Monthly Archives: June 2012
Something “new” for Catholic high schools in Cleveland: A radical, revamped Catholic religion curriculum…
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Diocese of Cleveland has “revamped” its high school religion curriculum which will be implemented when school reopens this fall.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for those who grew up in the pre-Vatican II era is that the term “revamped” today means “redoux.” Gone is the post-Vatican II “God loves you, so feel good doing it” religious education curriculum which stressed the many and varied pathways to salvation. The revamped curriculum will feature a traditional Catholic religion curriculum that stresses orthodoxy and moral clarity.
The Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Cleveland, Margaret Lyons, says the revamped program will be “Gospel-centered” and “very orthodox.” In addition, the revamped teaching materials have expunged any “shyness about talking about moral issues” and will convey concepts “known to previous generations of Catholics but absent from more recent instruction.” The Motley Monk would note that means many of the catechetical “noun-ing’s” representative of that era—“faithing,” “theologizing,” and “deconstructing”—are “out.”
Moral clarity? Very orthodox? No shyness?
Omigosh! This is radical!
While the revamped curriculum “underscores Jesus Christ and the Paschal Mystery” as the source of salvation, students will “read and [will be] guided through Church documents” and if it’s to be believed…
They [will be] taught the role and importance of the Magisterium in guarding and passing on the faith, as well as being a sure guide to positive thinking and behavior.
Additionally, students [will be] instructed in ancient prayer practices used throughout the Church’s two thousand years of history, including the Rosary, Lectio Divina, meditation, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Psalms, litanies and readings in Sacred Scripture.
Omigosh, again! Magisterium? A sure guide?
What happened to magisterium of the vox populi Dei?
Superintendent Lyons also says the purpose of the revamped curriculum is to cultivate an enduring and lifelong faith, one that’s capable of standing up to cultural secularism and moral relativism.
Wasn’t that called forming “the Church militant” in a previous era?
Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the revamped religion curriculum comes in response to concerns raised by teachers and clergy about the quality of religious instruction in local Catholic schools. After being appointed Bishop of Cleveland in 2006, Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon listened and assessed the situation, a process that resulted in the 2012 revamped religion curriculum based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church and guidelines from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Motley Monk will be watching closely to see if Cleveland’s revamped Catholic religion curriculum will demonstrate significantly better learning outcomes than the post-Vatican II religious education curriculum did. Since the 1970s, the National Catholic Educational Association’s Assessment of Catechesis and Religious Education has demonstrated very little difference in outcomes between students attending Catholic schools and those attending CCD programs. All along, the dirty little secret everyone knew—including the nation’s Catholic hierarchy—was that few young Catholics learned anything demonstrably Catholic during those decades.
At a minimum, future graduates from Cleveland’s Catholic high schools will hopefully know something about the Catholic faith and its practice. That certainly would represent one important step in the right direction.
After all, knowing little-to-nothing about the Catholic faith and its practice, whatever became of the vast majority of those graduates of Catholic high schools students who were taught the post-Vatican II religious education curriculum?
One thing is certain: They surely aren’t attending Sunday Mass but want those big, expensive church weddings…what has been called “an important catechetical moment.”
To read the Cleveland Plain Dealer article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
My wife has the distinction of being one of the few people born on the Island of Midway. (We have pictures of her as an infant with some Laysan Albatrosses, better known on Midway as Gooney Birds. The medical staff was so excited at her birth that they put her in the new incubator, although they did not turn it on.) This has led to never-ending confusion over the years when she has presented her birth certificate, with puzzled individuals wondering where Midway is. Seventy years ago today all of America was learning where Midway was. A battle which has been called a miracle, Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific, with the decisive defeat of the Japanese strike force aimed at Midway that Admiral Yamamoto had intended to give a crushing blow to the remaining US carriers. The victory of Midway was the product of hubris, MAGIC, luck, courage and skill.
1. Hubris-Since Pearl Harbor the Japanese had won incredible victories on land, sea and in the air, and now controlled a huge Empire throughout East Asia. Japanese historians have described this as the period of “victory fever”. Even a very level headed and pragmatic individual like Admiral Yamamoto was affected by this atmosphere of seeming invincibility. Japanese intelligence as to the dispostion of the US fleet in the Pacific was poor, and Yamamoto’s plan to lure the Americans into battle by threatening Midway was very much a strike into the unknown, and risked Japan’s fate in the war on one battle.
2. MAGIC-US cryptographers had broken many Japanese diplomatic and military codes. The project was collectively known as MAGIC. In December of 1941 Naval cryptographers had broken the Japanese high command naval fleet code designated JN-25. Nimitz, the commander in chief of the US fleet in the Pacific, knew as a result that Midway was the target of the Japanese fleet and assembled his three carriers and support ships to oppose the Japanese fleet with its four carriers, two light carriers and support ships.
3. Luck-It is hard in our era of satellite surveilance and ubiquitous electronic sensoring systems, to realize just how much a deadly game of blind man’s bluff a carrier battle was in 1942. Radar, still in its infancy, gave the US a critical edge at Midway, but finding the Japanese fleet carriers to attack them was as much a product of luck as anything else. If the Japanese had been luckier, Midway could easily have been a disastrous US defeat.
4. Courage-There were many brave men on both sides, however the palm for gallantry has to go to the aviators of Torpedo Squadron Eight from the Hornet and Torpedo Squadron 6 from the Enterprise and their attacks on the Japanese carriers on June 4. The men had to know that without cover from their own fighters they would almost certainly not survive their attack runs on the carriers. They went in anyway, and almost all of them died. Many Japanese observers were stunned while watching this. Japanese propaganda called Americans weak, decadent and cowardly, and here were American pilots going to their deaths in the best samurai style as they attempted to sink the well guarded carriers. The attacks failed, but they drew most of the Japanese carrier air patrols away from the carriers, kept the carriers off balance and unable to launch their own strikes and depleted the ammunition and gasoline of many of the Japanese planes guarding the carriers.
5. Skill-Approximately 30 minutes after the torpedo squadron attacks, three squadrons of American SBD’s from the Enterprise and the Yorktown came upon the Japanese carriers. They were led by Commander C. Wade McCluskey who decided to prolong the search for the Japanese carriers and found them by following the wake of a Japanese destroyer. In a matter of minutes the three squadrons inflicted devastating damage on three of the four Japanese fleet carriers, winning the battle of Midway for the United States.
Here is the report of Admiral Nimitz on the battle. Note the emphasis in his report on lessons learned and improvements that had to be made based upon these lessons: Continue reading
A ruling by the New Mexico Court of Appeals has found that Christian photographers cannot refuse to photograph a “gay wedding” on religious grounds. The absurdity and tyranny of this ruling is almost unfathomable, but what is less surprising is the vindictive nature of the entire case. As an entire slew of court cases in Canada demonstrates, the radical homosexual movement is not about fairness, tolerance or equality. Like its equivalents among racial minorities (think Black Panther Party) or feminists, it is about envy, revenge, and domination. As I have argued and will continue to argue, the homosexual movement is the movement of hate, intolerance, bigotry, and totalitarianism. Whether your are Christian or not, whether you have homosexual inclinations or not, the implications of the New Mexico court’s rulings for political liberty, religious freedom and private property rights ought to frighten you if you care in the least about these concepts.
Last night marked the darkest hour in all of human history. Humanity has seen pestilence, wars, famine, genocide, and atrocities of all shapes and sizes. But all of that paled in comparison to Scott Walker’s “surviving” a recall victory by a “narrow” 7-point margin.
Why was this the darkest day in human history? Because it was the day democracy died.
It’s the end of the USA as we know it, but strangely I feel fine.
According to Democrats, the recall election was either the moment western civilization marked its inevitable decline or a great sign that Barack Obama is going to roll to re-election. While the truth is probably somewhere in between, either way Democrats expressed tremendous outrage over this election that was bought by Scott Walker and the evil Rethuglicans. Evidently spending a lot of money on elections is a bad thing. Unless of course you’re Barack Obama.
The narrative shift demonstrates a couple of things about the progressive left, neither particularly positive. The first is the blatant dishonesty. It’s quite amusing to listen to these people complain about “the death of democracy” when they’ve spent the better part of the past 18 months organizing, busing people in from other states, staging rallies and sit-ins, ushering their representatives out of the state in the middle of the night to shut the legislature down, and basically just throwing giant hissy fits because they aren’t getting what they wanted.
More importantly, it highlights something that has been an essential fabric of the left since the Enlightenment: their utter contempt for people. According to their vision of how the world should work, Scott Walker would easily have been thrown out on his keister were it not for all the money funneling into Wisconsin on his behalf. The implication is that the people are so dumb that they forgot how angry they are supposed to be with Walker just because of a bunch of 30 second advertisements. I wonder if these people even realize how arrogant and snobbish they sound. Because there is a rather nasty undercurrent to all this talk that makes it seem that they don’t have too high an opinion of most other individuals.
As I said, this really dates back to the Enlightenment, particularly the philosophes of the French Enlightenment. As Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote, it was a common tendency among the philosophes to generalize the virtues and elevate “the whole of mankind” over the individual. The most striking example of this wariness towards real, live, human beings was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Throughout his writings, but especially in his Confessions, he continually wrote of other people in a manner that demonstrated his contempt for them. He felt so isolated from the world that he wrote:
I am now alone on earth, no longer having any brother, neighbor, friend, or society other than myself. The most sociable and the most loving of human has been proscribed from society by unanimous agreement. In the refinements of their hatred, they have sought the torment which would be cruelest to my sensitive soul and have violently broken all the ties which attached me to them. I would have loved men in spite of themselves. Only by ceasing to be humane, have they been able to slip away from my affection. They are now strangers, unknowns, in short, nonentities to me – because that is what they wanted.
And yet his entire philosophy was geared towards improving the lot of mankind.
This succinctly summarizes the attitude of much of the left throughout history: they love humanity, but they hate people. Much of what I have read and seen over the past 24 hours has made that abundantly clear.
The men of the 5th Ranger Battalion could barely keep from laughing when they first saw their chaplain, Lieutenant Joe Lacy, a week before D-Day. These were young men, in peak physical condition. Father Joe Lacy was old by Ranger standards, knocking on 40, overweight by at least 30 pounds, wearing thick glasses and short, 5 foot, six inches. He was described by one Ranger as “a small, fat old Irishman.” No way would he be able to keep up when they invaded France.
On the trip across the Channel to France, Chaplain Lacy told the men: “When you land on the beach and you get in there, I don’t want to see anybody kneeling down and praying. If I do I’m gonna come up and boot you in the tail. You leave the praying to me and you do the fighting.” A few of the men began to think that maybe this priest was tougher than he looked. Continue reading
Here is a translation of a letter from a granddaughter of General Gorostieta, who is portrayed by Andy Garcia in For Greater Glory, to Andy Garica. Go here to read the letter in the original Spanish. Hattip to commenter Rogelio Núñez Ruiz. Translation is by my hard working and deeply appreciated better half Cathy:
[Opening commentary by Fernando Banuelos, Editorial Director of the Cine 3 film news website:]
Letter from Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta to Andy Garcia about Cristiada [AKA For Greater Glory ]
This is an emotive letter sent by Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta, granddaughter of General Gorostieta, to Andy Garcia for his role in Cristiada. Although I’m not a fan of Mexican films, especially Mexican history films in another language and with non-Mexican actors, I believe that this film falls in the “top-priority must-see” category of films, just to see what they say about us, and to see how faithful this adaptation is to what history tells us.
[Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta’s letter follows:]
I saw the film last week, and I enjoyed the character of my grandfather, even though I don’t share the legend that he was an unbeliever and converted in the Movement; it seems to me that [portraying him that way] brings him to people in a better way than if they had portrayed him as being too religious.
I congratulate you for having accepted the role on behalf of my mother, who unfortunately died 4 days before they finished filming it; she was happy that it would be you who would interpret it. His death scene is lovely and, as the Bible says, the applause that counts is in Heaven, and the whole family is there, so that the Glory of the Cristeros is now that they’re with God.
I don’t know if you read the letters which we sent to you through the Director, but I believe that my grandfather had the arrogance with which you characterized him, and the tenderness he showed his people. He had a great love for his family:
[Quoting a letter from General Gorostieta to his family:]
“For my little children, who I can’t give a kiss to, who I can’t buy a ball for, who I can’t, as I did so often, let sleep in my arms, on such a great date for the world, on a day in which even wild beasts become tender with Glory!, by your conduct I send them this gift: all the privations which they suffer, all the sorrows which you and I suffer, are only obedient to one end – leaving them a road, marking for them a route. I know well that there are smoother roads in the world, and God well knows that I know how to walk them. But those aren’t the ones that I will leave marked for them. It’s the same bitter, gloomy road that their grandfather marked for me, the only one that exists, if one is to be forever content to have finished it and able to give an account of the journey. The only one which, having been walked, imparts true peace. I give them as a gift, the privations and the sorrows which the road is giving me. Give them many kisses, and never rest from preventing – I don’t say now, but [even] within many years – that they should lose their faith on such a road.” Continue reading
Well, Governor Walker won last night in Wisconsin, we have had more than two million visits to our website, and I am on vacation next week, so I am in a good mood! Time for my ABBA guilty pleasure, and, besides, we haven’t had an open thread in a while. The usual open thread rules apply: be concise, be charitable, and, above all, be entertaining!
Pro-life Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has won the recall election decisively. His victory is a clear sign of how the political winds are blowing in Wisconsin and strongly indicates that Wisconsin may well end up in the Republican column in the presidential election this year, which is devastating for Obama. One little statistic that should send shivers down the spine of Democrat strategists this evening. When Walker won in 2010 he won the Catholic vote by two points. Exit polls show him winning the Catholic vote by ten points tonight. More and more Catholics are realizing that they have no home in the modern Democrat party. When a conservative Republican like Walker can win in a traditionally Blue state like Wisconsin, largely due to the Catholic vote, the political landscape is changing rapidly. Continue reading
It didn’t take long for the New York Times to report a statement issued by Sister Margaret Farley, RSM, whose 2006 book concerning sexual ethics was deemed unfit for Catholic consumption.
In her statement, Sr. Farley wrote:
I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.
Sr. Farley is a crafty thinker. Note her use of the phrase “official Catholic teaching.”
Invoking that phrase, Sr. Farley communicates something subtle: She was not intending to write a book that would reflect what the Vatican teaches.
What Sr. Farley is distinguishing between is what the Vatican teaches about sexual ethics and what she believes is an authentically Catholic sexual ethics.
At the same time, however, those who serve on Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) also happen to be clever. Its members possess decades of experience in spotting such crafty linguistic games.
The Motley Monk thinks this distinction earned Sr. Farley a slap on the wrist. After all, the CDF’s instruction makes clear there is no authentic Catholic teaching that is not official Catholic teaching.
In contrast, Sr. Farley would like others to believe that her book is eminently suitable for Catholics, even though it does not present official Church teachings. That’s unacceptable to the CDF.
Consequently, if Sr. Farley wants to write ecumenical theology, she remains free to do so. But if her theology does not square with the teaching of the Magisterium, then Sr. Farley should expect that the CDF will not allow Sr. Farley—or any Catholic theologian who plays the same crafty linguistic game—to pass her speculations off as suitable for Catholics.
In short, “Just Love” is not suitable for Catholics to use to form their consciences.
To read the New York Times article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
A Fugitive: I have a question, Lieutenant. When did you lose your faith?
A Lieutenant of Police: When I found a better one.
The film For Greater Glory has reminded me of director John Ford’s forgotten The Fugitive (1947). Very loosely based on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory (no priest in an American film in 1947 was going to have the moral failings of Greene’s whiskey priest) the film did poorly at the box office and soon fell into oblivion, except among film critics who regard it as one of Ford’s more interesting works. Ford said it was his favorite film.
The film is set in a nameless country, obviously Mexico where the movie was filmed, where religion has been abolished by the government. Henry Fonda is the last priest hunted by a police lieutenant, played maniacally by Pedro Armendáriz. Armendariz is a whole-hearted convert to atheism, and views the capture of Fonda as a noble task. Continue reading
I recently posted on the topic of sex-selective abortion. After seeing an article on LifeSiteNews on the recent Congressional vote on the sex-selective abortion bill, I felt a little bit of a follow-up was in order. LSN’s Steve Mosher writes:
[T]he vote on PreNDA has exposed dozens of Democrats, along with a handful of pro-abortion Republicans, as pro-abortion extremists. After all, what else are we to call those who favor abortions performed for the sole purpose of eliminating unborn baby girls because of their sex?
Call me the perpetual nay-sayer if you will, but I find this entire statement to be flawed from top to bottom.
Ed Morrissey had a great post inspired by the conversion, so to speak, of Jo Ann Nardelli. She is the former Democratic party official in Pennsylvania who left the party, prompted in part by the Democratic party’s embrace of gay marriage. Joe Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press sealed the deal. As a result, she has not been treated kindly by former colleagues.
The longtime Democrat from Blair County quit the party and registered as a Republican, and then boldly walked in a Memorial Day parade in support of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“A couple of people who I thought were friends turned their backs on me, literally, as I was walking in the parade,” she said on Tuesday. “I have to admit it made me sad, but that is the way it is.”
Morrissey discusses this as well as the case of Artur Davis, who also has quit the Democratic party. Then he explains, in very charitable terms, the reasons that some Catholics remain in the Democrat party, despite it holding positions that are antithetical to the Catholic Church on most social issues. He does a great job of explaining the nuances of Catholic economic teachings to an audience that is mostly non-Catholic. The following succinctly captures the tone of Morrisey’s post:
However, even while we do our best on a personal and institutional level within the church, our community, state, and nation have an impact on the scope and depth of the societal and human ills we hope to alleviate. Some Catholics feel that significant involvement of representative government represents the best and most direct way to achieve our mission, and support the political party that more closely aligns itself with that philosophy and agenda — Democrats. Others feel that the mission is best directed at a personal and institutional level and oppose significant government involvement as wasteful, impractical, and counterproductive, and those Catholics are more likely to be Republicans.
As such, these fellow Catholic liberals (many of whom do oppose abortion) do not deserve our scorn or a condescending attitude; they come to these positions honestly and faithfully. We may disagree on the best approach to the mission at hand, but we are at least united on the mission itself.
In a sense it might be more difficult for conservative Catholics to accept this than for conservative non-Catholics, particularly because we are so close to the issue. We can get easily frustrated by fellow Catholics who persist in supporting a party that upholds so many terrible positions on life and death matters. And I do think that a handful of left-leaning Catholics offer up merely token opposition to their party on social issues, but who largely ignore these matters so as not to distract from the more important (to them) economic issues. Yet there are leftist Catholics who are genuinely committed to the pro-life cause and who struggle with their party’s stance on social issues. And it is with regards to these individuals that we ought to heed Ed’s words.
Another thing strikes me about all this, and it’s that many of these political conversions have occurred due to differences of opinion on social issues. We have been told more times than I can possibly count that this election is all about the economy, and nothing but the economy. Yet we’re seeing more and more Catholics leaving the party that has been not only their home, but likely their parents’ home and their grandparents’ home. And they aren’t leaving the party because of its stance on income taxes. For those who insist that social issues are a losing proposition for conservatives and the Republican party, they might want to reconsider that position in light of the mounting evidence.
Dwight Eisenhower is getting a memorial in Washington, DC. That’s the good news to those who are fans of Ike.
The memorial is being designed by Frank Gehry. It’s about what you would expect from the king of post-modern design.
I guess it could be worse, but it’s certainly not a design befitting a figure like Eisenhower. This is an opinion shared by Eisenhower’s family and a growing number of Congressmen. The family issued this statement on May 30:
The scope and scale of the metal scrims, however, remain controversial and divisive. Not only are they the most expensive element of the Gehry design, they are also the most vulnerable to urban conditions, as well as wildlife incursions and ongoing, yet unpredictable, life-cycle costs. This one-of-a-kind experimental technology, which serves as the memorial’s “backdrop,” is impractical and unnecessary for the conceptual narrative. For those reasons, we do not support a design that utilizes them.
Indeed, not only is the design not very attractive, it’s a nightmare from a conservator’s perspective. It’s so bad that the National Civic Art Society has developed a website dedicated to fighting against the design.
As the Daily Caller article mentions, Representatives as diverse as Jim Moran and Darrell Issa are expressing their objections to the design. This is one of those rare times where you might be able to contact your local Congressman and persuade him to take action.
I know that art is a subjective matter, but is it possible to create designs in the 21st century that are actually attractive?
In a notification dated March 30, 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated that the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics” written by Sister Margaret A. Farley, RSM, contains “erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful.”
In her 2006 book, the CDF states that Sr. Farley—now retired from the faculty at Yale Divinity School—“does not present a correct understanding of the role of the Church’s Magisterium as the teaching authority of the Bishops united with the Successor of Peter, which guides the Church’s ever deeper understanding of the Word of God as found in Holy Scripture and handed on faithfully in the Church’s living tradition.”
In addition, Sr. Farley’s treatment of specific moral issues—including masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage, and the problem of divorce and remarriage—are erroneous and ambiguous. The CDF notes:
…either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others. Such an attitude is in no way justified, even within the ecumenical perspective that she wishes to promote. Sr. Farley also manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law, choosing instead to argue on the basis of conclusions selected from certain philosophical currents or from her own understanding of “contemporary experience”. This approach is not consistent with authentic Catholic theology.
Because Sr. Farley’s affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality, the notification states:
The Congregation warns the faithful that her book Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics is not in conformity with the teaching of the Church. Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Furthermore the Congregation wishes to encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine.
While the focus of the notification is the content of Sr. Farley’s book, The Motley Monk notes that Pope Benedict XVI approved it and ordered its publication.
Might this notification, approved and ordered before what The Motley Monk called the “hostile takeover” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, provide another signal that the Vatican is going to take a more activist stance in “truth in labeling”?
The warning is gentle, but it’s there.
The CDF wants to “encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine.”
To read the CDF’s notification, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s post on the hostile takeover of the LCWR, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
The story of the Catholic teen, Margeaux Graham, that was first told here at The American Catholic continues to gain momentum in the media. In the meantime she has written her story in her own words because I asked her to describe her experience for the young adult audience at Ignitum Today. I think it’s important for people to know how this happened, and how unexpected it was in this nation.
Desire, doubt, honor, excitement, shock, and disappointment are the emotions preceding discrimination in the modern world. I have felt all of these towards a very unsuspecting organization, the Florida Girls State program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.
The Girls State program is a once in a life time opportunity that is only available to high school juniors. Three girls from my school are nominated each year for the opportunity to become delegate.
The previous year’s delegate came to my AP American History class and told us about her experience in the Girls State program. She made it sound very appealing, talking about the friends she made and the various things she learned. She also told us about the a variety of college opportunities that the delegates would get, such as ten points added to scholarship applications, special considerations when applying to colleges, and three credit hours for American government. I knew I wouldn’t be chosen, I am the quiet kid in class, do my work and only answer aloud when called upon. I was certain I would not be chosen.
To read The American Catholic’s coverage of Margeaux’s stand, see these articles: