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I'm working for the Church--is this unethical?

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  • I'm working for the Church--is this unethical?

    I recently took a position within the offices of my local Catholic Church. I am assisting the Faith Formation director. I was under the impression that my work would be solely administrative but it turns out I am going to help develop and teach Faith-based programs. I have already noticed that I am philosophically at odds with the post-Vatican II curriculum for children and adults. There's a big emphasis on looking to scripture as evidence of God's love for us, and trying to find comfortable moments with God--all in all, an overreliance on subjective spiritual motivation and practically no mention of the Church's intellectual tradition.

    I can often be too cerebral in my approach to religion, but I feel as if this emotionally wish-washy presumption and subsequent promulgation of religious truths to young minds sets them up for disaster. Catholicism is reduced to a fideistic assortment of creeds that, after one encounters the culture which often conflicts and challenges it, becomes seen as mere presumption, something instilled in young children.

    Is it wrong for me to continue with this job? I doubt I could structurally change the entire department which has operated this way for decades.

  • #2
    RomanJoe, I joined the Catholic Traditionalist movement about 20 years ago, I'm a parishioner at a Society of St. Pius X chapel, and Tridentine Masses are the only ones I'll attend. In fact, that's partly why The Catechism of the Council of Trent is the only catechism I read. So maybe you'll read some pre-Vatican-II sources if you help prepare that program? Since you already know that novelties can slip into post-Vatican-II catechism classes, you probably know I wouldn't suggest the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the lay-run program to help non-Catholics join he Catholic Church. I've even read an article about an RCIA teacher who said that Vatican II rejected the idea that the Catholic Church is the only one that Christ founded.

    If you find enough time, please read at least the introductory letter in this book that Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci signed soon after Vatican because they agreed with the points the authors make about the new rite of Mass.
    Last edited by Bill McEnaney; 06-05-2019, 08:51 PM.


    • #3
      Ignore the radtrad.

      I see nothing particularly "unethical" with working with that. I don't know the material specifically, but here are some ideas:

      1) again, be careful not to confuse religious experiences and scriptural evidence etc with mere emotional appeals. But you could try talking to whoever organizes this stuff; maybe it is indeed improbable that you could change things, but you could try having a frank and honest conversation with whoever is in charge and give them suggestions, about adding some natural theology, the intellectual tradition of the Church, etc, and how it can be beneficial for young people;

      2) you could try giving your own "spin" of what is being taught. I don't know the material specifically, but maybe you could - in your presentations - give some philosophical basis for each specific claim, like, try actually asking "why does this scriptural pasage say this?" and then you could add some natural theology in your commentary, such as using order as evidence of purpose, or moral arguments, or whatever. Maybe if you dig into these topics you could put an intellectual spin on them, which could suit your worries.


      • #4
        I don't think it's unethical to continue in the job. Faith formation is of extremely uneven quality and in many areas is quite bad. If you can do something to improve it, that could be very helpful. It's not easy to do and depending on the details you may have to walk a very fine line, but part of the reason there is a problem is that the right people shrink from fighting the bureaucratic battles.


        • #5
          Atno, I wrote the other post because like RomanJoe, I resist some Vatican-II-related novelties. I'm not trying to derail the conversation to talk about Catholic Traditionalism. So if you want to discuss that traditionalism, let's post a new thread.


          • Atno
            Atno commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't really want to discuss what I consider a quasi-schism (such as SSPX) - I myself was a radical traditionalist years ago -; my post was mainly about the topic at hand.

        • #6
          Atno, I don't want to discuss it here either.