A lucid, balanced explanation of the Catholic Catechism
A TOUR OF THE CATECHISM
Volume One: The Creed
by John Flader
(Modotti Press, 2011, 246pp, $29.95. ISBN 978-1-92142-184-6. Available from Freedom Publishing)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church was produced to provide Catholics and inquiring non-Catholics with a sure guide to the Church's teaching. But there is a big problem: many people find it too difficult. That shouldn't be the case, because it is clearly written, but the fact remains that many find it daunting and won't persevere in studying it.
This excellent book provides a remedy by explaining the section on the Creed in terms anyone should be able to understand.
The author, Father John Flader, has been giving very popular adult education courses on the Catechism for many years, and his practical experience shows in this lucid, balanced text. I'll just highlight a few points.
Dealing with the definitive teaching of the Church that God's existence can be proved from reason, he offers simple explanations of classic arguments drawn from reason. He notes the statement of Professor Fred Hoyle, an atheist, that a super intelligence must be the cause of the order in the world, and that the probability of life occurring on earth by chance is about as unlikely as a tornado blowing through a junkyard and constructing a Boeing 747.
Father Flader gives a simple account of the Catechism's teaching on Divine Revelation, and how it contrasts Revelation in that sense with the private revelations sometimes granted by God to chosen people.
Some find the word dogma irritating, but Father Flader shows that dogmas "are like lighthouses, fixed points, sending out their beacons of truth to guide us to the safe harbour of heaven."
In reference to the Catechism's treatment of creation in Genesis, he has an informative section on the theory of evolution, in which he notes one conclusion in modern science that all existing human males have descended from one father, and all existing human females from one mother.
Dealing with official Church teaching about the knowledge had by Jesus Christ when he was on earth, Father Flader comments that "it is absurd to say that Christ, at some stage of his life, did not know that he was God, or that he was unaware of his divine mission."
The Catechism does not gloss over unpopular doctrines, insisting on the reality of an everlasting hell for those who die in mortal sin. Father Flader comments: "It is helpful to consider the topic of hell in our meditation from time to time, for, as St Thomas Aquinas says, 'Those who in their meditation often go down to hell during life will not easily go down there at death'."
This book is suitable for private reading, discussion groups, instructing converts, and for reference. It would be an excellent text for a series of lectures on the Creed, and religion teachers in schools will find it invaluable. It should be in libraries.