. Here's what I don't understand. On the one hand, this pope has gone on record saying he wants a smaller, purer church. Yet... suddenly he is all for luring people back to the church. I'm confused!

    Honestly I think we need to confront that contradiction.

  3. The saddest thing about those multitudes making the piligrimages you referenced is that they are searching for something which they do not know how to find. They have NOT been taught the Gospel; nor of Christ.

    They have been conditioned in rhetoric about theological talking points. Things 'about God'. Thus that is what most of their so called faith is. But not IN God. Many of them do not LIVE the Gospel for the simple reason they are clueless of it.

    I cannot count how many Catholics have referred to the Sermon on the Mount as "just some nice words, but not the core of our faith". Talk to them further & it become obvious that the object of their 'faith' is the Vatican & its Administrators. Both in Rome & their local Chancery . That is what they reverence.

    ...'and every word which comes from the mouth of.."

    The pastor, bishop or pope. Or EWTN facilitator.

    They view these pilgrimahges as equal to the Haji to Mecca; as if salvation depended on it. Or a method to cut to the front of the line to Heaven.

    Yet they are all like Dorothy lost in Oz; always having the power to 'go home'. Yet clueless to the ruby slippers they are wearing. Those 'slippers' are prayer & the Gospel.

    The Vatican does not want you to realize this. Or you will stop obeying them & giving them money.

    And Fatima, where Mary railed against the Vatican with great condemnations & apocalyptic warnings.....has been turned into a Catholic Disneyland.

    Enriching the Vatican & impoverishing souls.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. I agree and disagree with you Mouse. I think the pilgrimages are an admission by millions of Catholics that the Institutional definition of God in a bunch of abstracts doesn't work at all when the chips are down. At this point the search is for something meaningful in a heart and spritual sense, in a tangible and concrete sense about God/Mystery.

    Vine De Loria in his book God is Red observes that religion has always served to put humanity in touch with God in a tangible sense. That's why healing, prophecy, and practical novel solutions were expected from those who claimed a special sense of, or a connection to, this Mystery. These people either delivered or they were ignored.

    When Christianity melded Greek philosophy with the New Testament it made abstractions of God more important in faith than real connections with God. It also gave rise to a professional class of clerics who were not required to prove any special connection with the Great Mystery. The requirement for this class became their ability to talk about the Great Mystery not demonstrate it, and for the most part the quality of their 'talk' was not judged by the laity but by their clerical peers.

    It's this disconnect between all the talk about God and the lack of the walk about God that our younger generations have keyed in on. They see it as pure hypocrisy. They may in fact be the first generations in a long time that have seen this disconnect and it's destructive abilities.

    I don't think Benedict is serious about Evangelizing the West in terms of returning numbers. I think he is dead serious about keeping the abstractions about God front and center. The object is not so much to bring people in, as it is to reinforce the abstractions about God we've been enculturated in. The biggest of those unprovable abstractions is original sin and the Genesis creation story. Western sciences are presenting a whole different creation story and original sin is not part of it. Take away original sin and one has seriously impacted the prime doctrine of Jesus as savior of the world. Can't be having that because then one takes away the prime reason for the existence of a professinal clergy as it's currently defined--to save souls, not make life more equitable and hospitable for bodies. If Jesus was all about souls, why did He bother with bodies at all?

  5. Yes, Colleen. Abstractions can never "save" - but they only place walls between people and God, walls which they are then told can only be "penetrated" by the priests - who alone can provide the sacraments which the people are told are their only path to salvation!

    It is a crime what has been done to the People of God by those charged with serving them! They have done DIS-service. They have starved the sheep. Scattered them. Tortured some. Betrayed others. Disillusioned all those who open their eyes and really look!

    And the deeper we peer into this, the worse it all looks, the more I feel a sense of personal suffering, disgust, and great sadness for so many being deprived of the life-giving Spirit to which they are entitled! By their Baptism into Christ.

  6. I do too Therap, get very sad when I really allow myself to look at what this separation has created.

    The doctrine of saving souls as being the paramount aspect of Christianity led directly to Western notions of manifest destiny and all it's attendant slaughter, slavery, and exploitation. But just as importantly it led to our sexual morality which sees the body as impure and second class, and it led to a form of spiritual enslavement to the clergy.

    This is not just a Catholic problem, it's endemic to all the religions stemming from the Book and allows some members of all three faiths to see the other two as demonic perversions of God's truth. The other commonality is that all three have professional clergy who do not do as their prophets and healers did of old.

    I think it's very hopeful that Medjugorge is attracting Moslems since they too have a inbuilt sensitivity to the place of Mary in their own Koran. It's fascinating to think that Medjugorge could become another powerful connective force for that particular area of the globe the way Guadalupe has for the Americas.

    Maybe this is why the Queen of Heaven is the biggest of the baddest 'demons' that the New Apostolic Reformation is strategically warfaring against. Good luck with that one. :)

  7. TheraP, I agree with you that it is a crime what has been done to disillusion & confuse people into thoughts that are far from God and the Gospel Truth in the name of "faith", twisting the meaning of Truth itself.

    I was boiling angry about the current priests and their attitudes this last month when I realized intensely that not only was I deceived by the RCC, but how my mother and father and their mother's and father's were deceived & cheated out of a True Faith in God. These were those who lived during WWI and WWII and served in the military to win wars, not for God, but for the moneyed interest in the world. These were Christians who seemed to be bred for wars. I believe now that the RCC desires wars while they supposedly are against them. Somehow even with the presence of the "saving" RCC, wars have gotten larger and more destructive. It's priests are taught the same garbage as the laity. They've just given the priests the "authority" to speak on behalf of the Vatican. They are just as lost as the sheep.

    How interesting that Benedict would go to Fatima and seems to share a view that he believes in miraculous events, yet as Mouse points out, it is a disguise and not true belief in the Divine nature of miraculous events. The event itself is white-washed. Benedict still believes that he can control people over and above the Divine ability of God to break through to His people via their conscience. He would like for us to dismiss our own conscience & put that into law. This is the reason many have left Churches and think the Churches are full of poppycock. The RCC hierarchy are the hypocrites that Jesus spoke to: in spirit they are the same.

    Original sin - I never really understood just how that worked. It is an idea that keeps the focus on sin and not on Jesus' teachings and the saving grace provided to those who truly believe in Him.

    If we are baptized in the name of Jesus by a priest in the RCC or other Christian denomination, it is said that this Baptism overrides or washes away original sin. If it is washed away by Baptism, I need not worry about "original sin" anymore? Why do we have Baptism? Has the Church turned Baptism into something false? Is it just an initiation rite into the institution? Is it just a mechanism for the RCC to keep the sheep in line? Are the sacraments now an abuse that have really have nothing to do with being saved?

    The RCC hierarchy is abusive towards everyone. The heavens and the universe are much bigger than the tiny minds and schemes in the Vatican to control the masses thoughts. As during the beginning of the 20th Century, the RCC now wants to get back into a position of secular power. All the while they put secular power down, they seek it for themselves.
    As they never learned how to love as they do not really believe that God is love & have no real connection to God, they repeat the drum roll in this Century and generation of peoples to begin again their quest for world domination. It does not seem to matter to them the blood spilled for their evil purposes. Sometimes I think that we are the last generations here because of the evil even from those who claim they work for God and for His purposes, really work for Satan. No love for neighbor means that they do not work for God. Their desire for power and riches and glory for themselves is greater than love for their neighbor.

    Word verif is bedlyin - The Vatican is a bed full of liars.

  8. Butterfly -

    Original a much misused concept. Think of it as popping the cork on a bottle; it can never quite be sealed up again. Of, if you wish, the opening of Pandora's Box.

    The greatest misuse of this concept has been as a 'weapon against the heathen'!!! WE MUST CONVERT THEM!!!

    (whether they like it or not...)

    The greatest flaw in this is the assertion that sans Baptism, one cannot possibly be saved. This flies in the face of the Gospel. And it is also the 'sin against the Holy Spirit'.

    If it is God's Will that you get to Heaven, you will get there. Baptized or not. "Christian" or not. Theist or not. Simply because He loves you. It's that simple. One way or the other, the Holy Spirit WILL work in & through that soul to get it to Heaven. This is a seeming paradox; but also reality.

    God did NOT make souls destined for hell. We do that to ourselves. Yet (due to the realities of time, space & eternity) He knows which souls will make it.

    So that Atheist....or Hindu.....or pagan....if marked for Heaven from all Eternity, will get there. Somehow. Because God judges the heart,not what one 'believes in'.

    What saves a soul, in the final analysis is its sincerity & thus its capacity to love without guile, duplicity, or pretense. God loves it; and it is capable of loving in return.

    Those who are not saved, are those who cannot or will not love.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  9. "Has the Church turned Baptism into something false? Is it just an initiation rite into the institution? Is it just a mechanism for the RCC to keep the sheep in line? Are the sacraments now an abuse that have really have nothing to do with being saved?"


    The BIG CLUE is in the RCIA program. Once sacraments are referred to as 'rites of initiation', the overt connotation of the occult & Masonic are made obvious. You (or your kid) are not in these classes (indoctrination) to learn about the faith. You are being conditioned & observed.

    You must be approved of 'before we admit you'.

    As a kid when I prepared for Confirmation I was instructed in factual knowledge about the rite of the sacrament. And its purpose & spiritual effect. It was simple. We took a written test to verify that we had absorbed enough factual knowledge. That we were cognizant of WHAT this was & WHY we were doing it.

    It was, literally, 20 simple questions.

    Nobody interrogated you or asked you to write a 'kiss-up' phony essay/paper about conformity. You did not have to do a service project (slave labor) for the parish. They just wanted to see if you understood a few basic things about Confirmation.

    Rather like when Pope Pius X asked the little child the ONLY question needed to be asked about the Eucharist:

    "What are you receiving in Holy Communion?"


    End of story!

    Anon Y.Mouse

  10. Pre-Nicea, in many cases what we now call 'Confirmation' was administered along with 'Baptism', when converts were received into the Church.

    Note: being 'Baptized in the name of Jesus" does not work! It must be done using the Trinitarian formula. And done thus, it is irrelevant if done by a priest, minister or lay person.

    In the early church it was not an 'initiation' as RCIA holds it to be now. It was a life changed; being born into Christ. A spiritual cleansing from all of your past into a new life in Him.

    Also, it was not usually (or originally) done to infants. This was to be a mature life changing venture for adults (or older teens). A literal 'conversion'; not a social ritual!

    Infant Baptism as we now know it was a later development. If done at all in the early church, it may have only been in danger of death.

    Perhaps the penultimate display of the modern 'initiation' & relevance of Baptism as a mere social ritual is in The Godfather. The moral & spiritual disconnect between the simultaneous slaughter of the godfather's enemies as he obliviously answers the ritual question:

    "Do you renounce Satan?"

    The Church thus blesses a lie.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  11. There has been mention about religious education not teaching the right concepts. What exists now is too much theological talking points... And I don't argue against this. But it leads me to a question: What should be in a religious education program? Or should there even be such a thing?

    I tired teaching CCD classes. In my local small parish, let's just say I was less than happy with what was going on. Students not terribly interested, parents seemed to be using the class time as free babysitting for an hour and a half or so on Wednesday night. I sure wasn't very effective. The diocese started a program called Master Catechist. And I thought maybe that has something worthwhile so I signed up. Full day Saturdays of in the classroom work. I did not finish it in large part due to schedule conflicts. BUT if the content had been what I was looking for, I'd've made a great deal more effort to see it through.

    Based on the textbook in use and on the lectures in class, it was precious little to do with Catholic faith and everything to do with indoctrination of sexual mores. I quit the classes and ended my time attempting to teach CCD at the end of the the school year.

    Surely there's got to be a better way. But I'm just not creative enough to sort it out.

  12. Veronica - good question - "What should be in a religious education program?"

    I believe "religious education" should be about the teachings of Jesus Christ, first and foremost and living the Gospels.

    Sex education is not what Jesus taught.

    He did teach, to love your neighbor as yourself. To love yourself does not include towing the line that girls and women are mere biological tools for men to use for their procreative urges or as working servants at slave wages compared to males. I am sure CCD would never have someone teaching girls to love themselves in today's religion classes designed by men and not from divine wisdom.

  13. What exactly do kids REALLY need to learn from a religious ed class?

    1) some simple factual definitions (i.e. the Trinity); enough that they can understand. NOT to drown them in trivia!

    N.B. as one who studied Education at the univ.level I know - factually - that the purpose of "education"in the US has nothing to do with learning. And everything with teaching CONFORMITY uber alles. An intentional side effect is that the innate desire to learn in kids is burned out by the time they are in the 5th grade, if not earlier. Due to the methods used.

    The same methods are being used in religious ed; completely turning kids off to ANY interest in God or religion.

    ...nice job of destroying faith, Opus Dei!

    2) Once the basics in #1 above are understood, a kid preparing to receive a Sacrament ONLY needs to know:

    a. WHY am I doing this? WHY would I want this?
    b. WHAT is the purpose of it - and effects.
    c. HOW is it done? The basic elements of the Rites; enough so the child understands what is happening.Both mechanically & spiritually, on a level he/she can comprehend.

    MOST importantly, the kid needs to learn the core of the Gospel: the Sermon on the Mount & Beatitudes. As without this, he is NOT Christian in any real way....and without this all Sacraments are meaningless. If not abominations.

    The kid does NOT need to be bombarded with gobbldygook, talking points, Pro-Life rhetoric, Anti-Gay & Anti-Birth Control rhetoric. He does NOT need to do a 'service project' for the parish (or be forced to take part in Anti-Abortion protests!). Or write lengthy essays, spewing out talking points!

    Anon Y.Mouse

  14. Veronica this is a good question. When I taught CCD we used to spend the first ten minutes on whatever formal study we were supposed to go over and then I opened the floor to questions. These were ninth and tenth graders so the questions usually pertained to current events.

    The idea was to engage the kids in thinking how Jesus's teachings would play out in the real world as practical choices. Very often we would get into the history of theological development of the Church's position. Something the official material failed to do for the most part.

    In my own opinion classes should be about how you live and experience Christianity in daily life, not how well you can memorize the catechism. I used to tell the kids we would use the catechism sort of like the boy scout handbook, but like in scouting, the real meaningful experiences were in the actual camping, not in studying how it was done.

  15. Colleen -

    The core of the Gospel is in the Sermon on the Mount & the Beatitudes; expounded in the Parables.

    In all the religious ed classes I took in elementary & high school.....we may have actually spent 5 minutes on these things. Tis all.

    BUT...hours & hours about how 'holy' the Church organization is, its chief marks (holy, holy, holy), the Commandments of the Church, how the Church is the only way to salvation.....etc.

    My opinion is that 99% of Catechists have NO CLUE what the Gospel is, much less how to impart it. The syllabus followed does not contain that. So they become drones....facilitators.

    If ONLY they would do as you suggest: open Q&A + discussion of how Jesus teaching applies to real life today.

    At the same time, I stand by my previous posts. Kids need to learn some basic factual information. But not focus on that alone. The old fashioned Catechism memorization failed miserably as it taught nothing of real worth (the Gospel). By the same token, the post Vatican II instruction failed equally, as it merely focussed on talking points, lacking the basis of the Gospel.

    Anon Y.Mouse