I found the commencement address given by Reverend William M. O'Beirne, O.P. at St. Mary's College Notre Dame, Indiana on August 1, 1952 - my mother's graduation. It is entitled The Catholic Teacher and Theology. What is fascinating to me is that this was written about 15 years or so before the "spirit of Vatican II" started dumbing down Catholic education in the Catholic schools. I'll be blogging on this for the next couple of weeks on Sunday Snippets - see what you think.
Our late Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical on the Christian Education of Youth made this statement:Apparently around 1965 or so the idea of teaching theology didn't matter any more because at that point, at least in my young Catholic education, we started doing a lot of burlap banners complete with felt butterflies - and that passed as religion class... barf!
The product of Christian education is the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason, illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ. (p 89)
There are two observations we would like to make on this statement.
First, since the individual just described by our late holy Father is the product of Christian education, it follows that the object, the end of any Christian educator, any Catholic teacher, and so the object that practically all of you must have in view in your life's work, is to cooperate with divine grace in teaching students to think, judge and act by the way just described.
Second, theology may be very aptly described as the science that gives one facility in thinking, judging and acting, constantly and consistently, in accordance with right reason, illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ.
You will probably agree with these observations. Granting that they are correct, it seems obvious that theology is the best intellectional preparation that the Christian educator, the Catholic teacher, can be provided with, if she is to attain the object, the end of Christian education.
Let me illustrate this truth a little.
Continued next week.
Also - this week I blogged about my mother's college yearbook from St. Mary's College (The sister college of Notre Dame at the time), complete with pictures!
My co-blogger Kelly writes a well-researched post on the sex scandal in the church.