18 March 2015

Is the Parish Faith Formation Program a Spiritual Orphanage?

Having taught catechism before I have seen both sides of the problem as the writer describes. I think her comparison of  parish faith formation programs to "spiritual orphanages" is spot on.

The norm is to assume that Catholic parents simply cannot be trusted to teach their children the Catholic faith.
If you spend much time around Catholics, you know this fear has its basis in sordid reality.

The Solution that Is No Solution

So what do you do when the parents in your parish are not living up to their responsibilities? Our current solution is to swoop up all the children and put them in a classroom an hour a week with a spiritual orphanage worker. Since the parents are unable to teach, we’ll teach for them.
There’s fallout, of course. It’s exhausting trying to parent twenty children, many of whom have been spiritually neglected for years. It’s difficult finding qualified volunteers, because the work is frustrating and so many adults in the parish don’t know their faith. Because new families are constantly trickling in with their never-catechized children, we end up having to re-teach the same basic facts year after year. We’re nowhere near hitting diocesan standards — if our ninth graders have never opened a Bible, they certainly haven’t read whole books of it.
The staff and the parish resources are stretched so thin there simply isn’t room for adult faith formation. We’re too busy taking care of the orphans — whose parents are sitting in the parking lot waiting for class to get out.
Meanwhile, the kids age out of our programs and leave the faith, because they lack the the factor that has the most bearing on whether an adult continues to practice the faith: Having been raised in a home where the parents were disciples.
Parents Have Immortal Souls, Too
When you monkey around with Church teaching, bad things happen. We’ve identified a problem — kids whose parents aren’t disciples — and we’re so busy “solving” the crisis by heroically stepping in to replace the parents, that we’ve overlooked a small detail: Doing so is contrary to the Catholic faith.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jenniferfitz/2015/03/the-hero-complex-that-is-destroying-the-catholic-faith/#ixzz3UkHItAKP

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