Tuesday, June 28, 2005

As a PSR teacher, I can say that very few things are as frustrating as teaching lessons to kids when you know those lessons aren't being reinforced at home. This is especially frustrating teaching 7th and 8th grade, which is the end of the line in PSR, knowing that it might be the end of the line for these kids. And it's not fair to the kids and parent who are interested in learning, and do reinforce the messages. We have to speak at a "lowest common denominator" level, which isn't going to be that exciting to kids who know this stuff. So, I can understand the sentiment behind the policies.

Still, I find this troubling (and like many commentators, I'm confident this policy was enacted as a last resort). The main thing is the discussion of parish boundaries -- from what I've read about people, the parish boundaries aren't about binding individuals to attend a certain parish as they are about binding the parish to minister to the people in that area. And it's hard for me to see how simply kicking the kids out of CCD is fulfilling that obligation.

True, parents made a promise at their children's baptism to be the "First Teachers" of the faith. One hour a week of catechism class isn't supposed to be the sum total of a child's religious education. Very true, very true. But just because a situation doesn't conform to the ideal doesn't mean we abandon them. We don't stop ministering to a single parent family just because their situation is ideal. We don't refrain from feeding a hungry child because she should really be fed by her parents. It seems to me in those situations, we should be doing more, not less.

Maybe, these children should be "tracked" into a CCD class held on Sunday morning that includes attendance at Mass. It would take more work by the parish, and I'm sure the parents would complain, but it seems like this would be an approach more consistent with the parish's mission. (Again, maybe this was tried and failed; I don't know).

Just my $0.02; I could be wrong.
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