Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

November 20, 2007

National Framework Approved

By a vote of 220-0 on Thursday, November 14, the U.S. Catholic Bishops approved the much-discussed National Curriculum Framework for religious instruction of high school youth.

The framework has a strong Christological focus and roots each course in the life of Christ and the saving actions of the Paschal Mystery. There are six required courses in the new curriculum taking the students through the junior year of high school. There are also five options for electives in the senior year.

Here is how the new course of study compares with a common course of study used in many high schools today (click on jpeg to increase its size):



Plans are underway at Catholic publishing houses, including Ave Maria Press, to meet the textbook and resource needs of the new framework while continuing to provide resources to serve the variety of courses taught in Catholic high schools today. The new framework also provides the opportunity to cast materials for catechetical use in parish youth ministry and high school religious education programs.

We are interested in your feedback on the new framework. Feel free to respond below or send an email to Michael Amodei, Executive Editor of Adolescent Curriculum.

Comments

1 maria thorsen

Nov. 20, 2007
As a theology teacher at Saint Gertrude High School in richmond Va. .....I do not see a year or even a semester where the students study Old Testamant scripture. this concerns me...unless I am missing that inclusion from the chart. Studying Old Testament is our story as Christians...we could never begin to fully understand the life of Jesus unless we understand the word revealed through the prophets.......This would be a serious oversight..and I would like to have a response....Thank You Very Much<BR/>Maria Thorsen

2 maria thorsen

Nov. 20, 2007
As a theology teacher at Saint Gertrude High School in richmond Va. .....I do not see a year or even a semester where the students study Old Testamant scripture. this concerns me...unless I am missing that inclusion from the chart. Studying Old Testament is our story as Christians...we could never begin to fully understand the life of Jesus unless we understand the word revealed through the prophets.......This would be a serious oversight..and I would like to have a response....Thank You Very Much<BR/>Maria Thorsen

3 Mike Amodei

Nov. 20, 2007
The study of Sacred Scripture--both the Old Testament and New Testament--is the subject of the first course in the new framework. An emphasis in this course is, as you say, to "begin to fully understand the life of Jesus" through the words of the prophets and the events of Salvation History.

4 Mike Amodei

Nov. 20, 2007
The study of Sacred Scripture--both the Old Testament and New Testament--is the subject of the first course in the new framework. An emphasis in this course is, as you say, to "begin to fully understand the life of Jesus" through the words of the prophets and the events of Salvation History.

5 UnityThroughDiversity

Nov. 20, 2007
As a Social Justice and World Religions teacher I am disappointed that both of these important subjects have been relegated to "electives." Assisting our students to develop a good conscience appears, at least to me, as less important as the implementation of dogma.<BR/><BR/>How many of the Bishops actually spent time in the classroom?

6 UnityThroughDiversity

Nov. 20, 2007
As a Social Justice and World Religions teacher I am disappointed that both of these important subjects have been relegated to "electives." Assisting our students to develop a good conscience appears, at least to me, as less important as the implementation of dogma.<BR/><BR/>How many of the Bishops actually spent time in the classroom?

7 Dorian Speed

Nov. 20, 2007
I agree with Maria Thorsen, and I find the descriptions for several of the courses to be very vague. I think the study of the Hebrew Scriptures merits a semester unto itself, if we are to give students any depth.

8 Dorian Speed

Nov. 20, 2007
I agree with Maria Thorsen, and I find the descriptions for several of the courses to be very vague. I think the study of the Hebrew Scriptures merits a semester unto itself, if we are to give students any depth.

9 tj pioneer

Nov. 20, 2007
These "Frameworks" seems so broad and vague that I cannot know exactly what is being expected. If "The Revelation of Xp in Scripture" is to cover the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures in one semester this is totally unrealistic. It is difficult to do these in a semester. <BR/>Also what is meant by the "The Mission of Jesus (the Paschal Mystery) in a semester? <BR/>When is this new framework going to be expected to be implemented in schools and does it have to follow the exact order in the framework?<BR/>There are a lot of questions that need to be answered---one of which is the availability of texts that will correspond to the framework---this has been a problem with texts being approved in the past. I have to agree with the comment, "How many of the Bishops spent time in the classroom?"

10 tj pioneer

Nov. 20, 2007
These "Frameworks" seems so broad and vague that I cannot know exactly what is being expected. If "The Revelation of Xp in Scripture" is to cover the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures in one semester this is totally unrealistic. It is difficult to do these in a semester. <BR/>Also what is meant by the "The Mission of Jesus (the Paschal Mystery) in a semester? <BR/>When is this new framework going to be expected to be implemented in schools and does it have to follow the exact order in the framework?<BR/>There are a lot of questions that need to be answered---one of which is the availability of texts that will correspond to the framework---this has been a problem with texts being approved in the past. I have to agree with the comment, "How many of the Bishops spent time in the classroom?"

11 Anonymous

Nov. 20, 2007
This framework appears so artificial. The names of courses are extremely awkward. What was "broken" that the bishops (and/or for-profit book publishers) felt needed to be fixed?<BR/><BR/>Let us ASK theology teachers before we mandate a COMPLETE revision of a curriculum that competent religious educators, theologians and others have designed and have had the freedom to design in the past.<BR/><BR/>Who advised the bishops on this? I hope that some of these advisors were high school theology teachers AND the people that educated <B>us</B> (the faculties of theologates across the country: Boston College, Washingon Theological Union, Catholic Theological Union, Jesuit School of Theology, Weston, Franciscan University, etc.)<BR/><BR/>Social Justice as an elective??????<BR/><BR/>This is a gospel mandate! This is not "optional".<BR/><BR/>Our "<B>preferential option</B> for the poor" is a required aspect of our faith. We learn more about the paschal mystery of Christ by learning about the ongoing life, death and resurrection of those who Jesus of Nazareth spent his time with.

12 Anonymous

Nov. 20, 2007
This framework appears so artificial. The names of courses are extremely awkward. What was "broken" that the bishops (and/or for-profit book publishers) felt needed to be fixed?<BR/><BR/>Let us ASK theology teachers before we mandate a COMPLETE revision of a curriculum that competent religious educators, theologians and others have designed and have had the freedom to design in the past.<BR/><BR/>Who advised the bishops on this? I hope that some of these advisors were high school theology teachers AND the people that educated <B>us</B> (the faculties of theologates across the country: Boston College, Washingon Theological Union, Catholic Theological Union, Jesuit School of Theology, Weston, Franciscan University, etc.)<BR/><BR/>Social Justice as an elective??????<BR/><BR/>This is a gospel mandate! This is not "optional".<BR/><BR/>Our "<B>preferential option</B> for the poor" is a required aspect of our faith. We learn more about the paschal mystery of Christ by learning about the ongoing life, death and resurrection of those who Jesus of Nazareth spent his time with.

13 Rosemary Kingston

Nov. 20, 2007
As a high school theology teacher for forty-four years, I am extremely disappointed in the framework. <BR/><BR/>Here are my concerns:<BR/>1. The students in our area receive Confirmation when they are sophomores. Putting Sacraments in their junior year is too late.<BR/><BR/>2. The study of Hebrew scriptures should be mandatory, not a senior elective<BR/><BR/>3. World Religions should be mandatory and it is not even part of the framework.<BR/><BR/>4. Morality should be introduced earlier (sophomore year).<BR/><BR/>5. Most of the mandated courses will not qualify as college prep classes by the University of California. This very important for students in California.<BR/><BR/>6. Did the bishops consult with high school religion teachers?<BR/><BR/>Thank you for keeping us informed.

14 Rosemary Kingston

Nov. 20, 2007
As a high school theology teacher for forty-four years, I am extremely disappointed in the framework. <BR/><BR/>Here are my concerns:<BR/>1. The students in our area receive Confirmation when they are sophomores. Putting Sacraments in their junior year is too late.<BR/><BR/>2. The study of Hebrew scriptures should be mandatory, not a senior elective<BR/><BR/>3. World Religions should be mandatory and it is not even part of the framework.<BR/><BR/>4. Morality should be introduced earlier (sophomore year).<BR/><BR/>5. Most of the mandated courses will not qualify as college prep classes by the University of California. This very important for students in California.<BR/><BR/>6. Did the bishops consult with high school religion teachers?<BR/><BR/>Thank you for keeping us informed.

15 Acroamatic

Nov. 20, 2007
Having been lucky enough to be in a diocese whose teachers were represented in a local info/discussion session on the framework, perhaps I can help with a couple of the questions. <BR/><BR/>I think there will be ample opportunity in the first two semesters to give the students an awareness of the Old Testament. It isn't left out.<BR/><BR/>Nor is social justice left out. It should already be integrated into any overall survey of Morality/Moral issues. The point is that if you are holding off at least some survey/discussion of the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching until you study Justice proper, then you might consider doing that now. Don't think of this as a series of blocks, but as a continuum.<BR/><BR/>The bishops and staff who labored over the Framework in its drafting and final phases do have a sense of pedagogy and process of learning. I don't find fault with that. The point of the sequence is to teach the children about Jesus Christ. The person of Christ is a unifying thematic element, which many schools' curricula have lacked. <BR/><BR/>Good teaching is about the development of themes to which one can return in many contexts, like seeing the light of a gem through its facets. Even college survey classes are done in some order--historically, etc. I think vertical sequencing from the start to the end of a curriculum will be a good addition to what we do. <BR/><BR/>I believe the bishops have had some good people working on this. Let's not be too critical of anyone's attempt or intention to improve things--when we produce perfect graduates across the board, even by the standards of our schools' mission statements--then we have some room to gripe.

16 Acroamatic

Nov. 20, 2007
Having been lucky enough to be in a diocese whose teachers were represented in a local info/discussion session on the framework, perhaps I can help with a couple of the questions. <BR/><BR/>I think there will be ample opportunity in the first two semesters to give the students an awareness of the Old Testament. It isn't left out.<BR/><BR/>Nor is social justice left out. It should already be integrated into any overall survey of Morality/Moral issues. The point is that if you are holding off at least some survey/discussion of the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching until you study Justice proper, then you might consider doing that now. Don't think of this as a series of blocks, but as a continuum.<BR/><BR/>The bishops and staff who labored over the Framework in its drafting and final phases do have a sense of pedagogy and process of learning. I don't find fault with that. The point of the sequence is to teach the children about Jesus Christ. The person of Christ is a unifying thematic element, which many schools' curricula have lacked. <BR/><BR/>Good teaching is about the development of themes to which one can return in many contexts, like seeing the light of a gem through its facets. Even college survey classes are done in some order--historically, etc. I think vertical sequencing from the start to the end of a curriculum will be a good addition to what we do. <BR/><BR/>I believe the bishops have had some good people working on this. Let's not be too critical of anyone's attempt or intention to improve things--when we produce perfect graduates across the board, even by the standards of our schools' mission statements--then we have some room to gripe.

17 MARK RADZIEJESKI

Nov. 20, 2007
I am a high school religion teacher and I appreciate the emphasis on Christ. All our religion courses must emphasize the message of Christ. All classes taught in the Catholic schools need to emphasize Christ. Our bishops and priests have a job to deliver the message of Christ. This is our mission given at our baptism and at every Mass.<BR/>What curriculum guidelines need to do is give structure to the delivery of this message. Guidelines must include the study of Holy Scripture, Morality, Social Justice, Church History and Ecclesiology. Making any of these electives is abandoning the structure. What I see here is a trap that will send us back to the "Jesus loves me" religion of the 70's & 80's. Students need a solid foundation delivered by the teachers for the priests and bishops to build upon, delivering the message of Christ and making good disciples of our young people.

18 p sykora

Nov. 20, 2007
Praise be to God! We can now guarantee that faith will be an outcome of a curriculum!

19 p sykora

Nov. 20, 2007
Praise be to God! We can now guarantee that faith will be an outcome of a curriculum!

20 Anonymous

Nov. 20, 2007
The quality of the responses posted leaves me greatly concerned about who are teaching our students, let alone their theological/pedagocical preparation to instruct. Can't we do better than this?

21 Anonymous

Nov. 20, 2007
The quality of the responses posted leaves me greatly concerned about who are teaching our students, let alone their theological/pedagocical preparation to instruct. Can't we do better than this?

22 Acroamatic

Nov. 20, 2007
Anonymous (9:48)--<BR/><BR/>I agree completely. Let's ease up on some of the emotionalism.

23 Acroamatic

Nov. 20, 2007
Anonymous (9:48)--<BR/><BR/>I agree completely. Let's ease up on some of the emotionalism.

24 Acroamatic

Nov. 21, 2007
One more thought--concerns and comments are more than legitimate. There's no monopoly on better learning; education is NOT an exact science, so we all have a role to play in improving and implementing the best catechesis we can come up with. Let's work together with the hierarchy, publishers and the general fellowship of catechists.

25 Acroamatic

Nov. 21, 2007
One more thought--concerns and comments are more than legitimate. There's no monopoly on better learning; education is NOT an exact science, so we all have a role to play in improving and implementing the best catechesis we can come up with. Let's work together with the hierarchy, publishers and the general fellowship of catechists.

26 UnityThroughDiversity

Nov. 21, 2007
"Students need a solid foundation delivered by the teachers for the priests and bishops to build upon, delivering the message of Christ and making good disciples of our young people."<BR/><BR/>I cannot make disciples of students... that's a choice only they can make. To assume that our students will now come flocking to us for instruction on dogma shows a lack of understanding in the common teenager and the Church in general. The curriculum lacks a balance in that it does not address the everyday needs of the students that we teach. Are we CCD instructors? Should my wages be garnished if I do not have enough disciples among my students? The new curriculum will drive a wedge in our classrooms as the last people my students want to look to for leadership are the priests and the bishops. They have been let down by them too many times.

27 UnityThroughDiversity

Nov. 21, 2007
"Students need a solid foundation delivered by the teachers for the priests and bishops to build upon, delivering the message of Christ and making good disciples of our young people."<BR/><BR/>I cannot make disciples of students... that's a choice only they can make. To assume that our students will now come flocking to us for instruction on dogma shows a lack of understanding in the common teenager and the Church in general. The curriculum lacks a balance in that it does not address the everyday needs of the students that we teach. Are we CCD instructors? Should my wages be garnished if I do not have enough disciples among my students? The new curriculum will drive a wedge in our classrooms as the last people my students want to look to for leadership are the priests and the bishops. They have been let down by them too many times.

28 Dr. Clemens

Nov. 21, 2007
Glory Be to JESUS! This teacher is so overjoyed that finally I will be able to really teach the little children to believe in Jesus Christ. How can anybody question whether or not this is a good thing. Obviously the Holy Spirit has once again worked through the USCCB - they did pass this without any dissent. So I love this new framework and will defend it because the Bishops said it is good.<BR/><BR/>I agree with "anonymous" (so glad he/she didn't leave their name, good for you!) and "acromatic" about the theological and pedagogical education of teachers. They both seem to have left extraordinarily intelligent responses, especially the first post by "anonymous".<BR/><BR/>Well...moving on. Has anyone used "An Introduction to Catholic Ethics" ? Published by NCEA? Finally a text brave enough to believe that our students are not helped by a world of pictures, silly stories and inane summaries that every other text book publisher releases. I think the Bishops should have NCEA hire teachers who are actually teaching in the classroom to write new textbooks (preferably in the best of our high schools, academies and prepartory schools).

29 Dr. Clemens

Nov. 21, 2007
Glory Be to JESUS! This teacher is so overjoyed that finally I will be able to really teach the little children to believe in Jesus Christ. How can anybody question whether or not this is a good thing. Obviously the Holy Spirit has once again worked through the USCCB - they did pass this without any dissent. So I love this new framework and will defend it because the Bishops said it is good.<BR/><BR/>I agree with "anonymous" (so glad he/she didn't leave their name, good for you!) and "acromatic" about the theological and pedagogical education of teachers. They both seem to have left extraordinarily intelligent responses, especially the first post by "anonymous".<BR/><BR/>Well...moving on. Has anyone used "An Introduction to Catholic Ethics" ? Published by NCEA? Finally a text brave enough to believe that our students are not helped by a world of pictures, silly stories and inane summaries that every other text book publisher releases. I think the Bishops should have NCEA hire teachers who are actually teaching in the classroom to write new textbooks (preferably in the best of our high schools, academies and prepartory schools).

30 pk

Nov. 22, 2007
I challenge some of the folks who reacted negatively to prayerfully consider Whose gospel it is that we are teaching (Christ's), and who has had the responsibility of safeguarding it for 2000 years (the bishops). The Church did OK for a very long time without lay teachers. Relax. If they need us, they'll call us (see Canon 228-2). <BR/><BR/>Mind you, it's the bishops' JOB to issue norms (see Canon 775), whether they've "spent time in the classroom" or not (by the way, if "time in the classroom" is the mark of a good teacher, I have a GOLDFISH in 234 that I would confidently hire in lieu of some "experienced religion teachers" I've met). <BR/><BR/>And, if no other reason moves you, it's OUR JOB as lay teachers to accept this framework...or possibly be asked to find a new line of work (see Canon 805 or any well-written diocesan teaching contract). <BR/><BR/>I obviously pray that we instead all find it in our hearts, heads, and/or egos to just roll with it. Some of us who've been doing this for a while could use a little shake-up anyway. A little fire hovering over the noggin? A little re-slap to the ol' confirmation cheek? Come on, friends. Deep breath, long prayer - either acceptance or thanksgiving - and start some new lesson plans. <BR/><BR/>To close, my sincere thanks to our good shepherds for bringing some lost classrooms back to the fold. <BR/><BR/>Paul

31 pk

Nov. 22, 2007
I challenge some of the folks who reacted negatively to prayerfully consider Whose gospel it is that we are teaching (Christ's), and who has had the responsibility of safeguarding it for 2000 years (the bishops). The Church did OK for a very long time without lay teachers. Relax. If they need us, they'll call us (see Canon 228-2). <BR/><BR/>Mind you, it's the bishops' JOB to issue norms (see Canon 775), whether they've "spent time in the classroom" or not (by the way, if "time in the classroom" is the mark of a good teacher, I have a GOLDFISH in 234 that I would confidently hire in lieu of some "experienced religion teachers" I've met). <BR/><BR/>And, if no other reason moves you, it's OUR JOB as lay teachers to accept this framework...or possibly be asked to find a new line of work (see Canon 805 or any well-written diocesan teaching contract). <BR/><BR/>I obviously pray that we instead all find it in our hearts, heads, and/or egos to just roll with it. Some of us who've been doing this for a while could use a little shake-up anyway. A little fire hovering over the noggin? A little re-slap to the ol' confirmation cheek? Come on, friends. Deep breath, long prayer - either acceptance or thanksgiving - and start some new lesson plans. <BR/><BR/>To close, my sincere thanks to our good shepherds for bringing some lost classrooms back to the fold. <BR/><BR/>Paul

32 Anonymous

Nov. 22, 2007
PK, I thought your comment was a bit harsh. I realize that the bishops are our shepherds, but I also believe that we, as the laity have a responsibility and a right to communicate with our leaders. I wonder if there was much communication from teachers to the bishops about these curriculum directives.<BR/><BR/>When I was praying this morning the image of a pendulum swinging to extreme right and left came to me...and provides a visual metaphor for what I see happening in the church in general, and in the case of this recent directive from the bishops...one extreme to the other...from balloons and "how do you feel?" to doctrine, memorization and "be still, listen and be formed". It saddens me that the pendulum doesn't seem to stay in the middle very long. I personally believe that books crammed with doctrine and heavy handed scholastic emphasis will not reach the hearts and minds of most of the students we teach.<BR/>I think we need to find ways to teach and inspire our kids. Young Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Mega Churches are drawing them...hungry for someone to tell them how to find Jesus, real and relevant to their lives. God bless our efforts...21 years of trying and still love it.

33 Anonymous

Nov. 22, 2007
PK, I thought your comment was a bit harsh. I realize that the bishops are our shepherds, but I also believe that we, as the laity have a responsibility and a right to communicate with our leaders. I wonder if there was much communication from teachers to the bishops about these curriculum directives.<BR/><BR/>When I was praying this morning the image of a pendulum swinging to extreme right and left came to me...and provides a visual metaphor for what I see happening in the church in general, and in the case of this recent directive from the bishops...one extreme to the other...from balloons and "how do you feel?" to doctrine, memorization and "be still, listen and be formed". It saddens me that the pendulum doesn't seem to stay in the middle very long. I personally believe that books crammed with doctrine and heavy handed scholastic emphasis will not reach the hearts and minds of most of the students we teach.<BR/>I think we need to find ways to teach and inspire our kids. Young Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Mega Churches are drawing them...hungry for someone to tell them how to find Jesus, real and relevant to their lives. God bless our efforts...21 years of trying and still love it.

34 Acroamatic

Nov. 22, 2007
I'm a little nervous that Dr. C. agrees with me, considering at least the tone of his remarks, but I'll emphasize the concern about texts. It is toward the publishers that the Framework is directed first and foremost. I do hope they will take their job seriously. I've long felt that there needs to be a real divorce between the parish education texts and the high-school texts. There have been precious few really (a) solid, (b) pedagogically sound and (c) non-condescending texts available to the full-time students in Catholic high schools. I think improvement in this area would be a boost for the overall curriculum of the schools, too. Many of our schools are major-league in secular learning and infantile in religious learning. (And I'll grant that there IS a balance to be struck between pure pedagogy and the aspect of spiritual formation.)

35 Unity, not division

Nov. 24, 2007
I am a graduating senior so this "Mandate" from the Bishops, will have no effect upon me. However, I believe that it is my moral duty to protest this new curriculum. Social Justice is one of the most important teachings that a student can learn in his High School career, especially in this day and age where we are taught to go against everyone's hopes and dreams, just so our dreams can be achieved. To make this class into an elective is utterly disgusting. In the current world climate, all of the world religions are being wedged apart due to everyone's ignorance and lack of understanding. The bishops are now just deepening the divide that seperates the Catholic religion from other religions. This breeds hate and intolerence. With the current curriculum, I already have a deep understanding Jesus. He was awesome and I am proud to call myself a Catholic. However, a person cannot make another person love something by shoving it down one's throat. This new curriculum tries to accomplish this impossible task, and it will have disastrous consequences. With this new ruling, the Catholic church has taken two steps backwards towards the middle ages.

36 Unity, not division

Nov. 24, 2007
I am a graduating senior so this "Mandate" from the Bishops, will have no effect upon me. However, I believe that it is my moral duty to protest this new curriculum. Social Justice is one of the most important teachings that a student can learn in his High School career, especially in this day and age where we are taught to go against everyone's hopes and dreams, just so our dreams can be achieved. To make this class into an elective is utterly disgusting. In the current world climate, all of the world religions are being wedged apart due to everyone's ignorance and lack of understanding. The bishops are now just deepening the divide that seperates the Catholic religion from other religions. This breeds hate and intolerence. With the current curriculum, I already have a deep understanding Jesus. He was awesome and I am proud to call myself a Catholic. However, a person cannot make another person love something by shoving it down one's throat. This new curriculum tries to accomplish this impossible task, and it will have disastrous consequences. With this new ruling, the Catholic church has taken two steps backwards towards the middle ages.

37 unity through diversity

Nov. 24, 2007
Ok PK, <BR/> I totally agree with you! If the Bishop's told me to do something, it must be right. Hey, I've got a nutty idea, if a Bishop told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it? Well I would! Because Bishops are ALWAYS RIGHT! <BR/><BR/><BR/>Man is imperfect. Everyone is human. We make mistakes. BISHOPS MAKE MISTAKES PK! Get that through your head the next time your standing on a precipice and Bishop (insert name here) tells you to step off into eternal bliss. I think as a whole, the bishops are wonderful, but this new framework is a mistake. Do not look the other way because you are told to do so. I am still a Catholic in lieu of the recent sex scandal, due to the fact that I believe in what the church stands for; I do not believe in the people that run the church. God gave you free will to think for yourself! THINK!

38 unity through diversity

Nov. 24, 2007
Ok PK, <BR/> I totally agree with you! If the Bishop's told me to do something, it must be right. Hey, I've got a nutty idea, if a Bishop told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it? Well I would! Because Bishops are ALWAYS RIGHT! <BR/><BR/><BR/>Man is imperfect. Everyone is human. We make mistakes. BISHOPS MAKE MISTAKES PK! Get that through your head the next time your standing on a precipice and Bishop (insert name here) tells you to step off into eternal bliss. I think as a whole, the bishops are wonderful, but this new framework is a mistake. Do not look the other way because you are told to do so. I am still a Catholic in lieu of the recent sex scandal, due to the fact that I believe in what the church stands for; I do not believe in the people that run the church. God gave you free will to think for yourself! THINK!

39 pk

Nov. 25, 2007
To UnityThroughDiversity:<BR/><BR/>Yes, we all make mistakes. And we've seen that not all bishops are gems, lately. But I will hold to my belief that the bishops - with a much bigger picture of the Church than the average high school classroom teacher - have a better view of the necessary direction for the high school curriculum. Again, whether or not they've "taught" is a really lame point. They teach every time they offer a Mass, for one. And the "common teenager" is a rare find. Let me know when you capture one. I'd like to meet it.<BR/><BR/>Regarding the sex scandal: Why would anyone leave the perfect Church (see CCC 823) because of some imperfect people? Parents don't yank kids out of school summarily because a teacher abused a student (far more occurences there). Not all of our clergy will be shining examples of Christ's perfection. Heck, Jesus was only 11 for 12 with His hand-picked team(if you consider Peter redeemed himself pretty well). <BR/><BR/>The Church goes through a lot of scandalous moments in her history. They're always followed by intense resurgence of faith formation. We fail when we forget our roots, and it's God's way of allowing us to find our way back - He never forces us. It actually goes all the way back to the Old Testament. The Jews weren't doing social justice projects during the Exile - they were concentrating on hanging on to the basic tenets of what it meant to be Jewish after they temporarily forgot and it cost them their homeland/Temple/identity/etc. I think we're seeing that in the Church now. I know the guys I'm meeting that are seminarians are spurred on by the thought that they can make a positive difference. That makes me excited! <BR/><BR/>And actually, there IS at least one bishop I know personally that I WOULD jump off a cliff for (not my diocese, though...). But that's not the issue here. If the US bishops voted 220-0 to ask me to jump off a cliff, I've got to wonder if the Holy Spirit is working in that. Put down your Dhammapada and read some St. Cyprian instead. <BR/><BR/>I would THINK plenty. And I understand my right to allow my well-formed conscience to guide me in that decision (CCC 1782). But I THINK my students' and my Catholic conscience will be better formed - definitely more solidly formed - under this curriculum that the previous one. Related: this isn't a Church that "stands for" something - it IS the Bride and Body of Christ. You won't find "stands for" in the Catechism. But you WILL find some interesting insight on why I'm cool with following the very same bishops that I, too, want to scream at for other recent events. See CCC 823-827.<BR/><BR/>Bottom line - it's on the teacher to make ANYTHING interesting and relevant, even religion. It's not my HOPE that I can make this relevant to the kids, it's my job. And I think I can do it. If it's not easy, I'll find a way. That's a much-less-frightening professional attitude than a few I've read on here. I'm excited despite some potential problems I see. There are more advantages, in my opinion.<BR/><BR/>And ease up on your keyboard next time, though, huh?

40 pk

Nov. 25, 2007
To UnityThroughDiversity:<BR/><BR/>Yes, we all make mistakes. And we've seen that not all bishops are gems, lately. But I will hold to my belief that the bishops - with a much bigger picture of the Church than the average high school classroom teacher - have a better view of the necessary direction for the high school curriculum. Again, whether or not they've "taught" is a really lame point. They teach every time they offer a Mass, for one. And the "common teenager" is a rare find. Let me know when you capture one. I'd like to meet it.<BR/><BR/>Regarding the sex scandal: Why would anyone leave the perfect Church (see CCC 823) because of some imperfect people? Parents don't yank kids out of school summarily because a teacher abused a student (far more occurences there). Not all of our clergy will be shining examples of Christ's perfection. Heck, Jesus was only 11 for 12 with His hand-picked team(if you consider Peter redeemed himself pretty well). <BR/><BR/>The Church goes through a lot of scandalous moments in her history. They're always followed by intense resurgence of faith formation. We fail when we forget our roots, and it's God's way of allowing us to find our way back - He never forces us. It actually goes all the way back to the Old Testament. The Jews weren't doing social justice projects during the Exile - they were concentrating on hanging on to the basic tenets of what it meant to be Jewish after they temporarily forgot and it cost them their homeland/Temple/identity/etc. I think we're seeing that in the Church now. I know the guys I'm meeting that are seminarians are spurred on by the thought that they can make a positive difference. That makes me excited! <BR/><BR/>And actually, there IS at least one bishop I know personally that I WOULD jump off a cliff for (not my diocese, though...). But that's not the issue here. If the US bishops voted 220-0 to ask me to jump off a cliff, I've got to wonder if the Holy Spirit is working in that. Put down your Dhammapada and read some St. Cyprian instead. <BR/><BR/>I would THINK plenty. And I understand my right to allow my well-formed conscience to guide me in that decision (CCC 1782). But I THINK my students' and my Catholic conscience will be better formed - definitely more solidly formed - under this curriculum that the previous one. Related: this isn't a Church that "stands for" something - it IS the Bride and Body of Christ. You won't find "stands for" in the Catechism. But you WILL find some interesting insight on why I'm cool with following the very same bishops that I, too, want to scream at for other recent events. See CCC 823-827.<BR/><BR/>Bottom line - it's on the teacher to make ANYTHING interesting and relevant, even religion. It's not my HOPE that I can make this relevant to the kids, it's my job. And I think I can do it. If it's not easy, I'll find a way. That's a much-less-frightening professional attitude than a few I've read on here. I'm excited despite some potential problems I see. There are more advantages, in my opinion.<BR/><BR/>And ease up on your keyboard next time, though, huh?

41 pk

Nov. 25, 2007
In response to our younger post-er - <BR/><BR/>I hope it is not telling that your current curriculum has left you thinking that Jesus WAS, when He actually IS. <BR/><BR/>I believe the new curriculum will give students an even deeper understanding of Jesus - not just as the friend that most modern texts concentrate on, but as GOD - a topic most of them are pretty oblique about. <BR/><BR/>As far as the impersonal, scholastic accusations aimed at the curriculum, I've come up with an possibly useful parallel; I love my wife because I know details about her. I know not just stories about her life, but also things that are factual about her. Things that make her tick. I don't see how learning some of the widely discounted details about Jesus are shoving it down one's throat. And I don't see how hate and intolerance are bred...can you explain? <BR/><BR/>Finally, if it WERE true, I'd applaud our "two steps backwards toward the middle ages;" the farther back in time we go, the closer we get to the real Jesus. I'm cool with that. Truthfully, though, I think we've taken two steps away from the warm-fuzzy cliff that we were rapidly approaching on our previous course. Social Justice is vitally important, but it's not (dare I say) the MAIN reason Christ came down. And though I don't see a "divide" as a good thing, we should point out that there are important distinctions between the Catholic Church and some others. Like "one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic" for starters. <BR/><BR/>I really hope you continue to care - some students your age don't. It gives me great hope to see that you are at least thinking. I would love to know more about your social justice experiences - and I agree that it's important - and find out what you think it should replace, as a class. I don't want to make high school any longer - do you? ;)

42 pk

Nov. 25, 2007
In response to our younger post-er - <BR/><BR/>I hope it is not telling that your current curriculum has left you thinking that Jesus WAS, when He actually IS. <BR/><BR/>I believe the new curriculum will give students an even deeper understanding of Jesus - not just as the friend that most modern texts concentrate on, but as GOD - a topic most of them are pretty oblique about. <BR/><BR/>As far as the impersonal, scholastic accusations aimed at the curriculum, I've come up with an possibly useful parallel; I love my wife because I know details about her. I know not just stories about her life, but also things that are factual about her. Things that make her tick. I don't see how learning some of the widely discounted details about Jesus are shoving it down one's throat. And I don't see how hate and intolerance are bred...can you explain? <BR/><BR/>Finally, if it WERE true, I'd applaud our "two steps backwards toward the middle ages;" the farther back in time we go, the closer we get to the real Jesus. I'm cool with that. Truthfully, though, I think we've taken two steps away from the warm-fuzzy cliff that we were rapidly approaching on our previous course. Social Justice is vitally important, but it's not (dare I say) the MAIN reason Christ came down. And though I don't see a "divide" as a good thing, we should point out that there are important distinctions between the Catholic Church and some others. Like "one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic" for starters. <BR/><BR/>I really hope you continue to care - some students your age don't. It gives me great hope to see that you are at least thinking. I would love to know more about your social justice experiences - and I agree that it's important - and find out what you think it should replace, as a class. I don't want to make high school any longer - do you? ;)

43 Freedom!

Nov. 27, 2007
In the end, we have a new curriculum designed by men with little input from those in the trenches every day. Quoting the catechism and stating that the bishops represent Christ will do little for my students. These modern day Pharisees rule from bigger homes than mine and allow for little input from those of us who actually teach every day.<BR/><BR/>The curriculum, written as it is, does not allow for discussion or differences of opinion. As one colleague of mine said, "If you are non-Christian or non-Catholic, then prepare to be bored within these classes." I have to state that I agree with this statement.<BR/><BR/>In the end, this curriculum will not increase faith nor will it bring in disciples, no matter whom or what fish teaches it. What it will do is give a mandate to those who cannot think but instead allow for the bishops to think for them. Alas, according to what I have read, I will need to get a new job because I do not agree with them.<BR/><BR/>As for me, I will take the Dhammapada over St. Cyprian any day.

44 Freedom!

Nov. 27, 2007
In the end, we have a new curriculum designed by men with little input from those in the trenches every day. Quoting the catechism and stating that the bishops represent Christ will do little for my students. These modern day Pharisees rule from bigger homes than mine and allow for little input from those of us who actually teach every day.<BR/><BR/>The curriculum, written as it is, does not allow for discussion or differences of opinion. As one colleague of mine said, "If you are non-Christian or non-Catholic, then prepare to be bored within these classes." I have to state that I agree with this statement.<BR/><BR/>In the end, this curriculum will not increase faith nor will it bring in disciples, no matter whom or what fish teaches it. What it will do is give a mandate to those who cannot think but instead allow for the bishops to think for them. Alas, according to what I have read, I will need to get a new job because I do not agree with them.<BR/><BR/>As for me, I will take the Dhammapada over St. Cyprian any day.

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