Who's Responsible for Teaching the Faith?

Sunday’s (February 19) Tribune article by Rex W. Huppke entitled Contraception debate neglects Catholics at odds with doctrine has been in the back of my mind since reading it.  But it’s not the part of Catholics being at odds with the Church’s doctrine that struck a chord with me.  It’s Huppke’s statement:

“Before my wife and I returned to the church, before deciding Catholicism was the faith path we wanted our children to follow, we went to other churches.  Went “church shopping.”  But nothing felt right, even those faiths more aligned with certain aspects of our thinking.

So we talked about it at length and decided we could be Catholic and be ourselves.  We have trusted the church to give our children a moral compass, and trusted that our children will grow wise enough to follow that compass when it aligns with what’s in their hearts.”

“We have trusted the church to give our children a moral compass …”  I got a news flash for Mr. Huppke:  Catochism in the Catholic Church is not to be trusted.  I would venture to guess that most young adults, 30 and under, despite twelve years of Catholic school (or CCD classes) know little if anything about their own faith and their moral compass comes from their parents behavior rather than Church teachings.  One hopefully will reinforce the other.

Our 21 year old daughter still goes to church and is very vocal about her faith.  It stuns me the questions she asks her father and I because our usual answer is, “Didn’t you learn that in school?”

I have a friend who taught Catochism for several years.  The materials she received from the Church were minimal, at best.  She spent several hours every day planning her lesson for that Saturday.  She taught all age groups in one class room.  She was a rarity in her dedication.

The majority of those children in her class didn’t attend church and neither did their parents.  There were no requirements for it and it wasn’t considered mandatory to make a First Communion or Confirmation.  In fact, the pastor of that church, would have nothing to do with the CCD classes.  The only time he saw fit to see the CCD children was the day they received their First Holy Communion or became confirmed.  The scandal, you know.

As Catholic parents, it’s ultimately our job to pass down the faith and I don’t think it stops after 12 years of Catholic school.  I converted as an adult and I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to do whatever it took to nurture my own faith over the years.

With our children, we expect the Church to take the lead in teaching.  As parents we should be more involved in what those teachings are and who is doing the teaching.

And you might ask your child if the pastor has made an appearance at any one of those classes.

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