Thursday, 8 December 2011

Our "Catholic" Schools are in a terrible state


Our so-called Catholic Schools are, for the most part, in a terrible state. I read Fr Tim Finnegan's report of the outlandish goings-on at Bonus Pastor School in London and the attacks suffered by the Clovis family, whose work and commitment to the Catholic Faith could not be doubted. (See here for a previous post.)

In twenty years of Priesthood, three spent in full-time school chaplaincy work, I have always had involvement in schools. I forebear to make any further comment, as I'm not sure I could hold myself in check.

However, on another topic completely...

I've just been re-reading Pope St Pius X's encyclical "Pascendi" attacking modernism, that synthesis of all heresies that he saw attacking the Church from without and within (which you can read here on the Vatican website). In regard to education one quote will suffice:

43. And here we have already some of the artifices employed by Modernists to exploit their wares. What efforts they make to win new recruits! They seize upon chairs in the seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of pestilence. From these sacred chairs they scatter, though not always openly, the seeds of their doctrines; they proclaim their teachings without disguise in congresses; they introduce them and make them the vogue in social institutions.


I have also been reading a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a number of years but that I'm only now getting around to reading, Hans Urs von Balthasar's "A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen" (from 1980 but still available from Ignatius Press.) (Balthasar was highly thought of by Pope John Paul II, who raised him to the rank of Cardinal, although he died two days before the ceremony was due to take place).

Although the tone of this and "Pascendi" are very different and speak to their times, it struck me how very similar the themes are and how both authors identify similar attacks upon the Church, going through philosophy, dogma, faith and science, Scripture and identifying what is going wrong in these areas; how they are being mis-interpreted as tools of the Faith. Both see the necessity of subjecting all things connected with our belief to the teaching office of the Church and to judging the what can certainly be the fruitful discernments of various disciplines by the traditional understanding of the Faith - as mediated to us by the authentic teaching Office of the Church - Peter.

Balthasar says:
One thing will never be possible: namely that some human science should lift itself above the fullness of God and sit in judgement upon it from above.
Aggiornamento does not mean assimilating oneself to the atheist Enlightenment, instead it means being abreast of the times in order to give that Enlightenment an authentic response.
Balthasar with Pope John Paul II

14 comments:

Dominic McCarthy said...

Teachers are now having to try to teach Catholicism not to the children of the lapsed, but to the grandchildren of the lapsed. "When I talk about church, some of them look at me as if I'm talking about aliens from space," as a junior deputy head said to me.

Teachers too are provided often with only sub-Catholic textbooks and teaching materials, following upon a very weak formation in Catholic doctrine at their teacher training colleges.

An auxiliary bishop was dismayed to find himself addressed as "Bish" not too long ago by a female secondary school chaplain, in the presence of the children.

Preparing to celebrate a Mass in the school, the same "chaplain" asked if there would be communion under both kinds. No, just the Host, replied the bishop.

At the offertory, the children brought forward a dish with the altar breads in, but no wine or chalice.

In consternation, the Bishop beckoned to the chaplain: where's the wine and the chalice?

Oh, but you said it was communion under only one kind! she replied.

Nemo dat quod non habet, as they say.

Penny Catechism said...

"They seize upon chairs in the seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of pestilence. From these sacred chairs they scatter, though not always openly, the seeds of their doctrines; they proclaim their teachings without disguise in congresses; they introduce them and make them the vogue in social institutions..."

Best example I can think of is Ushaw College - now closed. Also the seminaries in Scotland - all closed. Also the seminaries in Ireland - all closed bar one. Also the seminaries in France......tec, etc, etc.

In Catholic schools most children have lapsed before they leave - or, rather, are no longer taught the faith so they cannot see any reason for practising. As my older granddaughter (aged 12) commented recently: "The priest dropped some white stuff into the wine and made it taste horrible." So much for the Body and Blood of Christ and transubstantiation.

And all we hear from those on high is endless blether about the "Fruits of Vatican II."

JARay said...

There should never be a female "chaplain", nor should there be any chaplain who is not a priest. The use of this word for someone in the position of counsellor is an abberation. It is a common example of layfolk taking over clerical roles.

Chaplains or Chapladies? said...

In my diocese we have 25 hospitals which have 'chaplains'. 8 are priests, 3 are deacons which look after 7 hospitals, 2 are laymen, 3 are nuns, and 6 are laywomen.

We also have 30 schools which all have 'chaplains', 24 of which are female, 3 are laymen, and only 1 is a priest. 2 are vacant.

Damask Rose said...

Dear Penny Catechism

As my older granddaughter (aged 12) commented recently: "The priest dropped some white stuff into the wine and made it taste horrible."

Forgive me for asking, but, in all sincerity, how did you teach your daughter/son about the Faith if your grand-daughter is able to say this? How did you pass the Faith on?

Penny Catechism said...

Damask Rose - a perfectly valid question. The 'problem' I had was the faith I was teaching my children was being diametrically contradicted by the 'Catholic' schools they attended. This placed confusion in their minds. Their 'RE Qualified' teachers were being challenged by a lone parent whose ideas were out of date and not in tune with the new thinking of Vat II. Whenever I spoke to teachers at open nights I was forever being told that I was the only one who was complaining and I was out of date. I was in a minority of one out of hundreds. At one parish meeting about the introduction of a new catechetical course I was sitting at a table with three teachers who complained bitterly about having to teach 'all this new stuff'. When the presentation was finished, the diocesan priest who was presenting this new course asked for comments and questions. I stood up and voiced my concerns. Once again I was told I had to adapt to the new fresh thinking and the priest asked if anyone else shared my views. The three teachers who had privately berated the course sat there in absolute silence - probably fearful for their jobs. I became isolated in my parish and in the schools. I suppose, for youngsters, it was difficult to cope with. I became fed up with people who would stop me in the street and say they agreed with me but did not like to say anything because it looked as if they were criticing the teachers and the PP. Perhaps my approach was wrong but my children, like those of most parents I know, no longer attend Mass, and their children, sadly, even though they attend 'Catholic' schools,have no instruction in the faith apart from that which I try to give them from a distance when I meet them.
There is no one more aware of my shortcomings than myself.

Blackledge said...

Our son attended the local 'catholic' High School. There was very little Catholic teaching in the school. We taught him and our three younger sons, at home - the TRUE FAITH. None of this noncense that we find our grandchildren are being subjected to.
so I know of two generations that have been taught a very low standard.

The Catholics in England and Wales will pray a high price. I blame the Bishops. I cannot blame our elderly priest. He has superiors who make the decisions.
Mr and Mrs Blackledge

FrP said...

This old chestnut!! The topic of our Catholic schools.

Depending on which diocese you are in - depends on what the catholic Schools teach.

Incredibly really -there is no basic set curriculum of catholic faith teaching throughout England and Wales.

Catholic countries laugh at what some of our children are being taught.

I am not laughing. I am thinking of what will happen to our beautiful churches when they stand empty and will be closed.

That will be the result. That is a certainty.

Where will our priests come from? Soon we will be like 'chicken's teeth'
FrP

GOR said...

On a recent news segment on national TV here in the US they featured a grade school where the children were being taught the ‘old way’ – no computers, just chalk and blackboards, pen and paper, learning things by heart and the basic subjects people of my age were taught 60+ years ago.

What was astonishing about the piece was the school’s location. Not in remotest Idaho, North Dakota or rural Wyoming - but in Silicon Valley, California, the home of so many high tech companies! The parents of the kids were all people who work in the high-tech industry (one of the fathers interviewed was a VP at Google!). The idea behind the school – endorsed by the parents – was to give the kids a basic grounding in education as it was in simpler times and let them learn about technology gradually as they got older.

I would endorse something similar in Religious Education today: a return to the simple catechisms of our youth with the Q & A format. You have to creep before you can walk – or as St. Paul put it: milk before meat. It worked well for previous generations. It can do so again.

Anonymous said...

As a parent who sent both sons to Catholic schools and sat as a governor for 10 years I can confirm that in my experience they are run for the benefit of the staff who have no interest and little knowledge of The Faith - close them all and teach through the parishes!

Genty said...

It seems that what the children now need is the equivalent of the old Anglican Sunday school.
Unfortunately, there are not enough priests to go round.
A friend's son - new Generation Vatican II - went to a Catholic school in the late 1970s, lapsed very quickly, did not marry in a Catholic church and hasn't bothered to get his own son baptised.

Anonymous said...

As an extraordinary mnister of the Eucharist, I had a woman who came to receive from the chalice and looked sicj when she looked in the Chalice. This happened several imes and I finally, after a Mass, asked what it was that made her look so distressed. She said someone threw-up part of their host into the cup.
I explained that the priest always brok a piece from the host and put it in the chalice. She never knew that. How Sad !

Anonymous said...

As an extraordinary mnister of the Eucharist, I had a woman who came to receive from the chalice and looked sicj when she looked in the Chalice. This happened several imes and I finally, after a Mass, asked what it was that made her look so distressed. She said someone threw-up part of their host into the cup.
I explained that the priest always brok a piece from the host and put it in the chalice. She never knew that. How Sad !

Anonymous said...

A Committee was in charge of selecting textbooks in our Archdiocese in the 80's. The text I preferred did not get on the approved list. It was an excellent text. According to the notes from the Committee, it did not contain enough pictures of blacks to make the cut.

 

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