Thursday, December 28, 2006

Have you seen it?

Rich Leonardi points us to an essay by Archbishop Donald Wuerl on the (still relatively-)new U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults. I have to admit I haven't been able to get my hands on one yet, and to go through it in short order will involve a significant re-stacking of my to-be-read list, but that's a small price to pay for fulfilling the duty I owe the candidates and catechumen in our RCIA program. If it's as good as the Archbishop suggests it is, I intend to try to introduce it as at least a supplementary material for our participants. While I would love to replace the Come and See kit we use now given its sometimes, um, questionable content, I don't see that going over very well. Small steps, I suppose. A quickie from the essay, as background:

The purpose of such a [universal] catechism, among other things, was to provide both a touchstone for authenticating what was being taught in the name of the Church and also a norm for the production of catechisms by bishops' conferences around the world. These so-called national catechisms would apply the teaching of the Church to the local situation, attempting to engage readers who could then refer to the universal catechism if they intended a deeper study of the faith.

The circumstances that led to the request for a universal catechism have been experienced by so many of us catechists, lay or ordained. We recognize that we live in a culture that is secular in its pretensions, materialistic in its orientation, and almost entirely focused on the here and now. Societal structures that support what the Church in her perennial teaching proclaims are increasingly challenged. Family, marriage, accepted norms of conduct, all were once an intrinsic part of our society. Today these values are themselves diminished by many.

So, if you have read this Catechism, please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts, both as it stands and as a teaching tool. Catechesis is too critical to leave it up to shoddy material.

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