Bp. Sample on how as a child he was catechized… NOT!

Michael Voris made a video about an interview conducted by Catholic World News with an old friend of mine of many years ago, His Excellency Most Reverend Alex Sample, Bishop of Marquette.  Voris has a summary of an important point from this interview.

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  1. Faith says:

    It’s not that I don’t agree; it’s that it’s not taking into consideration the culture. There is no way my grandparents, born in the late nineteenth century knew their faith at all. They were very Catholic. I’m sure they would have given their lives for their Catholic Faith. But they were uneducated, simple peasants. There is no way they could answer the questions that come up today. I’m sure they couldn’t explain the Assumption, never mind the Immaculate Conception. They didn’t know what the Communion of Saints is. How could they ever have answered questions about contraception, homosexuality, marriage, and the other current hot buttons. Talk about being poorly catechized! Yet they were devoutly Catholic.
    So we’re poorly catechized and so were they. What’s the difference? I claim it’s the culture. My grandparents come from Eastern Europe where the entire village was Catholic. (It takes a village to raise the child.) From Angelus in the morning, to praying grace before meals, and praying the Rosary as a family before a statue of Mary, their lives were saturated with religion. Their lives also revolved around the village church and the accompanying religious celebrations. First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage were milestones. Religion was as part of their very beings as the air they breathed.
    Not so today. What is the answer? We could become like the Amish and withdraw from the culture. What else?

  2. FloridaJoan says:

    in response to Faith ( above ) … your last staement re :withdrawing sounded tempting ! ( but I have had a sad and stressful day ) if we weren’t responsible for evangelizing ; so on that note we must push onward … all for the glory of Christ.

    pax et bonum

  3. digdigby says:

    In response to Faith –
    See previous posting by Father Z, Sodom and Gomorrah and the….ahem…’Heat Event’. You really seem to imagine that the disintegration of objective truth, culture, family, economy, morals, and the sanctity of life itself will just go rolling merrily along indefinitely?

  4. KAS says:

    In our parish the women who were older KNEW their faith because they HAD been catechized, sadly, in the past decade or so they have all passed on and I see few who can replace them in piety and prayer let alone in understanding. They were my grandmother’s age and I cherish the example they set for me! Part of the problem among people closer to my own age is the result of modern educational patterns and so people lack the mental training to read and analyze documents and encyclicals, the complaint I hear is these materials are “too difficult” yet my elderly friends had NO problem reading and discussing these writings with intelligence and passion. I miss them so much, those ladies for whom Theology was just “the Faith” and not something that only theologians studied.

  5. CatholicJon says:

    Responding to the first comment :) I would tend to agree with you, as far as saying that a major factor in the formation of an ardent faith is the culture around you. However – in the culture we live in, replete with secularism and protestantism (particularly in America) being properly catechized is a must in order to turn this culture around and influence it toward God once more. That is what the West needs, and thus, WE need charity, zeal, and knowledge. I can think of no better model for us than the Early Church under Roman persecution. When fighting an uphill battle against culture, they are our perfect model of the zeal and self-sacrifice it takes to conquer hostile surroundings without withdrawing or falling back (or falling away), though it may cost some their lives in one form or another, whether absolutely or partially. And – yes – against the half-protestant, half-secular culture we’re fighting we do need catechizing to respond with Reason.

  6. Taylor says:

    Faith, I am very skeptical of what you say. It’s simply the Catholic culture to know what the Assumption or Immaculate Conception is–they’re Holy Days of Obligation and one is a mystery of the Rosary. They’re not too hard to explain. Also even if they weren’t catechized in it, they would have heard it from the pulpit year after year.

    Give them some more credit :)

  7. Faith says:

    Taylor, I don’t think saying “It’s a Holy Day of obligation.” is an acceptable answer. Every question I would ask, got the same answer: “The priest said so.”
    I’m skeptical of what Kas says about these catechized ladies. It wasn’t till the 1950’s that it was acceptable to go to high school. I know my father didn’t graduate from high school. So I can’t see ladies at that time discussing theology.
    I think it’s more that in our present times, with the media almost omnipresent, we’re challenged in ways that were never thought of before. I remember a religious sister I had in high school telling us that an earthquake in Chile must have been the result of sin. I also remember being taught that all Protestants went to hell. Now that I think about it, never mind the average person not being catechized, I don’t think religion teachers teaching theology were catechized very well.
    I still say it’s the culture. Like my grandparents, my world was Catholic. I lived in a Catholic neighborhood, went to parochial school, and my life revolved around the Church.
    Today, the Catholic schools are too few, never mind the neighborhoods. And the schools are taught with Lay People, who may not even be Catholic. Most people are too busy to become involved in their parish. They’re lucky to get to Mass on Sunday. And what people read and watch on TV and hear on the radio are not… well, Bishop Sheen.

  8. Faith says: From Angelus in the morning, to praying grace before meals, and praying the Rosary as a family before a statue of Mary, their lives were saturated with religion. Their lives also revolved around the village church and the accompanying religious celebrations. First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage were milestones. Religion was as part of their very beings as the air they breathed.

    This is all catechetical.

  9. JKnott says:

    Many nuns and religious deserted the children, decked out in their new wardrobes, to enter the world of social justice and…..peace.

    The “Spirit of Vatican II” modernists stressed the “how do you FEEL” concept about learning.
    Moral absolutes went out the door .

    Someone who was teaching CCD once confided to me that she felt very uncomfortable having to teach the sex education portion in her CCD class. She related how she told the children that if they chose to engage in relations, then the consquences would be a baby. I was struck by the fact that she presented it as a choice and not a sin, and which left the impression that a child is a bad thing, rather than a blessing.

  10. JKnott says:

    To Faith
    If your grandparents would have given their lives for their Catholic Faith, then they WERE taught, and knew and lived it.
    I think it was St. Thomas Aquinas who said something to the effect that a simple uneducated (woman) could know more about their faith and be far more holy than many theologians.

  11. jesusthroughmary says:

    Every question I would ask, got the same answer: “The priest said so.”

    Therein lies the great failure of the last 50 years. The priests no longer say so.

  12. jesusthroughmary says:

    Faith –

    Taylor isn’t saying that the answer to the question, “What is the Assumption?” is “It’s a Holy Day of Obligation,” but rather that the fact that it’s a Holy Day and a mystery of the Rosary means that one can obtain a working knowledge of that theological point simply by being immersed in Catholic life. In other words, it’s accessible to the average Catholic who goes to Mass and prays the Rosary, whether or not they are educated or have theological training.

  13. Mitchell NY says:

    I remember being in a lay person’s house week after week and hearing “parables” and “bible stories”..That’s it…No Council of Trent, No Latin anymore, No Chant, just about nothing to do with the Catholic identity. It was all being re-worked then so I was in the middle, sitting on someone’s living room floor in a circle listening, drawing pictures, and making felt banners. Knowing what I do now about the Faith and out Catholic Identity I feel cheated. Things are much harder because they were not ingrained in me as the generations before. Pray for me as I will for everyone in this difficult position. It is the EF Mass that has taught me and grounded me for the rest of my life, whatever shall remain, to learn and continue to grow in my Faith. Discovering and learning through the EF has been my way of active participation. I have to keep at it and in doing so learn more and more, digging deeper and deeper.

  14. kiwitrad says:

    My Catholic sister is a fervent believer in women priests, doesn’t believe in Confession (God loves us), rejects the authority of the Pope, refuses to pray to Mary or the Saints but prefers to pray to ‘our ancestors’. As she knows as well as I do that many of our ancestors were not only non-Christian but also very antiChristian I was puzzled by this and asked “Do you think all our ancestors are in Heaven?” She replied “Why not? They weren’t murderers or rapists”.

    This probably wouldn’t matter TOO much except that she’s running the RCIA in her Parish. Uncatechised?

  15. My father, who will be 90 next May, had one entire year of Catholic education: the first grade. He, today, can still say with more knowledge and accuracy what happens at Mass than most Catholics “educated” in the Faith today. The entire knowledge of his faith came from practicing it, i.e., fulfilling his Sunday and Holy Day obligations, hearing sermons, and praying.

    This is only anecdotal, but it’s in the same spirit as Taylor’s observations. If you “live the Faith,” even without “studying” the Faith, you can’t help but “learn the Faith” in its essentials. Even if all one could say is “I believe this because Father said so,” at least what they believe is true, and deeper than what we find almost everywhere today.

  16. Seraphic Spouse says:

    @Faith. I concede that in the ancestral village (Poland? Lithuania?) it might not have been the done thing until the 1950s to go to high school, but….um? How do I put this? There has been education for teenagers in Britain, USA and Canada for hundreds of years. And as for a totally non-Catholic environment, Stoneyhurst College in Lincolnshire was moved there in 1794. Of course it is possible to be a Catholic in a non-Catholic (and even anti-Catholic) culture if one is properly catechized.

    All my grandparents (American and Canadian, Protestant and Catholic) had high school educations. The eldest of them was born in 1897.

  17. Banjo pickin girl says:

    S S, That struck me too. I am a 12th generation American and third generation college and graduate school graduate. My mother has a B.A. (1946). She was a homemaker but worked in her professional field while my father finished his master’s degree. It is unusual in my culture to not go as far as you can in formal education. However, I notice that while Catholics that I have known tend to be more highly educated than the Protestants, the opposite is true of the women, especially the older ones (like my mother’s generation). And I am the first practicing Catholic in my family that I know of.

    Education is very much driven by culture, wherever you are.

  18. bernadette says:

    I guess I was among the last of my generation to receive excellent catechesis from a wonderful order of sisters. I didn’t pass it on to my children because by the time they came along we were being told by priests and teachers in the Church that everything had changed. The Church had it all wrong before and now finally had it right.
    I am a little slow sometimes so it took me awhile to recognize the glaring contradiction. If the Church had it so wrong for centuries, why should I believe that now she had it so right?
    What my children were taught in Catholic schools and CCD was pitiful as I later found out, even the one who received Catholic schooling from kindergarten through college.
    I’m afraid we are going to lose the present generation as well.

  19. Veronica says:

    I am surprised and horrified when I see that some CCD classes have become just “inspirational” and religious crafts. Kids now draw, play, cut religious forms (crosses, doves, chalices), they go to their first communion not even knowing how to receive Christ’s body, they dint know the responses of the Mass and then you see them Sunday after Sunday sitting in the pews playing with Nintendos, drawing pictures, eating all
    This under the loving eyes of their larents who might be present in body at the Holy Sacrifice but totally absent minded and unaware of what’s happening before their eyes. And these kids come from familiar that have been Catholic all their lives. I’m 38 and grew up in Latin America, going to mass every Sunday with my parents, I had a permanent deacon as a religion teacher and God forbid that I wasn’t paying attention to Mass. My mom just had to give me “the look” and I knew I was in trouble. Now the spoiled kids are the future moms and dads that will definitely not pass down anything of our faith. I think the Church needs not only the Liturgical renewal H.H. BXVI is pushing for, but a Cathechetical renewal as well.

  20. Veronica says:

    Sorry for all the typos and misspellings in my previous post. I’m using my mobile phone to post.

  21. Veronica says:

    Sorry for all the typos and misspellings in my previous post. That happens when I use my phone to write.

  22. For the record, Michael Voris is COMMENTING on an interview with Bishop Sample carried in The Catholic World Report (http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/968/lost_generations.aspx). He has not interviewed Bishop Sample, but would certainly like to!

  23. letchitsa1 says:

    In his response to the question of what is a basic program of spirituality you recommend to the faithful, Bishop Sample answered:

    “I emphasize the importance of a strong sacramental life, especially participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I recommend frequent reception of the sacrament of penance; the fall-off in its use worries me greatly. We priests and bishops need to preach often about the importance of confession and be available to hear confessions.”

    That answer really says a lot to me. We can blame whatever we want for the root cause of the problem today, but frequent reception of the sacraments cannot be emphasized enough, in my opinion, especially the sacrament of reconciliation and frequent reception of the Eucharist while in a state of grace.

  24. So we’re poorly catechized and so were they. What’s the difference?

    Forgive me if this has been said:

    Generally speaking, the big difference is that while some members of previous generations may have lacked exposure to good catechesis (though many did not), what they did receive was true.

    Catholics today, on the other hand, are absolutely inundated with copious amounts of half truths, errors and omissions that are masked as authentic doctrine, and it is being disseminated from much the same sources upon which our grandparents could depend with confidence; e.g., priests, bishops, nuns, Catholic schools, etc.

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