The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

BERLIN, JUNE 7, 2005 ( Youth requesting visas to visit Germany for World Youth Day should study their catechism.

More than a million young people are expected to attend the event in August, and the German government wants to make sure illegal immigrants, especially from the Balkans, aren't among them.

German embassies abroad have developed a test to sort out the true pilgrims from those seeking to take advantage of the fast-lane regulation visas.

The questionnaire asks, among other things, how and when Jesus died, the seven deadly sins and the sacraments. A passing score is 70.

I see a couple problems with this idea. First, now that they've made their plan public, what's there to stop the illegal immigrants from studying up on Catholicism? Secondly, and more amusingly, I wonder how many legitimate pilgrims will be disqualified through no fault of their own, just bad catechesis. I wonder how many youth ministers couldn't do it. This past year, I taught a class of 7th grade girls for our church's junior high youth program. We had to repeatedly go over the concepts of mortal vs. venial sins, the state of grace, etc., simply because they had never heard it before. I don't even think those topics were technically covered in the lesson plans, but we wound up there anyway. There were definitely times when I wanted to throw away the lessons I had been given and pull out a Baltimore Catechism. It may not have fun crafts like "make a paper-mache Holy Spirit" (or whatever we were supposed to do), but it probably would have been a lot more effective at getting the point across.

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