The Baltimore Catechism and Codependency-->Post-Vatican 2 Narcissism?

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Call Me Cordelia

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So in Catholic schools the Baltimore Catechism is making a comeback. So far I've considered it a huge improvement over what I received for catechism in the 90s.  All "God thinks you're special," and no "The purpose of life on earth is to know, love, and serve God in this world so we can be happy with Him forever in the next." But this week there was a lesson on "Thou shalt not steal," that had me a little freaked. No boundaries! There was a little cartoon of a little girl asking another little girl, "May I use your sweater?" "Sure, any time you want!" Wait, so little Susie is virtuous for not expecting to have access to her own things? It just went too far for me. The same lesson also said it is a sin to be angry!   :doh: Flipping through, I saw a few other similar things. We earn heaven by our good deeds, we should never ever think of ourselves, that kind of thing. Majorly codependent ideas.

So after I got out of that tangle with my child explaining to him a little more fully that yes, it would be just fine to want to wear your own sweater and to be mad if someone took it from you, I got to thinking.

I've become rather a traditionalist since leaving home, although remaining a Catholic like I was raised. My Nparents' faith was surprise, surprise, rather narcissistic. I didn't know about NPD then, but I definitely saw the religion of their generation as being what's been referred to as Moral Therapeutic Deism. They rejected the "legalism" and "dogmatism" of the pre-Vatican II/Baltimore Catechism/Greatest generation, and replaced it with whatever made them feel good. Which is really self-worship.

This is super generalized obviously, but does anyone else see a parallel between codependent parents raising narcissistic kids here? The Greatest Generation raised the Boomers, which Millennials like myself love to hate as the "most narcissistic generation". I don't know if that's actually the case having met plenty of twenty-somethings who really scare me, but cultural trends and how they relate to Catholic culture specifically are fascinating to me. And here's a shot in the dark: Anybody know of a traditional Catechism that, you know, teaches solid doctrine without the codependency?



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Re: The Baltimore Catechism and Codependency-->Post-Vatican 2 Narcissism?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 11:35:11 PM »
Hi. I have absolutely no expertise in this subject. Not Catholic, not particularly religious. Updh's family is Catholic. About once a year we end up at mass. Last time I was fairly horrified by a children's sermon that, to my untrained ear, seemed to be teaching/encouraging blind obedience. Especially with my recent ootf awareness it just struck me as shirt off a dangerous message to teach children. Sorry if that's off topic...



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Re: The Baltimore Catechism and Codependency-->Post-Vatican 2 Narcissism?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 11:31:00 AM »
It is an interesting question.  I think the crux of the difficulty is that actions and teachings have multiple interpretations.  The little girl who asks "May I use your sweater?" may be envious of the other girl's sweater or may simply like the sweater and desire to wear it for a while, in a spirit of friendship.  The girl who says "Sure any time you want" may be generous and kind, or may feel like this is expected of her and may be resentful.  Anger can be a sin but if managed well it can also lead to positive, righteous action.  So it is with codependency, I believe.  We may be codependent in a way that is negative and detrimental to our own well-being.  But what others view as "codependent" may also be something we experience as appropriate compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness.  Our own belief in God and what is right is what helps us distinguish between the two. 

An experience I had some years ago is when I went to a religious (Catholic) retreat for adults who had been abused as children.  I spoke to the group and made the point that I really, sincerely, believe my M doesn't know what she is doing, she just doesn't realize how she comes across.  So shouldn't I be able to forgive her?  An elderly priest nodded and affirmed that "yes, she knows."  So in that moment I understood that it is just something one has to know in one's soul, the difference between what is right and wrong, and the limits of what should be tolerated.  As long as we are living in a place of compassion for the other, we can at the same time develop our own capacity to love.  While this may also be codependency, it is at the same time giving us a chance to grow in love.  It is giving love a chance to achieve the most that may be possible.  Even if love (and patience and tolerance) doesn't lead to a "breakthrough"  it has nonetheless made a statement of its own existence and its own value, and its own steadfastness.  And that is important and highly meaningful.



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Re: The Baltimore Catechism and Codependency-->Post-Vatican 2 Narcissism?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 06:15:06 PM »
I think that oversimplication  can lead to trouble. 

I  afraid that sometimes oversimplification is not the issue but instead a secondary agenda is at work.

It is very common these days for secular social justice and pop culture, and pop psychology to be generously mixed into lessons that are supposedly Biblically based.