Reviews - What do customers think about Evangelizing Unchurched Children: A Pocketbook for Catechists?
Pretty good, interesting stories Dec 2, 2005
Evangelizing Unchurched Children: A Pocketbook for Catechists (Paperback) by Therese M. Boucher Paperback: 66 pages Publisher: Resource Publications (CA); Pocket edition (June, 2000) ISBN: 0893904961
I finished this very interesting, and sometimes, enlightening book a few days ago. I had to restart it a few times and read over some chapters because the information doesn't stick very deeply. It is quite experience-based. Considering the context of the topic which it addresses, it is best that it is experience-based.
It is very light reading; at a whopping 66 pages, one can easily devote a short afternoon to finish this book. Boucher illustrates the concerns she has by starting off some chapters with an experience she had with a particular "un-churched child". Clearly, we as catechists have experienced most of what she has described, a culture of "un-churched children". I have since changed my position on this issue. It is very difficult to draw lines in the sand and say that this problem is "black and white". Is it really the parents fault? Or have we failed as a Church to keep our people in the pews and our eyes fixed on Jesus? Well I think, on the other side of this vague notion of it's "everyone's fault", we have to be clear on the problem and clear on a path towards reform. We get nowhere with vagueness. Even if "certain" or clear plans fail, at least we defined the parameters which we attempted, and therefore can learn from it, never to try that approach again.
Although the book makes some very helpful suggestions on how to deal with the problem of "un-churched children", I do not think Boucher gives adequate guidance on how we may be able to stop the problem. That is, we may be able to "save" these kids from the continued lethargy of the present state of their faith, but how are we going to move towards a framework which sees as its goal, that this problem will be solved within this generation or the next?
One thing that bugged me was Boucher's constant use of the phrase "We as Church". Now, I doubt she meant anything negative by it, and I hear it all the time in the local parish community. However, the phrasing sounds too similar to another phrase "We ARE Church", which really kicks traditional ecclesiology in the side. Indeed, we, the believing body of Christians, ARE the Church. But the body includes the structure which Christ established as well, not just the human aspects. "We are Church" is the name of an international dissenting group of Catholics founded in Rome in 1996. I was able to find some information about this group from another group of Catholics, the lay apostolate group called Catholics United for the Faith (CUF). This group is 100% loyal to the Holy Father and the teaching Magisterium. Anyway, here is their report on the "Catholic" group "We are Church". Some of the causes which this group is affiliated with is: * Women's ordination * Annulments reform * Gay Marriage * Abortion rights etc.
Personally, I think the problem was the subjectification and relativization of Catholic catechesis since Vatican II. That is, the emphasis was less on our paths towards a supernatural and spiritual Kingdom beyond this world, but more towards the heightening of human experience, the Kingdom of human perfectibility for personal gain here on Earth. It has been improving since the publication of the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church in the early 90's. Indeed, we just had a Catechist meeting in-service on the issue of the New Directory of Catechesis. Much of the contents of which made me smile and praise God for the American Church's rediscovery of objective truth.
As a Catholic professor who happens to be an Opus Dei advisor told me, it was never the case that the Church lowered its approach down to the level of the believer, but it was always the seeker who raised him/herself up to the level of the Church and contemplated the truth where it stood. Perhaps, our job is to convince them, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that what meets the seeker on the mountain of truth, is something, or more accurately Someone to be desired, the source of our being, and our final destiny, if we so choose Him, God- the Father, Son , and Holy Spirit.