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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)