Unleash the Power of the Lay Alum!

Meet the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding. Every Friday she prays with her Muslim group at the Al-Islam Center in Seattle. Every Sunday morning, she dons the robes of an Episcopal priest and goes to church at St. Clement of Rome Episcopal Church.

Turns out she thinks she is both Christian and Muslim.

Muslims are puzzled by this. "I don't know how that works," said Hisham Farajallah, president of the Islamic Center of Washington. The problem is that confounding bit about Jesus being God which Islam tends to strenuously reject. "The theological beliefs are irreconcilable," said Mahmoud Ayoub, professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. Islam holds that God is one, unique, indivisible. "For Muslims to say Jesus is God would be blasphemy."

Christians are similarly puzzled. How do you simultaneously affirm and reject the deity of Christ?

Not to worry. Rev. Redding has the benefits of an Episcopalian theological education which enables her to digest flat contradictions for breakfast. The Seattle Times clues us in on these subtleties:

She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.

She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus.

She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.

What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.

She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said.

Given an approach to the Christian faith as clear-headed as this, it is only natural then that Rev. Redding should be teaching the New Testament as a visiting assistant professor at Seattle University. It’s more or less what I’ve come to expect from our local school “in the Jesuit tradition”.

 A friend of mine went to SU several years ago and proposed to do a Master's thesis on the Catholic theology of work. When she went to the theology prof to ask for source documents on this topic, he referred her to Marx's Das Kapital. She replied that she was really looking for theological sources and asked if the Documents of Vatican II might be a place to look.

He replied that he couldn't say but that he really needed to read them one of these days.

In desperation, she asked if Pope John Paul had written anything on the topic. The prof replied that he refused to read anything by "that man."

My friend, who was shelling out fabulous amounts of cash for all this, went away feeling just a bit cheated by the advertising brochures of the school which billed itself as "Catholic". However, since they were already deeply in her pockets, what with the astronomical cost, she persevered in both the Faith and her studies, and the day eventually came when she got her Masters and graduated. I went to the graduation ceremony, along with her Fundamentalist father (she and I are both converts to the Catholic Church).

The head of the Seattle University School of Theology came out and, by way of "Benediction", urged us all to pray "however we felt comfortable" in these terms: "If you want to pray to Buddha or the Spirit of the Northwest, then that's okay." Longtime Seattleites will recall that KIRO-TV's motto was the "Spirit of the Great Northwest". The thought, "We're being urged to pray to the local television station?" crossed my mind. The next thought that crossed my mind was, "How on earth does my friend explain to her father, a man already highly suspicious of the Catholic Church, that this twaddle is not representative of Catholic teaching when the head of the School of Theology is saying it?"

A good question, but then this is the theology department that decided to have a couple members of the Jesus Seminar in a couple of years ago and simply ignored the protests of the archbishop. It’s so important to the faith of young Catholics to hear from theologians who explain that the corpse of Jesus was eaten by wild dogs. (The friend with whom I endured the SU graduation ceremony had a prof there who openly boasted about his love of destroying the faith of incoming freshmen.)

And, of course, SU is hardly alone. One can go on multiplying stories of Catholic schools that betray their mission till the cows come home. From the annual rite of “Vagina Monologues” at campus after campus each Valentine’s Day to the tedious Queer Film Fests to the monotonous rhetoric from the herd of independent minds who analyze everything—including the Faith itself—in terms of post-colonial queer theory raceclassgender deconstructionist bafflegab, the “Catholic” academy in the US is often deeply toxic to Catholic faith. Only the inborn tendency of the healthy, normal student not to take academics nearly as seriously as academics take themselves has preserved sanity.

How do “Catholic” schools get away with this kind of stuff? I suspect the fact that a lot of alumni are not humanities majors has something to do with it. Somebody who got a degree in engineering or business at Apostate U can spend a whole academic career never having to take classes designed to "raise their consciousness" about reproductive rights for San Francisco lesbians. An MBA leaves you blessedly free from having to endure many hours trapped in a room with a ex-Jesuit Marxist bent on proving to you that Jesus (if he ever existed) was a dead rabbi who was puffed up by the misogynist epileptic Paul into a phony deity. A Chem major need never have it drilled into her head that all the stuff you dumb freshmen learned in Sunday School is just patriarchal claptrap invented to buttress Constantinian tyranny. A number of the "hard science" disciplines tend to insulate students from having to endure what humanities majors have to face every day. So, many graduates come out of Catholic schools blissfully unaware of the fundamental ways in which those schools have betrayed their mission.

Further, I fancy Golden Memories have something to do with it too. Parents or grandparents who graduated a couple of decades ago simply don't know how much a school has declined. They have fond memories of the Way Things Were and are simply unaware that when they send their kids to a Catholic school and write the checks for the Alum drive, they are now helping to fulfil the grim assessment of Boston College's Peter Kreeft, who bluntly said that Catholic colleges are excellent places to go to lose your faith. So they send their kids off to SU in the fond illusion that when they take a course on the New Testament, they will be learning it from somebody who can, at some elemental level, think clearly enough to know that Christianity and Islam are flatly contradictory concerning what the New Testament says about Jesus Christ. They retain enough trust in the institution not to imagine it would send a fogbound mind like Rev. Ann Holmes Redding to impart utter intellectual confusion and apostasy to the immortal souls of their precious children.

This state of affairs is not, however, written in stone. John Paul II made a stab at changing it with Ex Corde Ecclesia, which has been steadfastly ignored in most schools. The bishops have not exactly made it a priority. But we laity can take steps to change it. And the first step (after prayer, apart from which we can do nothing) is to deny the hogs their feed. Universities run on money and academics are, fortunately, deeply cowardly as a rule. One quick way to send them a loud message very fast is for alums to empty the slop from the trough. I see no reason why any Catholic alumnus should support any academic institution which parasitically feeds off the good will and trust of betrayed Catholics while working overtime to despoil their children of the Faith. I think that alumni and donors to schools which behave like Seattle University or the organizers of the Notre Dame Queer Film Festival would do well to make it plain via their pocketbooks that it is beyond the pale for a Catholic university to so utterly prostitute itself to the god of this world.

That doesn’t necessarily mean cutting off funding cold to the whole university or college. Very often you will find faithful faculty struggling along under extremely difficult conditions, under the thumb of persecuting faculty heads and often crushing ideological pressures. They should not be punished further with draconian budget cuts. Indeed, it may well be possible for alums to earmark donated funds for certain endeavors and not for others. If the Philosophy department is sound and the Theology department is not, then give to the former and not the latter—and tell Apostate U why. If Apostate U will not allow you to earmark your giving, then give to another school—and tell them both why. Even academics can be taught.

Laity have power here that bishops can only dream of. If integrity does not drive allegedly Catholic schools to their knees in repentant shame, then perhaps waning contributions from disgusted alumni and supporters will. If Mammon is their god, then let it be their judge.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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  • Guest January 23, 2008, 1:13 am

    Can someone (a) get Catholics defending the New Testiment to the Secular World (the only books i've read defending the New Testiment have been written by our seperated bretheren) and (b) get the hell on your knees and beg every Saint from Jerome to Padre Pio to pray for my generation so that we don't completely lose faith !!!! not forgetting the Blessed Mother of Course


    PS while your at it run like hell to the Adoration Chapel and get down on your knees 

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 6:19 am

    She reminds me of Flip Wilson's Rev. Leroy of "The Church of What's Happening Now".

    But, look for such behavior in the Church if we don't start educating Catholic children and adults on the real meaning of their faith. (Token CCD classes with uneducated volunteers don't count.)

    Our bishops need to "teach as Jesus did", not manage as CEO's do.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 7:25 am


    You wrote, "Our bishops need to "teach as Jesus did", not manage as CEO's do."

    Do you have something in mind?

    Not just because I am an "uneducated" volunteer "teaching" a token CCD class, but because I am really interested in how you propose to lay blame at the feet of the bishops. 

    Jesus did not teach and heal everyone. Rather, while here on earth, He sent the seventy-two, and finally commissioned the twelve, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to teach the world. In turn, we, the faithful, pray for vocations so we will have good men and women to guide us. "Amen, Amen, the harvest is great, but the workers are few."

    You seem like a reasonable man, are you malcontent, or do you see some good from the Magesterium and heirarchy?

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 7:54 am

    I wonder if Rev. Redding, in teaching her New Testament course, has come across the part where Jesus says, "Before Abraham was, I Am."  He did not then need to say to his Jewish audience, "Let me clarify this."  While it is sad that she is an Episcopal minister, it is heartbreaking that she teaches at a "Catholic" university, and that this situation has been going on now for decades. 

    Besides giving donation dollars to other schools, parents should also send their tuition dollars to more worthy institutions.  There are beautiful, faithful universities and colleges in our country, schools many times founded by faithful lay Catholics who have sacrificed a great deal to make truly Catholic education available to our children.  If cost or choice of majors eliminates those schools as options, students can also look into the state colleges with fabulous Newman Centers.  These are the places where our tuition dollars should be going.  Parents and students should take a look at http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/ to begin investigating these schools.

    Defiant 121, we should be careful with our rhetoric.  Prayers, yes, "shooting", no.  I know you didn't mean it but it sounds bad.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 8:04 am

    Gentle reminder to all — we can't have anything here that looks like we are advocating campus violence, even jokingly. (One comment was edited.)

    Mary Kochan, Senior Editor, CE

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:06 am

    Additional investigation:  While checking the validity of the Theology taught at the Catholic universities in American, also spend some time checking how much money the university is receiving from the Middle East to have Middle Eastern Studies programs.  Make sure they are teaching only history and culture and not the Islaminc religion nor hatred to America.  Georgetown University is one such school that should be looked into!

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:20 am

    I wonder what effect the Pope's book on Jesus will have. I would imagine that many of the students have read it. The one theme he sees in almost every passage is the divinity of Jesus. It makes it tougher to claim you are teaching the true Catholic faith when your students know you could not be further apart from the pope in terms of how you read the gospels. Once they know what is being taught is not the Catholic faith then the biggest problem is solved. To many people think they have examined the Catholic faith when all they have really been exposed to is liberal Christianity.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:21 am

    Having grown up on the "left coast" and being given eight years of Smile Catholicism, I was severely crippled, educationally speaking, when it came to defending or even understanding my faith. It was only when I began homeschooling my two oldest daughters that I really began to learn about the heritage that is ours through The Church. I do see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, as some of "The New Men" begin to take the role of Pastors within the parishes where you are. Living now on the east coast, I am finding a different educational environment coming down through our diocese. The diocese has developed a very ambitious set of goals for Catholic education here. If pastors and parents will follow the lead, the children will be Catechized to an understanding much deeper than I have yet seen at a diocesan level.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 10:02 am

    Alum can also be used as a fire retardant….Hmmmm….


    In Christ,

    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"
    – GK Chesterton "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – also GKC

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 10:08 am


    You wrote, Having grown up on the "left coast" and being given eight years of Smile Catholicism, I was severely crippled, educationally speaking, when it came to defending or even understanding my faith.

    What did you do with the gift you received? Mt 25:14-30

    It seems that your daughters weren't the only ones in school…

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 10:37 am

    We have stuff like this at Gonzaga as well. Last year, Dr. Margaret Farley was invited by the Department of Religious Studies to give an important public lecture. She spoke on “Gender, Sexuality, and Ethics,” where she explicitly argued that the Church should accept homosexual unions and fornication.

    Furthermore, the Religious Studies Department at Gonzaga invites Call to Action of Spokane to set up a table in the back of every lecture! There are always a lot of Call to Action types who go to these lectures, but a lot of students as well.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 2:23 pm

    one thing to keep in mind about designated donations is that many times those donations are subtracted from what they would have normally received and then more is given to the other programs including those objected to.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 4:03 pm

    Are you sure, considering the bankruptcies of late, that to say the bishops "manage as CEOs do" isn't an insult to a great many CEOs?

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 5:44 pm

    Thank you, mkochan, I was going to say…  

    Possibly some of these [guys] chose theological studies because they were failures in the business world. Having also failed theologically, where to go from here?

    Marxism and the academia of course.

    Send a couple of Garrison's Abe Lincolns to these institutions just to let them know how valuable they are.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 7:49 pm

    In regard to Seattle University, what a difference a generation makes! Both my wife and I attended Seattle U during the years leading up to and including the Vatican II council. She majoring in Physics and I in Civil Engineering. At that time, the core curriculum for all students except engineering included 16 quarter credit hours of theology (totally orthodox at that time). Engineering students were required to complete 10 quarter hours of theology; all students in all disciplines were required to complete 26 quarter hours of philosophy, basically scholastic and based on St Thomas Aquinas. Anyway, we do not contribute any money directly to any school that is not orthodox, but only to the new colleges and universities that are truly Catholic.


  • Guest January 23, 2008, 8:47 pm

    Normally I find Shea a bit over the top (sorry, Mark) but this is spot on. 

     Very practical and godly advice.  Thank you for this.


  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:00 pm

    When Dominicans founded the first university, they saw it as a place where competing ideas were presented and debated.  I should hope that we have not reached the point where we are afraid to expose our children to non-Catholic views.  That, in my mind, would only make them more vulnerable to heterodox/heresy.

    Seattle University runs an ecumenical school that explicitly is not teaching Catholic theology. It used to run a program for the Archidiocese which disturbed some Jesuits – the complaint that it was too "touchy-feeley" and too little academic.  While I find Rev. Redding's views uninformed (and bizarre) I need significantly more information to determine if she is an appropriate teacher for the course and program to which she is assigned.

    As for Das Kapital, during the time period Mark Shea's friend was doing a thesis on work, several of the major theologians working on the theological issues were firmly founded in Karl Marx (pro or con) – consider the liberation theologians (Latin American, Sri Lankan …).

    Certainly Jesuit schools may have bad theological departments – look at the history in Saint Louis.  But please, Mr. Shea, give me facts to make my own judgment rather than well-written (but not well-considered) polemics.  Or stick to the truly sad aspect of Rev. Ann Holmes Redding – a religious professional of our separated brethren who clearly has no clue as to what she really believes.  So adrift in her beliefs that, according to the Seattle Times article, her appreciation of Islamic prayer led to this bizarre Christian-Muslim mix.  So adrift that one must wonder what kind of theological training and Christian formation she received.

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:21 pm

    Gee, if you wanted a source document for a Catholic theology of work, why not go Rerum Novarum? For an overview: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12783a.htm To read the encyclical: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html 

    That's a lot more solidly Catholic than the questionable liberation theology http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19840806_theology-liberation_en.html which the Church has cautioned us about.

    As to what Ms. Redding is teaching, and whether it is appropriate to have her teaching it at a nominally Catholic University, they have her listed as teaching "Christian Scriptures." I think that mjes is right to wonder what kind of theological training and Christian formation Ms. Redding received, but can't understand the difficulty in connecting the dots and saying that Ms Redding is not the kind of person that a Catholic University (or any Christian school, for that matter) should be using to "train and form" anyone on the subject of "Christian Scriptures." Now, if she was to be teaching a course entitled, "How to Apostasize" that'd be another matter…..

  • Guest January 23, 2008, 9:25 pm

    Mjes, Redding received her non-Christian formation at the kind of school that is the subject here. And please rest assured that our children are getting plenty of exposure to non-Catholic views, I mean over the top plenty.

    One more note: competing ideas are not synonymous with confusing ideas or convoluted ideas.

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 1:44 am

    To be more precise, Ms. Redding is an adjunct faculty member, a role that does not involve regular teaching – although she occasionally teaches.  Her education is from Union Theological Seminary.  She is associated with the ecumenical School of Theology and Ministry not with the (Catholic) Theology and Religious Studies Department.


    I am not defending Ms. Redding's theology – I've encountered similar views in Episcopalean students at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.  I will admit that being Muslim rather than Universalist is a new twist. I pity them for their religous thirst which is not satisfied by their tradition as they know it – rather they must continue searching for Truth, often in all the wrong places.


    However, Mr. Shea uses Ms. Redding in a way that I hate to see people used – he uses her story in broad strokes to make a point that her life in detail, in the particulars of her own story, does not support.  Bad rhetoric is bad rhetoric. 

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 1:48 am

    Liberation Theology is most certainly questionable theology.  However, it is a major trend that anyone wishing to explore the Catholic theology of work must know to be competent in their field.  A thesis is an academic endeavor not a theological broadside.

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 7:31 am

    Liberation Theology is most certainly questionable theology.  However, it is a major trend that anyone wishing to explore the Catholic theology of work must know to be competent in their field.


    Sure, but it would have been good to mention up front that it is questionable. And also good to give a recommendation of a solid source for a truly Catholic theology of work. 

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 8:50 am

    "Given an approach to the Christian faith as clear-headed as this, it is only natural then that Rev. Redding should be teaching the New Testament as a visiting assistant professor at Seattle University. It’s more or less what I’ve come to expect from our local school “in the Jesuit tradition”."

    This statement in the article while not precise is accurate so how is Mark using this poor defenseless professor? Maybe the Seattle Times was too broad. If she is eminently qualified give her tenure.

    I suspect the article to be sufficiently correct and I'm suspicious of the objections.

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 1:26 pm


    Please do not blame "uneducated volunteers" teaching C.C.D. classes.  I have been teaching religious ed. for 14 years.  During those years I have taken classes in scripture, faith, prayer, etc… as well as attended conferences in my Archdiocese.  The other teachers I work with do at least as much.  We volunteer our time and talents to teach the children in our Church to have faith and love Jesus, and abide by the Church rules.  If we don't know the answer to a child's question we have the aid of the Catechism of the Catholic Church .  We do our best to serve Jesus. Please do not put us down, but pray for us to be able to do a good job through Jesus Christ.

  • Guest January 24, 2008, 9:53 pm

    "Uneducated volunteers" as used by Mr. Shea, does not likely refer to educated volunteers — those like Helen or David (or, hopefully, myself), who are striving with every fiber of their being to faithfully educate children in their homes and parishes.  However, there is no doubt an over-abundance of poorly catechized volunteers who pass on their own error, even to the point of heresy. In our diocese, there are parishes who permit any warm body to volunteer to teach faith formation, even non-Catholics. Since the Easter/Christmas group of Catholic moms and dads can't check off their kid's sacramental "To Do" list without CCD, the classes are full, but the oversight is sorely lacking. This happens under the watchful eyes of far too many Directors of Religious Education who seem to have adopted their own notions of what the Church "really" teaches. Garbage in, garbage out. Mark's assessment hits darn close to home for far too many, but the ones causing the problem, are probably not logging into this website, and they would certainly be offended by any suggestion that they were in error.

    God bless the faithful teachers and all the lives they touch. Pray for all of us.


    "The Catholic Church frames the Christian life as one in which you must exercise virtue—not because virtue saves you, but because that's the way God's grace gets manifested." Dr. Francis J. Beckwith

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 8:29 am

    Not to mention that many of the materials used in CCD classes are less than ideal. Most of the "mainstream" programs are questionable (Sadlier and Silver-Burdett, for example, to name two with which I am personally aquainted) and many parishes are reluctant to use more solid materials. Sometimes the problems with the material are very subtle. If anyone would like to read more on the topic, I wrote an article that is available online here: http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=7716 


  • Guest January 25, 2008, 9:06 am

    Our parish utilizes Faith First. Here is a link to what I have found to be a useful companion to the books that are provided. I welcome feedback.


    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 9:09 am

    Upon visiting the site, you will find they recently acquired Silver Burdett Ginn Religion. Hopefully, they will have a positive effect on the material published moving forward.

    In Christ, 

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 11:39 am

    Without having access to the actual materials, there's not too much I can comment on, but I noticed what, for me, are red flags. They don't necessarily mean that there are huge problems, but when I see things like this, they make me somewhat suspicious and inclined to dig a bit deeper.

    For example, if you go to the sacramental prep stuff, there are some things on the Eucharist. There's a "tour of a church" and a "walk through the Mass" that I looked at. In the tour, they show a "crucifix" that isn't. Isn't a crucifix, that is. It has a resurrected Jesus on it, which to me, is inappropriate for the main "crucifix" in a church. The walk through the Mass (and the Mass responses in another section) consistently refers to the Eucharist as "consecrated bread." Ok, well that's a bit like referring to a newly conceived baby as a "fertilized egg." Now that it's fertilized, it's not an egg anymore, you know?

    And no mention anywhere of the Mass being a Sacrifice. Maybe that's mentioned somewhere else, but in my experience of most religious ed texts, probably not. That is one thing that tends to be avoided like the plague.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 12:20 pm


    Thanks for the two cents. Please multiply your thoughts as time permits. I did a word search for "sacrifice" and it showed up in the context of the Mass. I can't be sure why they used a Church with a resurrected Jesus but they did clarify the difference in the text. I am not defending RCL, just furthering the discussion. I hope you will do the same.

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 12:22 pm


    I hope you will do the same.

    Because we do need some resources other than The Apostle's Creed and the catechism of the Catholic Church. ;O}

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 12:57 pm

    Here's something else I found. They have online quizzes you can take to check your knowledge of the chapter that you're in. They have a book on "Liturgy and Morality" which comes after gr 6, so I'm assuming that's for their middle schoolers. Anyhoo, in the chapter on the Eucharist, they had pretty good questions with good answers up until the end, when they asked about an "ecumenical organization that seeks to tackle the problem of world hunger." Not sure what this has to do with the Eucharist, but more importantly, the correct answer is Bread for the World. Now, Bread for the World may do some good things, but they cooperate with some interesting organizations to include Call To Action and Network.

    Hopefully, I'll have more time later, but right now, I have two children who want to go to the movies!


  • Guest January 25, 2008, 1:30 pm


    Do you think the reference is underlying for the adults or the children, or both? It seems if the children have a difficult time retaining the reasons for going to Mass every Sunday, a cooperation with an undesireable organization would never reach their consciousness.

    However, I am with you about being weary of who we associate with. In one of the books there is a photo of woman and a child wearing Susan G Komen t-shirts and smiling. If you do not know, the Susan G Komen foundation grants money to Planned Parenthood. So did the American Cancer Society…

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 25, 2008, 10:20 pm

    No, I'm aware of the Komen/PP connection. Had a family member do run/walk for the cure and had to tell her I wouldn't contribute. And why.

    A lot of the stuff that I take issue with in these programs probably seems nit-picky to most folks. Most people would say, hey, if there's nothing really blatantly out of whack, like saying that Jesus isn't God or something, and they do an ok job of telling the kids what we believe, what's the issue?

    Well, a couple of things.

    1) I think that we owe our kids and our Faith better than just doing a mediocre job of explaining it. We owe them at least as solid an education in their Faith as we do in any other subject. The truths of our Faith are as true as 2+2=4, even if it's not always popular to say so.

    2) I think that the problems, small seeming though they are, are indicative of a general attitude towards the Faith. Mushy on the hard stuff (ex: even with the older kids, is there any good explanation of why only men may be ordained? usually not), liturgically pretty loosey-goosey and anti-tradtional (hence the "gathering space" and the "resurrecifix" in the church tour…tabernacle apparently off in a closet, excuse me, chapel, by itelf, etc), heavy on the "peace and justice" and "diversity" side and not so big on things like personal growth in holiness via working to correct our predominant fault (or, as my pastor sometimes likes to put it, "your major malfunction"). Because, of course, Jesus loves you. Just the way you are.

    3) While I think that a well-educated person could minimize the weaknesses of many of these programs and supplement them to make them more strongly Catholic, many people who are teaching CCD either don't have the time or the knowledge and may not see anything particularly odd about some of the recommended activities (like the center your prayer on a rock thing that I mentioned in the article I wrote.)