Monday 1st September 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The CCC — An Undervalued Masterpiece?

July 12, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By PHILP TROWER

The title and subject of this article were suggested to me by a conversation I recently had with three Catholic friends — a man and two women in a parish where I often visit. I have known them for a long time, but not perhaps as well as I thought I did. I will call them John, Mary, and Susie.
John is a retired engineer. Susie, unmarried, is a retired hospital matron. Mary, who has scientific qualifications, is a widowed mother of a family. All three are faithful, if confused, practicing “cradle” Catholics. However, just how confused I only realized for the first time after we were talking about the Church and the faith the other day.
The ladies began with some criticisms, no doubt not entirely unmerited, of the way they had been taught the faith as children. You had to believe everything you were told without asking any questions. Then they moved on to the state of things today, and I quickly realized that they hadn’t a clue about what has been happening in the Church over the last 50 years or what should or should not be believed today.
This particularly applied to relations with other Christians. Mary, for example, asked me whether, if she moved to a village where there was no Catholic church she could worship regularly at the Anglican church. Surely if so many of them are such good Christians, their ideas can’t be all that wrong?
Like so many confused Catholics, she didn’t understand that the Church does not claim to have a monopoly of virtue. What the Church does claim, in the words of Vatican II, is to have the fullness of divine truth and means of grace and it is this, come what may, which Catholics must uphold at all costs if we are to be faithful to our Lord’s call.
When I mentioned a copy of the CCC or Catechism of the Catholic Church as the best way of discovering what the Church wants us to believe and do, none of the three had heard of it. Or if they had heard of it they had forgotten about it, which suggests that it is something rarely if ever talked about in the average parish or mentioned from the pulpit.
Earlier this year, during Lent, I had a somewhat similar experience in my home parish. I was taking part in a small lenten discussion group. Again it was a question of faithful practicing Catholics, but this time better informed ones. There were no doctrinal aberrations or doubts about what should be believed. But there were some uncertainties.
Again, therefore, I suggested that these could be resolved by the CCC only to find that, though they had heard of it, none of them had a copy. So, the following week I took along copies of all three versions for them to look at: the full version; the shorter version in the old question-and-answer form called the Compendium; and the version for young people called Youcat.
They looked at them politely, but no one showed much interest in getting a copy, and one lady said it was too difficult to understand. This, certainly cannot be said of the Compendium, which she may not have seen. But, with a little patience and study, even the full version ought not to be beyond the intelligence of anyone who can understand the kind of manual that comes with a new car or the literature pouring in from our banks and insurance companies. It’s mainly a matter of familiarizing oneself with some theological terminology and concepts which any parish priest can explain.
The CCC is used in our seminaries in England, as I imagine it is in the United States, and lay people can takes courses in it at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham founded in the 1990s by the late Archbishop Couve de Murville. But it is now obvious that most of our lay faithful who should know about it and be using it clearly don’t, in spite of the fact that Pope Benedict put it at the top of his list of recommended reading for the recent Year of Faith along with the Second Vatican Council’s four dogmatic constitutions.
A glance at the differences between the past and present situation will perhaps best help us to understand why, in God’s Providence, we have suddenly been given this unprecedented teaching tool, which is unique in the history of the Church. The catechism of the Council of Trent was much more limited, with the main emphasis on Protestant errors.
Until relatively recently, the majority of Christians lived in countries where almost everyone was a Christian. The level of practice might need elevating. But there was no one who had not heard the Good News, and only a few small minorities who did not accept it in theory. Missionaries were select groups of clergy organized in religious orders who carried the message of salvation abroad mainly to tribal peoples and the agricultural poor. The evangelization of mandarins in China and Brahmins in India by the Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Roberto de Nobili was by and large exceptional.
Today, instead, Christians or practicing Christians are in a minority almost everywhere, including once Christian countries and the peoples to be evangelized are totally different as well as the circumstances that more and more of them live in.
Their backgrounds tend to be urban rather than rural, in the West all of them have received some kind of general education, with growing numbers receiving a college education too, and this situation is spreading everywhere.
But it’s not just a matter of education. Via the media and IT gadgets, even those who have had the minimum are more and more being exposed day in day out to the most sophisticated ideas and insinuations. Even men and women who live in the Himalayas or the Gobi Desert will have mobile phones, iPads, and so on, and will be chatting with Facebook friends in Delhi or New York and forming their minds and ideas through what they learn from these contacts.
As for the seriously poor or destitute, whose condition understandably concerns the Holy Father so much, they too are no longer immune. Like the rest of us, they are daily subjected to a bombardment of information, imagery, ideas, and suggestions subversive to an unprecedented degree of any surviving traces of Christian faith and morals. On a minor scale, there are resemblances to the situation facing the early Christians in the great Mediterranean cities of the Roman Empire.
In these circumstances a simple penny-catechism-type education in the faith is obviously going to be insufficient, at least for adults.
This is why the Church is now calling all of us to be missionaries and in the CCC is providing us with the necessary tool for it. In today’s world, once the faith has been preached or proclaimed and taken root, there is not going to be a quiet lull before the questions about the why and wherefore of this or that belief begin. They are likely to come pouring in instantly.
The second reason why the CCC is so important is that it is both a product of Vatican II, and the officially authorized guide to how it should be understood.
If people do find the full version of the CCC too much to begin with they can always start with the Compendium and familiarize themselves with the full version gradually or when they have more time.
Here is what Pope Benedict said about the Compendium in his motu proprio authorizing its publication. “I entrust this Compendium above all to the entire Church, and in particular to every Christian, in order that it may awaken in the Church of the third millennium renewed zeal for evangelization and education in the faith, which ought to characterize every community in the Church and every Christian believer, regardless of age or nationality….With its brevity, clarity, and comprehensiveness,” it is also directed “to every human being, who, in a world of distractions and multifarious messages, desires to know the Way of Life, the Truth, entrusted by God to His Son’s Church.”
What can we do personally to make it better known?
I would suggest in the first place tell as many other Catholics as possible about it whenever subject of the faith comes up in conversation. Secondly, try and interest your parish priest in it. Thirdly, try and get it distributed as widely as possible.
There are now a number of good Catholic organizations distributing bibles at home and abroad as a way of spreading the faith. However, given the words of our Pope Emeritus just quoted, it seems to me they should also give a copy of the Compendium with each bible as well. This would be much more consistent with our beliefs than handing out bibles alone. Unlike our Protestant brothers and sisters, we do not see the bible as self-explanatory. We also believe that divine Revelation exists in two sources, not one, Scripture and Tradition, the latter being embodied in the CCC along with the Church’s interpretation of Scripture. (See the council document Dei Verbum).
Nearer home, I would suggest that every Catholic church should have permanently on sale at least two copies of the full version of the CCC, four of the Compendium, and perhaps six of Youcat. But this will not be enough by itself. Our priests must actively promote it, show how to use it, and explain why it matters. So I would suggest that classes for this purpose in every parish should be seen as sine qua non of the new evangelization.
It is true that knowledge without love will not win hearts. But love without adequate knowledge will mislead both evangelist and evangelized.

+    +    +

(Philip Trower, a longtime contributor to The Wanderer, is the author of Turmoil & Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church. He lives in England.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope: When we become worldly, we lose Christian flavor

Vatican City, Aug 31, 2014 / 09:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians must avoid the temptation to conform to the world, Pope Francis cautioned Aug. 31, stressing that they should instead allow their faith to transform the world around them. “Christians…Continue Reading

Catholics, Keep Away, Lest You Hear What You Ought Not

The former president of Ireland Mary McAleese will deliver the Rosemary Goldie Lecture at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday week but local Catholics, it seems, are being discouraged from attending. The Catholic Weekly newspaper refused to take advertisements for the lecture which…Continue Reading

“Adopt a Christian from Mosul” to respond directly to Iraq’s emergency

AsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis’s urgent appeal “to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid…Continue Reading

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Stop Abortions at Most Facilities Across State

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of…Continue Reading

Tax-funded PBS To Air ‘After Tiller’ Documentary Glorifying Late-term Abortionists

Pro-life activists are up in arms after the taxpayer-funded Public Broadcasting System (PBS) announced it will air the pro-abortion documentary “After Tiller” – named for George Tiller, the notorious late-term abortionist who boasted of killing more than 60,000 unborn babies before he…Continue Reading

Outcry flares over California abortion push in Catholic colleges

August 27, 2014 “California Catholics are no longer safe to practice their faith within their own institutions.” Sacramento, Calif., Aug 26, 2014 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid backlash from religious liberty and education advocates, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration…Continue Reading

SATANIC ‘BLACK MASS’ GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM U.S. CITY

Concerns mount about ‘dark powers that this invites into our community’ The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has agreed to drop a lawsuit against a satanic cult that plans to perform a “black mass” in the city now that the…Continue Reading

California reverses: Catholic colleges must now pay for all abortions

baby

Two California Catholic universities must cover elective abortions in the health care plans they provide employees, according to a decision released Friday by Governor Jerry Brown. The affected schools are Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University. The decision comes…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Warns Pro-Lifers About Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/25/14 11:59 AM A Catholic Archdiocese is warning pro-life advocates about the final destination of donations for the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, which has become a pop culture and social media…Continue Reading

Why Top Catholic Education Organization Says Common Core Could Threaten Religious Liberty

Aug. 21, 2014 10:25pm Fred Lucas A leading Catholic education organization is warning that Common Core could pose a threat to religious freedom for Catholic schools that adopt the controversial education standards. The Cardinal Newman Society’s summer newsletter named among the 10 things…Continue Reading

It’s hard to engage in interfaith dialogue when your head has been cut off.

  By Benedict Kiely In times of evil, prophets who see it in what Ronald Knox called a “clear light” are not necessarily heeded, though they are desperately needed. Such a man was Hilaire Belloc, as Monsignor Knox described him at…Continue Reading

Archbishop Kurtz Provides Initial Response To Revised HHS Mandate Regulations

August 22, 2014 Disappointed that regulation will not expand exemption, only modifies ‘accommodation’ Extending ‘accommodation’ to exempted businesses reduces religious freedom More thorough study and detailed comments to come WASHINGTON–Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope at Santa Marta: Find The Living Jesus In The Gospel

pope515

(Vatican Radio) We need to proclaim the Gospel with humility not with ‘wise words’ because Jesus Himself is the power of the Word of God, and only those who have an open heart can receive Him said Pope Francis Monday morning, as he resumed his daily mass at Santa Marta after the summer break. Commenting on the readings of the…Continue Reading

Slaughter of the Innocents . . . Sex-Selective Abortions in India

Rome, August 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) Father John Flynn, LC The ratio of female to male infants continues to decline in India and a recent report by the United Nations warned that urgent action is needed to reverse the trend. The report, “‘Sex Ratios and Gender Biased Sex Selection: History, Debates and Future Directions,” was published by the organization UN Women. The ratio has…Continue Reading

The Absent Father — A Meditation

By PHILIP TROWER I’m sure, like me, you have all found over the course of your life that something you have experienced or read, perhaps even long ago, suddenly comes into your mind in a way that throws hitherto unnoticed light on some passage or theme in the Gospels. In my case it is what…Continue Reading

A Decent Lawyer Should Tell Liberals They’re Damned Fools And Ought to Stop

By MICHAEL BARONE (Editor’s Note:     Michael Barone is a Fox News contributor and senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner [www.washingtonexaminer.com], where this article first appeared. Creators.com distributed the column. All rights reserved.) +    +    + “About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools…Continue Reading

Christendom Alumna Leads In “Future Of Pro-Life Movement”

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — “I believe they are the real future of the pro-life movement,” Christendom College Alumna Mary Brand says of local crisis pregnancy centers. “It’s where the rubber hits the road.” A graduate of the class of 1998, Brand has been volunteering in pro-life work since she was in high school, from praying…Continue Reading

Senior Chaldean Official Says… Islamists Have Long Been Planning To Empty Iraq Of Christians

By FEDERICO CENCI ROME (ZENIT) — The year was 1840, when the Italian city of Otranto witnessed one of the most brutal massacres of Christians in history, perpetrated at the hands of Muslims. Eight hundred thirteen people perished in the 18 days of siege by the Ottoman army, bravely refusing to renounce their faith in…Continue Reading

Why Pope Benedict Called For The Rebirth Of The Church

By FR. JEROME ROMANOWSKI (Fr. Romanowski is a priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J.) +    +    + In studying the important summary of a meeting Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger attended in July 22-24, 2001, Fontgombault, France, I thought again of why the Holy Father had to retire. The proceedings were held in the Benedictine Monastery…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Natural And Supernatural “Keys Of The Kingdom”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK In the Gospel of Holy Mass on a recent Sunday we heard again the beautiful and consoling words by which the Lord consigns a gift to Peter and his Successors for the benefit of us all: the “Keys of the Kingdom.” We learn that these “keys” open the doors of Heaven to us because of…Continue Reading

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Levitical Priesthood

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 The second type of priesthood in the Old Testament was the Levitical priesthood. It was established by God on Mount Sinai — whereto Moses took the people to offer sacrifice to God. There is one aspect of the Levitical priesthood that is often overlooked by those who read the Bible through anti-celibacy eyes:…Continue Reading

God Reveals His Name

By DON FIER In last week’s installment of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we examined the fundamental significance of coming to know that all that we believe begins with God and ends with God. “I believe in God” is the first affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed, and likewise, Sacred Scripture begins with the words, “In…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. My nine-year-old grandson asked why, on August 15, the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation was read when it was the Feast of the Assumption. What should I tell him? — E.C., via e-mail. A. You can tell your grandson that there is no Gospel reading about the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven because that event is not…Continue Reading

Justice And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 33:7-9 Romans 13:8-10 Matt. 18:15-20 In the second reading today, St. Paul tells us that we are to owe nothing to anyone except to love one another. The fact that St. Paul puts this into the category of something that is owed to another person is of…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John The Baptist

By CAROLE BRESLIN Thousands of years before the time of Christ, the Pharaoh of Egypt held the children of Israel in bondage. Our Lord proved His love for them when Moses led them out of Egypt. When Mary was carrying Jesus, she and Joseph, because of an imperial decree, had to travel to Bethlehem in order to be counted in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading