Tuesday 12th December 2017

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Education, Adoration, And A USCCB Election

November 23, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By SHAUN KENNEY

Mr. M from Arizona helpfully offers two amazing bits of insight as to the times, both of which are directed entirely at the modern system of education.
The first quote comes from Voddie Baucham, a preacher, pastor, and father:
“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”
Quite apt given the times.
For one, I am quite thankful that my children lounge around in sweatshirts and jeans while others spend $100 for shoes they will grow out of in six months. Certainly, we have our dresses and suit jackets, and know how to wear a collared shirt in public.
Yet for the menagerie of social media apps and the endless consumerism that pervades today’s postmodern culture? As one learns growing up poor, a few durable things are far more valuable than an ocean of cheap junk.
The second quote comes from evangelist Paul Washer:
“Your children will go to public school and they will be trained for somewhere around 15,000 hours in ungodly secular thought. And then they’ll go to Sunday school and they’ll color pictures of Noah’s Ark. And you think that’s going to stand against the lies that they are being told.”
How absolutely true this is! If the observation that 10,000 hours in a practice is what is required to be an expert, imagine what 15,000 hours of normalizing the secular culture does to families, faith, entrepreneurial values, and one’s sense of ethics and morality?
The antidotes will not arrive in one hour on a Sunday morning after Mass. Much like the old painters used to add a drop of black paint to bleach the whitewash, so too will an improper formation as Catholics only bleach such sentiment from the public square.
How many times have folks heard the “well, I was raised Catholic but” mantra knowing they were the victims of poor catechesis — both at home and in the parish?
It’s a twofold problem. Priests and religious are desperate to run up the stats, such as they are, in order to demonstrate to higher-ups that they are somehow turning back a culture of death.
Meanwhile, for those of us who managed to pick through the wreckage of the counterculture, we are left with missals we have forgotten how to pray, rosaries treated as jewelry, and rubric treated as rigidity.
Meanwhile, spiritualism replaces the fear of God, and coloring books become the new catechism.
One of the most powerful conversion tools a good priest or religious education director can provide is eucharistic adoration. Although adoration is sparsely attended by the faithful, one youth group on a Friday evening can really pack the house.
St. Teresa of Avila in her autobiography remarked upon a certain person that she wanted to win over to God. Asking God with a fervor bordering impertinence, the favor was granted, and she marveled at the intensity of this person’s growth until “within a short time he had much experience in spiritual things; these are the gifts God gives when He desires and how He desires.”
Thus the power of prayer and contemplation, as “often the contemplation the Lord doesn’t give to one in twenty years He gives to another in one. His Majesty knows the reason,” wrote Teresa.
So too is it with eucharistic adoration, where 15,000 hours of indoctrination can be utterly transformed in one hour with Christ.
For those priests, religious, and educators who are looking for a silver bullet? Try Christ — He already stood against the lies and won; Caesar never stood a chance.
Thoughts on any of the above comments? Write to me at the addresses given at the end of this column.

Secular Dogmatism

Good news from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has been selected by the conference as chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, an outcome whose finality had been in doubt thanks to the rise of another nominee — Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago.
One mentions this not because of any personal animosity toward either Naumann — who has been a staunch defender of Catholic moral teaching for years — or toward Cupich, a defender of the “seamless garment.”
Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical letter Centesimus Annus effectively ended the debate, defending not only a consistent life ethic but reinforcing the primacy of “a human dignity common to all” despite the tugs of secular ideologies — many of which bear all the trappings of secular religions.
Above all, John Paul II defended with equal vigor the primacy of the dignity of the human person and the defense of life as the cornerstone of the Catholic Church’s social justice doctrine. Centesimus Annus, after all, was written on the 100th anniversary of the founding encyclical of Catholic social teaching: Rerum Novarum by the prolific and committed anti-socialist Pope Leo XIII.
The media stress any sort of divide within the Church. But division is certainly not worthy of princes serving the Church.
However regrettable these internal conflicts and divisions, the National Catholic Reporter — the openly heterodox publication already condemned by previous occupants of the bishopric within the Archdiocese of Kansas City — should earn the greatest amount of disdain.
Why the USCCB has refused to yank NCR’s press credentials remains an open mystery, as opinion writer Michael Sean Winters — best described as a polemicist — continues to heap scorn not only upon his polar opposites, but equally upon all Catholic institutions and organizations faithful to the Magisterium and in service to the bishops alike.
Perhaps this has more to do with Winters’ immersion in his role as a dissenter? Certainly NCR’s sole reason for existing in their current form is due to their opposition to Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, the encyclical which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. Yet the defining line between dissent and heterodoxy has always been a willingness to submit to the authority of the Magisterium.
With such an infection of secular dogmas, a simple test is offered. If one radically transformed the Catholic Church into the vision offered by Winters and the NCR, what would one create? The answer is the Democratic Party at prayer, complete with a totalizing acceptance of their sexual ethics, divergence from marriage and family, and yes — a wholesale acceptance of contraception and abortion on demand.
Certainly, the rejoinder to this from the left is to libel faithful Catholics as mere Republicans (or tools of the right, pitching a false dichotomy between the social and moral teachings of the Catholic faith).
Perhaps some of feel better expressed within a political party that does not demand death as a litmus test; perhaps most of us are merely disgusted with the infiltration of the secular into the sacred, seeking to artificially pit faithful Catholics against faithful Catholics.
Would either consideration truly matter to NCR? Most likely not.

+ + +

Of course, I am succeeding (but not replacing) the inestimable Mr. James K. Fitzpatrick for the First Teachers column.
Please feel free to send any correspondence for First Teachers to Shaun Kenney, c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Rd., Kents Store, VA 23084 — or if it is easier, simply send me an e-mail with First Teachers in the subject line to: svk2cr@virginia.edu.

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