Who ought to be teaching the Catechism to the church’s children? Certainly pastors have a responsibility proclaim the Word to all people. But shouldn’t the parents, or more specifically, the “head of the family” be teaching the meaning of the Catechism to his family? It’s all very nice for the pastor to do this for the families of the church. He is, after all, a professional “catechist.” But I wonder sometimes if we make too much out of Confirmation instruction.
Wouldn’t a better “system” be something like this: the “head of the family” teaches the Catechism to his family. The pastor preaches sermons on the parts of the Catechism at designated times throughout the year. When the parents think that their children are ready for examination, they notify the pastor and set up a time with him for a questioning. When the pastor thinks that the child has learned enough, he admits him or her to the Sacrament.
The value of this is that it puts the primary responsibility to teach the faith to the children on the parents of the child. The pastor is the one who admits to the Sacrament, who examines, who questions, and determines if one is worthy (i.e. has “faith in these words…”). In other words, the pastor would make certain that every parent understood what was required or expected of those who communed. If they didn’t work with their children, they wouldn’t be admitted to the Sacrament. It’s as simple as that.
I say this because I honestly wonder sometimes if the whole 7th-8th grade confirmation instruction isn’t a colossal waste of time. We drill the kids in the catechism for an hour and a half or whatever, and how much of it is actually retained? To me, it makes more sense to put the responsibility for catechesis back on the parents, and let the pastor devote his time to preaching and administration of the Sacraments.
I also wonder if this wouldn’t lessen the amount of false Christians and hypocrites that are in the Church. (dangerous statement, I know). What I mean is this: the parents who refuse to do this, or the children who refuse to learn, simply will not be confirmed or admitted to the Sacrament. The way we do it now, it seems like everyone is confirmed, even if it seems like they are not really all that interested in being a Christian or have any hunger or thirst for the Sacrament. Should we really be communing such? I’m just saying…