Simple Catechisms

Simple Catechisms

Rosanna Sherman

I make no apologies for my defence of the use of "simple catechisms from the early half of the 20th century" to pass on the faith to our children.

Perhaps, instead, I should have quoted the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who said in an interview published in the book, The Ratzinger Report, under a headline, "A shattered catechesis", that "the first grave error in this direction was to suppress the catechism and to declare quite universally that the category 'catechism' was obsolete" (page 73).

Most telling were his statements: "Every Catholic must have the courage to believe that his faith (in communion with that of the Church) surpasses every 'new magisterium' of the experts, of the intellectuals"; and "The rule of faith, yesterday as today, is not based on the discoveries (be they true or hypothetical) of biblical sources and layers but on the Bible just as it is, as it has been read in the Church since the time of the Fathers until now" (page 76).

L'Osservatore Romano recently reported (6 July) the presentation of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the Holy Father.

It saw the light following publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992. Since then, there has been an ever more widespread and pressing need for a concise catechism that would contain all and only the essential, fundamental elements of Catholic faith and morals, simply expressed in a way that is clear, concise and accessible to all.

It seems we have come full circle.

New Zealand

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