Lack of Catechesis is Destroying the Faith
I have begun looking at the problem of the terrible lack of catechesis in the western world and of the effects that this is having on the Catholic faithful. That this problem is not just confined to the laity was recently highlighted to me, once again, by our own parish bulletin from last week. In it we find the following.
“The 12 noon Mass on St Patrick’s Day will be a special celebration with Music, Dance and Traditional Irish Music. We look forward to welcoming all of our friends and parishioners”
An Insult to Christ!
There is so much wrong with this that it is hard to know where to begin. I unknowingly attended one of these Masses a few years ago. The young male and female Irish dancers performed their dances before the end of Mass. That is, Irish Dancing was included in the Sacrifice of the Mass. This is akin to having an Irish Dancing session on calvary at the time of the crucifixion. Most people will leave Mass speaking in glowing terms of the young boys and girls who danced. Most will be completely unaware of the insult to Christ that this liturgically illicit performance constitutes. This is because most Irish people no longer know that the Mass is a sacrifice and that when we go to Mass we are going to the re-presentation of the crucifixion of Christ on Calvary.
Dancing Makes Mass Special?
The notice proclaims that the Mass on St Patrick’s day will be “a special celebration”. The implication is that the celebration becomes special on account of the Irish dancing and the Traditional Irish Music. The question I would ask is this. When is the Mass not a special celebration? The second Vatican Council, in ‘Lumen Gentium’ No 11 states that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life”.
The August Sacrifice of the Altar
Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei describes it thus.
“The august sacrifice of the altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby the High Priest by an unbloody immolation offers Himself a most acceptable victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the cross. “It is one and the same victim; the same person now offers it by the ministry of His priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner of offering alone being different.”” (Mediator Dei 68).
Would Irish dancing and Traditional Irish music really be appropriate on Calvary?
The ‘Traditional’ Latin Mass
In the end I went with my family to The Sacred Heart Church in Limerick on St Patrick’s day where the Institute of Christ the King celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form. Each time I travel to the Latin Mass in Limerick, I come back with a feeling of indebtedness to the priests of the Institute of Christ the King for the tremendous work they do in giving glory to God and in helping the faithful to join them in the proper worship of God.
The Novus Ordo in Ireland resembles a Protestant Service
There was an interesting conversation afterwards with one of my older sons who has been offered work in Kazakhstan pending the completion of his degree this year. He is learning to speak Russian and therefore has an interest in all things Russian. He noted that the celebration of Mass by the Orthodox churches which are in communion with Rome, is very similar to the Traditional Latin Mass, whereas the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass is more like the Protestant services.
But as I have said, most Catholics are unaware that there is anything wrong in the way many of the Masses are being celebrated here in Ireland. They have become so used to banality in the sacrifice of the Mass that they no longer perceive it and banality is probably the reason why so many, particularly our men and our young people, no longer even bother to attend Mass.
Many Fathers Unaware of their Great Calling
Another sad reality is that many fathers are no longer aware of what their calling and duties are as fathers. The duty of Catholic fathers to ensure that their children are properly educated in the Catholic faith has been relegated and usurped by the schools. It may come as a surprise for many readers to learn that there are no longer any schools left in Ireland which can be properly called Catholic. The schools that claim to be Catholic are Catholic in name only.
In ‘Gravissimum Educationis’ the second Vatican council’s declaration on education, it says of the Catholic School.
“So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community.”
Catholic Schools Infiltrated by Buddhist Thinking
It is obvious that only Catholics who know their Catholic faith will be capable of leading exemplary apostolic lives. Today our Catholic primary schools have been infiltrated by the false Buddhist meditation practice of ‘Mindfulness’, and by the totally inadequate and defective ‘Alive-O’ programme.
When I wrote to my own bishop about the promotion of ‘mindfulness’ in the diocese, I received a reply from the diocesan secretary in which he sought to defend the practice of mindfulness from a neuroscientific point of view instead of from a Catholic point of view, and then he said.
Good Intentions cannot change Buddhism into something Catholic!
“Of course, you will appreciate, Mr Lacken, a person’s intention in engaging in any Mindfulness practice is extremely relevant and important. If, as in this case, it is in the context of the Catholic ethos and with the intention of improving one’s sense of wellbeing, then there is nothing to worry about.” He then went on to quote Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”
The practice of mindfulness has nothing to do with being still and knowing God. It is a Buddhist meditation technique designed to raise one’s level of consciousness as the Buddhists understand it. There is nothing even vaguely Catholic about it. It is often combined with Buddhist and Eastern breath techniques for the purpose of attaining an altered state of consciousness, that is, a trance. The reply I received from the diocesan secretary clearly shows up the lack of formation of our priests. This reply is a classic example of moral relativism whereby it is claimed that the intentions of a person can change a morally questionable practice into a good.
The Abysmal ‘Alive-O’ Programme
Regarding the Alive-O programme in our primary schools, Eanna Johnson published a survey that was conducted on first year Secondary school children in 2007. These were children who had completed the eight year Alive-O programme in their primary schools. Here are some of the results.
38% of pupils were unable to name the four writers of the Gospels
45% did not know that the Eucharist is really Jesus
60% answered incorrectly the question of who Jesus is
65% were unable to state the ten commandments
69% were unable to name the Holy Trinity
69% were unable to name the seven sacraments
82% were unable to state what is necessary in order to make a good confession
84% were unable to correctly say what the Mass is
89% were unable to state the effects of original sin
98% did not know what a virtue is
99% were unable to define what a sacrament is
Badly Catechised Children will not know how to become Holy
How are these young people going to be able to live holy Catholic lives when they grow up? How are they going to ensure that their own children live holy Catholic lives?
But the Church teaches us in ‘Gravissimum Educationis’ that, “Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.” Catholic fathers, as head of their families, have the primary responsibility to ensure that their children receive a comprehencisve education in the Catholic faith. But the results of the survey above show clearly that Catholic fathers, for whatever reason, are failing in their duty in regard to their children’s education.
The Secular State now controls the Religious Programme in Irish Catholic Schools
In our Irish secondary schools, we now have the ridiculous situation, allowed by our bishops, whereby it is the secular state which sets the parameters for religious education in our ‘Catholic’ secondary schools. This is the secular state which championed divorce, which championed so called ‘same-sex marriage’, which promotes the killing of children if the mother is suicidally ideated, whose minister for health wants mothers to be allowed to legally kill their unborn children if these children have a terminal illness, and whose minister for children and youth affairs is a lesbian who is ‘married’ to a former Catholic nun. This is insane!
Going Along to Get Along
But the problem is that Catholic parents have gone along with this madness and have allowed their own children to be indoctrinated by the secular state with secular values which are contrary to Catholic teaching. Irish ‘Catholic’ secondary schools permit teaching on contraception which is contrary to Church teaching. They permit government programmes which promote a false acceptance of the ‘gay’ lifestyle which does not call those with same-sex attraction to chaste living.
Of course our bishops are at fault for not guarding the deposit of the faith in these Catholic schools, but the primary responsibility lies with parents who have not protected their children from these harmful ideologically motivated programmes. This is because so many Catholic parents are themselves indoctrinated with false thinking which pervades our parishes and our churches.
Refusal to Discipline
There are complaints when an Irish priest is allegedly ‘silenced’ by the Vatican for constantly speaking contrary to Church teaching for a number of years. But very few ask the question, ‘why is the Vatican intervening in Irish affairs?’. The Vatican intervenes because the immediate superiors of these priests themselves refuse to act to protect the flock from their dissenting opinions. This toleration of dissent is causing huge harm to the ordinary faithful. We see this when we look at the referendum of 2015. Over one million, two hundred thousand people, most of them baptised Catholics voted to put disordered, homosexual relationships on the same level as sacramental marriage. The vast majority of these deluded Catholics were educated in Irish Catholic schools.
This is a failure of catastrophic proportions. It is a failure of our bishops and a failure of parents to ensure that children are being taught properly in accordance with the Catholic faith. This failure shows us very clearly that the supposedly Catholic schools in Ireland are not fit for purpose. Christ tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. In this case, the bad tree is the Irish educational system and it needs to be cut down and a new Catholic educational system needs to be planted in its place.
Irish Schools Teach Children to be Worldly
However this will not happen until our Irish bishops are prepared first of all admit their failure. The educational system in Ireland has become secularised whilst maintaining a patchy veneer of supposed Catholicism. The Irish education system teaches children worldliness. St Paul strongly admonishes us not to conform to the world but the Irish have become deaf to his plea.
A very high price will have to be paid for the ignorance of Irish Catholics. But we must not lose hope, instead we must rise from our lethargy and begin to fight back against the apostasy by promoting the traditional teaching of the Catholic church on marriage and family so that Irish families may once again hand on the Tradition of the Catholic faith to their children.