Thursday, July 21, 2005

Was Catholic Piety Hidden from You?

Great post over at Recta Ratio. The writer went to Catholic schools in the 70's and learned virtually nothing about his faith. So many of us can identify with that, I'm sure! There is so much out there to learn! Catholicism is like a multi-layered, stained glass window, or a beautiful painting. There is so much to discover! The following is a pertinent quote from the article:

I had never been taught word one, in 19 years in Catholic schools (and I got A's in all my grade school religion classes) about The Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, the Miraculous Medal, the Brown Scapular, the Green Scapular, the Red Scapular, the Black Scapular, the Blue Scapular, the White Scapular, First Fridays, First Saturdays, meatless Fridays (except during Lent), veiling images, Black Fasts, Ember Days, Rogation Days, Jesse Trees, Advent Wreaths, the proper use of sacramentals, etc.


So many of us growing up in the 60's and 70's have so many gaps about the faith we were raised in. For example,as an adult, I read in a Catholic novel about how all Catholics should carry a rosary with them at all times. I was never really taught to do that.

There was so much substance that we weren't exposed to and many of us didn't know existed.

There is certainly a hidden richness in the Church!

9 comments:

Mama Mouse said...

I went to Catholic school in the 50's and early 60's. We were taught all that and more. Such a shame. But then we had primarily nuns for teachers ... very few lay people ... and that might have something to do with it.

4HisChurch said...

I think you are right. What I did learn, I learned from the few nuns we still had.

My parents made the mistake of thinking I would learn "all that" in school. I don't think they realized how things had changed.

G. Thomas Fitzpatrick said...

We had a mix of nuns and lay teachers. Even the nuns who were not comfortable with the dreadfully bland and saccarine-sweet texts limited themselves to reading to us about St. Francis, or Fatima, or having us read Bible stories.

My wife is a grade school teacher, and I can tell you that the texts are no better today than they were 30 years ago.

4HisChurch said...

It's really sad. When I was in second grade, just before all the changes hit in my parish, I had a reading text book that was Catholic. The stories were so inspiring. I remembered one where a family said an evening rosary together. Another was about Saint Margaret Mary.

Right after that, the nuns all went to short skirts and the music at Mass became folk music.

I do thank God for the sister's I had and the fact that I was able to get catechized for my first Holy Communion before everything changed.

Dymphna said...

The things you mention, which are sacramentals, are comforting things to have, but they are not the core of Catholicism. The Eucharist is the center of the Church and the center of the person's union with God.

Many of us who were raised with scapulars and novenas and rosaries and the difference between a perfect and an imperfect Act of Contrition remember those things fondly. But many of us were even happier when the 1967 Reader's Edition of the Jerusalem Bible appeared. Quelle difference!

Those two things -- the sacraments and Scripture -- became the basis of my adult Catholicism. It really was a metanoia.

To this day I remain grateful. Nostalgic for the frosting, but awfully glad to have the cake. Or as St. Paul would put it, the meat rather than the milk.

Good luck with your blog from the other Dymphna.

BTW, I'm still in touch (email) with my 8th grade teacher, who is still a Sister of St. Joseph. Plus ca change...

Dymphna said...

BTW, if you want some of the old titles, I'll see if I can dig them up for you...I don't know what's still current and what's not.

I would recommend the French Catholics like Mauritain and especially Gabriel Marcel. Paul Elie has written a book on Merton, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor. F.C. is tough, but very funny and she doesn't flinch from the quotidian evil all around us.

4HisChurch said...

Hi, Dymphna! I agree--it is the Sacraments and Scripture that is the basis of the faith. Things like sacramentals and apparitions are not necessary to the faith, but they can be such spiritual helps at different times in one's life. I think many of us in my generation were raised as if they no longer existed.

But its the Eucharist--the Presence of Christ that keeps me in the Catholic Church. Understanding of the Real Presence is the crux of Catholicism. I think, in many ways, my generation was poorly catechized on that score too, although my first/second grade teacher, Sr. John Brebeuf managed to tell us what Holy Communion really was and I am eternally grateful to her!

That's great that you are still in touch with your 8th grade teacher, and better still, that she is still a nun!

I love your pic by the way!

Nunzia said...

I went to catholic school for more than 9 years and they never had us open a Bible... I think that's so sad.

4HisChurch said...

My son is in his last year in Catholic schools and they did have them buy a bible as a required book.

Those who go to Mass each week get almost all the way through the bible in a couple of years, I think it is.

Another issue in that vein is that the homily is supposed to be about the Scripture readings--all three of them. If that happens, you get some good biblical study that way as well. That is the intent, although I know some preists don't use the Scripture in their homilies as heavily as they should.

A priest who gives good homilies that explain the Scripture and tie the readings together is a treasure!

Dymphna's favorite quotes


"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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