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Born of the spirit.

A critique, wirebound, 117 pp, available from author, $10.00.

FR. LEONARD KENNEDY, C.S.B.

The National Office of Religious Education of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a catechism series for grades 1-8, entitled Born of the Spirit. A 116-page critique of this series was written in June, 1997, and revised this past January, by Teresa Pierlot. After hearing many people express grave concerns about the series, Pierlot wanted to give pastors, parents, and catechists the information needed to understand "what is wrong with the Born of the Spirit series and why it must not be used."

As concerns content, Pierlot concluded that the "majority of the truths of our faith which [she has outlined] are not included at all in the Born of the Spirit series. Those few which are presented . . . are not taught in a complete or clear way and they become meaningless . . . because they are not rooted within an organic and systematic presentation of the fullness of the Catholic Faith and Catholic practice. . . . I believe this is sufficient to show that this program cannot be considered a proper tool for educating our children in the faith, at any age or in any situation."

After going through each of the eight years of the series in great detail, Pierlot writes: "The instances of departure from the Church's teaching, by distortion or actual opposition, are numerous and varied . . . . The only possible conclusion to be reached is that the Born of the Spirit series cannot be considered Catholic. It cannot be considered a proper tool for instructing anyone in the Catholic Faith. It is a tool which can only compromise and eventually destroy the faith of those who are exposed to it, both catechists and students."

Concerning methodology in the series, we find this conclusion: "The methodology it uses is unacceptable for two reasons: (1) It is . . . opposed to the truth, and therefore cannot possibly be a suitable tool for teaching truth. The plan of the catecheses is deliberately disordered, having no sequential or logical progression from one subject to another . . . .; (2) No one who uses this program will be teaching the Catholic Faith."

The conclusion: "It is logical and natural to ask oneself why a catechism series which comes out of the National Office of Religious Education of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is so gravely disordered . . . . It is clearly stated in canon law (#775, 2) and the General Catechetical Directory (#119, 134) that any catechism which is produced by the authority of an episcopal conference must be submitted to the Holy See for review and approval before it is promulgated. The failure to submit the Born of the Spirit series to the Holy See is a clear violation of the duty of obedience which the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops owes to Rome."

The critique offers a final comment: "These are the facts . . . . Anyone who is concerned is invited to take this overview and go through the Born of the Spirit to verify it for themselves . . . . I have to say that this task has not been a pleasant one . . . . But it is necessary. It had to be done."

Copies of the critique may be obtained from Teresa Pierlot, R.R. #2 Morell, P.E.I., Canada, C0A 1S0, Phone (902) 961-2852 at $10.00 per copy.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1998
Words:553
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