Monday, July 11, 2011

no vocations?

About 3 weeks ago during the announcements during Mass the priest asked parents to fill out a survey as to why in the past 10 years the CCD programs has gone from 1000+ children to under 450 children participating. I didn't bother to fill out the survey since we aren't members of the parish, but even if we were I know that I wouldn't send my children to CCD. Why? Because after the dumbing-down of the curriculum and contrary-to-the-Faith teaching I have seen and heard about over the years, I don't trust the instructors. My kids have only attended CCD at St. Benedict's in Chesapeake, VA because I know how pious the teachers are, know that they use the Baltimore Catechism, and know that the other students are kids who come from good Catholic homes. When we go to the Novus Ordo Mass in Maine I am usually the only woman wearing a hat, my kids are the only ones not wearing shorts and flip flops, and we are certainly the only ones who receive Communion on the tongue. I know that these outward signs are not a indicator of holiness because I certainly sin more than I should, and the lack of these things are not a direct correlation to sinfulness, some of the parish families could be praying the rosary every night. But in general, those who take their religion seriously tend to be a bit more orthodox in their Mass attire and attitude toward the Blessed Sacrament.

That said, it didn't surprise me too much when just before the recessional yesterday morning, the priest at St. John's in Bangor made an announcement, "Father Tony (the Indian priest on loan to the diocese) will not be returning. With only 2 priests then covering 5 churches in the cluster parish, we cannot have 12 masses per weekend so some things are going to have to change."  

The diocese of Portland, Maine has been headed by 2 very liberal bishops in the past 15 years. The leadership of liberal bishops leads to an increase in happy-clappy liturgy and a suppression of orthodoxy, such as the Traditional Latin Mass. Vocations do not occur in an environment where it is evident from all outward signs that the lay people do not take their faith seriously. Only when the liturgy, preaching, and the priest's attitude all convey a sense of love for God, a deep meaning of Him in our daily lives, and a cause for sacrifice are there genuine vocations to the priesthood and religious life. That is why our little parish in Virginia with all of 175 families has 4 men currently studying for the priesthood and the diocese of Portland, Maine has 69 priests stretched to the limit serving 139 parishes. My suggestion to increase vocations? Turn the priest around to face the Tabernacle, restrict servers to boys only, start preaching some serious homilies about sin and the need for holiness, ask the FSSP to send priests to say the TLM, and throw away all the fluff books used in CCD. Start from the ground up and teach people the Catholic Faith, encourage them to love Our Lord in recognizable Catholic practices, and challenge them to be more holy and I promise that Maine will see an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.


priest's wife said...

This is so true! Why bother with a vocation when it doesn't really mean much (I'm looking at you- sister in a pant suit wearing makeup and perfume who maybe went to Mass on Sunday)--- be serious and joyful and vocations to religious life will come!

Foxfier said...

I understand why a lot of teachers don't teach much, though-- my mom got disinvited from CCD because she told the class you are NOT to have sex before marriage, and the priest thought it was OK as long as you really love the other person.

The parish we mostly grew up in, CCD was taught by a divorced gal and the one priest that mentioned pro-life issues (before we even moved there) prompted a huge number of complaints... I was in my twenties before I ever heard a priest or teacher speak out against abortion, but there were LOTS of "social justice" and anti-death-penalty things. (Never heard anti-suicide mentions until our current parish... which has several guys in the seminary at the moment. ^.^)

Hats are definitely not on my list, but go-to-Church clothes are at least what you'd wear to meet, say, your husband's grandparents for the first time. Folks show love in different ways, but I don't know anyone that thinks coming to a formal dinner in sweatpants and no shirt is cool.

Edmund said...

In general, I agree. I have to object to the requirement that "the other students are kids who come from good Catholic homes".

The most orthodox/active person I've seen in any of the youth groups that I experienced came from a militantly atheist household.

At the same parish, several homeschool families decided to stop
sending their kids to youth adoration because the public school kids were going, and they would be a bad influence.

I call this a siege mentality. We keep our kids away from anyone who might not be as faithful as us to protect them, but this shows that we do not trust (a) the kids to know/stand up for the faith or (b) the faith to stand up to scrutiny. We see that the world is fallen, and so we hide rather than proclaiming the truth

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ignatius Press's "Faith and Life" series of religion text books is actually very good--- you should check it out! And each chapter is keyed to the CCC.

kat said...

Actually I also was asked to stop teaching CCD at our first parish because I wanted to stop using the fluff book the office issued and use Faith and Life. My students were in 8th grade and didn't know any of the basics of the Faith, stuff every Catholic should know before receiving 1st Holy Communion. The only kid who was educated was homeschooled.

I don't have an issue with my kids interacting with public schooled kids, it was just one of the benefits of being at St. Benedict's, some of the most pious families there send their kids to public school. But I refuse to send my children to be taught by a teacher (remember kids, the 4th Commandment, obey authority)who teaches contrary to the Faith.

Anonymous said...

HEAR HEAR! I completely agree with your well written post.

After I read "Goodbye! Good Men: How Catholic Seminaries Turned Away Two Generations of Vocations from the Priesthood" by Mike Rose, I was disgusted but it made everything so clear to me.

It reminds me of a time at mass when a teenage boy in the line next to me received in his hand and then proceeded to drop the consecrated host on the ground and made NO MOVE to pick it up as his mom stood and watched. they both had looks on their faces like "Gross, who wants that now?" I was so shocked I stopped and turned towards them and was about to fall on my knees and pick it up (I was holding up my line) but the priest picked it up and put it in his mouth and gave the boy a new one. I went back to my seat and felt like crying.

Thank you for another articulate and well timed post.


Jiza Z. said...

Ugh, that is so sad. We just moved to our new duty station here in SC & thankfully, the parishes around here seem to be fairly traditional & orthodox minded. I miss the community at St Benedict's though.