Friday, February 05, 2010

Preparing for First Holy Communion

The Archdiocese of Glasgow promotes the Alive-O Programme. It's near-heretical guff. I took one look at it and used it for firelighters. The readers of Fr Ray's blog were less than impressed

Youngest and I are going through a fantastic book recommended by the Black Monk, the priest who married Mrs P and me. It's by a former pupil of his , Mark Allen, who, being a diplomat, was here there and everywhere and didn't have access to catechists or Catholic teachers. The local bishop (in Romania) advised him to do it himself. The result is admirable, thorough and orthodox. It is also challenging. I had worried that the boy might find it heavy going - far from it. As an eight year old he has no problem with the concepts embodied in Harry Potter, Tolkien or CS Lewis: love, sacrifice, life, death, good and evil. Why would he struggle with such ideas as the bedrock of his faith?

Sir Mark (as he now is) goes through the bible taking themes relevant to the Mass (sacrfice, covenant, salvation, expiation, incarnation) and expounding on them in an intelligent way. After each of our sessions, it's quite clear the lad gets it and can ask and answer questions about it with ease. There's a preview on Google Books. I'd be interested in your views.

Kids can manage the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Why do the professional catechesis merchants and liturgists think they can't? Why do they think Catholic children deserve nothing more than a sentimental, watered-down faith, little removed from the secular drivel that they face day-in, day-out?

Why, as The Curate has asked me more than once, have we been fed gruel over the past 40 years, to the point where we think we can't take anything better?

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Blogger Miss Ellen E. said...

I don't know the book in question but I couldn't agree more about the watering down of catechetical material for our children.

Most children of eight are well able to deal with the major questions relating to our faith you describe.

It's not just in catechetics, this dumbing down pervades everything to do with the practice of our Catholic faith.

Why are expectations so low? 'Children (sometimes even older than 8) can't possibly be expected to sit through Mass without a drink and a snack, toys, colouring books etc.' Why not?

Sorry, this has become a bit of a rant. You touched a bit of raw nerve here with me! :-)

8:28 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Why are expectations so low?

because we live in dark times....

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Bidgood said...

Dear Paulinis,

I am mystified why with so much education the assumption is made that there needs to 'dumbing down'. In previous centuries many functionally illiterate people were fully conversant with the tenets of the Faith. That Faith comes before reason should be a basis for teaching cathecisis.

When I was a catechist to young children, four to six uears old, a five year old announced to me, 'Anthony if God didn't exist we wouldn't exist.'. I suspect this was more a matter of Faith then reason.

In Christo,

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to know someone in Ireland who was involved in the production of the alive-o programm.Very liberal and a devotee of The Tablet. Says it all really.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Very liberal and a devotee of The Tablet.

Surely disqualifying her from any role in catechesis, no?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Ttony said...

When do Sir M's kids reach Confirmation age?

9:47 PM  

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