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Dec 31 2013

In a missionary situation

The Vatican wants to let everyone know that it is against secular education and would prefer that everyone went to a Catholic school, although it will settle for some other kind of religious school, since it doesn’t like to be too pushy about these things.

The Catholic News Agency reports on this exciting new idea:

A recently released Vatican document is calling for a fresh commitment to Catholic identity within what it calls an increasingly secularized educational system.

At a press conference held Dec. 19, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said, “the Catholic identity of the school is fundamental.”

Not within a secular (or “secularized”) educational system it’s not.

Noting the many challenges facing Catholic schools, the Cardinal added, “today one of the greatest problems is when large organizations want to impose gender ideology.”

Gender ideology? Meaning what? Treating girls as equal to boys, including in math and science and sport? And as for imposing gender ideology…what does the Vatican think it does? Or does the Vatican think it’s fine for a large organization to impose gender ideology as long as it’s the Vatican imposing the Vatican’s gender ideology?

(Stupid question. Of course he does.)

“Today, due to the advanced process of secularization, Catholic schools find themselves in a missionary situation, even in countries with an ancient Christian tradition,” reads the congregation’s “Educating To Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools.”

“Catholic schools’ primary responsibility is one of witness. In the various situations created by different cultures, the Christian presence must be shown and made clear, that is, it must be visible, tangible and conscious,” the document continues.

Huh. Catholic schools’ primary responsibility is one of witness. Not education, but “witness.” They’re in a missionary situation, due to the shock-horror process of secularization. So the whole “education” and “school” thing is just a Trojan horse; what they’re really doing is trying to secure more dues-paying members.

Catholic schools have in Jesus Christ the basis of their anthropological and pedagogical paradigm…

That’s not education. It’s nothing to do with education. It’s the enemy of education, because it says there is just One True Thing.

The goal of Catholic schools should be to find balance between the two cultural extremes found in the world today, advises the document.

On the one hand, “one needs the ability to witness and dialogue, without falling into the trap of that facile relativism which holds that all religions are the same and are merely manifestations of an Absolute that no-one can truly know.”

On the other, “what is important is to give answers to the many young people ‘without a religious home,’ the result of an ever more secularized society.”

No thank you. Seriously, just piss off and mind your own business. Stay in your churches. Leave schools and hospitals alone.

(I would have liked to quote from the Vatican document itself but it must not be translated yet, because it doesn’t turn up. Maybe later.)

14 comments

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  1. 1
    catof many faces

    Now that they have come out and officially admitted they are not about education, can we close these schools down?

    Seriously, if it was anything else but religion we wouldn’t allow this bullshit.

  2. 2
    martincohen

    Maybe this would be a good reason to remove their tax-free status?

  3. 3
    Claire Ramsey

    “increasingly secularized education system”?? They didn’t notice the Bill of Rights until now? Why oh why do my tax dollars support this crap. Religious institutions do not deserve tax-free status. Let them pay their share.

  4. 4
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    It’s the enemy of education, because it says there is just One True Thing.

    Well, the type of education we support also says there’s only One True Thing: reality.

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    Since when has “witnessing” been a part of Roman Catholic behaviour?
    I’m really asking. I dropped Catholicism over 40 years ago.
    Then, “witnessing” was something Protestants of the creepier sects did. Not Catholics.

  6. 6
    karmacat

    That is some alarming word salad. So to translate: they are against gender equality, against secularism, against all other religions and against education when it interferes with being a missionary (imposing your religion on everyone else.”

  7. 7
    Eamon Knight

    Another reason to damn well stop paying for these institutions on the public dime in Ontario.

  8. 8
    chigau (違う)

    It’s closing in on the Event.
    And I am starting to read the thread title as missionary position.
    Happy New Year everybody.

  9. 9
    left0ver1under

    We used to have a lot of those schools in Canada. Many children were raped in them.

    Is that his motivation, to enable more rape? Or is he trying to encourage an Indonesian policy, where the only illegal view of religion is atheism? As long as you believe something supernatural, you won’t go to prison.

  10. 10
    opposablethumbs

    On the one hand, “one needs the ability to witness and dialogue, without falling into the trap of that facile relativism which holds that all religions are the same and are merely manifestations of an Absolute that no-one can truly know.”

    translation: we push Catholicism!

    On the other, “what is important is to give answers to the many young people ‘without a religious home,’ the result of an ever more secularized society.”

    translation: we push Catholicism!

    Bizarre – they make it transparently obvious that their “one hand” and “the other” are actually identical. They aim to push their own flavour of woo, all Catholicism all the time, both to those of other flavours and to those of none. :-\
    By their own words, their main goal is not education but proselytising. These parasites should be removed from the state education system immediately if not sooner.

  11. 11
    Ariel

    Gender ideology? Meaning what?

    Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski is a Polish priest, which may be quite meaningful here. Recently in Poland we’ve been witnessing a massive “anti-gender” Catholic campaign. For quite a while we have it in our press practically every day. The quoted words may signal an attempt to move with this campaign to the international scene. For a good sample of what these people are doing, see here.

    This is an English translation of the interview with Dariusz Oko, who is one of the leading figures in the current crusade against “gender ideology” in Poland.

    Ah, and before you start laughing, please try to appreciate a couple of things:

    1. In Poland it is the English word “gender” which is used in these discussions. A foreing word, mind you; there is no Polish expression with similar connotations. Few people know what the word actually means, we have no natural associations with it. It’s alien, strange, and the policy of making it sound threatening is not that stupid as it may sound.
    2. The present “anti-gender” Catholic campaign concentrates on children and family. “Your children are threatened” – that seems to be the main slogan. They attack a very sensitive spot and also because of that, the defense is not that easy as it may (perhaps) seem.
    3. As you can guess, there is a lot of laughter and mockery in our press coming from atheist/feminist circles. However, the thing is that it doesn’t seem to be very effective. There is a lot of disappointment in Poland with our educated, “cosmopolitan” elites and (as far as I can see) the mockery from these circles is often received as just one more signal of how conceited this elite is and how they lost touch with everyday life of the Polish.

    I hope this gives some context. All of this is not an easy matter here.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Thank you, Ariel, that’s very useful. Also interesting, and irritating.

    Fr. Dariusz Oko: We should speak not so much about ‘philosophy’ but about ‘ideology’ of gender. Philosophy is a radical search for the truth and the good, whereas the ideology is a tool of a ruthless fight about one’s interests also at the cost of the truth and the good.

    Funny how much that sounds like secular anti-feminist complaints about feminism as “ideology.”

  13. 13
    K

    We may add that the responsible government official, Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz, has refuted the Polish clergy, saying that girls do not loose their femininity if they are interested in cars or learn to drive a car. She also suggested they should forget the term “gender ideology”, which was coined by the churches, and speak about “equality” instead.
    http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de/kulturnachrichten.265.de.html?drn:date=2013-12-30&drn:time=14%3A30&drn:pos=3 (in German)

  14. 14
    Ariel

    Funny how much that sounds like secular anti-feminist complaints about feminism as “ideology.”

    Good point and I don’t think it’s a coincidence: it looks rather like someone there did his homework. Discussions in Polish internet testify that they can indeed count on some degree of support even from the atheists (the “Brainwash” series gained here a lot of popularity – not just among the Catholics – after the church campaign started). Anyway, if they really succeed on Polish ground (at the moment it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen), they may try the same also in other countries.

  1. 15
    A priest explains “gender ideology” » Butterflies and Wheels

    […] to a comment by Ariel, we can read this interview with a priest, Dariusz Oko from the Papal University of John Paul II, […]

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