Real Religious Education: A Seemingly Rare Species in the Catholic Parish Jungle
I only live about an hour and a half away from home. I visit home often and go to mass with my family. I even started going to CCD with my fourteen year old sister out of curiosity.
Before I went with her, I found myself reminiscing on how I was taught in preparation for Confirmation. But the more I thought about it, the more I was saddened at how little I was actually taught.
Mostly we were talked at by adults who dwelt more on obscure trivia of Church history than actually preparing us to take responsibility for our faith and for our souls. Social issues like abortion and gay marriage were never discussed; neither was contraception or Church teaching about sex. They never talked to us about challenges we would face once we got to college, and there was no bridge to getting to Catholic Campus Ministry programs. We weren’t even taught elementary things about the Bible and salvation history. All they cared about was teaching us when the Church calendar started and making us close our eyes and imagine sitting on a hill and talking to Jesus about our problems.
Seriously? Is that really the best you can do. I can only pray it isn’t like this in all parishes across the U.S.
My sister is not quite in Confirmation classes yet; for her that will come next school year. But I was still quite disappointed at the diluted teachings they were receiving, and how unequipped most of the Catechists were to teach. It seemed like most of them didn’t even really care! But I guess how much can you really teach indifferent, obnoxious middle school kids? Still. When deadpan, monotone adults stand up and ramble on at you about the Bible, how can you not expect the kids to be indifferent and obnoxious? How can you expect kids to be excited about their faith if 98% of the adults (including parents and young adults) aren’t excited about their faith!
I also should mention another disturbing trend. Parents put their kids in CCD around First Holy Communion then they take them out and then put them back in around Confirmation. On top of that they won’t even come to mass! Can you believe that? What is the whole point of all this absurdity!
I also wonder if the Catechists are even trained or selected. Or do they just pick them randomly? Do they just take whatever they can get? I believe that being a Catechist is a vocation in and of itself. You should not be a Catechist if you don’t feel called to it.
After reflecting on my own religious education, I talked to the woman in charge and told her I wanted to come in and talk to the older teens about their faith in college. She agreed and we’re working on planning a time when I can come in. I was also hoping to do a theology of the body talk…but that might be asking for too much!
Has anyone else experienced frustration like this about religious education on the parish level?