Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Promotes Prayer to False Gods
Updated: Jul 2
The CGS Program has an unusual emphasis on non-Catholic religions. The founders of the program have made unusual comments about the spirit of ecumenism permeating the whole of catechesis, even though catechesis is to teach the unique doctrines of one's own particular religion. Only after first knowing one's own religion, can one begin to understand other religions. However, CGS teaches children about all religions, at the expense of their Catholic faith.
A prime example of this is the content at the Center for Children and Theology which works closely with CGSUSA. According to their website, their work is supported by The National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The organizations also jointly host the annual CGS workshop "Weaving Our Gifts." This workshop is hosted by CCT and promoted by CGSUSA. They sell hands-on materials for CGS classrooms, and it is here that they demonstrate the religious indifferentism of CGS. These materials are supplements, but they are sold by an organization intimately associated with CGSUSA.
Below are products Sold by the Center for Children and Theology.
This is not just an anomaly; rather it is integral to the philosophy of CGS.
"Ecumenism is not just a branch of catechesis; rather, the spirit of ecumenism does permeate the whole of catechesis." (p. 123 Religious Potential of the Child, 6-12 years)
Since the purpose of Catholic catechesis is to instruct a student in the Catholic religion, why would a study of alternate religions be important for youth to learn, especially before they have fully understood their own religion? It is also one thing to be aware of the misguided beliefs of others, but it is quite another to participate in their acts of worship. While it is true that the universal CGS curriculum does not mandate this material, Catherine Maresca who sells these materials through CCT, is closely tied with CGSUSA and assists in instructing people on CGS. This is another element of the theosophy-based underpinnings of CGS.
Maria Montessori, who laid the ideological foundations of CGS, was heavily involved in Theosophy and wrote several articles for the Theosophy Journal in India. Theosophy is a religion that believes all the different creeds in the world hold truths and are part of a single true religion. Theosophy encourages engaging in practices of different religions in a "sampling" manner. It is also believed that the New Age movement of theosophy developed out of Twereheosophy. This would explain what would, at first, appear to be odd comments from the founder of CGS, as well as various statements in the CGS program.
Ecumenism is, first of all, an act of faith that opens completely new horizons before us. It is an act of faith similar to Abraham, who departed by the light of the stars toward the land that the Lord pointed out to him. But how to reach this land? Like Abraham we have a light that illumines us from above, namely our absolute trust in the God of history, who guides us to our goal. To this light we ought to entrust ourselves, and then ecumenism will become for us a profound education in faith.” Sofia Cavalletti https://www.cgsusa.org/discover/cgs-and-ecumenism/
Notice that ecumenism is described as an act of faith. The Catholic Chruch has very explicitly, over two thousand years, the doctrines integral to the Faith, and not once in that two-millennium history has ecumenism ever been included as an essential teaching. However, once ecumenism is included as an essential part of a curriculum, anything in Catholicism that is contrary to other religions cannot be taught.
"Therefore, anything that was not essential was removed from the atrium. Their ongoing quest has been to " 'know, love, and serve the child,' especially in regard to his or her relationship with God" (Gobbi, 1998, viii)." https://www.biola.edu/talbot/ce20/database/sofia-cavalletti
If what is essential is determined by the subjectivity of one's personal beliefs, and if one believes that "ecumenism is, first of all, an act of faith" and that "Ecumenism is not just a branch of catechesis; rather, the spirit of ecumenism does permeate the whole of catechesis," then that which is included as essential material is not going to be congruent with what the Church has declared to be the Catholic Faith.
"Cavalletti is thrilled that CGS is being used by many Christian traditions" https://www.biola.edu/talbot/ce20/database/sofia-cavalletti
This all fits into the idea of theosophy, which views all religions as having parts of the truth. Thus, children learn and encounter God through different sects of Christianity, in addition to Children do not learn and encounter God through Catholic scripture, theology, or tradition.
"Although the writings of prominent Theosophists lay out a set of teachings, the Theosophical Society itself states that it has no official beliefs with which all members must agree. It therefore has doctrine but does not present this as dogma. The Society stated that the only tenet to which all members should subscribe was a commitment "to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color". This means that there were members of the Theosophical Society who were sceptical about many, or even all, of the Theosophical doctrines, while remaining sympathetic to its basic aim of universal brotherhood." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophy
This would perfectly explain the opinion of Maria Montessori in regard to the many regions of the world.
“Just as language has many expressions: English, Swedish, Swahili, and so forth, so does elevation express itself by way of different creeds: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and many different belief systems in order to communicate with and about god." http://www.crossroad.to/Q&A/education/Montessori.htm