The Grave State
of Religious Education in America
is urgent is the evangelization
of a world that not only does not
know the basic aspects of Christian
dogma, but has in great part lost
even the memory of the cultural
elements of Christianity.”
Pope John Paul II, January
child is in the 10th grade, the 10th year of
Religious Education — and does not know Who
God is, what the Church is, and why either should
have any impact or influence on their lives.
Except for their Baptism in Christ and their
First (and probably last) Holy Communion — the
significance of which they know nothing — they
are effectively pagans. This sounds harsh. It
is meant to be. We need to be shaken out of
our indifference and awoken from our illusions.
Our children — your children — do not
know their Catholic Faith. In fact, most of
them do not even know God.
And they are in the 10th grade of Religious
Education. Think on that for a moment.
They have already had nine years — 9 years —
of something dubiously dubbed, “Religious Education”.
In less than a year they will make their Confirmation,
which is to say, they will publicly “confirm”
their belief in a God they do not know and ritually
assent to the teachings of the Church ... of
which they know nothing.
We will congratulate them and shower them with
money and gifts, and tell them how proud we
are of them. They will wear caps and gowns,
as befitting graduates of some form of learning,
and be absolutely clueless as they stand before
the Bishop who would not dare embarrass himself
or them by asking them the most basic question
about what — in this defining moment — they
are assenting to, what they are standing in
Confirmation of — fully aware that, with rare
exception, the student will be unable to answer.
This is not the sad state of CCD today
— or as we more disingenuously call it now,
“Religious Education”. It is the dismal and
utterly reprehensible state of Catholic Religious
Education everywhere in America, and likely
elsewhere, for the past 50 years.
“How can this be?”, you ask.
It is stunningly simple: students know little
or nothing about God and the Church because,
by and large, their teachers know little or
nothing about God and the Church. Religious
Education north of Boston is the only venue
of formal education in the world in which the
recruitment process for teachers has two criteria
only: a warm body and a willingness to teach
what one does not know.
There is no formal training for a Catechist.
Not in this “faith community” (the awkward New
Age neologism for the apparently now defunct,
“Church” or “Parish”) in this small town
just North of Boston — and very likely not
in America at large. The “DRE”, as they prefer to be called,
or “Directors of Religious Education” do not
question the prospective Catechist in any way
pertaining to his or her grasp, knowledge, or
understanding of the Faith that they will be
teaching. If the candidate can read, they are
qualified to teach. Period. There are no such
things as “competencies”, no courses, no required
readings, no demonstrable qualifications.
To fully grasp the egregious nature of this
absurdity, try to imagine your local school
hiring a teacher of Ancient History who never
studied it, does not know Homer, Thucydides,
or Virgil, nothing of the culture and politics
of Classical Greece or Rome — but who has sufficient
visual acuity to read the text of The Iliad
or the Aeneid. The only credentials
required for the position are a warm body and
a willingness to teach something of which the
candidate knows little or nothing. This absurd
disproportion is not likely to inspire confidence
in parents. But it does in DREs ...
The first thing to grasp is that, in many parishes,
the DRE is a
— not in the way that, say, a Catholic physician
is said to be a “Professional Catholic” — a
practicing Catholic who is in “one of the
secular professions”. “DRE”s are “professional Catholics”
in another way. That is to say, they are
paid Catholics who are paid to teach Catholicism
through unpaid Catechists. Catholicism
is not just presumably their Faith, but their
livelihood, their living, their income
— in a word, it is their “job".
The DRE typically — and most often defectively
— knows her faith, and is selling it to the
highest bidder. The Catechist, hopefully learning
as he or she is teaching, at least follows the
injunction of Christ Himself: "Freely you
have received; freely give." For all their
admirable charity, many, regrettably, have little
to give because they themselves were not taught
by their Catechists who had, in turn,
been given little — or much that was counterfeit
— by their Catechists.
Before the decimation of the teaching Orders
of Sisters — and vocations in general — following
the Second Vatican Council, our children were
taught their Catechism by Nuns (Sisters, really)
who were unpaid consecrated women who taught
with a passionate conviction not only what they
knew well, but, by and large, lived well. This
had been the case almost universally until the
confluence of Vatican II and the anti-culture
of the 1960's. It was a climate saturated with
permissiveness, and a clamoring not so much
for freedom as for license. Any notion of “authority"
and anything less hedonistic than what verged
on euphoria became synonymous with “repression”
— ecclesiastical, civil, moral, and sexual.
As the doors — behind which incense and silence
had stirred for 2000 years — were flung open,
the miasma — and the animosity — of the world
rushed in. The vocations — unable to accommodate
this inimical influx — either rushed out or
were systematically driven out. Social manifestos
replaced religious evangels; the Realpolitik
of man became the summum bonum, the
greatest good, not the salvation of his immortal
soul — a quaint and at best, anachronistic notion
effectively abolished by the now socially enlightened
It was at this point that the great teaching
orders of Religious Sisters either evolved into,
or were subsequently replaced in toto
by the Professional Catholic, the Catholic for
whom Catholicism became a profession, not of
faith, but of emolument. Much like the Sophists
of Classical Greece (the great antagonists of
Socrates) who “sold" their wisdom and made a
handsome living off it (ever proving themselves
clever, but never wise), today we confront the
Professional Catholic who sells Catholicism
for a living, and with a vested interest in
what is sold because it redounds to their wages.
That the goods they sell are shoddy and defective
is of no concern to them. They have a captive
market: every Catholic with children must pay
them each and every year for ten years. Not
bad work if you can get it ...
It is true that St. Paul said that
is worth his wages”, but it remains equally
true that St. Paul sewed tents — not Christianity
— for a living. The DRE, you must understand,
does not sew tents.
One DRE north of Boston appears convinced that
the way to reach the children is not through
tiresome doctrine, text and study (as, for example,
Jewish children learn their faith), but through
the oxymoron called “Christian Rock and Roll”
(the term, “Rock and Roll”, we will remember,
derives from the bodily movements associated
with copulation) to which she herself sprightly
dances in her office. She is not alone. The
“Ministers of Music” (among the many "Ministers
of this and that” which proliferate throughout
the “Faith Community” and within the “Worshipping
Spaces” — neologisms for Church, pew and Altar
respectively — have even brought in drums complete
with trap sets to punctuate the Mysteries of
the Mass. It appears to be a mind-set that prevails
among those employed by the Church as “Professional
And yet the numbers of the young who appear
at Mass (especially those unaccompanied by a
parent) continue to diminish. Given the failure
of “Religious Education” through what can only
be loosely construed as formal and textual instruction,
is “Rock and Roll” really the inducement our
children need? Will syncopation suffice where
formal instruction does not? Can we “Rock and
Roll” our children to God through “Christian
Rockers”? After 9 years of “formal” instruction
with so dismal a result, perhaps another, some
alternative, non-textual pedagogical avenue
is open? Perhaps the new evangelizers are not
the Catechists (if ever they were), but the
musicians, the “Rock and Roll” Catholics?
Piqued by this, I began to ask around — first
my own children, and then their acquaintances.
“Can you please tell me the name of a Christian
“Rock and Roll” group”?
“How about a Christian "Rock and Roll" artist?”
“Mmmmm ... no.”
“Well, what about the music at Mass?“
Their eyes roll and they giggle.
This is cause for uneasiness.
Child Left Behind ...”
It is also why children can pass through 9 years
of “Religious "Education”, end up in the 10th
grade preparing for Confirmation — and not
know God and what He expects of them, or the
most basic precepts of the Church to which
they will formally ... and obliviously ... bind
It is also why no one fails “Religious Education”.
There is no “staying back”. The bindings of
the Bibles given the students remain unbroken,
as well as their Newer-Age Catechisms-of-sorts.
The queue leading to the Bishop is always as
long as the year before.
Why are there so few young Catholics at Mass?
To begin with, no one has taught them even the
simplest and most basic Catholic precept: that
attendance at Mass on Sunday is obligatory —
even if you are oblivious to why you are there.
Not a Member of the Better Business Bureau
But you have paid
to have them —
your children — taught
their religion. It
is you who drive them to “CCD”—
and it is you who go back to
pick them up. Cash and carry ... So why
are they — your children — as oblivious
to the Faith — as you are ... too?
“I have paid the tuition!”, you
complain — and the return on my investment
is total ignorance?
In the world of business, had you paid
that money for a product — and received
in the mail an empty envelope in return,
you would call the owner of that business a
con-man, a “rip-off ”. But for the next 8 years
you continue to buy “the product” and receive
an empty envelope. Who is the fool?
I encourage you to ask your DRE:
“Why does my child not know God?”
The Church has ever taught that we, as parents,
are our children's' primary teacher —
and we have failed. It is an uncomfortable truth.
Ask your DRE why she has, too
... if only to know where your money is going,
and why. If you do not receive a satisfactory
answer —and you will not — acknowledge
that you have been a fool and demand a refund,
as is reasonable and just. But be advised: you
cannot call the Better Business Bureau and tell
them that you have been scammed. Still less
can you call the Chancery, or the Bishop. The
BBB will at least reply to your letter. The
Chancery will just “push the empty
envelope”, and in the unlikely case that
they do reply, they will most likely tell
you that the Bishop deems your “CCD” program an outstanding model
of religious education, and that he personally
holds the pastor and DRE in the highest
In truth — at least here in Boston — Cardinal
Seán Patrick O'Malley is as clueless of the
reality of “Religious Education” as your
children are of their Faith.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
Comments submitted on this Article:
us and tell us what you
Hello from Santa Paula, California.
I have been blessed by finding the
wonderful Boston Catholic Journal
website and greatly enjoy your articles.
I would like to offer a hopeful
response to the November article
"Religious Education in
America." I live in Ventura
County, California, which is very
much a biracial community - Caucasians
and Latinos (particularly Mexicans).
This community provides interesting
contrasts in religious education
and practice. What you have described
in religious education I most certainly
see in the dominantly Caucasian
churches of the county - a strange
watered down mix of new age, populist,
and pop culture "theology." These
churches have bands during Mass,
gongs in middle of the church, and
tend to regard the Eucharist as
symbolic. The Latino churches stand
in sharp contrast: youth attendance
is high, people of all ages still
take the Eucharist on the tongue,
many women still cover their heads,
NO ONE leaves early during mass,
and either Sisters or students from
St. Thomas Aquinas college perform
religious education. I am a man
in the middle of two cultures: biracial
Irish and Mexican. I have lived
this contrast, wandering the area
for several years trying to find
a church that has not abandoned
2000 years of rich Catholic tradition
and culture. It was truly a very
despairing period in my life and
I almost gave up. Fortunately, I
have found most of these traditions
alive and well in Latino churches
and I finally feel like a whole
Catholic again. This shouldn't be
too surprising as with Mexicans,
there is no line between Mexican
culture and Catholic culture. To
be Mexican is to essentially be
Catholic. While forces of secularism
have often split our religious and
ethnic identities in White America,
these forces have been largely unsuccessful
with Latinos in the Americas. Most
likely, all this is a function of
socioeconomics and materialism.
When you look at it that way, it
is not surprising that White America
has grown, fat, lazy, and arrogant
due to high standards of living,
with all of this affecting religious
practices and education. The faithful
and traditional Catholic Christians
(generally speaking) continue to
be the poor, working class, and
politically disadvantaged - those
closest to Christ. So through Him,
it is these communities that may
prove to be the salvation of religious
education and tradition in Catholic
America...but we'll have to swallow
our pride first!
May the peace of Christ be with
Dear Dr. Miller,
Thank you for your
kind and extremely perceptive letter.
We share in your anguish, and equally
share in your hope that the burgeoning
Latino community in America will
bring with it — and resolutely maintain
— its strong and authentic Catholic
identity. May it be the leaven needed
in in this self-indulgent Anglo-Saxon
society that has, as you correctly
observed, become complacent and
to a large extent spiritually bankrupt
and liturgically corrupt. It remains
to be seen if the promise of affluence
at the cost of its Catholic identity
will prevail — or if that that genuine
Catholic impulse historically prevalent
in the Latino community, that indefeasible
identity that is inseparable, even
inalienable from 2000 years of Catholicism,
will overcome the increasingly defined
"American Catholic Church" that
has made God in man's image ...
I read your latest
article on religious education in
American with sense of sadness that
yes, I too, have been there as a
parent and as a former DRE. During
the 70's I began to see what has
been referred to as the "cookie,
kool-aid and sweet Jesus" times.
My own children were in elementary
school and attended CCD classes.
Our DRE was a sister with pierced
ears, polished nails, and pink lips.
I do not mean any personal disrespect,
but we as parents and teachers were
urged to the point of being pushed
to forget the old ways and get with
the new. No confession before First
Communion, Confirmation, well, maybe
if you really want to ...
I became so confused, disgruntled
and yes, angry that I pursued my
own degree in Religious Education
at a Catholic university so that
perhaps with God's grace I could
make a difference. That DRE degree
could have been the beginning of
the end for me as well had God not
been with me every step of the way.
I was taught by adjunct professors
flown in from hither, thither and
yon with new agendas, their own!
I heard and saw things that shocked
me and scandalized those in the
program who were non-Catholic. What
I took from that experience besides
my DRE was a determination to save
the baby that was being thrown out
with the bath water. Sadly, my time
as a volunteer DRE in an newly organized
parish was short-lived as mid-year
I was called to a parish council
meeting to ask why I was I teaching
all of that "old Catholic stuff."
In trying to defend our beliefs
and actions, my assistant and I
ended up having to resign or be
Years later when my youngest daughter
was ready for school, we made the
sacrifice in distance and money
to send her to a Catholic school.
In her sophomore year in high school,
the class watched and "critiqued"
current movies. Her teacher was
a sister. Now my children are married
with children of their own, and
they do NOT know their faith. Each
one has chosen to join the denomination
of their spouse. Yet, privately
each one has come to me to express
as best they can how much they wish
they knew the Catholic faith of
It is now much later and my sister
is experiencing a crisis in faith
for so many of the same reasons
as were alive and well in the late
60's and 70's. She also attended
CCD classes and has had nothing
since ~ not for the lack of searching.
In my own parish we listen to the
paid, professional band, sit for
the entire Mass (no kneelers in
church) and the homilies revolve
around the sports world. My heart
aches for the truths of our faith
that were tossed out the door along
with the communion rails, statues,
prie-dieus and holy water
I do not have specific answers for
this growing cancer of secularism
in Holy Mother Church, especially
here in the United States. At this
time in my own life, it is prayer.
Active participation in parish life
is needed, but how can one get a
foot in the door if one has a rosary
in hand? I do think that with the
growing Hispanic population some
reverence and respect for our beautiful
Catholic faith will return. However,
how can the younger generation of
even the devout Hispanics escape
this secular society and the laxity
in the practice of our faith? There
are dark moments when I fear we
have come too far, and I ask why
are prayer and penance the foreign
language we do not understand?
In closing I would like to pose
this thought although it is not
mine alone. A friend of mine suggested
that much of the dilemma in the
Church in the US is a result of
disobedience. We don't like to obey;
it goes against our own will, rubs
us the wrong way, how dare anyone
tell us what to do......and yet
He was obedient unto death, death
on a cross for you, for me. With
prayer, penance and obedience ...
and the mercy of God perhaps, just
perhaps, we will live to see our
faith rightfully restored and preserved.
a former "DRE"
We live in a small South Texas town
with about 300-400 families in our
parish. What you described in your
article seems to mirror our parish;
"a warm body and a willingness to
teach". Our recruiting systems is
a signup sheet on the bulletin board
in the church. There's no requirements
regarding qualifications with the
exception of required certification
training which nobody attends. Lets
say, there's no enforcement where
if you don't become certified you
don't teach. Therefore, we have
well meaing people that are ignorant
of their faith teaching the children.
The teaching curriculum is never
reviewed or updated. I am told it
would be too expensive to make any
changes that would require a newer,
updated curriculum. We must pinch
pennies in order to pay off the
parish's new community/basketball
center. I've never known of or seen
where the teachers are monitored
to see what they're teaching the
children. If a parent were to complain
they'd be "gilt tripped" into shutting
up by being told "if you don't like
it then why don't you teach?"
We've had a few DREs that were run
out of their jobs because of a small
crowd of "other ethnic origin" that
wanted only a person who was bilingual
and wouldn't follow church rules.
Of course they never tried to become
trained for the position when the
courses were offered and definitely
didn't know anything about their
faith. Now the church secretary
is running the operation among all
the other duties she does. In some
classes there's about 30-40 students
in the class room with one teacher;
what a hoot, how can anything be
taught here? I've suggested to the
Pastor that if there aren't enough
teachers don't have the class. He
just looks at me with a blank stare.
I don't know what to make of it.
We continue to pray for him....
My wife offered to provide the teacher
certification courses in the parish.
She's given about three now and
only 4-5 people show up. I don't
mean to sound so negative but, this
is the reality of it. My wife and
I have taught high school R.E. for
over 20 years and we always have
to begin with the basics (i.e.,
who is God, why are you here, etc)It's
most perplexing to observe clueless
children when one wonders what are
the parents doing with their children
since they are the first teachers
of the faith. Of course some think
its the church's duty to be the
primary faith teacher just like
they think its the local school's
job to teach their children discipline
among other subjects. I've worked
in law enforcement for over 12 years
and am now retired but I remember
parents giving up on their children
and expecting the criminal justice
system to straighten their children
out after the parents failed at
their jobs miserably in raising
This is the reality of it and it
is a sad dilemma we're in...
Thank you very much for your letter.
We commiserate with you. The sad
state of "Religious Education" in
America — and very likely elsewhere
in the world — is a reflection of
the widespread indifference of the
Bishops of every diocese who, in
their primary role as Teachers of
the Faith, have defaulted upon it,
panning it off to "Professional
Catholics" — Catholics who earn
their living off being Catholics.
This coterie of very "progressive"
and often disaffected individuals
and groups within the Church are
clearly more concerned with social
and sexual issues than actually
teaching children what is most basic,
most elemental, in their faith.
We are not suggesting that the bishops
teach Catechism; we are simply emphasizing
the fact that bishops do not, to
our knowledge, and in our experience,
do anything meaningful and measurable
to ensure that the true Catholic
Faith (and not the personal opinions
of uninformed and unqualified teachers)
is in fact being taught within the
Churches in their diocese. Clearly,
they cannot monitor each classroom,
nor can the parish priests (although
they ought to make an effort). It
is the DRE who is "being paid" to
do the job, and like her bishop,
she in turn pans it off to "unpaid"
Catechists with no questions asked,
no qualifications required. They
get to teach their opinions, she
gets to cash her check. And that
is why "Johnny does not know God"
in the 10th and last year of CCD
or "Religious Education".
A great deal of pretension surrounds
this, and there is much make-work
and self-aggrandizing meetings,
from the bishops Chancery down to
the local DRE's office, applauding
themselves on their success in the
face of a sobering reality that
discloses a catastrophic failure
in the transmission of our Catholic
Faith, a failure that has become
both systematic and pandemic.
No one is going to call the DRE
to account; not the bishop, not
the pastor, and certainly not the
"parish council". No one is asking
the most blatant question: why do
our children know nothing of God
or of their faith after ten years
of "instruction"? You,
the parent, must ask your DRE why.
You're paying her — and you are
not getting the goods. What is worse,
neither is your child.
My wife and I are so fed up with
the way the Church is heading. All
we hear is “spiritual froth”; is
there someone out there with the
courage and fortitude to take a
stand for their faith? Don’t get
me wrong, there’re some excellent
priests and religious out there
that lay down their lives for their
people every day. We pray every
day that our Pope, bless his soul,
will pull in the reigns on the American
Church. However, we’ve got some
“wolves in sheep’s clothing” and
they’re in the “hen house”.
We really need to inquire with total
honesty and objectivity of ourselves
as a Catholic people, are we ready
to claim our identity in order to
respond to the call of the Gospel,
in such a way as to be real signs
of the Kingdom of God. God is simply
waiting for your responses.
Jesus called Nathaniel, the recliner,
the prejudiced one. "- Can anything
good come out of Nazareth?" Nathaniel
said. Nathaniel lacked openness.
Nathaniel wasn't ready.
Jesus called Simon, the Zealot.
Simon thought redemption required
military and political force. Simon
lacked nonviolence. Simon wasn't
Jesus called Andrew, the cynic.
"-Five loaves and two fishes! What
can anyone do with that-"? Andrew
said. Andrew lacked a sense of risk.
Andrew wasn't ready.
Jesus called Thomas, the doubter.
Thomas couldn't see beyond the obvious.
Thomas lacked vision. Thomas wasn't
Jesus called Judas, the realist.
Judas didn't want God, Judas wanted
good business practices. "-This
perfume could have been sold for
300 denarii’s". Judas lacked spiritual
maturity. Judas was definitely not
Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector.
Matthew had spent his whole life
succeeding at the expense of others.
Matthew lacked a sense of social
sin. Matthew wasn't ready.
Jesus called Thaddeus, the realist.
Thaddeus was looking for authority
and official recognition but definitely
not foresight. Thaddeus asks: "-Why
don't you reveal yourself to the
world?-" -- a loose translation
would be: "-You tell them who you
are. Don't leave the burden to us!-"
Thaddeus lacked commitment. Thaddeus
Jesus called James the Lesser, the
bigot. James insisted that Christianity
was only for the Jews. James had
no idea whatsoever of world redemption.
James lacked awareness. James wasn't
Jesus called James and John, the
sons of thunder. James and John
were well on their way to becoming
career ministers, ambitious men
who wanted a good church position.
James and John wanted to be bishops.
James and John lacked a sense of
servant hood. James and John were
Jesus called Peter, the rock. And
Peter..? Peter wanted to lead the
leader on his own terms. "-Don't
go up to Jerusalem, Jesus-", Peter
said. Peter lacked courage. Peter
was not ready.
The point you see, is that Jesus
doesn't call the “ready”. Jesus
calls the willing. Jesus didn't
call individuals as individuals.
Jesus took the disciples in their
personal weaknesses and made of
them a powerful, -- no, an “empowering
Are we Catholics ready, with all
our sins, fears, faults, inadequacies
and weaknesses willing in the light
of our baptismal commitment
to claim our identity and vocation?
There is a very brief story by the
late Father Anthony de Mello. The
story goes something like this:
“Once a farmer found an eagle's
egg and he put it in the nest of
his backyard chickens. The egg hatched
and the eaglet grew up thinking
he was a chicken. He scratched the
earth for worms and flopped about
in the dust as chickens do. One
day, he looked up into the sky and
saw a great and beautiful golden
bird gliding effortlessly in the
clear, blue sky. He said, "What's
that?" The chicken said, "That's
the eagle, the king of the birds.
He belongs to the sky. We're chickens,
we belong to the earth". And so
the eagle lived and died a chicken,
for that is what he thought he was”.
Catholics, both clergy,
religious and laity: Who do you
say that you
Name Withheld by Request
You ask, "is there someone out there
with the courage and fortitude to
take a stand for their faith?"
Yes, Mike — you do!
We do! Don't give up!
As Father Corapi emphatically states:
"Surrender is not an option."
The "Counter-Church" within the
Church is relying on the silence
of the genuinely faithful who fear
to speak, fear to be labeled "reactionary",
"traditionalists", "backward", "not
in the 'spirit of Vatican II", not
"progressive"; who fear to be marginalized,
criticized, and persecuted — as
Jesus Christ promised every follower
would be. In fact, I would venture
to go so far as to say that if you
are on good terms with
"the world", "the parish council",
"the clique" who run every Church;
if you are welcomed, praised and
lauded ...... you cannot possibly
be following Christ. Think
on that — then stand up, be heard,
and fight the good fight. When you
received your own Confirmation you
became a Soldier of Christ — and
as a Soldier you cannot leave your
post, however menacing they are
who encroach upon you and God's
You are not alone. How can you be,
in that Communion of Saints that
extends back 2000 years ... and
to eternity? You may be surrounded
by antagonists, but as St. Paul
tells us, you are also "surrounded
by a cloud of witnesses".
Praised be Jesus Christ. J+M+J
Dear Mr Editor,
I would like to
express my gratitude for your courageous
, inspiring and informative article
entitled, "The grave state of religious
life in America".As a consecrated
religious residing in Europe it
is of particular interest , it enables
me to see and
presumably others too, both the
comparisons, differences and what
could become the reality here, and
indeed should act as a warning to
us all and be a rally for greater
vigilance regarding the religious
education of our young.
Some of the things that you have
written about we could already identify
with, but not all, could I please
request that you could give on your
site a succinct précis of the '
format ' of the American Catechesis,
CCD is? At least on paper, in this
country catechists have to take
a formal training and they are accountable
to their bishops.
If by the age of 13 the children
have no idea of the fundamentals
what actually are they learning
at their classes? Or at least should
I say what are the teachers filling
their allotted and precious time
For the teachers not to be accountable
is some way is a sure way of these
children wandering into error, even
heresy because it sounds as if the
whole lesson depends entirely on
the whim of the teacher his/herself.
For the children, given to us by
God, entrusted to us is this really
the best we can do? It speaks of
apathy, affluence and a dying faith,
not the Faith, by the faith
of those who have the responsibility
to hand down the richness and beauty
of the Holy Catholic Faith.
Teaching a child how many bricks
constituted the walls of Jericho,
or which way the River Jordan flows
does nothing to bring them into
a relationship and furthermore develop
a relationship with Jesus Christ
, whom they should come to know
as their dearest, closest, best
and enduring friend.Children have
a natural perception for the true
and the beautiful, they also have
at quite a tender age perceptions
of some being beyond themselves,
this is God given and our task is
to nurture that.
Children and teenagers are attracted
by genuine examples and witnesses
of authentic holiness, by persons,
religious, priests, and laity whom
they perceive to be living out what
Here in Europe 'Pop Masses ' have
been tried and in time found to
be wanting, of course there can
be , have been specific celebrations
where music of the culture have
been used successfully, but these
are special events catering for
thousands, I am thinking in particular
of various Papal Masses for the
young and other centres of pilgrimage.
However the music has usually been
tastefully chosen and well executed
because of the young people who
were involved obviously alive within
their Christianity. But when this
is applied on parish levels just
to attract the young, or attract
anyone it is invariably failure.
Young people can listen to pop music
7 days a week 24 hours a day, when
they attend Mass they do not come
with the intention of being entertained,
but desperately hoping that they
will find something relevant for
they lives, some meaning... they
want genuine spiritual experiences
they want God, they have a hunger
to know Jesus as their personal
Saviour not band leader.
If they find Mass boring its because
they do not meet Christ in the celebration.
I would consider your article to
be in fact a very important one
and I hope you will develop it further.
Children, teen-agers want to know
how to come into contact with God,
they want to know how to pray, they
are as we all are seeking for love,
they will only find love in a person,
not in ideas. The amount of religious
literature, graphics downloaded
on the internet by young people
is yet another proof that they are
seeking and we are failing them
miserably it seems. In one way,
you have an answer on the Boston
site, I see you have a link to Children
and the Eucharist, how much we could
learn from their example and this
wonderful priest who leads them,
to be present to Jesus totally before
the Blessed Sacrament , to both
know and give love.... but they
can only do this if we stand up
and take our responsibilities serious....when
all is said and done GOD himself
has entrusted this to us ... to
nurture, feed and care for the young.
"let the little ones come to me
Please ask your readers to visit
Children of Hope
it is a wonderful site dedicated
to leading children into the mystery
of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ
in the Eucharist, that they may
come to realize how much he loves
them! Bring your little
Thank you again for this splendid
article and reading the responses
from other readers I get the impression
that the pain caused by it all is
far more widespread than one would
of initially believed, God bless
I will pray that service that your
website is will bear good fruit
for Christ, In His Joy.