Young need lessons in morality


Religious educators attending a workshop entitled “Teaching Morality to Adolescents” at the 41st Annual Diocesan Religious Education Workshop Day held March 15 at Bryant University were told that prayer is an essential part of morality.

“I believe that through prayer, a person will find direction in their life,” said Samuel Roy, a member of St. Agatha Parish and a retired science and religion teacher at the Good Shepherd Regional Catholic School, both in Woonsocket.

The speaker said that many people are too superstitious, and place their trust in horoscopes.

“The answers are found in daily prayer,” he said.

Roy told the catechists that they should encourage their students “to talk with God” by just not talking to but also listening to the Lord.

“God speaks through our conscience, through Scripture and basically any way he wants to,” said Roy.

He noted that one of the basic tenets of Catholic morality is that people are created in the likeness and image of God, and “have the power to reason, the ability to make choices and the ability to be lovingly relational with other persons.”

Roy explained that God’s love is shared between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we and our neighbors are extensions of the Trinity.

“The two greatest commandments are ‘Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, heart and soul and strength’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’” he added.

The educator based much of his presentation on Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” a series of 129 Wednesday talks that were the late pontiff’s integrated vision of the human person – body, soul and spirit. In these talks, Pope John Paul II encouraged a reverence for the gift of human sexuality and challenged Catholics to live it in a way worthy of our dignity as human beings.

Roy emphasized that Theology of the Body teaches that cohabitation and using birth control are immoral practices.

The educator said that for a large number of young people, morality is a subject that is often overlooked.

“Many of them have become amoral,” he emphasized. “Morality is not that important to them. Hollywood and the media are their guides.”

Roy said that unfortunately, many parents have “given up” on their adolescent children and don’t provide them with a proper moral foundation based on church teaching. “Parents don’t understand what and why the church teaches about sexual morality.” Roy believes that teaching morality should be part of every religious education program for older students.

“It will prevent many people from falling away from the church and will solidify their faith,” he noted.

Roy stated that morality influences every facet our lives, and is not just limited to sexual behavior.

“If we love another person, we will respect their property,” he concluded.

Printed with permission from The Rhode Island Catholic.

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