Saturday, July 23, 2005

Anyone Else See a Problem with Catholic Formation?

This young woman has walked away from Christ because she wants to seek him out. has the sad story:
The secret ritual that finalized my separation from the Roman Catholic Church did not come abruptly, but rather was the result of lengthy ruminations during my later adolescence. For someone growing up in a Mexican family, being a Catholic was merely a given, like brushing my teeth. For most of my life, I attended church every Sunday and even listened attentively simply because my parents had taught me to do so.

I took an ounce of pride in being Catholic, especially when I was accepted into a prestigious Catholic high school. Little did I suspect that my education there would demolish my taste for religion.

Sitting in religion class, I began to perceive tiny holes in the fabric of the Catholic doctrine -- the ban on female priests, the aversion toward gay marriage, the constant portrayal of Jesus as a white man -- that unraveled into massive questions.

As I flipped through my religion textbooks with the usual boredom, I discovered an awful tear in the texture of the religion: the church's stance on the environment. Catholic social teaching does promote care for the environment, but this attitude is rarely emphasized.

I am wholeheartedly an environmentalist. And yes, trees are holy in my eyes. So, to me, the 16-page chapter on environmental justice in ``Justice and Peace'' seemed like an add-on placed there to appease the post-Earth Day crowd. I found the large pictures of teenagers happily planting trees and the paragraphs with ``recycling'' and ``stewardship'' highlighted pathetically insufficient. More significantly, this section of the 282-page text was never mentioned in class.

In other words, I wasn't buying the doctrine.
"Jesus is a white man." What is that about? There's not a shred of doctrinal evidence to support this contention. As to her concerns regarding the Church's sexual morality, why hasn't she heard of the Theology of the Body? This is what I found most troubling, however:
I met individuals of various Christian sects that shed some light into thoughts I had failed to previously articulate. To begin with, there was a general consensus among young people that religion and faith are not equal.

Religion is the candle in a red glass used to pray to St. Jude so he can solve your crisis. It's the ``holy'' water in little plastic bottles and the sitting, standing and sitting again during Mass. It's the ritual that grows tedious. Indeed, one of the shoppers, 23-year-old Brittany Staffield, pointed out that in terms of religion, ``the more rigidity, the less appealing and the less accessible.''

And I agree.

I also discovered that faith attracts many of these young people to Christianity. And I heard from them the resounding phrase: ``Faith is a relationship with God.''
How could her Catholic religious education fail her so terribly? How can she not understand that the fullness of relationship with Christ is found in his Bride, his Mystical Body?

It breaks my heart to see someone that clearly yearns for God fall away from his Church in search of him? How many more must we lose? How much longer will it take before responsible Catechists that actually teach the Teachings of the Church take over? How many more Fools must go Foolable, or even Reasonable before we all wake up?