Sunday, May 25, 2008


As a catechist I've spent a good part of my time working with teenagers. I have been fortunate enough to be able to accompany groups of teens to Steubenville Youth Conferences, accompanied groups of young people doing mission work in West Virginia, chaperoned them as they worked in soup kitchens, prayed outside Abortion clinics and attended retreats. I have also engaged in social ministry, spending time with teens just discussing their lives, their school, the world. I have been struck by the knowledge of Roman Catholicism exhibited by some of them and the ignorance of their religion shown by others.
The most amazing thing that I have found is that, as a rule, they are happier with a orthodox view of the world than with the package that secular society is trying to sell them. They want to be challenged to be holy. They would rather, in the long run, be called on their mistakes, than be "validated."
That being said I have lately dabbled in adult catechesis. This area can best be divided between candidates for RCIA and Catholic adults. RCIA candidates, one would suppose, range from those who are converting based on a long search and those going through the motions for reasons of marital peace, either before or after matrimony. Catholic adults, I have met, are at many different stages of both spiritual growth and of orthodoxy. As a developing adult Catholic myself I struggle with issues just like everyone else, but continue to believe that the catechist must espouse authentic Church teaching just as much with adults as with teens.
Of course, many times adults don't want to hear authentic Church teachings when they go against their own positions. I'm attempting to improve my skill at being tactful, a skill my wife will tell you I can be somewhat lacking in. I've found it always helps when dealing with a controversial subject to bring out the big guns, i.e. not to say something along the lines of, "..the Church teaches..." but rather "...the Catechism of the Catholic Church says..." or " The USCCB say in the Norms for Distribution and Reception of...". After all this isn't a discussion between me and another person debating opinions, it is, or should be, me acting as a conduit of Church teaching in such a way as to edify the others journey to holiness.

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