Skip to comments.Without the Catechism, I might never have become Catholic
Posted on 10/11/2017 2:12:10 PM PDT by iowamark
The Catechism, published 25 years ago today, is no dry-as-dust manual - as I discovered when wrestling with its contents
I have never argued more with a book than the one that sits before me now. When I open my dog-eared copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I see page after page covered in pencil marks. The comments, written almost 20 years ago, read like those of a stranger: someone trying to argue his way out of becoming a Catholic.
As I flick through the book, with its yellowed and broken spine, I see expressions of bafflement and even outrage. I dismissed one section (83) as Essentialised tradition. Next to another (107) I simply wrote difficulties. But as the pages turn, there are fewer objections.
I remember marvelling at the Catechisms elegant structure: its four parts the Profession of Faith, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ and Christian Prayer serving as a firm foundation for the soaring tower of Catholic teaching.
I was impressed that the book not only explained what Catholics believe, but also how to be a Catholic. I had expected it to be a dry-as-dust manual, but it had such zeal and beauty that my objections to Catholicism collapsed one by one, until none remained.
It was only later that I discovered how controversial the Catechism had been within the Catholic Church. As Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explains in an interview marking the books 25th anniversary, there were violent discussions over whether a universal Catechism was desirable or even possible.
The main argument of the opponents of this project, he recalls, was: it is impossible to create a book of faith for the entire world a Catechism for the whole world Church today, in the face of the pluralism of cultures, theologies and narratives. This was the most massive counter-argument against the project.
I think Cardinal Ratzinger took this challenge very seriously. It was ultimately a question of a fundamental theological opinion: can faith today be formulated as one faith in a common form?
I am so grateful that Cardinal Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger and their colleagues persisted. If they hadnt, its quite possible I wouldnt be a Catholic today.
The CCC came out not long after my husband and I joined the Catholic Church. I read it cover-to-cover. I kept it as a reference, but hadn’t read it much until about 5 years ago or so, when I started reading a few paragraphs each morning as part of our family prayers. We read the whole thing and then started over, and we’re about halfway through again.
If my family members haven’t learned anything, it won’t be my fault!
Online copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Compendium of the Catechism, in Q and A format:
Thank you Jesus for giving us these two men for as long as you did!
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, once said that John Paul was a pope who really knew how to pope.
Catechisms and Confessions of Faith are a great thing to help a person get over cafeteria-style faith. I became a Presbyterian after reading the Westminster Confession and Catechisms.
I once felt the same way....until I learned that the JPII Catechism is not the same as previous Catholic Catechisms such as the Baltimore or Pius X’s Catechisms.
JPII’s “New” Catechism (as with JPII’s “New” Code of Canon Law) bases its theology on Vatican II, not on the Catholic Faith prior to Vatican II.
I think that’s accurate. Pope John Paul, the first non-Italian in centuries was something new when something new was needed.
Why was something new needed?
It was the Church “reformers” who demanded and got a new catechism, but the JPII and Pope Benedict stepped in and took over, and produced a really excellent, and basically traditional, catechism.
It is erudite, yet accessible, and as the article said, often very elegantly composed.
I don’t think that’s true. As an RCIA teacher I have been very favorably impressed by the Ratzinger Catechism’s fidelity to Scripture and Tradition.
The footnotes alone, I think, provide enough substance to challenge the skeptic and nourish the intellectually honest.
Well, if you believe Vatican II is “traditional”, then there’s really nothing I could say to convince you otherwise.
What I can say is I once believed as you do.
There are a lot of things that posters here didn’t think was true (especially regarding Francis)....until it was.
Wonderful idea. Thanks so much.
Perhaps you need to read more closely. Mrs. Don-O said the following:
As an RCIA teacher I have been very favorably impressed by the Ratzinger Catechisms fidelity to Scripture and Tradition. The footnotes alone, I think, provide enough substance to challenge the skeptic and nourish the intellectually honest.
Did you see that? CATECHISM. FOOTNOTES.
Yet you replied with, Well, if you believe Vatican II is traditional, then theres really nothing I could say to convince you otherwise.
Mrs. Don-O said that the CATECHISM is faithful to Scripture and Tradition. And she said that the FOOTNOTES (of that CATECHISM) are worthwhile. You, instead, talked about Vatican II.
Vatican II is not the CCC. The CCC is not Vatican II. One is a Church council. The other is a catechism.
You’re welcome. I enjoy it (but I read big history and science books for fun ...). Sometimes we read a whole page, and other days just a paragraph. It depends on how long the schedule discussion, the daily lectionary readings, and the chapter of the Bible are.
I also worked through a Catechism. Then I became a Communicant member of the Lutheran Church. ;-D
It’s extremely helpful for a church to have a catechism. Not just a “Statement of Principles,” or something like that, but a specific, detailed, nail-it-down catechism. It could be question-and-answer, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Baltimore Catechism, or it could be more in the textbook form of the CCC.
Regardless of the format, a person who is signing on the church should be able to answer any major questions that come up by referencing specifics in an official church document.
I couldn’t agree with you more. I have tried to find details regarding other denominations, but most do not seem to have a written statement of their doctrine. Perhaps they just “wing it”.
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