Thursday, 8 September 2011

Nature or nurture? - It's nurture stupid!

What makes a Catholic child grow up to be a good Catholic adult? Not nature, surely?
It is the parental framework, the continuum of care, love, discipline, all delivered with the teachings of Christ foremost in the mind in short, nurture!

The 'seed' of faith is implanted
 Faith, of course, is a gift from God and He bestows it on a Catholic child at Baptism. Then it is just a seed of fire, a faint ember awaiting a mother, father, siblings (possibly) and a parish priest to breathe on that seed until it begins to glow; to fan it until the glow begins to form  a flame and then to expose the flame to the oxygen of doctrinal truth and the sacraments for it to become ablaze with zeal and ready to be a soldier of Jesus  Christ -
a member of the Church Militant!

That fire will need feeding beyond the age of dependence and each time it is fed it will need to be ramped up with an even richer diet of the Faith until such time that it reaches such proportions that it cannot be quenched.

Destined for sainthood
at the age of 3 years
Exceptionally, there have been saints who precociously showed their true colours independently.

The Cure of Ars is reputed to have held private retreats for himself at the age of three...and St Rose of Viterbo was blessed with supernatural gifts at the same age.......but, that is God's doing, not man's and we can only wonder at the process of selection - it is not given to many: we have to rely on the nurture of our children, a task ever harder in 2011 as we descend ever deeper into secular sewers of war, plague, corruption and satanism.

If I had my time again I do believe that I would try for the homeschooling option and to teach my children not only the finer points regarding Catholicism but also the things in life that are more important than, say, geography or algebra. Those subjects have their place but, maybe, at a later stage in a child's development. I am all for teaching about the environment, nature, geology, archaeology and then some farming and horticulture, how to wire an electrical plug or service a tractor - this is sounding very pinkie like I know but I would wish for my children not to end up in a sausage factory office for all of their lives or marketing baked beans. And the practical, outdoor elements all link in more easily with belief than does sitting at a desk working out logarithms (I have never used a logarithm calculation to work out anything in my life).

The French traditional Catholic schools are very good at doing this sort of thing - creating an individual rather than stamping out a uniform bunch of kids wanting to take  degrees in projectile vomiting which is what they seem to do at University these days, at least for the first year.

I recall one French boys' school that featured in a television documentary some years back. At the end of the term before the summer break the boys used to take part in a feral goat hunt, killing the animal and preparing it for the pot. I am not sure who was the more feral the goat or the boys but I like that sort of exercise. As an adult I have humanely killed sheep by hand and it requires a level of nerve and confidence.

Would it make them better Catholics? Probably not.
 But it would provide the platform to make them better Catholics.

"Pray the rosary - live Fatima!"
Photo: Fr Z

Remember just a few days ago the pictures from World Youth Day Madrid when a group of Catholic youth knelt in front of aggressive anti papists? Those young people were only 17 or maybe 18 years old yet they knelt resolutely and prayed the rosary in front of violent opposition (I had thought that they were part of the Welsh contingent but I have since been told that they were American - hurrah and bravo for them!). Those young people were exceptional, I would not blame anybody for walking away from that scene. But, in later life, that is what they will have to put up with - "They will hate you as they hated Me"

 And what is more important?
To be Chief Executive of ICI or to gain a place in heaven?


  1. I am cooking chicken and my son wants sausage,nearly everyday, he's arguing with me about it's nutritive value (overestimating it)
    so he jolly well might end up in a sausage factory, if he's not careful!!!
    I could just eat a sausage sandwich right now, mindyou, with brown daddies sauce and a mug of hot tea.

    You never did share what you ate for your birthday lunch Richard.

  2. was my favourite meal, Chicken Provencale...nothing very fancy but very good. Sausage my student days, working on a delivery van, they used to be called 'dog rolls' and very good they were.

  3. your blog is a good read.