Archbishop Cordileone cites ‘retinal holes’ in Catholic schools

Need supernatural vision, founded on Christian anthropology

The following comes from a Jan. 17 article in Catholic San Francisco written by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Notre Dame’s John Cavadini: “The system in which the words made sense is fading.

This week we celebrate the mission of Catholic schools and their cherished legacy. We also recommit ourselves to assuring their future because they are critical to the life of the Church. Catholics schools are privileged places for young people to encounter Jesus Christ through Catholic faith, Catholic culture, and the Catholic intellectual tradition on a daily basis as they learn and grow and develop. Because Catholic schools are called to be, as Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver states, “inspired by a supernatural vision, founded on Christian anthropology, animated by communion and community, imbued with a Catholic worldview throughout the curriculum, and sustained by Gospel witness,“ they are the ideal and obvious institutions to help address a growing problem facing the Catholic Church.

In a May, 2004 article for Commonweal Dr. John Cavadini of Notre Dame calls out and laments the religious illiteracy of so many otherwise well-educated young Catholics. According to Dr. Cavadini, “This vast ignorance is not just a question of missing bits of information, retinal holes marring an otherwise excellent field of vision. It is something more like a retinal detachment, a whole field of vision pulling inexorably away toward blindness. Not only are the words gone, the bits of information, but the system in which the words made sense is fading.”

The pathway out of the kind of ignorance Cavadini sites requires, as he says, a “renewed pedagogy” that focuses on the fundamental doctrines of the faith – what Catholics believe. It also requires a pedagogy that invites and leads young people to a moment of epiphany when they can see the faith with new eyes. This is exactly what Catholic education is all about.

Catholic schools convey knowledge of what the faith teaches, but they also offer a culture in which students can’t help but bump into the faith again and again across the disciplines, in their co-curricular activities, and in the witness of their teachers. In such an environment they become aware that the faith offers a world view that is neither naive nor limiting. Rather, it is coherent, sophisticated and expansive. This realization, according to Cavadini, “has a unique power to reconnect students to the church’s faith. When it is combined with an awakening to the sense of the sheer beauty, richness, and sophistication of Catholicism’s two-thousand-year-old tradition, there is no substitute for the impact it has on students.”

Comments

  1. It requires everyone at the school and at the home to be 100% in.
    One area where teachers have very bad judgement is in teaching things that aren’t in accordance with the Faith or sanctity, thinking that students need to be exposed to what’s out there.
    My kid learned about other religions in Catholic schools. Just enough to decide that other religions weren’t that bad.
    In a Newman list college, one of his professors had his students listen to George Carlin’s “7 words you can’t say on television.” (Carlin made the list up for those who don’t know, like the teacher) Hate to tell you how many thousands of dollars we paid for THAT Catholic education.

    • Anotheranonymous says:

      My son’s Catholic high school teacher had the class watch Rain Man to see what autism looked like. My son happened to miss class that day, coincidentally, ahem

  2. Go back to the Baltimore Catechism.

    • Yes! The Baltimore Catechism is excellent! And more than that– we need the Pope to lead correctly, and stand up for the Faith!

    • Yes! The Baltimore Catechism is excellent! But most of all– we need good leadership from the Pope!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Baltimore Catechism that you buy now from TAN books is different than the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism we used as children but It is excellent.

      • Anonymous says:

        Many copies of the Baltimore Catechism today, contain updated information on current Church requirements. For example– Friday abstinence, the Eucharistic Fast, etc. I have both old and newer copies. They are both excellent!

  3. Anonymous says:

    In one parish, the pastor’s column in their bulletin asked questions and then answered them the following week. The one I saw was for the Feast of the Epiphany. Some of them were things you would have to google like “Who wrote “We Three Kings?” but that’s OK. Good family activity.
    The bishop could do something like that for distribution in parish bulletins, then every parish would get the same info and it would not be dependent on the pastor. It could become a piece of shared culture in the diocese.
    Also, if he grew up in a home and had a school with a great Catholic culture, he could write his experiences. My biggest problem since converting has been “How do you live this?”

  4. Yes! The Baltimore Catechism is excellent! But most of all– we need good leadership from the Pope!

    • Anon, your suggestion that we go back to the Baltimore Catechism implies that the current Catechism is worthless. How would the BC be better? My memory of it was that we memorized it. Is that what we want; memorization? Don’t we want to teach the faith, help young people live the faith, bring others to the faith? Just asking.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bob One– today, sadly– many young people are not being taught their Faith very well! I agree with you, that the new Catechism is just as good as the old Baltimore Catechism. However, the Baltimore Catechism is well-written, in very good English– and easy to read and understand, with the teaching format of question- and-answer, and is very comprehensive! Plus, the older teaching method of memorizing some important things— is a very good way, to learn the “basics” of any subject! Students must also be taught to go deeper in understanding the material, as they grow older. Good parish priests can help! And good leadership from the Pope is essential!

      • Anonymous says:

        Memorization- we used to call that “knowing it by heart.”
        Yes. We want that.
        When you have things memorized, you can meditate on them anytime. You don’t need light to read or a book to read from.
        Every time I ask myself “Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing?” I remember. God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next life.
        Lots of material to meditate on there. (Catholic meditation is a dialogue with God)
        May He bless you.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have good leadership from the Pope.
      Unfortunately, we also have the devil who is trying to undermine him.
      Please read what the Pontiff actually says. Do not accept a paraphrase or interpretation.
      Do not get caught up in the internet plot to destroy him.
      They will not destroy him but they are misleading many.
      Do not have any part of anything that strikes the Shepherd.I

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous– we often have poor leadership from this Pope! But I am sure he is well-meaning! The outcome of the Feb. Vatican conference on the worldwide clerical sex abuse scandals– may shock everyone!! But we all hope and pray for good leadership, anyway!! Scary!! Plus– former Popes refused to deal with this terrible situation!! The scandals of Theodore McCarrick, and many other high-level clergy sex predators- are scary!!

  5. Elizabeth T. says:

    We need the ‘real deal’ Sisters teaching in the Catholic Schools!!!

    The lay teachers mostly have NOT been taught the right Catechism….it’s like the blind leading the blind…….
    and this has gone on for at least 2 generations. Most of the children do not even genuflect getting in or out of the pews and NEVER bow as they pass the Tabernacle!!! How difficult is that to teach a child? Back in the day we were taught and believe me we followed through. And when receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion why are not the children AND ADULTS if not kneeling, bowing???

    Pray for Vocations not only for traditional and Holy Priests but also for traditional and joyful Sisters for the Catholic Schools! (good example is Marin Catholic…

    • Anonymous says:

      Genuflect to the Tabernacle. Bow to the altar. Profound bow from the waist)
      Simple bow (bow of the head) to the Blessed Sacrament when receiving Holy Communion.
      Religious sisters need catechism too. The Catechism developed for Saint Mother Teresa’s nuns by Father John Hardon is available here:
      http://www.mariancatechist.com/formation/doctrinal/index.html
      It has been revised and updated by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

  6. Arthur J Uvaas says:

    I have taught in Catholic Schools in Southern California in the past. Also, I have been at a number of these schools. Less than 15% of the high school Theology/Religion/Catholic Spirituality teachers are loyal to the teaching magisterium of the Church.
    They have been personally led astray by their heterodoxy.
    Archbishop Cordileone knows what is going. It starts with hiring loyal and faithful school superintendents and principals, or these young souls will be confused and lost forever.

  7. Arthur J Uvaas says:

    I have taught in Catholic Schools in Southern California in the past. Also, I have been at a number of these schools. Less than 15% of the high school Theology/Religion/Catholic Spirituality teachers are loyal to the teaching magisterium of the Church.
    They have been personally led astray by their heterodoxy.
    Archbishop Cordileone knows what is going on. It starts with hiring loyal and faithful school superintendents and principals, or these young souls will be confused and lost forever.

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