Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

2/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Our culture correctly identifies education as crucial in developing responsible citizens; it just doesn't know how to go about it. Catholic education does.

A child's soul is looking for God, and it is our duty as parents to ensure that it finds Him, which is the mission of catechesis. As the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The teacher should endeavor to influence the child's heart and will, and not be content with putting a certain amount of religious knowledge into its head; for, as Aristotle would say, the end of catechizing is not knowledge, but practice. Knowledge, indeed, there must be, and the more of it the better in this age of widespread secular education; but the knowledge must lead to action."

Highlights

By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: education, catholic education, catholic schools week, USCCBBB, moral education, Dr. Frederick Liewehr


RICHMOND, VA (Catholic Online) - Last week I received a couple e-mails plugging an upcoming webcast of a debate which you can watch here between Dinesh D'Souza, a bestselling author and producer of "2016", the top grossing documentary film of 2012, and Bill Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground that attempted to blow up the Pentagon, the NYC police headquarters and the Capital Building among others, roughly 72 bombings in all, so I decided to tune in.

Dinesh is a great proponent of America and unabashedly proud to have emigrated from India and become a legal American citizen. He is not a Pollyanna who does not see the flaws in our nation, but he sees them with the outlook of someone who intimately knows another culture and can put those flaws in perspective. His view is the same as Ken Hamblin's, a black conservative who liberals like Ayers would say should, like D'Souza, be "disenfranchised" due to the color of their skin, in his book "Pick A Better Country". The perspective of both of these men is that while America is not without faults, it has many redeeming characteristics and on balance you cannot point to another nation in the world that has done more for the progress of man and the welfare of its citizens than the good old USA.

D'Souza explained that people around the world are aware of America's flaws, but they are also aware of the flaws of their countries, and choose to emigrate none the less. If this were not the case, why would we be having the problem with illegal immigration that we do. D'Souza offered the experience of a friend of his, also from India, who has been trying for years to get a visa to come here without success. When asked why he wants so badly to come to America, his friend explains that he wants to live in a country where the poor people are fat.

D'Souza went on to say that what is important is not comparing America to some dream utopia but rather to what other nations have achieved. A quick glance at the 20th Century will demonstrate that the Left has always endeavored to create heaven on earth, and all they have accomplished is killing millions of people who supposedly stood in their way. Their planned economies always fail because the economy is simply too big and too many decisions need to be made to be managed by central planners. On top of that, without the market to adjust prices and thus supply, they are working in the dark. Hence factories of shoes nobody wants and long lines to get the things they do.

There is simply no question that America and the capitalist system have done more to raise the living standards of its citizens in particular, and for the entire world in general, than any other nation in history. In fact, if one looks at the 80's, to which the Left refers as the "decade of greed", it was not just the so-called wealthy, but everyone who benefited. And that is the point. Instead of coveting their neighbors' goods, people should be focusing on whether or not they are better off than they were in the past, and the answer is "yes".

Ayers, appearing in his signature "I don't care what you think" t-shirt, over which he had put a rumpled jacket for this appearance at prestigious Dartmouth College, looked and sounded tired and angry, perhaps being tired from being angry for so many years. D'Souza, on the other hand, was neatly attired in a coat and tie, and was full of energy and enthusiasm. In his opening statement Ayers droned on endlessly, repeating a litany of worn-out anti-American complaints ranging from Europeans purposely bringing disease to kill the natives, to slavery and the racism that he assumes motivates all white people, to global warming that has brought disastrous "climate change" to his home town of Chicago. He was careful not to use the term "global warming" because with the current arctic weather we are experiencing would have revealed his ideological rather than factual orientation.

Listening to his pedantic anti-capitalist rant I tried to imagine what it must be like to be one of his students. I could barely bring myself to listen to his diatribe, because besides being nothing but Leftist clichés, it was coupled with the pompous arrogance of a man who knew he was unassailable in his ivory tower position at the University of Illinois.

Just as in the 1960's, Ayers offered no constructive solutions to any of the supposed problems he decried. His message was more veiled than in the past, but it was still "down with the system", not "how can we improve the system". His actions speak volumes - exactly how was bombing those buildings supposed to improve our country?

Ayers did explain a little about his philosophy of education, which included a nod to the Socratic teaching method, and to students learning to think for themselves. But this was smoke and mirrors, and the reality of his "philosophy" was evident when he twice posed more or less rhetorical questions to the audience of mostly students, and met their lack of enthusiastic response with condescension and derision. Similarly, when the moderator informed him, as is protocol in a debate, that he has two minutes remaining, he said, "Well then, I'll just take three" and proceeded to unapologetically exceed his time limit.

The reality is that there is no Socratic method in Ayer's classroom. Students are not presented two sides of an issue and encouraged to examine, compare, and contrast various solutions. Students are presented ideas like interspecies evolution and man-made "global warming" as facts rather than as constructs about which many respected people differ. Ayers' attitude was clear - I am right, and if you don't agree, you are wrong. Fifty years ago, he would have added, to paraphrase Jeff Dunham's "Achmed the Dead Terrorist",  "And I'll blow you up".

So what does all of this have to do with Catholic education? As you know, last week was Catholic Schools Week, and the fact that people like Bill Ayers are not relegated to the dust bin of history along with their failed ideas has everything to do with the importance of a good education, particularly an early one. True Catholic education is about more than just education; it is about formation or catechesis, helping each person to know and love Jesus Christ, inviting deeper intimacy and communion with Him in and through the Catholic Church, in the words of the NCEA.

This is where Catholic education diverges from secular education, of which Ayers is an unfortunate example. To understand the basic problem with secular education, we simply have to realize that intellect, the faculty of thought, signifies the higher, spiritual, cognitive power of the soul,  which may be defined as the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated. It is our essence; it is us. We are made in God's image, and our souls long to be united with Him. As the psalmist says in Psalm 63:1, "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water."

The process that occurs as a child develops is reminiscent of what is called "imprinting" in the animal world. The classic example is ducklings or goslings that, when taken from their mothers, look around and "imprint" on whatever seems to be acting in that capacity, which is often the human being that is feeding them. So, you see pictures of the little birds following their human "mother" around the barnyard.

A child's soul is looking for God, and it is our duty as parents to ensure that it finds Him, which is the mission of catechesis. As the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The teacher should endeavor to influence the child's heart and will, and not be content with putting a certain amount of religious knowledge into its head; for, as Aristotle would say, the end of catechizing is not knowledge, but practice. Knowledge, indeed, there must be, and the more of it the better in this age of widespread secular education; but the knowledge must lead to action."

What is critically to the point is that people like Bill Ayers, the US Department of Education, and various teachers' unions are well aware of this fact, too. They know that whatever they implant in their student's heads will ultimately lead to action, and this action will determine the future of our nation. This is why there is such resistance to voucher systems, tax breaks for educational expenses of a Catholic school, and to home schooling. The secular equivalent of catechesis is indoctrination to the "values" of the State. The child will be formed; the question is whether he will be formed or malformed.

Education without catechesis reminds me of my dear departed mother who learned to drive, but never learned to parallel park. I can remember in the days before big Walmart shopping centers sitting next to her as she drove repeatedly around the block waiting for someone in an end spot to leave so she could slip the car in. She could drive, but her knowledge was incomplete.

Our secular schools are turning out children who have no moral compass save for the leftist ideology imprinted in them by teachers like Bill Ayers. They are lacking the intellectual skills they need to be able to discern where the truth really lies, as well as any moral foundation to weigh the arguments, so they are prisoners of ideas that have no basis in fact other than to be politically correct. They are sad examples of what are currently known as "low-information voters". Our culture correctly identifies education as crucial in developing responsible citizens; it just doesn't know how to go about it. Catholic education does.

---------- Dr. Frederick Liewehr is an endodontist who teaches and works in private practice. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism in 1983, having been drawn ineluctably to Christ's Church by the light of Truth. He is a member of St. Benedict parish in Richmond, a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a Cooperator of Opus Dei.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

Lower Your Nets For a Catch! We Are All Called to Evangelize Watch

Image of Lower your nets for a catch

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The New Evangelization is meant to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can then undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical ... continue reading


'Church ladies' finally force phony priest in Los Angeles to authorities Watch

Image of Erwin Mena  was arrested by Los Angeles police for allegedly impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and on suspicion of grand theft (Los Angeles Times).

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

For months, Erwin Mena donned vestments, called himself "Padre," and convinced Southern California Catholics that he was a priest, police say. Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - He was good at it, too, reportedly. He attended seminary in El Salvador for a time ... continue reading


Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis to Meet in Cuba in Historic Move of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Orthodox Christian Patriarch Kirill and Catholic Christian Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that ... continue reading


'Deeply disturbing': ANOTHER Planned Parenthood video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress (Warning: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of Yet another undercover video featuring the horrors of Planned Parenthood's illegal acts has been released (Leda Oreskovich).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released another video featuring Planned Parenthood officials casually - and even happily - discussing the revolting practice of murdering infants in the womb then mercilessly cutting them to pieces for profit. Meanwhile, after ... continue reading


Phony priest celebrated masses, funerals and performed marriages - for more than 20 years! Watch

Image of Operating out of St. Ignatius of Loyola in northeastern Los Angeles, Erwin Mena allegedly sold tickets to a pilgrimage to visit New York to see the Pope during his visit to the United States last year (Facebook).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

He might have talked a good talk and walked a good walk, but authorities finally caught up with fifty-nine-year-old Erwin Mena, who posed as a priest for more than 20 years in Los Angeles. Mena was arrested and will enjoy a lot of time in small rooms - with bars on the ... continue reading


'Christian Refugees 2 Christian Nations, Muslim Refugees 2 Muslim Nations, That's Only Fair': Protesters rally in Missoula County Courthouse Watch

Image of Protesters stand in snow (not pictured) to stand against new influx of refugees into America (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In an effort to ease the strain on other countries who have accempted several thousand refugees, the Obama administration plans to send refugees to smaller Montana cities. Over 120 Montana citizens faced snow and ice on Monday to protest outside the Missoula County ... continue reading


Why did secret Muslim Obama visit a controversial mosque? Watch

Image of Why is Obama visiting a mosque with questionable ties?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama is visiting a controversial mosque in Baltimore today, one that has ties to Islamic extremism. Even fellow Muslims are upset that he chose the Islamic Society of Baltimore for his visit, when he could have chosen more "moderate" mosques. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


In the minds of murderers: 9/11 began with a small question and grew to a national tragedy Watch

Image of 9/11 was based on a flight that crashed into the sea (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The horrific tragedy of 9/11 was reportedly started when Osama bin Laden heard of the murder-suicide on EgyptAir Flight 990. The plane's pilot crashed into the ocean, prompting bin Laden to wonder why he didn't choose to crash into a building. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


What does the Super Bowl have to do with the Catholic Church? Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Who else is facing off during the Super Bowl? Catholic Charities. Whether fans are rooting for the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers in the upcoming NFL Super Bowl 50, Catholic Charities of Denver, Colorado, and Charlotte, South Carolina are uniting to host ... continue reading


Did the Groundhog see his shadow? 6 fun facts about Groundhog Day you never knew before Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The fate between winter and spring anxiously awaited the arrival of the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. The furry groundhog emerged from his hole on February 2 in search of a shadow ... that he never found. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
1 Solomon then summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:6-7, 8-10
6 Listen, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it at ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:53-56
53 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 8th, 2016 Image

St. Jerome Emiliani
February 8: Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty ... Read More