Sunday, September 2, 2012

More Bishops Bishoping! Take Heart!


In Chapter 5 of The Smoke of Satan, I wrote:

I am one of the generational Catholics schooled in the Faith by the teaching of the Baltimore Catechism prior to Vatican II, which the postconciliar religious education establishment had branded as defective pedagogy; my quarrel with them is not over their contention concerning the style of teaching, but rather their view that the truths of the Catholic faith on the existence and nature of God, the creation and Fall, the Incarnation and Redemption, and the Church set down in the Baltimore Catechism were defective as well.
Vatican II’s Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church mandated for the future that a “directory should be composed concerning the catechetical instruction of the Christian people; this directory will consider the fundamental principles of such instruction, its disposition and the composition of books on the subject,” taking care that particular attention should be given to the views expressed by the council Fathers. The mandate was fulfilled in 1971 with the publication of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy’s papally-approved General Catechetical Directory, which marked an abandonment of the Church’s usual practice.  Nevertheless, the Directory was an orthodox document, approved by Paul VI and stressing the importance of doctrinal propositions and cognitive learning after Vatican II. The intent of the Directory was to provide basic principles taken from the Magisterium and from the Second General Vatican Council — “by which pastoral action in the ministry of the word can be more fittingly directed and governed.” Most telling was the Congregation’s explanation for the need for the Directory:

[1971] Such a course of action was adopted especially for the following reason: the errors which are not infrequently noted in catechetics today can be avoided only if one starts with the correct way of understanding the nature and purposes of catechesis and also the truths which are to be taught by it, with due account being taken of those to whom catechesis is directed and of the conditions in which they live.
The errors referred to in the General Catechetical Directory originated in a turning away from the teaching of Catholic doctrine in favor of experimental liturgical activity and social protest. This prepared the way for the application to catechesis of the malevolent concept of “ongoing revelation” under the leadership of Gabriel Moran. For disciples of Moran, God was to be sought in the modern world, from which it follows that catechesis should be centered on finding meaning in one’s lived experience, an approach which was said to be authoritative following Vatican II.

How nice to see that in the Philippines the chief shepherds are not afraid to take an action long overdue at many nominally Catholic institutions in the United States....