Bible Literacy Module 1 – The Beginnings of the World and Humanity

This online course is available to registered members for free.

Module 1 tackles important themes from the Book of Genesis. The topics were arranged according to the significant personages namely Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jacob with their respective families.

This module seeks to lay down some foundational principles necessary for a correct interpretation of the Book of Genesis.

Lesson 1: The Creation of the World

Lesson 2: The Beginnings

Lesson 3: The Cosmos and the Sabbath

Lesson 5: Noah and the Tower Of Babel

Lesson 6: Abraham and His Family

Lesson 7: Jacob and His Family

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Scriptural Basis for Catholic Beliefs

This online course is available to registered members for free.

A survey of Biblical Basis for various Catholic Beliefs.

The lessons for this course are as follows:

1. Are Catholics Idolaters?

2. Intercession of the Saints

3. Are Catholics Mary-worshipers?

4. Are Catholics wrong in venerating relics?

5. Are Catholics guilty of praying in “vain repetition”?

6. Is Purgatory Biblical?

7. Are the Books of Maccabees Scriptures?

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HouseWORD Bible-Faith Sharing Method

This online course is available to registered members for free.

A Bible Faith Sharing Method based on the experience of the early Christian communities during the time of Paul that can be in use in small groups.

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Lent: A Reflection

Lent

The word “Lent” was derived from the German word “Lenz” which originally meant “spring.”  On the other hand, our Filipino word “kwaresma” was derived from the Latin word Quadragesima which refers to the forty days of preparation before Easter.

In the temperate regions of the world like the United States and the European countries, they have four seasons namely winter, spring, summer and autumn.  During spring, new life comes forth from the earth after the plants and trees “died” from the harsh winter months when the land is covered in snow and ice.  Springs signals new life!  It marks the return of the migratory birds that went to the warmer southern regions during winter, the buds from the trees are sprouting, and the icy rivers and lakes flow with running water again when the ice in the mountains start to melt.  It is easy to find some reasons why the word Lent is apt for this liturgical season not only because it falls during the spring season but also because it showed the meaning of this celebration in terms of bringing new life to the faithful.  During spring, what was once “dead” is returning to life.

The season of Lent started with the imposition of ashes on our foreheads.  This practice is one of the ritual gestures we shared with our Jewish brethren.  In the Old Testament, there were many instances when Jews imposed ashes upon themselves to show their sorrow, contrition, and mourning.  To cite a few examples we have the story of David donning sackcloth and ashes when the prophet Nathan reprimanded him on the reason of his illicit relationship with Bathsheba.  We heard of the story of Mordecai who upon knowing the impending destruction of the Jews due to the malicious plots of Haman also wore sackcloth and imposed ashes upon himself.

For us Catholics, the ash reminds us of our origins. The traditional formula during the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday which is “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” succinctly summarized humanity’s lowly origins and thus the call for repentance and humility.  Pride is the mother of all sins.  The symbolism of the ash connects us to the virtue of humility for after all man is made from dust and all his vanities will turn to dust also.

The symbolism of the ashes is a fitting symbol of the destructive power of sin.  Let us reflect further on ash as a by-product of fire.  Fire is one powerful element in nature.  It devours everything along its path and without any exemption turns everything it touches into ash.  Like fire, we have allowed our sinful inclinations to destroy or break our relationships with our fellowmen and with God.  In the same manner, when we allowed ourselves to be imposed with ashes, it is our public recognition of our sinful ways.  It is the admittance of our contribution to the destruction of humanity.  It is our public testimony that there are ashes everywhere and on everyone because of the sins of humanity.  Looking at people with ashes on their foreheads is a strong reminder of the destruction sin has brought to us.  It is like having the whole world burned by the fire of sin.  Humanity is reduced to rubble and ash.

 

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Biblical Literacy Modules

A series of modules dealing with the major themes of the Old Testament and New Testament will soon be available. The first module will deal with stories of beginnings of the world and nations. Enroll for free in our ONLINE EDUCATION. Click the ONLINE EDUCATION tab to see the available courses.

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Who Will Teach The Young? Part 2

Who will Teach the Young?

Part 2

By

Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, PhD

 

Fallacious Observation # 2: To teach Catholic doctrines in Catholic school classrooms where there are students of other faiths is not respectful of “Religious Diversities”?

Let us put this way: If I study in a Protestant College or University, I will expect that my teachers and the administration will teach what they believe as true, that is, their particular brand of Protestantism.

Protestantism will be evident in Protestant schools whether explicitly through classroom instruction or implicitly through the pervading school culture. For instance, pictures of Protestant leaders instead of the Pope and the Saints will adorn the offices and hallways. Celebrations of Protestantism, instead of Catholic history, will be observed and other similar events among many other celebrations.

If I am in a Muslim country, I am expected to follow the way of life that Islam teaches (in fact if I violate these Islamic/Sharia laws, for example, if I wear a crucifix publicly or preach on the streets, I may be put into prison).

Common sense tells me, then, that if I am studying in a Catholic School or University, I should expect that Catholic beliefs and practices will be taught in there, even if I am not a Catholic.

That is why I am surprised and appalled by those who would want to say that teachers in Catholic schools should not teach what the Church believes because it might be offensive to non-Catholic students! This is beyond absurd!

While respect and sensitivity is part of our civilized society, it would be unthinkable to stop Catholic educational institutions from teaching the Catholic faith just because there are some Protestant or Muslim students around. This malignant cancer of political correctness is causing us to be useless.

To say that 2 + 2 = 5 is correct just because everybody is saying so is not teaching at all. Just because the child says that 2 + 2 = 5 and you do not want to hurt the feelings of the child is not teaching at all, it is actually a disservice and is actually more dangerous than just telling him/her that it is not correct.

It is important to remember that Catholic educational systems are supposed to be agents of Evangelization. Unfortunately, due to progressive ideologies and liberal agenda propagated by a minority but very vocal members of the academia, our Catholic educational systems are slowly and irreversibly becoming adversarial against Catholic teachings.

Fallacious Observation # 3. Teaching Church doctrines and dogmas are not appealing to the young, it is boring for them.

Is it because students find Religious Education boring and arcane so we will no longer teach it in schools?  Should we change the Church teachings so that it becomes appealing?

Well for me calculus is not appealing, in fact, it seems too arcane and mysterious for me. But does it mean that it should not be taught in schools anymore? Of course not, this subject will still be offered and even insisted to those who are taking engineering with its related fields.

Then why apply to religious education such an absurd criterion that it should be “appealing” when it is not applicable to others? The bone of contention is that the mainstream propaganda portrays Catholic teachings as “irrelevant” to the present context. These liberal-minded researchers are actually trying to tell us that teaching Catholic beliefs are useless while calculus is useful, so we continue to teach it even if it is boring.

 

 

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Who Will Teach the Young? Part 1

Who Will Teach the Young?

Part 1

By

Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, Ph.D.

 

Today there are so many conflicting voices which are eager to catch the imagination of the young that caused them to question the veracity of the Church’s teachings.

During the celebration of the “Year of Faith,” I posted an article about the “Year of Faith and the Filipino Philosophical Atmosphere.” (Click http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=5770 to access this article in CBCP News).

Most often these voices come from the academia and those who are in positions of power. In many of our Catholic schools, colleges and universities there already exists a creeping influence of ideologies that are against our Catholic way of life.

Our young people with their impressionable minds are bombarded daily not only by their subject content but by a “way of thinking” that erodes their faith.

To think that studying in Catholic schools will make them believers is no longer a presumption that we can easily take for granted. Anecdotal observations and published materials indicate that even so-called Catholic “Theology or Religious Education” faculties are not really faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Many of them are proponents of Western liberal theologies and ideologies. Even Catholic educational organizations of national scope are not exempted from these creeping liberal Western ideologies.

It has become trendy in some theological schools or religious education faculties to go against the Church teachings. One needs only to read the newspapers during times of controversial passage of laws or government programs to prove my point. All these made in the name of “academic freedom.”

Let us analyze some seemingly “neutral” research findings on the present-day religious landscape made by those so-called “neutral” researchers but are actually ideologically oriented in their research pursuits.

Fallacious Observation #1. Religious Education is preoccupied with teaching religious truths rather than respond to the realities of the students.

To answer this, I would ask a question: What is wrong with teaching students in Catholic schools the fundamentals of our faith which were shared by Catholic believers for the past two thousand years?

What are the underlying fallacious assumptions in this observation?

Beneath what seems to be a neutral observation are layers of assumptions namely:

  1. Those that are teaching religious truths or doctrines are irrelevant and out-dated, they do not respond to the needs of their students.

To put it bluntly, teachers who are teaching doctrines or religious truths are portrayed as relics of the past something akin to being “dinosaurs” since what is trending is to ride the wave of popular opinion and ethos.

  1. Those that are teaching religious truths or doctrines are insensitive to the present needs and realities.

It is like saying that those who are teaching doctrines or religious truths are not able to relate to their students in an understanding and welcoming manner. The caricature of a stern old maid or bachelor teacher comes to mind. It is portraying that those who are teaching doctrines are not cool teachers.

On the contrary, the role of Catholic education is to be counter-cultural. I think the internet, our postmodern society and government are already giving too much permissiveness to our young.  This is the time when religious education should offer an alternative perspective when the secular world is giving in too much to the “needs” of the present generation. Christianity should always stand as a counter-culture to what the world offers. Catholic teachers are expected to remind their students that Christians are in this world but not of the world.

 

(TO BE CONTINUED)