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Symptoms of our Cultural Malaise

I've been teaching seventh grade CCD for several years now. In our parish, this is the Confirmation prep year. The students will be confirmed in the fall of their eighth grade year. Please, please, please, hit your knees and offer a prayer for all "tweens" and their families. What I hear every week reveals a great poison in our culture.

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.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
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.


TheFiveDays said…
It's terribly sad...I will include this in my prayers!
Barb, sfo said…
Don't forget books, too! And it's no better with books for adults. There are VERY FEW (they do exist, but very few) books that show adults in a chaste-before-marriage relationship.
kkollwitz said…
I'm in my 6th year of teaching 6th grade CCD; much of my teaching blends personal example with the Bible. I also cover proper use of sexuality (without discussing the plumbing). Most of what the kids learn is based on Genesis and how my own marriage reflects the Genesis story. My impression is that if the kids hear a married person explain how faithfulness/ chastity is part of his normal existence, it matters to them. E.g., I ask them if it's ok for me, a husband, to ogle women at the beach.... they instinctively say no, and we discuss why I respect my wife too much to that.

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