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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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« Penance/Repentance | Main | A Boy and His Dog »

February 20, 2008

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Pia

In Italy, religion is taught in public schools, as one of the conditions of a treaty signed between the Church and Mussolini many years ago. The curriculum of these courses, in each grade, includes an overview of the three great monotheistic religions, as well as others like hinduism and buddhism and then more detailed study into our own religion. If children belong to another religion or are atheist, they can be exhonerated and do something else during that hour. So I think what he means is that islamic students can study their religion at school. This would not be such a bad idea, because by being hosted in the school system, there may be less opportunity to form extreme views...but I doubt it would be useful. In particular I doubt it because I firmly believe that one of the biggest mistakes the Church has ever made is to have signed that treaty so long ago. There are very few teaching jobs in Italy, so those who really wanted to teach ended up studying to be religion teachers, so they could get a job. They are not doing it out of conviction, and they certainly are not teaching anything useful to the kids. It is no more than a glorified study hall. In fact, next year my 15 year old will not be taking religion, because it is counterproductive. It's one of the main reasons why most kids refuse religious values here in Italy.
As far as liberalization of celibacy is concerned, I would welcome it. I have my good reasons for believing this, but I'll spare you a longer comment.

JustMe

"I have to wonder, has Archbishop Zollitsch been collaborating closely with Dr. Rowan Williams?"

You mean he's not an Anglican Archbishop?

Doesn't it seem that we have pandered to every condition under the sun, i.e., EMHCs shall not be used without extreme good reason, etc. --the extremity apparently extends to "Tuesday morning Mass, when there are more than 16 communicants." This report is about pandering-to.

There seems little that is catholic about Catholicism in news reports. However, we should keep in mind that the good stuff, especially when steady, never makes it into the news. We never hear of the millions of Frs. Joe Blow From Windy City globally who quietly and faithfully administer sacraments (themselves) and even ask so-and-so's teen if he/she has been to confession lately, and who may even allow this or that homeless one to sleep in the pew, or who personally hires this or that developmentally delayed one to work on landscaping around the parish hall. Heck, we don't even read it in diocesan newspapers. That's just the way it is.

An archbishop never speaks ex cathedra, so I won't worry, but what he's said is proof of the need for holy obedience, not mindless obedience, but HOLY obedience. If it doesn't come from a son of the Church, it's up to his brothers and his father in the faith to address it.

Celibacy is (these days even moreso?) lonely, wearing, tempting, etc., but it is the means of unlimited fruitful spiritual parenting. Unlimited! Another look at John's "Little children" or "Beloved" speaks powerfully to the efficacy of celibacy. Plus, Jesus the High Priest did not marry. Those who pick up the Cross nearest to His footsteps, follow Him as He Himself was in His humanity.

Deacon DW

Pia-if religion courses are mandated in Germany, it seems fair to offer instruction in Islam alongside the mix. However, I feel the best people to offer religious instruction are those who are its practicing adherents. My kids--with one exception--attend Catholic school. They get religious instruction there, and the third kid gets it from the parish and from my wife and me. I wouldn't want the state to be teaching religion to my kids. Offering comparative religion as an elective is a different thing and I support that wholeheartedly. However, for the most part, I feel that religion is too important to be entrusted to the state.

Also, I hear what you're saying regarding celibacy and I would probably support a married priesthood as well; yet I do not in any way see the Church headed in such a direction at this time--actually the opposite direction is more like it.

Pia

I know, DD. I remember the first time a priest in religion class talked to us about it. he said that personally, he had made his choice and would not change his mind if the rule had changed the next day, but that it wouldn't be such a bad idea for others, although a bit complicated to work out, especially in the transitional phase, if ever it were to happen.
I remember thinking about that and hoping that it would happen soon, but here we are, 35 years later...
I know that Pope Benedict XVI has clearly stated that it won't happen in his time. Too bad.

JustMe

Hopefully, it will never happen. The priesthood isn't sidework, let alone a career. The Pauline directive about celibacy was primarily ordered to those who were to come. Naturally it would take hundreds of years for anyone to listen to him; he made perfect sense, based on Jesus'.

I can foresee the widowed who discern a call, being supported in undertaking a lifelong priesthood now, but those presently married priests who visibly keep their vestments at the back of the closet and/or those who are (re)/ordained by an excommunicated AB Milingo have too much a self-oriented/duplicitous heart for either vocation.

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