Friday, May 15, 2009

Bishop: Time again to teach

In a recent interview Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Diocese of Worcester commented on the abysmal catechesis far too prevalent in far too many of our dioceses over the last 40 years.

The interviewer notes that, "Of concern to him ... is the general lack of knowledge of the faith which translates into lower Mass attendance and participation. Teaching the fundamentals of the faith is the answer to that malaise, he thinks." (emphasis mine)

The Bishop, in his own words:

[W]e have to realize that in some ways in the last 40 years, specifically in terms of our catechesis, that we have not been terribly effective in passing on the content of the faith in a way that has really captivated people’s minds and imaginations ...

Our preaching and our teaching has to become much more content-oriented. I think that, in a sense, much of our preaching has become very horizontalized. It is a type a neo-moralism: ‘be a good person; be nice to other people; God loves you; you’re wonderful; everything is beautiful.’ That’s sort of flat. I mean a lot of it is true, but if our preaching is this type of moralizing, or a sort of therapeutic approach to passing on the Gospel, a lot of substance of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church is not passed on ...

What I find is that a lot of Catholics don’t really have a keen sense of their Catholic identity. And what happens is, if that is not pronounced, if I don’t know why I am a Roman Catholic and what makes Catholicism to be itself, there’s that temptation to say ‘What difference does it make? I’m a good person…”

Now if this message could only penetrate the walls at 1150 Buffalo Road ...

3 comments:

Dr. K said...

Very well stated.

~Dr. K

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has paid attention at all knows this. It's about time a Bishop publicly admitted it. Of course, he did not take responsibility for himself, bishops in general, priests or vowed religious - who have consistently undermined the faith and catechesis for the past 40 years.

I'll bet he blames parents as "the first and best teachers" as "those responsible for teaching the faith to their children" even when they took their kids to Mass only to hear heretical sermons, sent their kids to Catholic schools and CCD only to be taught syncretism, (OK that dates me!); encouraged their kids to read and learn only to be exposed to the hypocrisy and evil of the sex scandal and cover up. Unfortunately I've seen Bishops and priests do just that before - blame the parents for their own heterodoxy, sloth, inability and misfeasance.

Overall. I'm glad he's said it. I'll be much gladder if he and the other "Shepherds" get off their collective heinies, let real money people handle the money (God and Mammon, boys)accept that their primary job is to teach the faith, accept that they have messed up big time - and actually DO something - to catechize the faithful.

Mike said...

Anon. 9:28,

From your lips to God's ear.