Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
What struck me most was the sheer youth of the marchers. This throng of hundreds of thousands of marchers was predominantly people under the age of thirty. They were joyful, enthusiastic, and uncompromisingly committed to the sanctity of human life. The supporters of abortion took notice.
The Washington Post sent a pro-abortion columnist Robert McCarntney to cover the March for Life. His response is interesting. Here is a snippet, but do read his whole report. Then take heart and keep fighting for the Culture of Life.
I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What's more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.
How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it's gaining strength, even if it's not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.
As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city's role as the nation's most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.
"We are the pro-life generation," said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. There were numerous large groups of teenagers, many bused in by Roman Catholic schools and youth groups. They and their adult leaders said the youths were taught from an early age to oppose abortion.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
"When educating on the great questions of affectivity and sexuality, which are so important for life, we must avoid showing adolescents and young people ways that tend to devalue these fundamental dimensions of human existence. To this end the Church calls for everyone to collaborate, especially those who work in schools, to educate the young to a lofty vision of human love and sexuality. Thus I invite everyone to understand that, in pronouncing her 'noes', the Church is really saying 'yes' to life, to love lived in the truth of the giving of self to the other, to the love that opens up to life and does not close itself in a narcissistic view of the couple".
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Recently, our class was discussing virtue. Specifically, we were covering the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. In discussing the virtue of hope, I explained that hope is what allows us to trust God. Because we trust God, we are able to submit to His will when our own will would lead us in a different direction. Naturally, these students think of moral strictures regarding sexuality when they think of this topic. I explained that sexual activity is a gift from God and can only be properly expressed in the total self giving between a husband and a wife. This prompted one student to blurt out, "You mean my mother was wrong to have an affair?" She had seen her mother be unfaithful. All the television shows have characters being unfaithful in marriage. This looked very normal to her. As I listened to the students chat among themselves, I heard them speak of how often the boyfriend/girlfriend of their divorced parents moved in with them.
I've mentioned before that when we cover each of the seven sacraments, marriage is the hardest sacrament for these students to understand. Most of them have some experience with divorce, either with their own parents or with close relatives. The idea of marriage lasting a lifetime seems to be the anomaly rather than the norm.
We can work hard to make our marriages models of holiness for our own children as well as for the world around us. However, our culture is awash in false ideas of sexuality, marriage, and family. Think about this as you watch your favorite television program. How many characters display the virtue of chastity? How many characters honor their marriage vows? A heavy dose of prayer is an essential component of the cure for this cultural malady.
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
I will be giving your child a grade as a percentage. This represents his/her composite score for the weekly quizzes. Every week the students are assigned one or two chapters to read for the upcoming lesson. Upon arrival in class, they are given an open book quiz. This quiz is very straight forward. It comes directly from the assigned reading. Even if they did not read the assigned reading at home, the quiz is short enough that they can read it at the beginning of class and find the answers for the open book quiz. Some of the students have done extremely well. Extra credit is given based on Mass attendance and being able to answer questions about the liturgical calendar. (example: What was the feast day on Sunday? What color were the priest's vestments?) The high end of the class scores is 107% Unfortunately, not all students have done so well. Scores reach down to 60%. These low scores correlate with two factors. The first factor is lack of effort. Some students do not take their preparation for Confirmation seriously. The second factor that seems to correlate with these low scores is failure to attend Mass regularly. This also contributes to the first factor. If Mass is not a priority, then it is difficult for students to see the relevance of Confirmation.
Below you will find the Precepts of the Catholic Church as written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These are the bare minimum requirements put forth by the Church for Catholics in good standing. Please note that the very first precept of the Church is to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. As we begin a new calendar year, perhaps adherence to this commandment of the Church would be a good New Year's resolution.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.
1 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharist
2 The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year.") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.
3 The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.
4 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.
5 The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability. The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2041-2043
Now I am wondering if I was too harsh. I've tried to be supportive. I send home notes and emails with suggestions for bringing the faith into the home. My introductory letter let them know that parents are the primary catechists and I am there to assist their efforts. I maintain a web site with lesson summaries and reading assignments. I guess I just felt the need to be a little more direct. We shall see if our DRE gets any phone calls.