My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II




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Keeping Kids Catholic

With my blogging efforts over at Visits to Candyland I've been reminded of a current trend - Catholic kids, getting to high school and college and then LEAVING their Catholic faith behind.

I guess I've tended to put my head in the sand about this because I'm still just trying to GET my kids through high school. Nonetheless I know it happens. It has happened recently in my own extended family. It has also happened to families in my parish who at least partially homeschooled!

Part of this is something I called the Protestantization of Catholics. That is that somehow from the culture, and despite (or maybe because of?) catechesis, young American Catholics are growing up with this idea that EVERYTHING they believe MUST be in the bible. They are becoming sola scriptura Catholics! So when they are challenged in their faith with "where is it in the bible?" they become deer caught in the headlights! And their inability to answer those challenges make them question and then leave their Catholic Faith. Three times this week I have read on ex-Catholic blogs that they left the church because they could not reconcile what they were taught as Catholics with what they could find (with their own understanding) in the bible.

But there is a way to prevent this.

1. Catholic kids need to know their bible stories! In the first few grades they need to know who is who, and the general chronology of salvation history.

2. As they are learning Catholic doctrines, some emphasis should be put on the bible scriptures that support them, particularly regarding the Eucharist.

3. Jr. High and High School kids have to know apologetics. They just do. And it should be practiced in the home. I am really enjoying being the devil's advocate with Sam as we debate things like abortion, Marian doctrines and sola scriptura. I think this will more than prepare him for the casual challenges he is likely to meet for now in the hood or other public places.

4. Catholic kids need to know church history. They need to know that the bible is a Catholic book! Catholics wrote it, compiled, it and sealed it!

5. Catholics kids should also be very familiar with how to use the bible. It should be out so that kids can read it, thumb through it, and know how to look up chapter and verses. They should MEMORIZE parts of scripture just as they do other prayers. When someone brings out the bible and wants them to challenge them on Catholic doctrine the response should be "Great" instead of "on no!" They should feel very comfortable defending their faith from scripture.

6. I think there has to be a lot of caution in deciding what college to choose. I am not a big advocate of 18 year olds being fully immersed in a secular college atmosphere away from home anyway, but that's just me. I do think wherever they attend, it is imperative that there be a strong Catholic presence that they can easily access, either in a nearby parish or a campus ministry. I'm lucky enough to have many fine colleges within driving distance of my home and I hope for the first couple of years that my kids make use of that, so they can get out into the world, but still touch home base with questions or to talk over other faith concerns with us.

7. As parents we have to make sure that we know our faith and that we are living our faith for the kids to see. It seemed that another risk factor in these ex-Catholic's experiences was a nominal Catholic experience at home.





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Comments

  1. Great points, Elena! My kiddos are still pretty young, so now is a great time for me start making sure that they understand their faith.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Sorry about the deleted comment. I accidently posted the same comment twice.

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  4. Excellent post Elena, this is something I think about often and wonder about what will happen when my children leave home someday, too often they do indeed leave the church or just don't go to Mass and I often wonder if I'm doing a good job in stressing just how important it is to them and do they hear what I'm saying!

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  5. Great points! This is one of my big concerns too. (Another one I worry about a lot which could have big consequences in the area of keeping them Catholic is their choice of a spouse.) As far as point #1 goes, my favorite resource for this is Uncle Arthur's "The Bible Story". This is a ten-volume set which covers Genesis to Revelation. BEAUTIFULLY illustrated, and my children love the well-written stories. The publisher is Seventh-Day Adventist, so about once a volume there will be some reference to the "proper" Sabbath day, but on the whole there is very little "moralizing". For the most part, the stories follow the Biblical narrative pretty well and its easy to skip over the parts where opinion is being interjected. I'd sure love it if a Catholic publisher would produce something like it, though. It would be so nice to have the Catholic richness of meaning noted in the stories.
    (I found our set on eBay.)

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  6. "Three times this week I have read on ex-Catholic blogs that they left the church because they could not reconcile what they were taught as Catholics with what they could find (with their own understanding) in the bible."

    Elena,

    I felt inclined to comment you on this subject. I will not be offended if you decide to remove it for whatever reason.

    I am one of the ex-Catholics you are speaking of and just wanted to ask you a question. One of the reasons I did leave the church was because of the lack of scriptural influence in some important Catholic practices. I guess what the heart of the matter for me was: Is there a way to explain that the Catholic church is divinely selected above all other denominations? And further, is the church talked about in the Bible an actual institution or is it just the collection of believers?

    After my own personal study of the official Catechism of the catholic Church alongside a Catholic version of the Bible I found contradictions. I really wanted what I believed then to be true. I will not delve into specifics here, but just wanted to let you know that on my own journey I did not leave the church blindly. From my short answer to your earlier comment, I might have implied that I blindly just gave up the fight and said "okay" to my husband who claims no denomination).

    Beyond scriptural and doctrinal influences on my decision, it was when I (in private) devoted my life to Christ that I began to see a change in my life. I personally felt that I could not grow into a mature Christian because the Catholic churches in my city were not giving me "solid food" (Hebrews 5:14).

    Thank you for your time!

    Sarah

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  7. One of the consequences of having some pretty heated arguements with YOU when mine were in high school-was the heathy discussion of faith in the car on the way to high school...daily. My kids grew up with LDS cousins who could quote the NT like nobody's business, but they could not defend the Catholic faith.
    I knew that I had made great inroads when my LDS friend mentioned that her son and mine had an ongoing religous discussion daily in choir (they were in "honors choir" and had lots of down time). The crowd of spectators was large. She commented that mine must have some secret since most of the on lookers had gone to Mass with my son at least once...and hadn't given LDS a chance. How was that fair?
    :>) It continues on today- my son had the entire Protestant Lt choir at Holy Thursday and Good Friday services to sing......LOL. Still working those arguements from our arguements- lol.
    Knowing enough to argue is HUGE! Keep it up.

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  8. Sarah-
    My simple question is - How can you leave the Eucharist? Is that where you do not believe what Christ says, "This is MY Body". That area alone is where I started my journey back.

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  9. HI Sarah,

    Everyone is welcome to comment here in a friendly respectful manner - even if they disagree! SO welcome.

    Yes, I think clearly from a historical perspective one can see the divinity of the Catholic church. If you go back and read the early church father's you will find that the early church was indeed Catholic in structure, practice and belief! It was under the God given authority of the Catholic church that the bible was compiled and the canon was closed. And it was that authority that stood for 1500 years until the Reformation.

    The fruits of the Reformation has been division, schism, further argumentation until no one can even give me a straight answer as to how many Protestant denominations exist now days, although most seem to balk at the one source that quoted 30,000.

    You might find this site this site of particular interest.

    I'm sorry the churches in your area were lame in catechesis. This is one of my pet peeves about the church in American and one of the reasons I was adamant about teaching my own kids! The faith, particularly about the Eucharist, which is the bread of life John 6:53

    You are most welcome anytime Sarah.

    (BTW, in case you were not aware, Candy does NOT allow the majority of Catholics to comment defending the faith on her blog. She very selectively deletes or never approves them. The information you get on her blog is erroneous, many times deliberately so.)

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  10. My daughter does go away to a good college about 5 hours from home...but I'm really proud of her that she is active in the Catholic Ministries there. She goes to church every week. Has joined thier choir. Etc.

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