Sunday, September 25, 2005

Social Degeneration – Is Inappropriate Attention to Education the Cause?

An Invertebrate Society

The spine of society has totally degenerated. We have become a truly invertebrate society. The cause – I truly believe is really simple. We removed God and we removed morality from our vocabulary, from our thoughts and from our actions. Need I really explain more?

We live in a society that is so truly spineless that the principle dogma that rules human behavior is “political correctness”. We are a society that has lost its foundation, and political correctness is the outcome. Nothing can be wrong, nothing can be right, black or white don’t exist – everything is a shade of gray. Are things truly so bleak? Well, the facts are in front of you on a daily basis – reflect and come to a conclusion – the murders, the abortions, the greed, the poverty….. The outlook is pessimistic in terms of direction. There is an OPTIMISTIC perspective however – and that only centers on Christ. There, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. However, how many of us get it, is another story…..Let me explain in more detail in relation to what I refer to as deterioration….

From the medical field I will simply quote from the original Hippocratic Oath where it is stated that “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion.” I don’t believe I need to give more detail or an explanation – Everyone that reads this knows to what extent we have watered down our perception and understanding of the sanctity of human life - As an invertebrate society we continue to remove what fabric is left.

The great writer C.S. Lewis in his book “Mere Christianity” describes morality as rooted in three concepts:

1. inter-individual harmony (the relationship between individuals)
2. internal harmony (the relationship with ourselves) and
3. the general purpose of human life (the relationship with our Creator).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes different but interrelated expressions of moral law (see §1952). For the purposes of what I am writing here I mention two of them – Eternal Law – “the source, in God, of all law” and Natural Law – described as being “immutable throughout history”, the “necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law” (see §1979)

On the subject of morality I will end here, for now, with a quote from C.S. Lewis.

“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less” C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

So what does all this discussion about morality have to do with Education?

Education - The Weapon

In the last sermon of Joseph Ratzinger prior to the start of the conclave in which he was elected Pope, he said “How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another…… Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.

How do you combat relativism? How do you combat the degradation of moral principles in society? How do you prevent your boat being “tossed about by the waves”? I truly believe that there is ONLY one answer – and that is Education and a Christian Education for that matter rooted in the true teachings of Christ.

Here is what the Church teaches about Education. I quote from Gravissimum Educationis which is the declaration on Christian Education by Pope Paul VI, with some cross referencing to the Code of Canon Law - any emphasis is mine:

“To fulfill the mandate she (Holy Mother the Church) has received from her divine founder……..she has a role in the progress and development of education.” See also Can. 796 §1.

“The Council also reminds Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children.” See also Can. 800 §2

“This Sacred Council of the Church earnestly entreats pastors and all the faithful to spare NO sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfill their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith.”

Thus the Church sees Education as an intricate part of its mission. Little needs to be said about what the Church is asking us to do here. Little needs to be said about the emphasis it is putting on the importance of Education.

But how does all this relate to moral standards and equate to society redeveloping a backbone?

The Church continues to teach us in Gravissimum Educationis that “men are more aware of their own dignity and position; more and more they want to take an active part in social and especially economic and political life”. The document continues that the school (as the source of education) “is designed not only to develop with special care the intellectual faculties but also to form the ability to judge rightly, to hand on the cultural legacy of previous generations, to foster a sense of values, to prepare for professional life.” Is this not what Morality is all about? Hence the link between education and morality.

Being educated, and not just with any education, but being TRULY educated in the true sense of Christian living gives us as humans a dignity, a respect, a knowledge, a sense of values – in other words a moral backbone. Once that aspect of it is achieved, our daily lives will emanate the concept to our friends, family, work colleagues – and that’s how society gets its spine again!!!

Need more be said?

God Bless (+)
Stephen

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