Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If you don’t, who will?

I've made some really bad choices in life, some of them repeatedly. I usually prefer not to suffer the direct consequences, but after fifty-five years, it is starting to dawn on me, that there is no getting around them. To this day, I am still paying for decisions I made when I was half this age. If it were a prison term, it would be "cruel and unusual punishment." But I'm the warden, and I put myself in the Big House. And there I remain.

When we raise children, that is a choice as well. I wonder if most parents in the last three or four decades see their children less as a gift, than as a lifestyle accessory. (After all, you only need a matching set of two, right?) But with each new life into the world, God gives us one more chance at life itself. And as Catholics, we as parents are the primary educators of our children. This is lost on most parents, I think, when they enroll their children in a Catholic school. They have no problem with that school teaching their children about sex. A generation that is supposed to be so open and honest about sex, is relieved at having someone else explain it to their kids.

(Insert momentary pause to consider the irony, then continue.)

A lesbian couple in the Archdiocese of Denver made a choice to raise children. They want to send their children to a Catholic school. They do this with the full knowledge, that the school will teach a set of values other than the one they learn at home. Indeed, it will be diametrically opposed. But when the school removes the children from enrollment due to the lifestyle of the parents, there is shock and indignation from the parents, not to mention most of the public. How could they do this? Where is their charity, their compassion? And finally -- my personal favorite -- what would Jesus do?

For one thing, Jesus would tell them to "repent, and reform your lives." He did that a lot anyway. And inasmuch as he spent more time talking about hell than about heaven, the Good News didn't sound so good all the time, just plain hard. He welcomed the children to come to Him, and suggested a severe punishment of the times for those who misled them, which was one of the more creative uses of a millstone.

To speak with a schoolteacher -- it can be private, parochial, or public school, whatever -- is to invite a litany of accounts of parent conferences where they end up playing marital or post-marital counselor, for two people who don't have a clue what's going on with their own flesh and blood. (Go ahead. Call one up right now. I'll wait.)

Closer to home, and to Denver, the children are not being punished. They are being spared the confusion that will follow if they get opposing messages from school and parents. And where the rights of parents and the natural law is concerned, the Church has no choice but to abdicate, lest She interfere with those rights, even as they are abused. The school isn't going to change, and the parents are unlikely to change. And since parents are the primary educators of their children (which is held up not only in Church teaching, but in canon law), the parents were never relieved of any responsibility for their children, and therefore have no complaint.

Bottom line: if you can't teach your children right from wrong, don't expect the Church or the government to do it. And all you fancy-pants intellectuals in the "we are the Church" crowd, you really ARE the Church where your children are concerned. You can't blame everyone else when they don't know what they need to know.

Why? Because they're YOUR kids, you big dummy!

UPDATE: The pastor of the parish school in question, located in the city of Boulder, breaks it down for the socially enlightened among us, without resorting to big words: “If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad.”

All together now ...



Kheris said...

Let's follow your logic all the way shall we. Since the Church's teachings are considered to be in opposition to the life being led by the parents, then these children should not attend CCD classes either (which I understand Fr. Breslin offered as an alternative). I attended CCD classes and taught CCD classes briefly. So far as I can tell, the teachings are the same regardless of the venue chosen. So, if the same teachings are provided, won't the same issues attach even though the venue is different? Or do CCD students get a pass on the family unit and the teachings on the sanctity of marriage and so forth?

Who is really being protected here?

Say it with me: DUH!

David L Alexander said...

"Who is really being protected here?"

Assuming the CCD route was offered as an alternative, the same conundrum would apply, that of taking the chance on confusing or humiliating the children. In this case, a CCD class might provide a more controlled environment for instructing the children privately, should delicate questions arise.

It still leaves the question open as to the role of the couple in the children's formation, not to mention why the couple would want a situation, where a set of values would be taught to their children, which would be at odds with how they live at home. And since you can't say with any certainty that this alternative is being offered, you're short at least one good reason for being a smart-ass.

Possibly two.