Tuesday, January 10, 2006

WWPD? (What Would Pell Do?)

The Age in Melbourne reports a study on the future of Catholic education Down Under.....

Marist Brother Luke Saker, who lectures at Edith Cowan University, surveyed 133 graduates of Catholic schools in Perth, all studying education units that would enable them to teach in Catholic schools.

In his study, Dr Saker found that fewer than 13 per cent regularly attended Mass and most ignored church moral teachings. Nearly 80 per cent disagreed that using contraception was sinful, 66 per cent disagreed that homosexuality was sinful, 60 per cent denied that sex outside marriage was sinful and 68 per cent denied Catholic teaching on papal infallibility.

The Perth diocesan newspaper, Record, said the study suggested that the extent to which Catholic schools were fulfilling their purpose was open to question. But it quoted Dr Saker as saying that when the reasons for the church's position were explained in university classes, many students were surprised that they had never heard such explanations before.

Dr Saker said most senior students rejected Catholic teachings but did not know why they did so. "The majority of student teachers have lost, or never had, a living sense of the faith. They no longer consider themselves members of the church and they live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel," he said.

This is why I always say that the Catholics who taught me in 13 years of public school were better than most Catholic schoolteachers; Catholicism not being measured by degree of doctrinaire expounding, of course, but in terms of the living encounter, integrated and imparted.

Nothing against the many devoted, woefully underpaid souls here in the States and elsewhere who undertake the work of Catholic education, but I just write from my own experience, seemingly reiterated above.