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Because of various factors, my family and I go to a conservative,  Dominican-run, Novus Ordo parish. We were recently asked to help with religious education, but in the end had to turn them down. Frankly, we've been practicing Catholics for around 2 and-a-half years, and I feel as if we lack any credentials whatsoever to be entrusted with evangelizing children and their families. Outside of having our daughter Baptized five days after being born, and knowing that we go to Mass on Sundays, the parties involved have absolutely no way of even knowing whether we're serious about the faith or not.

I'm curious: what are some of your thoughts on lay involvement with religious education? Is children's catechesis an area of the Church that has been overrun with unqualified laity?
(09-08-2016, 12:31 PM)BenedicamDominum Wrote: [ -> ]I'm curious: what are some of your thoughts on lay involvement with religious education? Is children's catechesis an area of the Church that has been overrun with unqualified laity?

Unqualified laity, yes. Also, unqualified clergy and religious. I think lay involvement in religious education is a very good thing, if the lay people teaching are adequately prepared to teach.  Sometimes, it seems that parishes don't want very many qualified laity because one little clique runs the parish and that's how they want it to stay.
There are in my experience a few clergy I would NOT trust with it.  I would say there CAN certainly be great lay catechists and you could be one with a good combination of humility and tenacity. Humility to admit you have to look up the answer and tenacity to find it.  But for the most part this has not been the case.
I think if you study and know your catechism then there is no reason why you should not be able to teach the catechism to children. Of course it is important that you should also be someone who is living that faith also.
Sometimes this can be a vehicle for your own sanctification. I remember hearing many years ago the sister who was in charge of religious education that one of the priests told her that one of her catechists made their first confession in seven years.
It seems as if you are asking a general question about lay expertise, more than an individual one.  (And none of us here, I assume, knows you anyway.)

In light of that, and in my rather vast experience watching the disaster of the so-called "RCIA" in many parishes, rare is there either a lay RCIA leader or lay ordinary catechist, period, who knows enough about the faith to teach it.  And by the way, I think that's a separate issue from the "seriousness" of which you speak.  I might, and many people might, have little doubt about a catechist's seriousness, whether a cradle Catholic or a recent convert, but lots of rational concern about the teacher's knowledge base.  Competency to transmit the faith is first of all a matter of knowledge.  You were not being asked to be a spiritual director, become godparents, or lead weekend retreats.

Since the Council, but I would say particularly in the last 30 years, the religious education of Catholics has become increasingly a wasteland and reduced in amount and quality -- to young children, to teens, to adults.  That so-called education is very partial and too often distorted -- and by that I do not mean falling short of seminary-level training.  I mean education in basics of the dogma for the ages in question.  I have seen lay catechists struggle for support from clergy, and -- as one poster noted -- such support can be dubious when the priest himself is ill-trained.  For example, the bare-bones education usually given to converts and even to cradle-Catholics will not include the kinds of questions asked in catechism classes or programs.  I've watched catechists lack for answers to those inevitable questions, and it's no wonder, of course.

There are oases here and there, but those are unpredictable and usually a matter of luck.  Thus, when my children were confirmed I insisted on going to a nearby (different) diocese, where confirmation was done earlier, approached more seriously, and administered more reverently.  I had to get special permission to do it, but it was worth it, for both children.  In both cases I either got lucky, or it was one of the programs that diocese did right.  (Not sure if that applied to all church matters, though; I rather doubt it.)  Both confirmation programs were done tastefully and overseen by a combination of laity and clergy.  The candidates were required to go on retreat just before the sacrament, go to Confession, etc.  I could sense in many ways that my children were in good hands.  All of the other Confirmation programs -- throughout the entire broad region (yes, I called every single diocese) -- were no better than the amateurish "RCIA" programs.

Miriam: I guess I lucked out, then, because my RCIA was very solid. The guy who taught me and my mom is working towards becoming a deacon.
i home school the kids. i let my daughter go cause she likes doing crafts and stuff though, then we teach at home.

i cant be bothered with master catechists who are pro gay marriage.

i was going to teach but dropped out when they asked me to co teach the world religions class for the post-confirmation class.

(09-09-2016, 03:24 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]Competency to transmit the faith is first of all a matter of knowledge.  You were not being asked to be a spiritual director, become godparents, or lead weekend retreats.

No, we were being asked to guide some children through the process of reading catechetical books published by Ignatius Press.

But my point was that they not only have no clue as to our level of knowledge, but that they don't know whether we give two figs about what the Church teaches in the first place. (On the other hand, I suppose there are various ways they can guess we care, so this may be a bit exaggerated.)

(09-09-2016, 04:52 AM)In His Love Wrote: [ -> ]Miriam: I guess I lucked out, then, because my RCIA was very solid. The guy who taught me and my mom is working towards becoming a deacon.

Our RCIA is taught by a Dominican Friar and assisted by a Student Brother from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

Maybe it's not what every traditionalist Catholic thinks is ideal, since there's an incredibly high level of docility to the current Magisterium and pretty much all of its teaching, but it's pretty good insofar as RCIAs go.
(09-09-2016, 12:17 PM)BenedicamDominum Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-09-2016, 03:24 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]Competency to transmit the faith is first of all a matter of knowledge.  You were not being asked to be a spiritual director, become godparents, or lead weekend retreats.

No, we were being asked to guide some children through the process of reading catechetical books published by Ignatius Press.

But my point was that they not only have no clue as to our level of knowledge, but that they don't know whether we give two figs about what the Church teaches in the first place. (On the other hand, I suppose there are various ways they can guess we care, so this may be a bit exaggerated.)
And my point was that I think most seekers are of good will and do assume that their teachers, however amateur and whatever their own training, do give two figs. 

And it would be charitable to assume that on your part (and my part).  :)
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