Students: Falling Away
I grew up receiving my education from the Canadian Catholic School System. Sadly, my spiritual growth experiences in high school were painful. I remember reading from textbooks. I remember classes that were all about the personal experiences from the teachers and their experiences with God and how he touched their lives. I also remember the conversations that really made me question things about the faith and the Church in general.
For example: during a class discussion, a student asked the teacher whether or not we still had to go to church every Sunday. His response at the time left me rather confused. Missing mass was acceptable because sometimes our schedules got busy. Therefore, we had an excuse. It seemed if we got too ‘busy’, missing Mass was acceptable. As long as we had an ‘okay’ reason for not going to Mass, we were allowed to skip Mass. Missing mass was not to be taken too seriously. I recall being rather surprised, as it is clearly stated the Bible to ‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy’.
Looking back on it, I can sense a strong lack of true faith. Textbook questions, learning to say the prayers by heart in the ninth grade, and watching TV programs involving angels was all part of the course work. I left the classroom rolling my eyes as I received my test in which I had to write out the ‘Hail Mary’. I left that classroom with stories from the teacher about his experiences, but no true focus on scripture. It’s pretty depressing when your teacher premiers an episode of a TV series hoping we’ll be touched by a message delivered in the program and draw closer to God.
Where was the study of scripture? Where was discussion of encyclicals and other documents from the Magisterium? Why wasn’t I taken to adoration? Why wasn’t I told the truth about everything?
It wasn’t just the religion class that made a poor display of what it meant to be Catholic. I blame my gym class too. Everyone’s been there: Sex ed. The way they go about ‘teaching’ in that class is “You shouldn’t have sex, but if you do, here’s how to be safe about it”. Being in a Catholic school, I feel that sex-ed classes should be replaced. Instead of teaching students how to use birth control or how condoms are to be used, students should be introduced to Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae.
Lastly, even during my art class the truth was being taken away from me. I had to watch a documentary discussing multiple conspiracy theories. One of them was the Christ Myth theory. This theory argued that the whole story of Christ was nothing more than astrological symbolism and he was only literary figure. It also claimed that everything he was and taught derived from other religions. Yes. This was shown in a Catholic School. Another teacher told me his personal belief was that Christianity is basically what is made when you put Buddhism and Judaism together. He also said that everything Jesus taught came from other places, that he had traveled to places such as Egypt and Asia and learned from the people there to create his own teachings.
What I discussed here still continues today in classrooms all over the country. Parents and teachers wonder why so many students are angry with the Church, why so many fall away from the faith, and (least importantly) why their children are getting poor grades in their religion classes. That is all the religion class is to many students and teachers. It’s a course you have to take if you want to stay in that school. It is a mark. The root of the issue is that many teachers are not evangelizing, neglecting to defend the faith and all it stands for, and are not informing the youth with compassion and charity. So many are not making the effort to see that many young people are falling away from the faith because they are not being lead closer to Christ.
Teachers don’t want to be responsible for it because the parents should be. Parents don’t inform their children because they think teachers will take care of informing their sons and daughters all they need to know. The truth is that so many youth are being fed heresy, are not being brought closer to Christ though prayer, adoration, or scripture, and are falling away from the faith.
The spiritual well being of the students needs to be put first and foremost. Christ should be at the very heart of the education the youth receive. There must be encouragement to go to confession, adoration, and Mass. At the end of each day, students walk away with more knowledge than they did when they first entered. But at the end of each day, they should also leave the schools with a desire to love Christ and use all they learned to lead others to Christ as well.
Below are some links that should be considered in terms of how Catholic Education could be improved. Thanks for reading!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znIdmg9fHxI (This video brought to you by Gabriel Castillo. It is a fantastic and informative presentation about the Preventative Approach by St.John Bosco. Check it out!)