Archive | 6:19 pm

Temporary Amnesia

23 Aug

In the decades immediately following the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), we witnessed an alarming de-emphasis of doctrinal teaching in religious education in favor of an overly experiential approach. The result of this catechetical malfeasance was a generation–make that two generations–of poorly formed Catholics.

So while the feminists burned their bras and draft-dodgers burned their flags, catechists and pastors burned their Baltimore Catechisms, proclaiming their liberation from the rote memorization of doctrinal formulas and the old, “pre-Vatican II” Church. But were we better off because of it? What were the fruits of the catechetical novelties of the 60s and 70s? Surely not an increase of practicing Catholics who know and love the Catholic faith.

Now, memorization without a personal relationship with Our Lord and without understanding and internalizing what one has memorized is highly problematic. Yet the pendulum swung way too far in the other direction during my own childhood in the late 60s and 70s, perhaps as an overreaction to a dry, lifeless approach to catechesis during the prior generation. 

Now I think we’re finally finding a firm middle ground when it comes to memorization. Continue reading