Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Three easy steps that would dispense with the questionnaire

Time to remove the cuckoo's egg

According to Deacon Nick's excellent post, the Vatican is now telling us that we are becoming too intense with regard to the Family Synod questionnaire.

There are parts of the questionnaire that do not involve us, they are beyond our pay grade.

That may be the case but why, in Heaven's name issue a market research paper that is so misleading?

So ambiguous. So intent on asking questions that run well beyond the writ of most of the laity and the clergy.

And why embark upon this exercise at all when the means of pinpointing the moves that will restore the Faith is so blooming obvious?

I have worked in education for 25 years, not as an academic but as an administrator.  In that time I have helped design many strategic plans and most (not all) have been successful.

More specifically, I have been part of a team designing solutions to problems; of course, none quite as complex and wide ranging as renewing the Faith and zeal of 1.2 billion Catholics, but most of the same principles apply.

I am sure that Rome can call on talent that far exceeds my basic skills but, even I, can see a pathway that will bring the Barque of St Peter back on course.

It is based on three elements.

It's not astrodynamics.

The three elements are Education, Training and Liturgy.

Firstly, education. Certainly in the UK we desperately need an RI syllabus that provides red meat as opposed to the thin gruel that has poisoned and disaffected the minds of the young for so long.

Young minds are capable of much more than the Catholic education system currently offers.

What is required, at secondary level, is a programme that focuses on key elements such as the history of the Palestine region during the time of Christ, the parables and the life of Christ, the New and Old Testaments, the Sacraments, comparative outlines of other faiths and their relationship to Catholicism all set within a framework of morals and society.

The underpinning knowledge element to come from the Catechism.

OK, that's a quick fix, broad brushstroke treatment but it's well on the way to creating knowledge, love of God and fervour for the Faith in the hearts and minds of the young.

However, Catholic education should be more than curriculum based.

There are outward signs and acts that reinforce knowledge and encourage belief and piety.

A crucifix in every classroom.
Prayers at the beginning and end of the school day, School retreat days, pilgrimages to Catholic shrines (not Hindu temples), weekly school Masses, Inter school Faith quizzes, Nativity plays at Christmas, Passion plays at Easter, Catholic Poets' Societies, School Scout and Guide troops, a shadow school board of pupils charged with developing Catholic social and charitable events.

The list could go on, but you get the idea.

The second step, that of training, would be aimed at Catholic adults. It would need to be doctrinally sound and morally unambiguous.
The schedule would include the doctrinal and dogmatic elements of the Faith, the primacy of the Papacy, the role of the Magisterium and the responsibilities of the hierarchy.
 The role of the priest as an "other Christ" and the cultural and social role of Catholics both within the Church and in the outside world.

And maybe one or two 'out' sessions where a more spiritual element is introduced by studying the Ten Commandments or how greater reverence can be introduced into the parish.

Thirdly, I would argue that 'Liturgy' should be properly ordered so that we begin to regain some semblance of continuity and community.

Most members of the laity have either forgotten or do not know what is expected of them at Mass and, I suspect are ignorant of the liturgical riches that should be readily available.

Benediction, Stations of the Cross (not just during Lent), the Angelus, Forty hours Devotion, the Rosary.

So, parish priests should have their authority restored so that they may impose (yep, that is what it needs) the correct way of behaving in church; no loud chatter and laughter, genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament, dignity at all times, abolition of the KoP, appropriate dress codes, reception of the Eucharist in a reverent manner and, above all else, the awareness of what takes place during the Consecration; the fact that bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Our Lord while still maintaining the characteristics of bread and wine.

 That is, the most vital element of all.

And finally, an integral overarching component of all three of the strategies, Education, Training and Liturgy, is to make the Mass in the Extraordinary Form available on every Sunday in every parish church throughout the world.

Oh, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should be done away with, not with a hatchet but with charity.

Do all of the above and the souls of many will be saved and the demands of Fatima fulfilled.

And Satan and all his works will be thwarted.

But will it happen? Heaven help us! Literally.


  1. Absolutely spot on - I agree with every word you say. Thank you.

  2. Absolutely, but for children preparing for their First Holy Communion - bring back the Penny Catechism.
    My grand-daughter, when being prepard for hers, was encouraged to raise her hands high, wave them about, and sway to 'n' fro! Needless to say, I undertook, as part of my granmaternal duties, to at least take her through the Catechism, and she alone understood that a Sacrament was an outward sign if an inward grace. I have to say though, that she is reluctant to go for Confirmation - so off puting was her parish catechesis, and at 14 yrs she is less inclined to sit with her Nan and be prepared in the only way I know (pre-V2)!

  3. Great post Richard.
    Your suggestions could be implemented in a structured and ordered way over a period of time. No great costs, some wounded egos perhaps, but what a difference it would make to our faith and our children's faith! If only a small nucleus of Bishops backed your ideas, not just words but deeds also,I'm sure that it would not be long before many of those luke-warm Shepherds would add their support.

  4. We don't need these blasted questionnaires.

    We're the Church of Jesus Christ for pete's sake. Can't they just preach the Gospel and condemn evil. Can't they? CAN'T THEY?


  5. Gertrude, the Penny Catechism for children?

    One of my children - Catholic schools 70/80s, is so excited by the Penny Catechism I gave her for her childen. They haven't had a look in yet!