Self-esteem: Why?; Why not?
There is a proper mode of self-esteem which is beneficial to each individual, and there is a mode or model being propagated worldwide today which can be very harmful. First let us take a summary look at this latter mode which has in a short time come to dominate the psychological and educational thinking under which most modern young people are formed. Then we will note 1) the growing secular criticism being directed towards it, 2) analyze its fundamental anthropological defectiveness and, 3) see how a realistic self-esteem, in which positive and negative elements combine, is necessary to each person if he or she is to have psychic and spiritual health - and that this distinctive form of self-esteem is in fact inherent in a Christian spirit properly assimilated. Finally we will consider, with some concrete examples, how harmful self-esteem philosophy can make its way into Catholic religious education manuals.
[The following is extracted from the "In Iure Section" (i.e. the legal considerations) of a sentence of July 9, 1998, regarding the nullity of marriage, handed down by the Roman Rota. The rotal "Turnus" or panel of judges deciding the case was presided over by Msgr. Burke, who also wrote the decision.]