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A Call For Volunteers - Review Your Religious Education Material!

Over the past couple of weeks I have exchanged letters with a bishop who did not like my religious education critiques or my reference to the USCCB's Catechetical list (The List) as a magic eight ball. He took my comments as an insult directed at the bishops' wisdom and teaching. To avoid any misunderstandings, I won't be using that reference to The List anymore.

He also had the following comment about The List which I think is a very important point that just about everyone, including the National Catholic Register which has been running a long series on dioceses being in compliance with The List, has missed.

Placing a text or series on the approved list does not constitute an endorsement. Similar to an imprimatur, it means only that the series is in conformity with the Catechism and does not contradict it. This is a negative statement and should be understood that way.

Since I know of at least one parish that has banned the use of the Baltimore Catechism because it is not on The List and since I have never talked to anyone about The List who didn't think that The List was either a recommendation list by the bishops or the only texts allowed for use in the Church, I thought quoting the bishop here was important.

Catholic Catechetical ReviewBecause The List is the lowest possible bar on which to choose a text and really doesn't give any indication of the quality of a series, we have started a new project - Catholic Catechetical Review (www.catecheticalreview.com) This website is a wiki, meaning that anyone can add and edit the content of the site. We thought that such an open, colaborative project would be the best way to build up a body of helpful information about the various religious education programs on the market. This site is meant to point out both the good and bad points within programs and we hope will become a main stopping point for educators and parents before making a decision about the programs they choose.

If you want to help with the project, simply create an acount and start reviewing the program you are currently using.

We are in the process of building up some help files to assist you, as wiki editing is different than your standard blog or website. We are also looking for donations so that we can purchase different series and mail them to people who would like to review them. This project is part of our commitment to providing you with the best in Catholic products to assist you on your journey to Heaven.

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4 comments
Colm O'Higgins
Colm O'Higgins

Wow, what a fantastic project. I have passed it on already to one prominent catechist in my area, and I imagine she will in turn spread the word to others. Is it possible for you to provide the code for the image link so that people can add it to their websites/blogs? The blogosphere is an excellent way to spread information, obviously, especially in these cases. In Christ, Colm

aquinasandmore
aquinasandmore

I would prefer that reviews present both the good and the bad because my hope is that series with doctrinal deficiencies but other pluses will fix the doctrinal problems and keep the good things. Is it possible that a series has absolutely nothing going for it? Yes. Have I seen one yet? No.

Peggy
Peggy

I'm up for this! Are you opposed to reviews that expose dissent without going on to point out the good qualities of the text? In my estimation, any amount of dissent automatically disqualifies the series. I've got my first one in mind...

leticia
leticia

I'm in! I have just been asked to leave a training for Advanced Catechists, because I defended, and admitted to using the Baltimore Catechism! The director for out diocese is a well meaning, mushy liberal who can't understand why the materials he's been using for 30 years have failed to bring 75% of youth who don't attend Mass. When I tried to enlighten him, he called me at home, and asked me to shut up in class. Liberals are the least tolerant when it comes to divergent opinions. Since my opinion is unwelcome in my diocese, I'll be happy to share it with you. I've been teaching CCD for 9 years, and homeschooling my girls for another 9 years, and have used many fine materials which I would be happy to review.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The second-click-through award goes to Musings from a Catholic Bookstore for an intriguing and useful idea: a wiki to review Catholic catechetical materials. [...]

  2. [...] one’s aren’t. Ian hopes to remedy that. Over at Musings from a Catholic Bookstore he is requesting volunteers to review the religious education materials found on the USCCB’s Catechetical [...]

  3. [...] Religious Ed Curriculum Upheaval Interesting news coming from the religious education world today. A non-denominational Christian group, CFM Religion Publishing Group, recently purchased Benziger and Resources for Christian Living religious education programs. Both of these programs are what you expect to find in Catholic parishes: watered-down pap that is only on the USCCB’s approved religious ed list because it doesn’t contain anything explicitly heretical. If you don’t grasp the fine distinction between orthodox and not-heretical, read this. [...]

  4. [...] Interesting news coming from the religious education world today. A non-denominational Christian group, CFM Religion Publishing Group, recently purchased Benziger and Resources for Christian Living religious education programs. Both of these programs are what you expect to find in Catholic parishes: watered-down pap that is only on the USCCB’s approved religious ed list because it doesn’t contain anything explicitly heretical. If you don’t grasp the fine distinction between orthodox and not-heretical, read this. [...]

  5. [...] - I’m probably going to get another letter about this. Most of what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is great stuff; whether [...]

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