Catholic catechesis is lousy because it’s based on the widely adopted liberal educational “model”

Sermon-Mount-Jesus-Christ

Other denominations, I’ve observed, do a better job of offering meaningful adult faith formation, and it’s well attended. Yes, there is Sunday school for children, but that’s not considered the central formational focus of the community. There are logistical differences beyond the confessional ones here, of course. Episcopalians and Lutherans and Presbyterians rarely offer 6 back-to-back services on a Sunday morning, and don’t have the same need for childhood sacramental preparation as Catholics do. Many Protestant churches schedule formation opportunities for all ages on Wednesday evenings.

That’s part of the reason the adult formation classes and workshops we do offer are so poorly attended—adult catechesis just not a part of our regular expectation and structure. And adding it to an already overscheduled parish calendar doesn’t seem to be much of a solution.

So here’s my totally immodest proposal, audaciously presented on the virtual eve of the grand ComicCon of Catholic religious education, L.A.’s RECongress: Snap out of it. Let’s just stop catechizing children.

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In the face of such monstrous evil, the proper response is to pray.

Posted today at The American Catholic site

All hail, O holy Queen, Mother exceeding merciful; Life’s spring, sweet comfort, our Hope-bearer, all hail. To thee our plaint we lift, children of Eve yet in exile. To thee our aspiring, and longing and weeping, lift we from this vale of sorrow. Ah then, Mary, be our intercessor; hither vouchsafe to turn thine eyes compassionate, and look upon us. And Jesus, blessed offspring of thy womb, O Mother, show thou to us when earthly exile endeth. O gentle, O loving, O gracious Virgin Mary!

Words fail me.  My prayers for the poor kids murdered, their parents and the adults murdered and their families.

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Catholicism’s “symphony of truth”

You don’t have to be an intellectual to appreciate this “symphony of truth,” however. For Catholicism is, first of all, an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And to meet that person is to meet the truth that makes all the other truths of our lives make sense. Indeed, the embrace of Catholic truth in full, as lives like Blessed John Henry Newman’s demonstrate, opens one up to the broadest possible range of intellectual encounters.

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More on Infant Baptism

Q: For Adults only … or for babies too?

A: The simple fact is … the Bible provides only a very sketchy account of things … since it was never intended to be a complete narrative.

You can spend all the time you want trying to prove a point from it, but the fact is, the authentic Church routinely baptized people of all ages, from the very beginning, and it still does, simply because it is the logical thing to do, since God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of his truth.

The sooner … the better … since the time for salvation is … now.

God has never experienced any difficulties communicating with the souls he creates and indwells … no matter what their age.

Jer 1:4 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.

John’s baptism was merely a symbolic baptism of repentance … a “dress rehearsal” for the real thing … while Christian baptism is authentic and powerful, according to God’s grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Jews were very familiar and comfortable with ritual washing, since it was routinely required before eating, before entering the temple, etc..

Recent archeological evidence indicates that John would pour water over the heads of the faithful (typically using a sea shell) when the Jordan was running too swiftly, or when the weather was otherwise unsuitable.

Circumcision … not baptism … was the way infants were always inducted into the ranks of the “Chosen People” since it was required under the law.

Baptism was John’s innovation and mission, but it was never required under the law.

St. Paul draws a parallel between circumcision and infant baptism, which is completely logical and perfectly natural for the offspring of Jewish Christian converts.

Infant baptism, as practiced in the Catholic Church, remains the strongest example of salvation with no works at all, courtesy of the grace and power of God, and his faithful and obedient Church.

Even babies are fully capable of receiving gifts. Baptism, and all that goes with it, is the greatest gift of all.