Bishop Vasa – Catechism Teachers Must Affirm and Believe Catholic Doctrine

Interview by Jim Graves, Catholic World Report

You ask those in your diocese who teach the faith or distribute Holy Communion to make an Affirmation of Personal Faith. What is this, and why did you adopt this policy?

Bishop Robert Vasa

Bisop Vasa: This came about after we adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children. I support the Charter and its efforts to protect children from emotional and physical abuse; there is certainly no greater crime. But it dawned on me that if we don’t do something likewise to protect children from spiritual harm, then we’re not really minding the flock as we should.

Our policy requires us to do criminal background checks on everyone who has any contact with children. So also, I wanted anyone who taught the faith or who is held up as a public witness for the faith—such as lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, cantors, and catechists—to attest to the fact that they affirm and believe the basic teachings of the Church as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This includes declaring such things as: I believe in God, the virgin birth, the existence of purgatory, the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. I also accept the Church’s moral teachings, such as the evil and sinfulness of contraception, homosexual activity, and adulterous behavior.

It’s a Creed, yet it adds what I consider to be those important moral issues some Catholics seem to have the impression they can openly and publicly dissent from without any kind of consequence.


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20 comments to Bishop Vasa – Catechism Teachers Must Affirm and Believe Catholic Doctrine

  • fr donald thomas

    my opinion is i think their is to much much of this kind of situation happening in many churches around our world,
    if they come in to work for god and trust in him for all in prayer i think they should be trialed by law and put away then judged by god what his punishment is for doing such an evil thing under gods roof in the first place.father donald thomas.[disabled people] australia

  • Savio Sequeira

    It is very sad, rather disturbing to read how people react when they are required to affirm their faith.

    Hebrews 13 verse 8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Further in verse 9 it says “Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way……”

    What more do we need to know. If we ever felt we could choose what we like and discard what we don’t like, the answer lies in Hebrews 13 verse 8 (stated above). GOD will judge us by HIS Rules (The Ten Commandments) and not by what we chose to believe or discard.

    Just as an employer interviews an applicant for a job and if found fulfilling the criteria employs the person, so also the Bishop is well within his right to seek an affirmation of the belief of the person employed as a teacher or a catechist.

    How can we teach something we do not believe in ? Either we shape up or move out.

    GOD Bless

  • Vinny

    The bishop has spoken in the name of Christ. We owe it to God to obey his teaching. There is no need to argue and point fingers at anybody. Even though I’m already retired (from teaching in the public school and directing parish religious education programs), I will go and teach again in that Catholic school if there is a need and the bishop calls me.

  • Bill,
    Jesus himself instituted our religion, he imbued it with all things good and holy and adorned it with the Sacraments; This is why we should encourage Holy Awe for our God. The points you raise about communion on tongue or hand does matter; because in my church, they stand and receive on the hand, there is no pattern and the Eucharist regularly falls to the floor.
    Reverence has been slowly eroded for the sacred species; and the children are taught it is HOly Bread, not Christ in my Children’s Catholic school. That little godl couloured pattern inferred that the Eucharist was something VERY special.
    That is why what Bishop Vasa has done is VERY important. Our CHildren deserve to know and be taught the full truth, not a hippy dippy version of it.
    BTW Paula, sound like you got the Hippy Deacon, my hubby (in Deacon training) got told – we no longer have MORtal sin – its “Serious sin”. How does one explain that ” serious sin leads to death of the soul with that kind of wishy washy terminology?
    You go girl, and speak up!

  • Paula

    We have a Deacon in our parish, who really has protestant/”modern” views. His Homilies are a bit ‘off’ sometimes, and he promotes the idea of women priests. He also offers the Holy Eucharist to anyone who may be present around a sick person in Hospital….some who are obviously in mortal sin. He ‘bristles’ at the mention of purgatory.(at funerals – everyone goes straight to Heaven)
    I have personally spoken up a couple of times to tell him that there will never be women priests in the Catholic Church, and also to say that the non-practising woman who has lived a ‘colourful’ life, so-to-speak, should go to confession before he offered her Holy Communion.
    I tell him, but unfortunately, the attitude seems to be that he is the Deacon, well educated/intellectual etc, I am much less “educated” so therefore,irrelevant. This however will not stop me speaking up when necessary, as the truth is the truth, and he cannot trip me up on that! I believe God will always give me the “words” when needed to defend our catholic faith!

  • Mike B

    Our tradition has suffered the same fate as all organized religions: the impact of the rationalism of the scientific revolution was so pervasive that we have subjected all our religious mythology to the scrutiny of science and now “belief” has come to mean intellectual assent, be it based on faith or some concocted rationality. Please go back and study the meaning of “belief” in the time of Thomas Aquinas and before: to believe was to commit to a practice – a set of religious rituals and disciplines that fostered a more compassionate life. Aquinas did not believe in the anthropomorphic God of today. His proofs of the existence were an attempts to exhaust the question so that one could move on to a more mystical consideration of life and meaning.
    Grow up, children! Adult believers take responsibility for their journey. Taking refuge in literal beliefs is a manifestation of arrested spirituality. The “real presence” happens when we are Christlike to all people – period.

  • Alice

    Thank you Bishop Vasa for defending the doctrine of our faith!
    Just a reminder to Bill: In the Eucharist we receive the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…it is real…it is present…it is communion with a capital “C”. These are the kinds of things that are being missed in many catechism classes throughout this country. Children and those who seek to become Catholic are given a “hold hands and sing Kum by ya” type of instruction…no substance. Many could not tell you what the Eucharist is, why Penance is important, or what the Mass is about! While there are some things that don’t matter to Bill…anything that causes scandal should be curtailed. We worship Our Lord and give him praise and we should do so in a manner that shows Him that we love him above all else. How we show reverence for the Eucharist should be part of what everyone learns and observes.

  • Bill

    Religion is a means to communion (small “c”) with God. Religion is not an end in itself. Most of the things some of you folks complain about are incidentals. It’s all about communion with God and whether the servers are boys or girls or whether the host is on the tongue or in the hand are not all that important.

  • Clem

    I have never seem so much nonsense in one place in my entire life.

    Thanks, Clem.

    1 Corinthians 3:18
    Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

  • I just can’t believe the abuses at these other parishes. Why is this allowed? I wish bishops and priests that don’t agree with the Pope would just become Protestants. I guess I should just be grateful for the watered down Gospel at my parish on Sundays. I prefer to attend Mass on weekdays when an elderly retired priest says the Mass. He is very orthodox and has always told it like it is. The people that attend Mass on weekdays are also more reverant than the Sunday crowd. I wish our Diocese had someone like Bishop Vaso. Unfortunately, I don’t see our Bishop’s name on this website.

  • Patty

    Thank you Bishop Vaso. All of us Catholics hold that the original Creed inspired by the Holy Spirit with each of the original apostles stating an article of belief – all in the presence of Mary – Mother of God is so completely full, true, sacred, and it doesn’t need amending. It was the first CCD! The secular world is so massive these days I think that sometimes we get confused as to how to “get out of Babylon.” More explanations, more theology, more tests, more amendments, more rules, more and more restrictions in order to make children safe in our parishes is showing itself to be an error in our response to an increasingly unholy environment. My suggestion is to stop doing responding to the ever-arguing secular world. I very much believe that in order to protect our children and teach them what Jesus taught, we have to develop a very close and personal parish community. CCD teachers should have the qualities that St. Paul set forth for church community leaders in his epistles so that the teachers themselves are an example to the children. CCD teachers should be stable, sober and have a deep and recognizable love for Jesus and His Catholic Church. In a parish the pastor should know who, what and how the CCD teacher spends their daily life as a lay person. The pastor should be the confessor of the CCD teacher. But it seems that these august guidelines have been there since they compiled the New Testament and it is frustrating that we don’t abide by this wisdom. Instead of adding to the Creed, we should start a volunteer list. Let’s list everything we voluntarily reject about this secular life and see if our parish communities don’t flourish….CCD especially. God Bless.

  • Heather

    I pray this be adopted across the country.
    I was directed to an article by a so-called “catholic” who was a religious education teacher for several years, as well as many other “impressive” accolades, such as pastoral assistant, adoration associate, et al., who now writes for an “alternative” so-called “catholic” publication that is outside the realm of the doctrine. My point is that this article “debunks” what the author calls the “theory” of Hell. Her main assertation in selling her new, self made popery is that she, herself, does not care what Jesus, the saints, etc… has said about Hell, as it is “too mean and nasty” to consider to be true and “God can’t be that mean”. Obviously Satan has succeeded in convincing this author that he does not exist. Therefore, the new age doctrine has conquered this person– just be “good” and nothing evil will befall you.

    Therefore, yes, we definately need to be sure that people must assert that they fully believe, follow, conform, and cooperate with the Doctrine and Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church before they are allowed to teach anyone one single word or get their hands near the Sacred Species.

    Furthermore, if one actually expects to be an Extraordinary Minister of Jesus Christ, they really should be a Daily Mass attendee, as well as being a weekly Confessor, frequent Adoration attendent (if daily Holy Hour is not an option), and the Diocese should also have special Eucharistic Retreats developed for these people. This is the God of the Universe, not a tic-tac, breath mint, or ritz cracker. The casual attentions given to the Eucharist by the Eucharistic Ministers is outrageous.

  • Michael RC. Canada

    Back to Tradition, where many stand, I kneel, where many used their hand to received, I received on my tongue, finally I went to The Traditional Latin Rite Mass and never look back, never would I go to a protestant church, don’t make much sense, most Catholic Churches is already protestant, so why leave for one which itself is all the same, nice to sit in the pews where priest talk about, hell, sin, confession and sainthood and are concern about my soul and not the football game or whats on TV, when kneeling, everyone kneel, when receiving, everyone received on their tongue and only the Priest do the Holy Mass and Altar served, yes no girls, girls are all up in the choir loft singing, no special side show such as clapping or kumbaya, only peace to Worship God and peace to pray, peace to know that this beautiful Sacrifice of the Holy Mass will continue and peace to know that many young men in the community are once again join the priesthood, two enter the seminary and one more in waiting, Ah! what attracted those young men to sacrifice their life for the priesthood, I bet it not the water down version, it was the truth preached by real priest, who live in Christ and pray the Rosary.

  • kris

    Thank you Bishop Vasa, I am in a diocese where our Bishop allows cathechists to teach that nuns and priests are both ordained ministers of the church, where married clergy is just a matter of time, where homosexually active teens are ask to participate in public roles at Mass, where nuns conduct the communion services while the parish priest sits in the background playing a chello for the music. When parishioners ask the priests why they allow this, they simply tell us that the Bishop has told them to be cooperative with the nuns. So the Catholic faithful are plundered of their heritage and tragically, many just leave and go to protestant churches where they can find spiritual nourishment. The cross is heavy to bear, yet this is the state of the church. Thank you for giving us hope.

  • JK

    Thank you Bishop Vasa! It is so good to hear about the CARE OF THE SOUL. I would also assume that included in this requirement would be a verbally stated belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. About 70% of Catholics do not. A EMHC in our parish recently went to the tabernale containing consecrted hosts at Mass when the pastor asked for unconsecrated hosts to consecrated at the Mass. In addition to the affirmation I believe all those who teach CCD should take a detailed test before being allowed the catechical care of the vulnerable young. Away with coloring-book-Jesus types.

  • James

    I second Christina’s post!

  • I would love to see this practice adapted in EVERY parish in the country … even the world! Bishop Vasa and others that stand for TRUTH need our continued prayers that they stay strong and protected. May all priests, religious, clergy and even the laity receive the graces required to be the servants HE desires!

  • Christina

    All the catechists, DRE’s, Diocesan heads of religious education, should definitely be required to sign and vocally pledge an oath and fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church and to the Pope.
    I stopped teaching catechism because of all the abuses and persecutions.
    I’ve worked with catechists that are pro-choice, and feel we don’t need to obey the Holy Father.
    I’ve worked with DRE’s that are modernists, who prevented me from discussing abortion to Confirmation students, and even allowed students to come to class and even go into the Church before the tabernacle with a satanic pentagram on their t-shirt.
    I’ve was under the diocesan head of religious education, a nun, who had an extreme pro-gay agenda, having us catechists attend conferences with pro-gay speakers who bashed Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Angelica.

    The harm done to the innocent children are indeed extreme. A dumbed down catholic education with modernist dissenting heretical DRE’s and teachers!!!

    It’s very easy to fix this crisis. Those that refuse to be true members of the Catholic Church should be given a week to think about their decision. If they refuse to be faithful, then they are to be shown the door.

  • Paul C

    If I didn’t believe, I wouldn’t teach. No one should. You owe your God that much.

    Kids don’t need any more disinformation.

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