How widespread is the Church’s teaching?

Question 1c: How widespread is the Church’s teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?

Fortunately, in the schools, both Catholic and non–denominational, in UK, France and Austria, in which I have taught, the Church’s teaching is not emphatic. Image

UK Catholic schools differ only from other schools in that the Church’s teaching creates a greater positive ethos than non–denominational schools. The UK curriculum insists on teaching comparative religion through all Key Stages.

It is balanced and a little anachronistic, in the early years, in the way if teaches Christianity. I was surprised, that Catholic schools teach little that is Catholic, focussing on sacraments and rituals.

Grace before or after meals is an asset to the teacher: it focuses the class and makes unruly teenagers settle down. Spirituality is absent everywhere, myth abounds.

Catechesis is largely absent in UK Catholic secondary schools, though slogans may appear on posters on the wall. In Austria it is the subject of discussion and debate.

Religion is not allowed to be taught in french schools, Wednesday is set aside as a day for religious instruction, most family send their children to sports clubs or music lessons instead.

In my own family, Catechesis was the subject of discussion and debate as long as I can remember, so for over 65 years. Nothing was accepted unless it made sense, and yes … fitted with one’s conscience.

Question 1d: To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

Since 1963, when educated and thinking Catholics everywhere were led to believe that the church would see sense and leave them to sort out their marriage and child–rearing arrangements, the Church’s teaching has been ignored.

The birth–rate in Catholic countries with a high literacy rate, has dropped to one that is sustainable with the planet’s resources. In Europe the birthrate is below replacement level, so Catholic populations will fall. Amongst the uneducated in Africa it is around 6 to 7 children, but this at least may reduce with education and is not as unsustainable as the 10 children that were common in Catholic families 75 to 100 years ago.

Criticism comes from those who want to retain their priests. Priests don’t want to be celibate and they do want to be priests. Congregations want priests, regardless of gender and to be part of the church. If God only recognises the spirit of a person, why is the Church interested in their gender.

Congregations also demand spiritual progression and guidance that is found in Buddhism or even some Hindu practices. They want more kindness and Dalai Lama and less condemnation and Papal Patriarch.

Criticism comes from outsiders, many who see the church as arrogant and exclusive and only wanting to offer the hand of friendship to religions, if they can recruit those followers who want to retain a patriarchal management, at a time when their more Christian priests want to broaden their vocation to include everyone who wishes to take on the role regardless of gender, marital status or sexuality.

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