This story describes a diocese in which the bishop has restored the order of the sacraments and insisted that parents undergo formation at the same time as their children. They call it "family catechesis," other dioceses refer to it as "whole community catechesis."
Great idea, right?
Well, yes, the idea was great.
As the reporter unwittingly illustrates, even when a bishop does the right thing, if the parish catechists are clueless, nothing really gets better.
"Parents at St. Thomas More attend separate formation sessions for part of each class. They learn the same topic as their children and then prepare a skit or poster for the young learners.
[Editorial Note: Nice that parents and kids learn the same topic at the same time, but why force adults to do childish things like "skits" and "posters"? Posters are so out of date. Maybe if parents created web pages... I'm kidding. How about we just let the parents interact with their own children naturally? Why force them through these stupid kindergarten exercises? But wait. It gets worse.]
....The older students are staying involved in the parish, too.
Alexis LaBenz, a seventh-grader at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Chandler, said her family has become more active. She began liturgical dance and will be confirmed later this year. [liturgical dance? Is this some sort of sick joke?]
“It’s kind of nice that you get to do it now and be a member of the Church earlier,” she said. (emphasis added) [Oh, glad to see she has been reading the Catechism. And here I thought that BAPTISM made you a member of the Church...]
“We’re lucky,” said St. Theresa sixth-grader Jared Wagner about being confirmed now.
Barb Lishko, coordinator of youth ministry at St. Andrew the Apostle, fosters continued parish involvement. She already asked the youth what ministries they are interested in and will hold training during confirmation class later this month."
Sigh. The article even started with commentary from the diocesan spokesman emphasizing that Confirmation is not a sacrament of maturity, but no one at this parish seems to have gotten the word.
So, what's the lesson here?
When the catechists are uncatechized and/or idiots, it doesn't matter where you have moved the deck chairs. The ship is still going down.