Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cast out your nets, you who are strong, to save the weak!!

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me." Romans 15: 1-3

Hm, interesting that I fell upon this a week or so ago. "We who are strong ought to bear with the failing of the weak" This passage has been sitting on my draft for that long waiting for me to find a connection to write about.  I think I've found it!

Presently speaking, we have government officials whittling away at society in its fight for religious freedom, Life, and the pursuit of good conscience decisions and adherence to basic and central Christian teachings by her citizens.  Catholics all over the world are faced with constant attacks on moral issues, not only Catholics, but Christians sharing in the love of Christ's teachings and Christian moral living.  Worse are the "catholics" or cinos (Catholics In Name Only), who want the Catholic Church to be what they want it to be, in high-profile positions working hard to make their changes acceptable to the weak in high profile positions throughout society. 

Weak catechesis

Unfortunately, much of this struggle is the result of a weak catechesis of the believers in the pews.  For years the Catholic Church has allowed watered-down religious studies to be the mainstay in the parishes.  Weak catechist preparation and requirements allowed anyone to come in and teach the children with very little quality assurance or checks and balances of what was being taught. 

Lack of a Catholic Identity

In the Catholic schools, hospitals, and universities, the religious were replaced by lay teachers, nurses, and administrators many of which were and are non-Catholics.  No longer was the presence of devout examples and experience in the eyes of the public.  Also, nuns, no longer required to wear habits which revealed the outward sign of their vow to Jesus as their vocation to the point that now when one sees a nun...well, is she or isn't she?

Social influence
Commercial America/Europe have seized the young with their constantly growing illicit music, clothing, and television/movies.  What was wholesome and funny then is now just weird or hokey and definitely not interesting.  More and more through the years we have seen high profile Catholics fall from grace due to greed and power, ie Kennedy family, etc.  Materialism and sexuality have a more glamour appeal in the media for the youth.

Church and State separation

Afraid of losing tax-exemption status, Church leaders kept their political opinions off the pulpit and out of the public eye.  Hence, we have believers left to their own devices without spiritual direction.  For years, the government has stripped away religious presence in schools, government offices, and public arenas for the reason could!  Without a strong backlash by the Christian church leadership, the government could and did and continues to practice it's power grab of God in the public forum.  Because, with God out of the way, moral issues such as same-sex marriage, gay rights and its approved presence can be addresssed as a right and not a moral issue of right or wrong.  As the growing trend towards homosexuality being released from it's immoral bonds in the Christian world, more voters are created for the liberal side.  More votes, more power, total control of society.  Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."  We have Catholics falling all over the place for what the majority is deeming the right way.

What now?

Back to the above reference,"We who are strong ought to bear with the failing of the weak".  This passage goes on to say that "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope...."  There is a strong evangelization arising with cyberspace, strong Christians, strong Christian Catholics writing fervently the truth in many venues throughout the internet, in podcasts, blogs, websites, and online chat rooms.  The Word is getting out, but we must be consistant and deliberate in our task. The strong in faith, wisdom, and knowledge must be appointed to do this work daily!

To help in this effort, Pope Benedict XVI will be opening Oct 2012 as the year of Faith, what a blessing!  With so many Catholics under-catechized and practically floating with very little to save them, we need to reach these people in a very big way and where they!  The Church cannot waste any time getting the New Evangelization on the move, a return to stronger and deeper spiritual resources are available everywhere.  Authors, strong priests and religious men and women are writing, posting, and podcasting great messages of hope, faith, and strong moral teachings.  One comes to mind, Theology of the body.  Amazing teaching and from an amazing man, bl. John Paul II.

We who are strong, must lead the weak to the promised land of religious freedom, life, and the pursuit of religious justice and conscience for the good of society and all the world.


Estimated Prophet said...

As a Parish Director of Religious Education over the past 15 years I must take issue with your assessment that weak catechesis has been a problem due to a lack of standards in content and teachers. If anything they have greatly improved thanks to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, diocesan training requirements and textbooks, subject to the review of a USCCB committee for conformity to the Catechism. They have hardly watered it down.
"Weak catechist preparation and requirements allowed anyone to come in and teach the children with very little quality assurance or checks and balances of what was being taught." ???? In Catholic Parish Religious Education Programs the only reason that "anyone" could teach is that we had to beg for catechists and pray that the Lord send someone. I don't ever remember having more than one person applying for the same volunteer catechist position. It is easy to blame others and call others Catholics in Name only. Perhaps you should write a letter of thanks to a parish catechist for giving of their time and working so hard to teach children for a brief time each week.

Ebeth said...

Estimated Prophet....I am a master catechist and yes things HAVE greatly improved, the Catechism, published first in 1996 and since revised is a huge resource, the curriculum deeply grounded, BUT this is in recent years.....the problem of weak and water-down Catholicism has been going on for YEARS right after VATII. This is what I'm talking about and those who are being brought up with these stronger initiatives need to cast out our nets for the weaker and bring them up to par.

I get what you are saying, I was a catechist who volunteered because our then parish needed help and taught with VERY little training, but it was this experience that made me realize that further studies and getting a MC was how I could serve the Church better.

Seredoc said...

The work of committed and properly formed catechists is profound, necessary and greatly appreciated. The intent here was clearly not to besmirch the efforts of any catechists. If it is thanks you require as a catechist EP, consider it offered with the sincerest gratitude. Problem is there are not enough catechists, lay or ordained, and the effect on the Church is clear. When 54% of Catholics can vote for Barrack Obama, we are failing as a Church. That does not mean we give up but we must redouble our efforts and implore God's assistance even more fervently,

Ebeth said...

AMEN!!! Seredoc! Thank you so much for stopping by and making a comment.

May God bless you, EP, and all catechists everywhere working to building up the body of Christ!

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

I agree with you about poor catechesis. I took Father John Hardon's Marian Catechist course and intended to offer my services at a parish but as I was studying for the advanced certificate I got severe fibromyalgia, Father Hardon died and my life went upside down. What I learned is now in service at my blog where I pray that those who need to see what I write will find me. Keep up the good work.