Sunday, September 29, 2013


Pope Francis gave another interesting talk the other day - to the youth in Sardinia. The talk, posted at this blog, is preceded by some comments of note:

1. The pope's security team is working overtime. Obviously this is due to the pope's eschewing the security measures developed by the Vatican since the attempted assassination of John Paul II. Thus, while we all ooh and ahh at this pope's desire to be close to the people minus the bullet proof glass, human shields (probably men with wives and families) are now more necessary.

2. The second group of staffers who are working overtime are the translators, for as the blogger says: "...given Francis' steady stream of words – and even more, the Pope's penchant for shredding his prepared (and already-translated) texts by either adding a host of unscripted asides or veering into a full stream-of-consciousness talk – keeping up is no mean task.

Here, we get a clue again that the recent rumbles over papal remarks are NOT just the fault of an over-zealous media wanting to use them to some leftist end. The blogger here is Rocco Palma, one of the major chroniclers of global Catholicism and a fan of this pope; and in fact, appears to admire the "Pope's penchant for shredding his prepared texts (and) veering into a full stream-of-consciousness talk."

So if a native Italian speaker, a papal fan, and a major chronicler of all things Catholic has trouble keeping up with what the Pope is saying, or what he actually "means to say", then is it any wonder that the media (and the rest of us) may not be getting it? 

Later in the comments, the blogger says - in regards to his attempting to translate the Pope's message: "too much kept erupting." This depiction of how the Pope speaks corresponds to the comments in the Jesuit interview where the Pope's manner of speaking was likened by the interviewer to a "volcano."

But on to what the Pope said. Most interesting to me was the Pope's calling the Sacrament of Confirmation the "Sacrament of Farewell." Apparently, Sardinia is having the same problem we have here in Guam: they get confirmed and then they leave.

Of course, it is a pattern which happens almost universally. Some believe that the answer to this is a longer, more thorough, more experiential catechesis. I believe the problem is found in the Pope's actual words:

"We very frequently have this experience in the Church: priests, catechists, and animators tire themselves out, they spend so much energy, they put everything into it, and in the end they do not always see results that correspond to their efforts."

Notice, even the Pope leaves out the word "parents" in his list of teachers DESPITE the fact that everything Scripture and the Church has ever said about the catechesis of children puts the parents in the FIRST place as educators and catechists for their own children.

The fact that even the pope leaves "parents" out of the equation is telling of just how far we have drifted as an organizational church from the plan of God for the family. One could argue that the Pope was just speaking "off the cuff" again, but "off-the cuff" remarks, similar to when one is drunk, are often more telling of one's real thinking than prepared remarks. 

Parents have been organizationally sidelined from the catechetical equation for several generations. The God designed classroom of the family has devolved into a once a week shot at stuffing stuff into children's heads in isolation from the family. 

In other words, what we do is systemically COMPLETELY CONTRARY to God's plan, and in the process, we are destroying both souls and families. Thus the "farewell" actually occurs long before confirmation. Confirmation is just the good-bye party.  It's not "the world" that's the problem. It is us!

PARENTS! TAKE BACK YOUR CHILDREN. They are the only "thing" you can take to heaven. 

And meanwhile, pastors, take back your role as the primary teachers of the parents. Stop delegating. And stop supporting and feeding a system that divorces children from their parents. Put families back together. You don't need any extra classes. You have the pulpit and the greatest teaching opportunity of all: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Emphasis on "Holy"!

Perhaps the Holy Spirit has allowed this long and loud "farewell" of our youth because he's trying to tell us that we're doing it wrong

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