The rabid possum in the outhouse

The rabid possum in the outhouse

Last night Dom and I were just discussing the perennial topic of what is wrong with the state of catechesis in this country and what can be done about it and why most diocesan programs won’t work. Then this morning I stumbled across today’s internet gem: Fr. Philip Neri’s Three Year Plan for Faith Formation. It seems someone else is on our wavelength.

Father Philip writes:

That we need a top-to-bottom, radical overhaul of the entire catechetical enterprise in this country is as obvious as a rabid possum in the outhouse and as pressing as finding that possum another home�quickly.

One fairly common solution to the problem of vincible ignorance of the faith is the establishment of diocesan centers for continuing education or adult lay formation programs. Insofar as any of these actually teach the faith, they are wonderful as antidotes to forty years of catechetical neglect. However, these centers and institutes are often recruitment and distribution facilities for dissent and pastoral malpractice. The more notorious of these will actively teach against the faith in the name of �cultural or historical relevancy� and in the name of �adult conscience formation.�

Another, and I would argue more specifically �Vatican Two,� solution to the problem is the parish-based, lay-run adult study group. The Episcopal Church offers what I think is probably one of the best organized lay-run continuing education programs called �Education for Ministry.� This is a four-year program that covers all the major elements of a professional seminary education at the master�s level. No doubt there are orthodox Catholic equivalents out there; however, most of the ones I�ve seen or heard about just can�t seem to get the basics right and refuse to side with the church on controversial issues, opting instead for wienie apologies or outright lies.

Check out Fr. Philip’s list of books that one would need to start and maintain a three-year, once-a-week, lay-lead catechetical group in a parish as well as his cautions, axioms, exhortations, suggestions for how to read and discuss the texts and other words of practical advice. Read them, absorb them, pass them on. Even better, do something with them: start a group in your parish. Don’t wait for someone else to take charge.


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  • It’s funny enough that Dom is live blogging the delivery, but to find that you’re live blogging it—that’s hilarious.


  • Praying for you. Get up and move if you can. I know how hard that is in the hospital, but if your water did break, the baby’s head might be blocking the exit and keeping the fluid from leaving and that can stall labor. My third one did that to me. Once we got her to move out of the way, labor picked up again.

  • Thanks, everyone.

    I got up and did some pacing while waiting for them to bring my lunch. That seems to have got a few more contractions going. Now that I’ve eaten, I think I’ll go roam the halls and look longingly at the babies in the nursery.

    I just posted a new entry with updates.

    Thanks for all the prayers. Keep praying!