Calling all Catholics, sort of

October 21, 2008 | faith

Here’s the chance to have your say about being raised Catholic. In the next few months, I will be speaking at conferences in New Jersey and Colorado, and, in anticipation of that, I’m looking for input from Catholics — practicing or non-practicing — between the ages of 30 and 50, although if you fall outside that window and have something to say anyway, feel free.

My topic is the “lost generation” of Catholics, those people who came of age soon after Vatican II, when religious education was rapidly changing and not always in the best ways. Yes, the Church gave up the harshness of the Baltimore Catechism but they sort of threw the baby out with the bathwater. In an attempt to help young Catholics develop a more personal relationship with Jesus, a lot of the basic teachings of the faith got left by the wayside. I always say I came of age in the Era of the Collage — lots of cutting and gluing pictures of happy people, not so many lessons on actual faith basics. I got almost all of that directly from my family, specifically my mother.

Since the publication of my second book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism,” I have been hearing from lots of adult Catholics who say that they were never taught many of the things that are contained in the catechism. So my question for you is this: Do you have any recollections of religious education (or Catholic schooling) that make you feel as though you were not sufficiently grounded in the faith? Do you feel disconnected from the Church now because of this? Is there anything specific the Church (meaning worldwide) or your church (meaning local) could do to help you become more involved in your faith or catch up on what you missed out the first time around?

Now remember, this is not a gripe session about specific Church teachings you don’t like or don’t agree with. This is about the overall approach of faith formation that you experienced and whether you feel you were given the necessary education to understand your faith. If you have children, do you feel they are getting a better education in the faith now than you did years ago?

You can respond via the comment section in this post, by e-mail, or, if you don’t like to write and want to talk, email me and let me know and I will gladly give you a call. For those who live close by, I would like to hold a “focus group” within the next few weeks, where I can have some of you over to my house to discuss some of these things in person. Coffee, tea, wine and desserts will be provided, if that helps draw you in.

So please, respond — write, call, e-mail, send smoke signals, whatever it takes to get you to tell me your Catholic faith story. I will not use any names if/when I incorporate information into my presentations. Everything is as confidential as you want it to be. Thanks!



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