A reader sent me a great editorial by Fr. Paul Ward of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He comments on St. Paul Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI visit of the Islamic Cultural Center of America in nearby Dearborn where the girls were dressed in headscarves and leggings. The article is just too good to be excerpted and many excellent points are made along the way.
I’m definitely not a relativist, but I do think this fellow is reacting a little too strongly to the childrens’ visit. I would love to know more about the conversations they had with teachers back at their school before I set out to condemn them as necessarily relativist. A visit like that could be used for the good or for evil, but isn’t in itself a destructive exercise.
Also, he assumes a lot of bad things about the religious education at the St. Paul school, but doesn’t seem to actually have evidence that the children aren’t being catechized properly. As a catechist in my parish, I know how deplorable catechesis in Catholic schools has tended to be, but I wouldn’t want to make an uncharitable assumption about any particular school without some actual evidence.
Simply put, there ain’t no justification for a trip like this.
If these children are as poorly catechised as a very large percentage of parochial schoolchildren in this country, they now know about as much as Islam as Catholicism.
With all due respect to dannyboy, these kids are at a very impressionable age and I do not feel it was a wise choice. I would need to view the film the kids who didn’t go were made to watch, but their parents may not be well pleased.
I think the thrust of the column is that the children are not grounded enough in their own faith (knowledge, faith, practice, culture) to be exposed to that. In addition, I tend to agree that trips like this can promote the mindset of “one of many equally valid religions.” Fr. Paul seems to believe that we ought to spend far more time creating a Catholic culture and living it than engaging in relativistic religious experiences.