Saturday, November 1, 2008

history lessons from the Franciscans

In high school, it was back to parochial school. This time to a very small school of a few hundred students taught by Franciscan nuns and priests. The Franciscans have traditionally been an order that lived in the communities where they worked and did not sequester themselves behind walls.

There was an interesting dichotomy among the staff. The nuns were all of an age to be past retirement and except for classes rarely left the cloister. The priests were mostly young, several had played football at Notre Dame. They were active, athletic, academic.
They attended the sports events and dances and loved teaching. After two years at this school I was way ahead of the state requirements to graduate from high school.

I also, for the first time, started learning some things about the Church that were directly opposed to what I had previously been taught. I learned for the first time that the Church, historically, had not been a single minded, dedicated force for good marching the high road through the barbaric times. I learned about the politics and intrigue and feuds that carried on sometimes for centuries and shaped modern Europe. I heard a more balanced view about the Crusades and the fallout that followed.

I was fascinated by this history. These priests were dedicated, passionate and intellectual in their approach to their faith and wanted their students to recognize the human frailties in the Church and still love it, as they did.

I began to separate my faith from a pursuit for historical accuracy and reconcile the two. Until we got to the Inquisition and a little book called Malleus Maleficarum.

No comments:

Post a Comment