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Serious Problems with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a new program introduced to Catholic parishes and promises to implement new methods to make catechesis interesting and engaging. Though a quick glance at this program reveals an impressive way of teaching with hands-on materials, there are many problems under the surface. The content taught lacks the amount of information the bishops have declared is to be included in a catechism program. This is partly out of a desire to be ecumenical and not teach truths that would be offensive to other religions. “Ecumenism is not just a branch of catechesis; rather, the spirit of ecumenism does permeate the whole of catechesis” [1]. However, it is largely attributed to Montessori ideology that the child does not learn from the teacher, but taps into a special source of knowledge to which adults do not have access. As we dig even deeper, we shall find the foundation of the program is not based on misguided Christianity, but Eastern Mysticism, specifically, a group called theosophy, an organization from which the new age movement is said to have originated.

Unlike a traditional curriculum that follows a single book for all, who teach the same class, each catechist forms the class from his album page. The album page is written by the catechist during training sessions and is slightly different for each catechist depending on the instructor. There is a master plan, which generally reveals what is to be presented to all the catechists. CGS sets the foundations for the capacity for the specific doctrines to be conveyed within the album pages through these specified themes. The contents of these album pages are handwritten and passed down from the CGS instructor to the catechist during CGS training. What is problematic is that specific doctrines, as directed by the bishops, must be covered in all classes; however, time and again, the album pages reveal that vast amounts of Catholic doctrine are missing from the program.

Upon observing these album pages, you will find that the CGS system is missing many essential details on the Trinity, sanctifying grace, original sin, and angels. This is partly because CGS ideology reflects that the catechist is not to teach, but to let the child come to the conclusions through the inner spiritual knowledge of the child. The founders of CGS even admit to removing parts of catechesis they did not find essential. However, since there is no formal curriculum, CGS has never been approved or condemned by the USCCB.

The CGS catechists are restricted from teaching, for only Christ is the teacher, and the catechists are a mere guide who ask pondering questions. This, combined with only a slim outline of content that needs to be covered, means that it is unlikely that the catechists will cover the necessary material mandated by the U.S. bishops. It is true that one can adopt elements from the CGS style to convey the faith in a manner that is adequate and orthodox, but as our blog reveals, this will be done only through ignoring much of the ideology of CGS.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’s ideology reflects a break with the traditional understanding of passing down the faith. Rather, CGS presupposes the premise that the child already has the knowledge within himself, which merely needs to be unleashed. Thus, the catechist is heavily discouraged from teaching, reduced to a mere facilitator.

“She works from the theological assumption that Catechesis offers children the opportunity to relate to God whom ‘they innately know and perceive.’ It is not a ‘catechesis of definition but a catechesis of invitation’” [2].

From understanding this premise that the child does not need to be taught, but learns through discovering the inner truth he already possesses, we can begin to understand what at first glance appears to be a confusing teaching method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. This concept of learning information was passed on by the teaching of Maria Montessori, who dabbled in the theosophy of Helena Blavatsky. “With this aim in mind, the catechist embraces Maria Montessori’s vision of the human being and thus the attitude of the adult regarding the child; and prepares an environment called the atrium, which aids the development of the religious life” [3].

Maria Montessori believed that faith is not something that needs to be passed down or learned through sacred writings; rather, faith is deep within us and merely needs to be tapped into. One could simply say we do not need to learn faith, but discover the knowledge already within us. “We must remember that religion is a universal sentiment which is inside everybody and has been inside every person since the beginning of the world. It is not something which we must give to the child” [4].

Maria Montessori’s idea of learning religion was condemned by Pope Pius X as an error of Modernism, which he also stated is the synthesis of all heresies.

“Should anyone ask how it is that this need of the divine which man experiences within himself grows up into a religion, the Modernists reply thus[:] … [i]n presence of this unknowable, whether it is outside man and beyond the visible world of nature, or lies hidden within in the subconsciousness, the need of the divine, according to the principles of Fideism, excites in a soul with a propensity towards religion a certain special sentiment, without any previous advertence of the mind: and this sentiment possesses, implied within itself both as its own object and as its intrinsic cause, the reality of the divine, and in a way unites man with God. It is this sentiment to which Modernists give the name of faith, and this it is which they consider the beginning of religion” [5].

The pope firmly taught that religion is not learned as a sentiment from within, but must be taught and handed on. As we can see, his condemnations use the same wording and terminology as Maria Montessori.

“However, this Agnosticism is only the negative part of the system of the Modernist: the positive side of it consists in what they call vital immanence[.] … But when Natural theology has been destroyed, the road to revelation closed through the rejection of the arguments of credibility, and all external revelation absolutely denied, it is clear that this explanation will be sought in vain outside man himself. It must, therefore, be looked for in man; and since religion is a form of life, the explanation must certainly be found in the life of man. Hence the principle of religious immanence is formulated. Moreover, the first actuation, so to say, of every vital phenomenon, and religion, as has been said, belongs to this category, is due to a certain necessity or impulsion; but it has its origin, speaking more particularly of life, in a movement of the heart, which movement is called a sentiment[.] … It is this sentiment to which Modernists give the name of faith, and this it is which they consider the beginning of religion.” —Pascendi Dominici Gregis

We can now clearly see that the founders of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd held the same modernist positions of Maria Montessori. “She works from the theological assumption that Catechesis offers children the opportunity to relate to God whom ‘they innately know and perceive.’ It is not a ‘catechesis of definition but a catechesis of invitation’” [6]. As we shall see, Maria Montessori was heavily involved in theosophy and wrote a plethora of articles for The Theosophy Society in India, where she spent the last years of her life. Thus, a look into the life of Maria Montessori reveals that she was not a faithful follower of Catholicism.

islam catechesis

Maria Montessori was raised Catholic but was heavily influenced by revolution and theosophy. At her young age, she was heavily involved in feminism and altering the relationship of women in the family. This would apparently be a result of the Theosophy Society of which she was a member and led to her not raising her child in spite of her advanced degree and capacity to make a higher salary. Maria neglected to care for her child out of wedlock and spent her time attempting to educate the mentally ill. Her involvement in theosophy formed her education methods as well as her understanding of God and religion.

One of the ideas of theosophy is that all religions contain elements of truth. It would appear that this is what would set the stage for CGS to be heavily embraced in ecumenism. “Ecumenism is not just a branch of catechesis; rather, the spirit of ecumenism does permeate the whole of catechesis” [7]. This has led to a catechesis that has removed many teachings that are uniquely Catholic or counter-cultural.

Not only were the founders of CGS overjoyed that other religions adopted the CGS program, but the CGS program encourages children to participate in other religions. An organization called the Center for Children and Theology is closely associated with CGSUSA and holds the annual CGS workshop, Weaving Our Gifts. Not only do they promote the prayers of other religions, but they also sell materials to be used in the CGS atrium such as hands-on Islam and hands-on Buddhism material to be used in the atrium. Notice that both hands-on packages contain materials to pray according to the dictates of these foreign religions. They even sell a zen gong to be rung before each class. At one of the Weaving our Gifts sessions was a speaker by the name of Sr. Linda Gibbler, who appeared with a yin-yang necklace around her neck. Clearly, there are some serious problems with this catechesis program.

For more information on the problems of the Catechesis of the good shepherd, visit

[1] Sofia Cavalletti, Religious Potential of the Child: 6-12 years, 123

[2] Scottie May, Sofia Cavalletti,

[3] The Characteristics of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: 32 Points of Reflection,

[4] Maria Montessori, The Child, Society and the World: Unpublished Speeches and Writings

[5] Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis

[6] Scottie May, Sofia Cavalletti,

[7] Sofia Cavalletti, Religious Potential of the Child: 6-12 years, 123

23 thoughts on “Serious Problems with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”

    • Congratulations…the “Fake News” has infiltrated this website and therefore, nothing coming from this source can be deemed valid or trustworthy. The writer of the CGS piece, has outright lied about what is and is not in the CGS program. They clearly chose sources who are not advocates and do not fully understand what the scope of CGS is.

      I will point out that, as a former PSR teacher …I would open the student handbook….look at the table of contents…shutthe book…and teach the children in a memorable way …rather than drone on in filling in spaces in a workbook.

      NO mysticism to be found here …just trying to meet the children where they are at, and not kill their curiosity with boredom.

      I think the author of this article did a very poor job of conveying truth and he/she should be shamefully embarrassed.

      • I feel the same as you. The author had a foregone conclusion in mind. I have seen this catechesis in action and am in training. It is nowhere near as loose as this article implies.

  1. This is so incorrect. In CGS, children are presented the Gospel. Greater participation in the Liturgy is a fundamental aim. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

  2. This is completely wrong. Every important doctrine and theme that is part of the approved catechism is presented in CGS, according to the developmental and spiritual needs of the child. Sofia Cavalletti was a highly respected Roman Catholic theologian and biblical scholar. And CGS does not present teachings in a way to capture the child’s attention like a play or a game does, and many silly exercises a typical religious formation class for children. CGS actually presents the greatest themes of our faith and liturgy in a deeply respectful and contemplative way. The author must have some kind of bias that is coloring all his thinking. Really wonder why a brother would spend his time complaining about this.

  3. There are plenty of orthodox Catholics teaching CGS. And we too are very very skeptical of CCT. Do you know that CGS has been adopted by the Missionaries of Charity and the Dominican sisters in Nashville? Last time I checked, the Dominicans are pretty well formed to know how to spot heresy. I think what you confuse as Theosophy in CGS is what we would call the Holy Spirit speaking to children and through children. They do have a relationship to the Holy Spirit through their baptism. Does the Holy Spirit not speak to them as well as us adults?
    We read scripture to them. And give them a chance to reflect on the scripture. There isn’t anything wrong with that. I will say that it can depend on your formation leader, but we were taught to nip heresy in the bud. You don’t wait for the children to find their way into the truth. You correct them if one of their wonderings is off (i.e. if they say it’s just bread and wine).
    Thank you for your concerns. We should all be sure to be attentive to things that are off, but there is no need to toss out something that works. If supplementation is needed to meet catechetical Standards for a diocese those can easily be added (i.e. your claim about a lack of Trinity: the Dominican sisters make a point to have work centered on the Trinity).

  4. This article is based on faulty assumptions. It is not correct that CGS is based on the idea “that the child does not need to be taught, but learns through discovering the inner truth he already possesses”. No, it is so clearly taught in CGS that the teacher is God, and we are all learning from God through the Bible and Church Tradition.

    It is not an academic program with teachers and students. It is a program of contemplating the Word together, adults and children. So is there a ‘curriculum?’ Actually, yes there is. There is a defined set of presentations that are to be used. There is a defined set of materials. There are books and instruction on how to use the materials, such as The Religious Potential of the Child by Sofia Cavalletti, which has the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur – declarations that the material is free from doctrinal or moral error. You are also required to go through a training program if you want to be certified to be a catechist for CGS so you understand the way to present the materials.

    When you go through the training program, you will see that the whole experience is prayerful, not academic. CGS is essentially Lectio Divina for children. A passage from Scripture is read and contemplated with the aid of visual materials. Or some other fundamental truth of our faith is lifted up, such as the gestures of the Mass (the offering, the washing of hands, etc.), the articles we set on the altar at Mass (chalice, paten, etc.) the pattern of the Liturgical year, the Sacrament of Baptism, the Books of the Bible, etc.

    The newly trained Catechist goes through the exercise of writing down ‘album pages’ which are what we would colloquially call lesson plans if this were academic. But it is not academic. Again, it is prayer. It is Lectio Divina. It makes complete sense that you will not always think of the same things when you pray or contemplate the same Bible passage. So while there ARE established presentations (it is by no means a free for all or something you cannot understand what CGS teaches) each Catechist will have a slight variation in what thoughts come to mind when pondering the truths of our faith.

    This is not dissimilar from any other catechetical program. Every teacher has their own nuance to how they present any ‘curriculum.’ The ‘curriculum’ is still the same. The ‘curriculum’ of CGS is in many cases direct readings from Scripture. I am not sure what you could honestly find objectionable about it, unless you object to a catechist reading the Bible to children and looking at the articles of the Mass and the Sacraments.

    Everything presented is essential and central to the Catholic faith, starting with the most essential truths – rather than how many children’s Bible schools start on the peripheries such as Noah’s Ark that children cannot really penetrate deeply into the theological meaning of yet.

    On the one hand, this isn’t a teacher – student relationship. But on the other hand, it does not really make any sense to say that CGS has a philosophy that the children do not need teaching or that they know everything already innately. That simply isn’t what the founders of CGS say or demonstrate. The children are presented the most important aspects of our faith, as a great gift. The entire Level 1 is focused on the theme of gift – that Jesus and the Mass and His Word are such tremendous gifts!

    • I would like to add to my comment, as I have now been a catechist at my parish using CGS now for about a half year with second graders.

      I am blown away every week by the depth of prayer in our atrium and what an impact it has had on my own life. What we are essentially doing is steeping ourselves in Scripture and Church teachings. No – there is nothing in what we do that has anything to do with Buddhism or pagan meditation, and I cannot imagine how that could possibly mesh with the core of CGS. All I can imagine is to say that it is really contemplative prayer, and perhaps other religions wanted to use hands on materials to pray contemplatively too? But you would have to totally change everything about our program. It bleeds Catholicism. It is so solid.

      I think this author too heavily focuses on Maria Montessori and her faults. CGS is not a creation of Maria Montessori. It draws upon her method of making material accessible to children through simple hands-on presentations that contain one major point at a time, going back to revisit and grow in understanding. It draws upon her room setup, allowing children to access presentations once they have been given, exploring them in their own work time. It is not a construct of everything she thought about theology.

      As to the question of whether the catechist is able to “teach” the child doctrine or whether we must think the child innately knows everything… No. I think this is a twisting of the point. Yes, we do present doctrinal truth. Absolutely. A child could not know it without being taught. But CGS focuses on contemplative prayer, not academics. So we often present doctrine in a Socratic way. Also, sometimes we do not have every answer. Ex. “If Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, I wonder what it is that gives the branches of the True Vine life…” We wait for answers and guide the children so there is no error or misconception. There are wrong answers, and we xan say so. But there are often multiple true answers. (Grace. The sacraments. The cross of Christ.) We are encouraged to allow the child to ponder the Word in their hearts, not to give the impression that we, the “teachers,” have all the answers to what God is saying to us through Scripture, or that we know all there is to know, like a school teacher acts. There is always a deeper layer to ponder together. We ourselves should be praying along with the children, pondering the Word and asking God what He wants to say to us. This by no means indicates that we are not also teaching firm truths. We certainly are.

      I would say it is correct that CGS does not meet all the doctrinal requirements of what the US bishops ask us to teach in a pre-prepared sort of way. Why not? Because reading Scripture and presenting the sacraments, on its own, doesn’t directly cover some doctrines. Scripture itself does not mention certain terms and definitions. The Scripture does not tell us the term Trinity, or mortal vs venial sin, etc… It does not tell us how often a Catholic must go to confession… These things can and should be meditated on, however, during our time together.

      I received a sheet at the beginning of the year with 2nd grade standards. It is up to us as catechists to use our heads and discuss those things that the bishops asked us too within our meditation on the Word. This is not a problem. If our bishops want us to discuss mortal and venial sin (and of course it must be covered for Reconciliation prep), then I, as the catechist, can cover this quite easily within the foundational “spine” of the Scripture readings and presentations.

  5. This author must not have a full understanding of what CGS TRULY is! If he did, he would not help nut fall in love with it. I feel like CGS is much like the Catholic church in that people leave it not because of what they know, but what they do not know, and they come back to the church (or CGS) because of what they do know. A little more Atrium experience on behalf of this writer would easily clear up all misunderstandings and he would see that CGS was/is truly a gift from the Holy Spirit!

  6. What an informative article that I articulated what I intuited. The points most impressive to me were: First, and foremost, that the catechist is a “facilitator” and not an instructor of the Catholic faith.; this program has an ideology that is similar to mysticism [to look into oneself]. Just because these women were educated in the field of theology, doesn’t mean they are right. Bishop Arius was declared a heretic for denying the divinity of Jesus, Martin Luther was a Catholic theologian who became too proud in his assertions regarding faith and practices and ultimately left the Church, Palagius was a British monk argued and corrupted the Church re grace, sin, and the Fall of man. Did y’all not read the part about St. Pius X? “I am completely opposed to the error of the Modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition.”

    • Please read the comments from those who posted before you articulating the faulty conclusions made in this ill-informed post. They poke holes in the premise laid out and would hopefully assuage your misgivings. Maybe even consider attending a training for Level 1 and see for yourself what the instruction entails. It’s beautiful.

      CGS focuses on sacred Scripture and the liturgy and draws deep connections between the two. No Gnosticism involved. How many 7 year olds do you know who can navigate the Bible and explain to you what the epiclesis is?

      • His observation of it feeling akin to mysticism is okay. Do not dismiss someone who is using their instinct. I too feel as though we are dangerously leaning toward Kabbalah style of teaching. You can teach the scripture and theology and still have heresy sneak in unknowingly.

        Natural law is embedded in us which leads us to God but that does not guarantee the presence of God within us if we are not believers and baptized. There is a real threat to our faith from those who want to separate man from God. Liberate/liberalism (not the political sense). The CGS is way too fluffy for my taste and I’ve seen the description laid out of the universe prior to God creating the heavens and its super Kabbalah/mysticism heresy. Not to mention the dangers of teaching children to interpret scripture and how it makes them feel. Might as well be Protestants.

        • I very much appreciate your thoughts and for being cautious and discerning in the important role of passing our Catholic faith to children.

          I’d actually disagree with putting too much weight into your instincts. I would question those instincts and try to understand where they are rooted from. Not completely ignore, but question those “instincts” The book Blink by Malcom Gladwell goes into depth the issues with instincts and I found it very fascinating.

          I’d invite you to learn more about the CGS approach and maybe look at some of the fruits of the program.

          “Not to mention the dangers of teaching children to interpret scripture and how it makes them feel. Might as well be Protestants.”

          The Catholic Church teaches that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit and is a living WORD to speak to us now (in line with the teachings of the Church)

          CCC 108
          Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”

          Aren’t we encouraged by the saints to pray with the scriptures, to be led by the Holy Spirit to guide our lives in loving God and doing His will?

          CGS doesn’t aim to have the child determine how they feel about scriptures. CGS recognizes that the child has a relationship with God, and can be lead by the Holy Spirit to learn what they need from scriptures. We are to guide that prayer with the child so they do not err (each work has specific aims for what the child is to learn from it). We allow the child to have a relationship with God and can communicate that relationship in Liturgy and Scripture. What is beautiful is that the child’s response is typically one of thanksgiving that hopefully leads to a love of God and not wanting to ever depart from Him. Isn’t that what we want though, formed Catholics who know God well to love Him and serve Him?

          Yes, we have to trust the Holy Spirit to an extent in this catechesis. Yes, we have to trust the child is capable of learning on their own without us directly saying a fact and having them repeat it. Yes, it can be scary not knowing what is going on in the child’s mind all the time. CGS training teaches that we must be extremely humble in the atrium, we can’t know all these things, and we continue to work praying and trusting that Gods will be done.

    • You are splitting semantic hairs. The point of the catechist not being a “teacher” is NOT that there is no transmission of doctrine, but that it is not done from an academic perspective. The children are 3 years old when they start, so memorizing doctrinal points will mean nothing to them. The teacher is a facilitator because she helps the child encounter Christ in HIS WORD and in the LITURGY, which are actually the main places of encounter with Christ we should focus on, and which encompass, in themselves, the whole transmission of the deposit of Faith. If anything, CGS is closer to what religious instruction should be, because it is definitely not just “a class”.
      This article focuses on Montessori religious beliefs, but CGS is not something she created nor was involved with, which is quite disingenuous, to be honest.

  7. I would like to respond to the spirit of ecumenism comment. I have taken the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training for the 6-9 age child where first communion prep is part and parcel of the training. My first time was with Episcopalians, Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists. The presentations and training for the Liturgy were divided by denomination. The conversations among lowly lay people coming together and asking valid questions of why we are divided in beliefs was a sign of encouragement to me. There was genuine desire to understand. These questions came up again during our presentation of the Books of the Holy Bible with the differences in canon between Protestant and Catholic. These are adult questions more than age 6-9 questions. One simply could not sweep under the carpet the differences when we divided off into our respective sessions using the same materials with variation. Some catechists we’re confronting these realities head on for the first time. If the Church can only propose vs. impose her doctrine, here is a evangelism moment in dispelling ignorance, which is a spiritual work of mercy. We had a whole room of catechists who took back what they experienced in mutual understanding to their respective ecclesial communities and shared the fruit of this exchange. And it was done with grace and prayer and respect. How many people do we run into who ask questions of us regarding what Catholics believe and do not instantly request to enter or re-enter the fullness of truth that is the Catholic Church?

    I will not say that some of the concerns Br. Allen raises are completely unfounded. Maria Montessori wrote her initial thoughts in 1913 on liturgical catechesis in her book on the Mass and Sophia Calvaletti took up this work when she was invited to give religious instruction to a small boy in 1952 and asked the help of Gianna Gobbi who had trained with Montessori. That is nearly 2 generations later. There has been much discernment over the successive decades in what is essential to the spiritual needs of the 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 child by observing and praying with children. The 90+ hrs of formation =Master Catechist distinction for Level I in many diocese and it is 90 hrs additional at each level. One could see that as a blessing or a danger if we follow the Bishop Arius example. Arius did use the missionary field of Europe to advance his errors. What started as a way to serve parishes without schools is now more and more being co-opted by parish schools, which means fewer catechists to reach the public school families and who often stand collectively with their fellow Christian students in practicing their faith in the lunchroom and on holy days of obligation.

  8. Thank you for this article. Love is not a feeling and is not awaken through the senses (inductive). It comes from a solid knowledge (deductive) of God taught year after year through the traditional Catechism of the church on the Creed, Commandments and Sacraments, on Sanctifying Grace, the vices and virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Later on, Catholic moral theology teaches the older kids the duties they owe to God, to others, to themselves. And the sermons of our priests, the reading of the Bible, of the live of the many Saints of the Church and of their writing completes the teaching of the fundamental Truth learned year after year, deeper and deeper. All this teaching, all the saints and the testimony of their life converge to the truth that one must die to self, to grow in God’s love.
    I was attracted by the Montessori system at first like every mom. I pondered and read a lot about it while my children were in Montessori preschools. I questioned the ideology, especially that children should not be taught, that they had the knowledge in themselves and teaching them was an impediment to their development. The first thing we learn in Catechism is that we lost this knowledge after the Fall of our first parents and have to be taught in order to know. Also, after reading a bit more about New Age/Theosophy, I saw the similarities in the Montessori’s ideology. It is insidious as it can sound very good, mixing so well some truths with damaging errors. The only remedy is to get back to study our Faith with some good old Catechisms, to read the writing of the Saints, meditate and pray, so God can shed light on the darkness and enlighten the mind… for the sake of our children, His children.

  9. The above article is filled slanted opinions and is NOT factual.
    CGS focuses on Sacred Scripture and a greater understanding and participation in the Liturgy. There are presentations shown to the children followed by discussion with the children to help them discover the meaning themselves.
    There is no mysticism or new age teachings as we only work with the Bible.
    I am sorry you don’t understand the philosophy of CGS. I f you would like to know more about it please contact me. My information is below.

  10. When I first heard about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd I had fears that it would teach error too. But then I saw it with my own eyes. Not only did the catechist present clear, beautiful Catholic teachings, but the children were engaged and could joyfully tell you about the holy items used at Mass, the prayers of the Mass and the scriptures they had learned. They knew that Jesus was present in the Eucharist. They knew that God loved them and they had a prayer life that was deep and real. CGS does believe that the teacher is Jesus. Not the catechist. The catechist should simply and beautifully present a scripture or a prayer from the Mass and contemplate it with the children. They do guide the children toward the Catholic interpretations, but they don’t hammer the catechism definitions at them. Why? Because a faith imposed is not going to be lived. It is a gentle presentation, enjoyment of the faith and inviting the child to embrace Catholic teaching. They say “yes” to Jesus. This respects their dignity and invites them to be a life-long follower of Jesus. As far as listening to an interior voice, CGS does start with the belief that the Holy Spirit does speak to all of us who have been baptized and that this interior life needs to be cultivated. Sounds like Saint Teresa of Avila, doesn’t it? If a CGS catechist is not faithful to the Church, then you should say something. My experience has been very positive. I would invite anyone with questions or reservations to find a nearby CGS atrium and go observe the sessions. As Jesus says, “come and see.”

  11. As a revert to the Roman Catholic Church, it was largely CGS that brought me home and actually drew me away from ecumenism. The formation to be a certified “catechist” is intense as to why we believe what we believe. Each Album page has sources which include scripture, The Catechism, The GIRM (where applicable), sometimes references to Papal Letters, and so forth. The writer of this article is wrong from the first sentence stating , ” . . . it is a new program . . . “, it has been with us since 1954 and approved as the preferred method of “teaching” in many dioceses, religious orders (as noted above), and by at least one Pope.

  12. This article shows serious holes in the author’s knowledge of Maria Montessori, her personal life, and belief systems. Please pick up and read any of the many thorough biographies that have been written about her. As someone who has, I can say that this article has undermined its own credibility with misinformation and unfounded claims about her, including that she was not a devout Catholic, “chose” to abandon her son, subscribed to theosophical beliefs, etc.
    Please do your research before you write.

  13. The article is simplistic and misguided. CGS is designed to introduce young children, beginning at age three and up, to the Church’s teaching. Level one introduces children to the Trinitarian God, and levels two and three to The Life of Jesus Christ, and it does this by teaching Salvation History.

    It’s true that the Church says catechists must teach the Catechism, but the Church also recognizes that the Catechism must be taught in age appropriate ways and not all of it to every age group. CGS is an age-appropriate approach to catechesis, and it seeks to make the story of God in Scripture accessible to young children in a way that they can comprehend. Furthermore, it seeks to connect the story of God’s actions in Salvation History to the Mass.

    The statement in the article that says, “Maria Montessori believed that faith is not something that needs to be passed down or learned through sacred writings…” is directly contradicted by the CGS curriculum, which focuses on Salvation History in Scripture, The Triune God, and The Life of Jesus. It should also be noted that Sophia Cavaletti, not Maria Montessori, wrote CGS, and what Cavaletti took from Maria Montessori is a pedagogical approach not a religious curriculum.

    The quote in the article from Maria Montessori, ““We must remember that religion is a universal sentiment which is inside everybody and has been inside every person since the beginning of the world. It is not something which we must give to the child” is congruent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God.” What the Catechism calls “the desire for God” was in older writers simply called religion, because all religions spring from the universal desire for God in humans, and this religious sentiment does not need to be put in us. Rather, that religious sentiment must be directed to its proper object: The Triune God, Jesus Christ, and our participation in this God in the Mass.


    Atrium can be a place where the Word of God is heard in silence and stillness, and where the Spirit of God can work to open hearts and minds to receive God. Children come to pray truly in there, and adults are also therein sometimes changed by the Holy Spirit to become as little children. Such are the Theologians most pleasing to God, and called “greatest in the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:1-4).


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