Catholic institutions must be authentic

Dear Editor, In The Irish Catholic (Letters 14/11/13) Dr Ciarán Ó Coigligh wrote a very courageous letter regarding the lack of a real Catholic ethos in our third level institutions. Many faithful are hoping for renewal in the Church but I simply cannot see it happening if our theological faculties and teacher training colleges are sceptical about or outright defiant of Catholic doctrine. It is already the case here that the faith formation of our young people in our primary and secondary schools is done by lay people. Are they being taught to understand the fundamental teachings of our faith e.g. the centrality of the Eucharist as the body of Christ and not a mere symbol? Are they being taught to explain or defend the Church’s teaching on controversial issues such as abortion, contraception, marriage or priesthood? Shouldn’t new theology graduates be the most prepared to deal with these questions?  Speaking to theology students I’ve heard that there are those encouraging dissent and teaching their own version of Catholicism in many third level institutions. There are some denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus, laughing at the Church’s position on male priesthood and destroying the sacredness of Holy Scripture. If our teachers, pastoral workers and seminarians are formed this way, the consequences will be dramatic for young people; ignorance or disbelief of the Church’s teaching, decimation of vocations and spiritual boredom due to lack of understanding. I have visited four secondary schools in the last week. When asked if Jesus was God I received the answer, “He is the Son of God. Not God.” Are bishop’s willing to intervene and require Catholic institutions to be authentic and give real witness to the beauty of our faith? If we hope for real renewal, it will only come through the truth of Christ’s teaching and the love of his Church.    

Yours etc.,
Fr. Patrick Cahill
Co. Tipperary.