A Thomistic Critique: The Formal Cause, Morality (Part 4 of 6)
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
The Church has declared that a Catechists program is concerned with teaching doctrine as well as morality. This is another area CGS has failed to cover and has replaced the Catholic understanding of morality through the commandments with a series of vague teachings formed by the maxims. Though the maxims are good teachings to learn, they are not a suitable substitute for the commandments which teach man the laws of God so he may abide by them. For if a man does not know the laws of God, he will be unable to abide by them. The importance of acquiring a full understating of the Ten Commandments is manifest in the catechisms through Church history.
As we look at various Catechisms from the Roman Catechism to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we see a consistent use of the Ten Commandment to teach moral theology. This is because the Commandments, directly and indirectly, address many moral issues and the core of right and wrong, whereas the parables place a greater focus on stories that teach us how to live. However, the parables are more about looking at the way we live our lives, rather than determining if particular actions are sinful. This leads to CGS failing to discuss moral theology and forming the child on how to live to avoid sin. Though the Ten Commandments are mentioned, they are briefly discussed in a lesson in Level 3. This is far different from traditional Catechists which thoroughly explain each individual commandment, as well as the nature of sin, and how to grow in virtue. Listed below are just a few of many important teachings from the Baltimore Catechism #2 which are absent in CGS.
204. How can a Catholic best safeguard his faith?
205. How does a Catholic sin against faith?
208. When does a person sin by presumption?
209. When does a person sin by despair?
212. When does a person sin by superstition?
219. Why do we honor relics?
233. What is blasphemy?
238. What is forbidden by the third commandment of God?
239. What is servile work?
244. What duty have parents toward their children and superiors toward those under their care?
245. What are the duties of a citizen toward his country?
257. What are the chief dangers to the virtue of chastity?
258. What are the chief means of preserving the virtue of chastity?
263. Are we obliged to repair damage unjustly done to the property of others?
267. When does a person commit the sin of rash judgment?
269. When does a person commit the sin of calumny or slander?
Apparently morality was another subject which was jettisoned from CGS because it did not give joy to the children. As one looks at the morally depraved culture, it becomes clear that morality must be a central focus in any Catechism class. If children are not taught morality from a young age, they will fall into many traps brought about by the world. If doctrine and morality are not taught in this class, what is the purpose of CGS? From the official CGS video posted down below, it would appear the main Goal of CGS is to let children know that God is a good shepherd who cares about them as well as instilling joy in the child. This idea that God is the good shepherd is quite simple and obvious compared to the many teachings children were once expected to know in the days when people were not leaving the Church in droves. Perhaps the part of the problems we have in the Church today stems from watered-down Catechesis, a catechesis where instilling joy is more important than learning the faith and how to live a life pleasing to God.