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Teachers' conference

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 Contents - May 2007AD2000 May 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: AD2000: accentuating the positive - Michael Gilchrist
Documents: Benedict XVI's new document on the Eucharist - Sacramentum Caritatis - Michael Gilchrist
Education: How to fix Australia's Catholic schools and colleges - Br Barry Coldrey
News: The Church Around the World
Catechesis: Sydney RCIA conference in June on forming new adult Catholics - Joanne Zwaans
Cinema: New movie offers an authentic representation of monastic life - Rosina Gordon (reviewer)
Vocations: New religious communities flourishing in the United States - Fr James Lloyd
Culture survey shows moral divisions in the US
The importance of 'holy things' for one's Christian faith - Andrew Kania
Letters: Teachers' conference - Ron Munro
Letters: Marital fidelity - Br Con Moloney
Letters: Conscience - Msgr F. Hickey PE
Letters: Priest shortage - Dr Frank Mobbs
Letters: Ecumenical councils - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Debating euthanasia with facts - Rebecca Soares
Letters: Scourge of euthanasia - Brian Harris
Letters: Thank you from India - Fr. A. Joseph
Letters: Capital Punishment - with Apology - John Gallagher
Books: The Catholic Church and the Counter-Faith, by Philip Trower - John Morrissey (reviewer)
Books: The Heresy Of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy, by Martin Mosebach - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: Liturgy, Life of the Church; The Modern Rite; Pope and Council on Sacred Liturgy - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: AD2000 Books
Reflection: Teaching children about the Eucharist - Audrey English

I refer to a local TV news report of protesters at the Sandhurst Diocese's Catholic Education Conference at Shepparton on 15 March 2007. In that report a spokesman for the Catholic Education Office who was interviewed stated that 'there is absolutely nothing presented which is against the teaching of the Catholic Church'.

This claim is open to question.

The reason for the existence of Catholic schools, amongst other things, is to inculcate in students a knowledge of, love for, and practice of the Catholic faith.

Surveys reveal, however, that measurable practice of the faith by school leavers after 12 to 13 years of Catholic education is less than five percent, while any knowledge of the faith is negligible. Further revealing statistics indicate that most student teachers at Australian Catholic University have difficulties with the belief or practice of Church teachings.

To the dismay of many parents, solid doctrinal content has not been taught for years and attempts to get the appropriate authorities to correct this situation have proved futile and frustrating.

So what might one have expected from this very expensive, two- day conference with some 1700 teacher attendees? Some solid, orthodox information or teaching?

A study of the comprehensive program reveals there were two keynote speakers, Margaret Wheatley from United States and Fr Sean McDonagh from Ireland, along with many workshops.

The selection of such keynote speakers is a cause for concern when one examines the content of their published writings and statements. The same might be said of other prominent presenters such as Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarelli and Bishop Pat Power.

Some of the above speakers' publications were also on sale.

In short, the distinct impression is that the emphasis at the conference was less on doctrinal orthodoxy than on political correctness in such areas as aboriginal reconciliation, the New Age, the environment and gender and contraceptive issues - in short the spirit of the world appeared to dominate proceedings.

A sad and unfortunate aspect of the whole affair seems to be the almost total lack of recognition or acknowledgment by some bishops and diocesan authorities of the reality that errors continue to be propagated throughout many Catholic schools and areas of adult faith education.

The resulting loss of faith (apostasy) to the Body of Christ (the Church) is no longer simply a laceration, but rather has become a gaping wound. It may well be that redress of this situation can only be achieved by prayer and divine intervention.

Beechworth, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 4 (May 2007), p. 14

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