Catholic Educators News - January 2006


Social Justice

bullet Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching and Development of the Catholic Church's Thinking on Human Rights — These two pdf documents are from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

bullet A Handbook of Catholic Social Teaching by Gerald Darring. Originally published in 1987: Social JusticeEconomic JusticePolitical JusticeDiscriminationWar and PeaceCriminal Justice

bullet Catholic Studies Database — This database of institutes and organizations working in Catholic Social Thought is a result of a collaborative effort between the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

bullet USCCB - Education for Justice:

The situation today points to an ever increasing urgency for a doctrinal formation of the lay faithful, not simply in a better under standing which is natural to faith's dynamism, but also in enabling them `to give a reason for their hoping' in view of the world and its grave and complex problems.... This is especially true for the lay faithful who have responsibilities in various fields of society and public life. Above all, it is indispensable that they have a more exact knowledge and this demands a more widespread and precise presentation of the Church's social doctrine, as repeatedly stressed by the Synod Fathers in their presentations. (Christifideles Laici, n. 60)

bulletThe Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church by Dr. Javier Hervada, chair in Canon Law and the title of Professor of the Philosophy of Law and of Natural Law in the University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain.


bulletThe Social Agenda - Presentation — " Students, teachers, and all those who seek a better knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church will find contained within this collection the central statements of the Roman Pontiffs from a range of texts, including papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, and Conciliar documents, on matters relating to politics, economics, and culture.

The selections are arranged thematically according to the significant subject areas of Catholic social doctrine. Under each subject heading, the quotations appear in pedagogical—as opposed to chronological or magisterial—order, with each subject area opening with a quotation that explains the issue at hand."

bullet Prophetic Justice Principles for America - Questions to test public policy against the principle of justice (pdf)

bullet Social Justice Sunday Statement 2005: "Jesus the Light of the World - Living the Gospel Today" — This unit of work for schools combines Garner's Multiple Intelligence and Blooms' Revised Taxonomy of cognitive process. The unit does not focus on specific year levels, but has a wide range of strategies suitable for students from Kindergarten to year 12.

Web Sites Worth Exploring

bullet The Web site Papal Encyclicals Online contains recent official Church documents but also contains a section providing access to encyclicals of popes from the Middle Ages till now. It also gives access to other papal writings. Popes are listed chronologically from Pope Honorious III (August 31, 1216 - March 18, 1227) to Pope Benedict XVI and documents are listed alphabetically and chronologically. The search function makes it possible to search for encyclicals containing specific words or phrases. This is a useful reference tool.

bullet Larry Broding, a Director of Religious Education in San Diego, at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Carlsbad, CA who supervises the children's program and adult education.

He is the creator of, a wonderfully rich resource focusing on the sunday readings. I have been linking to these resources on my Catholic Educators Newsletter for several years because I believe they should be widely known and used by teachers and catechists. The site offers bible study for the Sunday's first reading and the gospel as well a children's story and a family activity for the gospel each week.

One feature that I want to draw attention to here is Larry's Index for Children's Catechism Pages. This section contains a series of articles under four headings corresponding to the sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each article under these headings - there are now 36 in all and others are forthcoming - explains a Catholic teaching in a language and with illustrations that a child can understand.


bullet There are a growing number of online digital libraries that give access to a large number of church documents, writings of the Fathers, versions of the Bible, and so on. The InterText Digital Library does this as well, but it also provides additional features which can be very useful. For example, the complete edition of the New American Bible is available in the library. You can click on a specific word and instantly get a concordance showing other instances of this word elsewhere in the entire Bible. Footnotes are also just a click away. In these, if a reference is made to a specific passage elsewhere in the Bible, simply click on the biblical notation to read the passage. Even the words in the footnotes are in the concordance so that if you are interested in exploring a specific theme, you can do so. There is even an index of footnotes. For scholars, there are statistics and graphs for word frequency, word lists by frequency, length, or in alphabetical order. The help section on the site provides an overview of what IntraText is and odes;

IntraText is a text converted into a "lexical hypertext", an interactive hypertext system consisting of:

  • text, which you access from the index or from the concordances. If the text contains footnotes, these will appear at the foot of the text page and the general index will also contain an index of the footnotes;
  • word lists: these are ordered alphabetically, by frequency of occurrence, in inverse order and by length. The words in the lists are linked to the concordances;
  • concordances: lists comprising every occurrence of a particular word in the text. Each occurrence is displayed in the centre of a short extract from the text;
  • statistics: word and occurrence statistics plus other features of the text
There are thousands of documents in this library available in several languages and in dozens of fields of study. Over 1100 of these are in English. Of interest to Catholics are the following:

For other Church document see the Encheridion Vaticanum section and explore the Bibliotheca Catholica section.

bullet Vatican II at 40: Legacy and Hope is a special feature on the Catholic News Service Web site. It provides interesting historical notes on the Council, a series of articles on the impact Vatican II has had on the Catholic Church to the present and present continued efforts to implement its teachings.


Online Articles

bullet The Myth of Pope Joan by Patrick Madrid, Holy Spirit Interactive, January 08, 2006

"A lot of things are said about the alleged "Pope Joan." Depending on who is telling the story, she was a courageous feminist, a clever opportunist, a brilliant scholar who couldn't make it as a woman in a man's world. She is said to have been a wise ruler and an astute theologian, though, oddly, no decree or theological teaching purporting to have come from her has made its way down to our day.

In any case, the fact is, there was no Pope Joan. She exists only as pure legend, but one that makes for a sexy story. And when it comes to sexy stories, you know Hollywood will try its hand at making a blockbuster out of this piece of pope fiction."

bullet Don't Worship Your Emotions by Ron Rolheiser, OMI, December 11, 2005 — Article on capital punishment.

bullet The Ass and the Ox by Jeanne Heiberg, Catechist Magazine, 2005

"With Symbol Talk you can help your students understand the meaning of Christian symbols through discussion, craftmaking, and prayer."

bullet Making Doctrine Dance: Why Lewis defied convention and opposition in order to bring Christian truth into the public arena. By Christopher Mitchell, Christian History, Summer 2005


In Review

bullet GrapeVine Online - The Magazine About Catholic Performing Artists

GrapeVine has a dual mission:

  1. Its first is to support the community of Catholic artists. Recognizing that proclaiming the Gospel through music can be challenging and at times isolating, GrapeVine seeks to build fellowship and friendship amongst all Christian artists which would then encourage a generous sharing of talents and knowledge, leading to further growth and excellence.
  2. Recognizing the power of music to encourage and evangelize, GrapeVine’s second mission is to expose this music to as many people as possible, that their hearts may be touched and encouraged by the Gospel message it proclaims.

A Time to Smile

I was at a stop light, behind a car with a bumper sticker that said "Honk if you love Jesus."
So I honked. The driver leaned out his window, gave me an very impolite gesture, and yelled, "Can't you see the light is still red, you MORON!?"


After a power failure in church, the choir leader re-fused to play the electric organ.

Priest at a funeral service, "Friends, let us say goodbye to our beloved, departed friend. Let us remember that here lies only the shell -- the nut has gone!"


Hard To Believe

A little girl came home from Sunday School and was greeted by her mother. "What did you learn in class today, dear?" the mother asked.
"Well, we learned that the Israel Ikes were running away from the Gypsies and when they came to the Read See, Moses told them to build a big bridge across it. Then when the Gypsies tried to follow after them, the kids of Israel used dynamite to blow the bridge up, and..."
"The Sunday School teacher told you THAT!"
"No, but if I told you what she really told us--you would never believe it.


At our adult Sunday-school class, the teacher asked us to think of everyday ways in which we could practice our religion. The topic of driving courtesy came up first. "How do you respond to the driver who rudely cuts you off?" the teacher asked.
A woman piped up, "Turn the other fender?"

The Reporter's Confession

A reporter from CNN was sent to interview a Catholic priest about the practice of Confession for Holy Week. When he arrived at the church, he found that the priest was already in the confessional, so the reporter thought that it would be a good idea to interview him at the confessional grill.
Accordingly he waited until the last of the penitents had gone, then went up to the confessional box and said, "May I speak to you for a moment, father? I work for CNN."
The priest replied, "I'm glad you came to me my son, it must have taken a lot of courage to make a confession like that."


A priest was teaching a lesson to the Sunday school. On this particular Sunday, he was using squirrels for an object lesson on industry and preparation. He started out by saying, "I'm going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is." The children nodded eagerly.
"This thing lives in trees (pause) and eats nuts (pause)..." No hands went up. "And it is gray (pause) and has a long bushy tail (pause)..." The children were looking at each other, but still no hands raised. "And it jumps from branch to branch (pause) and chatters and flips its tail when it's excited (pause)..."
Finally one little boy tentatively raised his hand. The priest breathed a sigh of relief and called on him. "Well, Father" said the boy, "I KNOW the answer must be Jesus... but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!"

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