ESSENTIALS OF THE FAITH:
A Guide to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
by Alfred McBride OPraem
(Our Sunday Visitor, 2002, 205pp, $24.95. Avaliable from AD Books)
by Msgr Francis Mannion
(Our Sunday Visitor, 2002, 240pp, $29.95. Available from AD Books)
One of the greatest resource materials available for contemporary Catholics is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Essentials of the Faith is a revised edition of a work first published in 1994 and is designed to make the contents of the Catechism accessible to ordinary readers.
Each section summarises the main points of a specific segment of the Catechism, highlighting the key aspects presented there. It also provides themes for reflection and prayer, a glossary of terms and ideas for life application.
Essentials of the Faith would be an ideal resource for adult education groups, secondary religious education classes and trainee teachers, as well as for personal prayer and reflection.
Pastoral Answers is, as the title suggests, answers to a myriad of questions on many aspects of Catholic belief and practice. The questions range from those commonly encountered - the correct place for the tabernacle, how to deal with liturgical abuses, general confession and communion under both kinds - to the unusual, e.g., whether, under Church law, a nun could be a best man at a wedding! (The answer, ironically, is yes, because while prudence may dictate otherwise, the Church does not specify the gender of the two witnesses for a wedding.)
As with Essentials of the Faith, Pastoral Answers is easy to read and faithful to orthodox Church teachings. Its advice is also reflective of current Church discipline, particularly regarding Canon Law and the norms for administration of the sacraments.
Michael Daniel teaches at a Melbourne independent secondary college.