Studied 245 parents 73 were Catholic from upper, middle & lower classes. Personal in depth interviews
The household is a culture in miniature a meaning-making project. It is fundamental to children's existential initiation. It is permeable to other cultures - sports, faith, etc.
Parental transmission of faith is a cultural project
Catholicism is a lifelong commitment
Success happens when maturing children see that Catholic commitment = success.
Failure happens when maturing children see that Catholic commitment = failure.
Children must perceive intrinsic value to religious commitment. They easily see inauthenticity when they see gaps in modeling or elevation of other priorities.
Parents are "arch-celebrities" in their household by power of personality practices and way of being - they model & generate culture of household. they are the dominant influence.
Many Catholic parents outsource religion to the parish program.
Interview with mother of 3 teens who is personally devoted to faith.. has the intention to transmit, but her religiosity is thin. So sends them to religious ed.
Any household that intends to transmit faith has to have
- narrative of motives
- degree of conscious intentionality
- parents supplying religious content
- enacted interpretation of intended religiosity at key moments in family life
- Morale boost
- Ethnic -family identity
Many are inarticulate/ineffective
Key question is there gap between motive and commitment?
When parents reflect on their motive there is coherence
Frequent, repetitive and participatory
Religious content takes several forms:
Institutions and programs are secondary to parental modeling.
Failure is not because of bad programming but failure of parental modeling
Effective households reflect inter penetration of church & home
Religious content is not in itself enough
- Conversations in household
- Parental explicitness about transmission
- Outward manifestation of parental conversion
- Substantial processing of religious motives in life experiences I the household
Spiritual personality of parents is single most powerful force. Possible only if they intend transmission
Parents and churches both need to understand centrality of parental role. Faith cannot be seen as belonging only to parents.Parents are Gatekeepers, Sponsors, Interpreters of Catholicism to their children
Q & A
Who is the carrier of Catholic faith now? The old carriers in our culture don't carry any more. The challenge is for parent and churches to be reflexive now.
Empower parents to share faith, don't shame them.
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