"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Friday, April 22, 2011

PandaMania Warning

Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) is a wonderful Catholic publishing company that is widely respected.  This year they release a Totally Catholic Summer Program (what our Protestant friends refer to as VBS) called PandaMania.  This is a Catholic rendering of the highly popular VBS programs put out by the Protestant company, Group.  What I am about to write does not apply to their version of the program.

Our parish decided to use OSV's PandaMania, and we were very excited initially, that is, until we started looking into the details.  The two most objectionable portions are the People of Faith cards and Connecting Kids to Justice.

The first of the People of Faith cards is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  Ever hear of him?  He's a Jesiut priest that has a lot of excellent scientific writings worth reading (the pope has said so); he is also in serious disagreement with the Church when it comes to his theology.  The Holy See has issued a Monitum regarding his work that includes the following:

"For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.” [Emphasis added]

Call me crazy, but an elementary summer school program does not seem like the place to introduce Teilhard.

As for Connecting Kids to Justice, it focuses on the Catholic Climate Covenant put together by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.  This coalition consists of 12 organizations affiliated with some of the most notorious Church dissenters.  Here is a sampling:

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.  This organization has failed to concern itself with the moral decline of “Catholic” colleges.  See here and here.

Carmelite NGO.  While the Carmelite Order is wonderful, the Carmelite NGO supports UN initiatives to advance abortion and birth control services.  The Carmelite NGO fully supports the UN Millennium Goals and lists them on their web site.  If you click on #5 Improve Maternal Health it brings you UN Millennium Goals website.  Article 5.6 lists an unmet need for family planning.  The Carmelite NGO was a co-sponsor of the standing room only side event titled Consumption and the Rights of Mother Earth held at the UN on May 11, 2010.  The website mentions nothing about the rights of the unborn child.

Catholic Health Association of the United States.  The president of this organization is Sister Carol Keehan, who supported ObamaCare in defiance of the USCCB, and supported St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix after Bishop Olmstead sanctioned it for performing abortions.

Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).  This organization champions major dissidents of the Church, including Sr. Jeannine Gramick who spoke at their 2010 Leadership Conference.  This is the organization that led to several religious orders to ask for a different leadership organization be formed, The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Conference of Major Superiors of Men (another coalition member) held a joint conference in 2004 in which the keynote speaker was abortion advocate Mary Robinson.

As part of the program, they won't recite the Creed but your children will take this evironmental pledge:

You can see the slides for all 5 days here (scroll to the bottom for the PowerPoints.)  There's a lot of coaching your kids to go home and tell you how to behave.  Could you imagine if we had a TCSP that told kids to go home at tell their parents that they are committing a mortal sin if they don't attend Mass on Sunday?  Well, I know that might seem like a good idea, but would it be received as charity the way this environmentalism push is?

It seems to me that these organizations worship at the altar of politics dressed in Catholic social teachings.  They take something that honest Catholics may be concerned about, like environmental stewardship, poverty, health care, or immigration and use it as a front to advance their political agenda that usually undermines Church teaching and authority.  If anyone is going to indoctrinate my kids, I will; that's why I homeschool.

This is not the only alternative. Cat. Chat VBS has three wonderful programs, one on the Sacraments, one on the Mass, and one on The Blessed Mother.  Catholic Heritage Curriculum offers 4 great Children's Retreats/VBS programs as well. 


Jacqueline Y. said...

It seems Simcha Fisher has criticized Pandamonium in her NC Register blog, but for some reason her post has already been removed. I wonder why. I followed the link on New Advent, hoping to read what Simcha had to say, and... nothing. Your post was the only critical mention I've been able to find.

Kris said...

I found it through a Google search here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pandamania/

Thanks for letting me know!

Mary B said...

Too bad--and I bet many parishes chose it simply because Oriental Trader had cheap crafts to match.

Marybeth said...

I know that I am a little late in commenting but I am looking for a program for this coming summer and your article popped up on a Google search. I have always been wary of Group VBS because they always seemed so bland with very little takeaway content. Well, I guess they fixed that although not in a good way. We have enjoyed K4J programs in the past but this year they are only offering two programs both of which we have done in the past 3 years. I think we will look at Cat Chat; Heroes in Heaven and Growing with Saints but if they are any other worthwhile programs, please let me know. We usually have close to 200 attendees so I think it is especially important to choose an authentically Catholic program in our parish!
Thanks again for your post!

TuckerMomof3 said...

I don't send them to Catholic VBS so that they learn environmentalism or learn how to recycle. Grrrr!! My kids actually went to this!