Thursday, October 12, 2006

The evening news in retrospect

Bishop Richard J. Sklba touches on the great controversy of the day in today's "Herald of Hope" column of our Catholic Herald.
Night after night I was subjected to the torture (at least that’s what it seemed if I wasn’t really interested) of three separate weather reports within a half hour!

Update: In passing, he later says,
As I have often recalled, there were three general aims of the Second Vatican Council, namely the renewal of the church, the reconciliation and reunion of the churches and the transformation of the modern world by the Gospel.

The first sentence of the Council's first document puts it a bit differently.
This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Seems like his paraphrase avoids that pesky calling the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Speaking of avoiding, Karen Marie Knapp at From the Anchor Hold posted a recollection of those heady years of the Second Vatican Council in A History of a True Blue Conciliar Kid.

Most of my classmates dropped out of religious education after fifth grade (and Confirmation), as seemed to be the perpetual tradition, but those of us who stayed had a steady stream of fresh Church documents to ponder as the Council continued and then was implemented.

Picturing her class oohin and aahing reading of the call of the whole of mankind into the household of the Church while their classmates dropped out around them, I commented,
Forty-four years of the attrition of people and accumulation of documents sounds pretty dismal.

In a subsequent post, she characterizes what I said this way.
I cannot believe that he actually thinks it is better to remain ignorant of the holy faith ...

I don't think that, but she apparently thinks such ignorance unimportant. She watched most of her classmates drop out of religious instruction and shrugs it off. Like I said
... It's all quite a contrast to the Good Shepherd, who thinks even 1% attrition deserves his full attention.



Blogger Karen Marie said...

Actually, that what you said seemed to add up to that, but that it couldn't be, so I had to try to get clearer. I hope that, at least for some folk, I did. (WheelieCatholic seems to think so, at least....)

6:37 PM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

And you _do_ realize that the refusal to keep learning after confirmation is the major driving force behind the late-high-school confirmation? That way, adult Catholics are living their Catholic lives on a tenth-grade knowledge of the faith, instead of a fourth or fifth grader's knowledge.

Now, somehow, there's got to be a better solution to continuing faith formation than holding confirmation hostage for it, but it hasn't been found yet with centuries of hunting for it......

11:14 AM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

If what you say is so, then it would seem that in a Catholic or Orthodox Church that confirms infants, there could be not faith formation at all.

If they, in fact, have many years of faith formation after confirmation, they have disproved your hypothesis.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

They have, just like we have --- and you objected to the junior-high me taking advantage of --- but only for people willing to take advantage of it. It's been over 500 years since the Church had the secular authority to force people to show up.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

The point, though, was you claimed there was no way to get kids to attend religious instruction after Confirmation. If that were so, then Churches with infant Confirmation would have ceased to exist. Rather than again address your previous argument, you now suggest another explanation Why Nothing Can Be Done. Perhaps you are confusing DREeality with reality.

I didn't object to you taking those courses. I was merely pointing out that while your class was reading about how the Church was changing to meet the needs of Modern Man, most of your classmates were dropping out and Mass attendance was in its still-continuing slide. It's an anecdote that might be worth inclusion in a Vatican II failure analysis.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

It isn't that there's no way --- it's that there's no infallible way. After all, even at the high school junior level there were still six of us who found it valuable......

Now, why did we find learning more about our faith valuable, even though there would be no this-life penalty for not learning? In my case, it was part nerddom and part love of God nurtured throughout childhood by faithful parents and grandparents. I don't know for sure about my companions.

So, how to encourage love of God that will draw people to learn more about the One they are coming to love? There's the big question. Spiritual fitness openly lived, as in my last post, is a huge indispensible part of it, but not the whole only answer. Some parishes have had some success with well-preached parish revivals, well-taught vacation bible school, diligent discipleship training, the Ignatian Exercises, REWEW, small group studies, etc., additional to basic spiritual fitness. If you have had or seen success in other ways, let it be known.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

I'll be more inclined to believe in reliance on "Spiritual fitness openly lived" when I see parishes rely on it as much in fundraising as they do in evangelization.

As I've said before, if parishes are willing to send people to parishioners' homes to remind them to sign their annual pledge cards or to donate to the building fund, and if those are effective approaches, then they should be willing to send people to talk about Jesus. And if they aren't willing to do the latter, then they should stop doing the former.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Karen Marie said...

I've never been in a parish that had home visitation for raising money. Home visitation for neighborhood census, passing out information about the Catholic Church to non-Catholics and about the parish to Catholic non-parishioners, I've seen a couple times and did once as a teen. Home visitation on an individual basis to determine St. VdeP or outreach ministry needs, more often, and I've been on both sides of that along the way. But fundraising???? Is that maybe a suburb thing rather than a Church thing, and that's why I've missed it, never having lived in a suburb?

10:13 AM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

Part of that experience was in a parish within the Milwaukee city limits.

Thinking back, way, way back, the only time the Jesuits dropped by my parents' home seemed to be largely to point out that tuition didn't nearly cover the cost of a Marquette High education.

It takes money to run an organization with its payroll and buildings, and people directly responsible have to see that the bills are paid, but there seems to be a continuing loss of confidence that the money is advancing the mission.

11:12 AM  

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