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Seminary rector: 1960s-era catechesis was 'pastoral disaster of the 1st order'

June 21, 2013

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In a talk on the new evangelization, the rector of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary challenged journalists at the Catholic Press Association’s annual convention not to “dumb down” the faith.

The catechetical “dumbing down of the Catholic faith” in the 1960s and 1970s “was a pastoral disaster of the first order,” said Father Robert Barron, who is perhaps best known for his Catholicism video series.

“Don’t turn Jesus into a bland cipher,” he added. “He’s not just another mystic or guru.”

Father Barron also emphasized the importance of beauty and of ardor in preaching.


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  • Posted by: - Jun. 23, 2013 1:23 PM ET USA

    As a beekeeper smokes a hive to neutralize the bees' defenses, and then can do what he will the hive, Satan vigorously smoked Church with great effect during those years. He did not -and never will- destroy the Church, but his smoke has stupefied many souls and perhaps lead many to ruin. Jesus has not left the Church without His strong defense, but who can deny the place still stinks of smoke? If Christ had abandoned the Church, by now there wouldn't remain one stone left atop another.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 22, 2013 7:29 PM ET USA

    I think this problem is well known. So what will be done that another generation will not fall to the wayside?

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Jun. 21, 2013 11:31 PM ET USA

    Jesus is not a cypher(a person or thing of no influence or importance)because he is the Christ, the Son of the living God, begotten of the Father from all eternity; the Word made flesh and born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit; who lived in Galilee and preached the Kingdom of God, performed miracles and founded the Church; who suffered under Pontius Pilate, and died on the cross for the redemption of the world; who was buried and on the third day rose from the dead, from....

  • Posted by: shrink - Jun. 21, 2013 10:18 PM ET USA

    Fr Barron's may have left unstated that the CPA journalists didn't create the "disaster", and shouldn't be called out to clean it up. This reminds me of Bishop Paprocki's browbeating of lawyers at a Red Mass several years back. See Diogenes on a similar take a while back

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 21, 2013 8:09 PM ET USA

    Ask around at almost any parish in the country and Fr Barron's allegation will be confirmed rapidly. Even those who go to Mass regularly often display an ignorance of the Church and even an animosity toward it that would make the most ardent Bible-thumping fundamentalist red-neck blush. Some say we will one day have a much smaller church, that many will fall away. Personally I think they have already fallen, de facto if not yet de jure.

  • Posted by: bruno - Jun. 21, 2013 7:38 PM ET USA

    I don't think I've ever heard it described so aptly. Amen Father!

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jun. 21, 2013 6:58 PM ET USA

    Wow! We are in 2013 and we are just now saying this so very publically to the "Catholic" press. A number of our bishops and cardinals need to take it to heart as well.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 21, 2013 1:24 PM ET USA

    And we know a lot of priests and bishops who also suffer from this "pastoral disaster of the first order" don't we?