Sunday 31st July 2016

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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Pence: Trump and I will send Roe v. Wade “to the ash heap of history”

Indiana Governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence claimed on Thursday that if he and Donald Trump reach the White House, “We’ll see Roe vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” “I’m pro-life and I…Continue Reading

Trump Is Driving Catholic Voters Toward Clinton

Donald Trump has held onto the support of evangelical Christians even as he has screwed up the name of a book of the Bible, said he doesn’t feel he needs forgiveness for anything, and struggled to answer the question that…Continue Reading

Catholic Tim Kaine Now Supports Taxpayer-Funded Abortion

Well, of course, the media thinks that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president, is the most Catholic of Catholics. The Washington Post gushed over him, calling the senator the “Pope Francis Catholic” due to Kaine’s work…Continue Reading

Pro-abort VP candidate Tim Kaine gets standing O at Mass, bishop mum on denying Communion

RICHMOND, Virginia, July 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine received a standing ovation at his parish on Sunday and several Catholic priests praised his nomination. Meanwhile, as Catholics call for Kaine to be denied…Continue Reading

Anti-abortion duo behind Planned Parenthood videos cleared

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed the last remaining charge against two California anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the tampering with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Islam is ‘fundamentally a form of government’

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a telephone interview that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.” Speaking with Religion News Service, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said that “when they (Muslims) become the majority in any…Continue Reading

Nienstedt: misconduct allegations retribution for opposition to gay marriage

In other words, he’s the real victim here. Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response…Continue Reading

5 faith facts on Mike Pence: A ‘born-again, evangelical Catholic’

(RNS) While an official announcement has not yet been made, IndyStar and other media outlets are reporting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence became governor of the Hoosier State in…Continue Reading

Trump In Tatters As Catholic Voters Shift Their Support To Hillary Clinton

A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans as Catholic voters have shifted their support to Hillary Clinton. A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans…Continue Reading

St. Anne Catholic Church prepares for 136th annual novena

There used to be a steady flow of stories, tales of miracle cures. They were covered in the Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in the early 1900s. The Catholic church in St. Anne, a village of 1,239,…Continue Reading

More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church

cardc

Editor’s note: the following is an exclusive interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, conducted by OnePeterFive’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Cardinal Caffarra is Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It was in a letter to Cardinal…Continue Reading

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

The Catholic Paths of Pence and Kaine

pk

Two vice-presidential candidates handled disagreeing with the church differently. The dinner reception celebrating my ordination as a priest 27 years ago brought together friends and family, some of whom I had not seen for a long time. While I was speaking with my brother, an aunt came by and remarked to him, “You didn’t go up for Communion at your brother’s first Mass? What’s that about?” My brother, who hadn’t practiced his faith for years,…Continue Reading

Did Tim Kaine Truly Get a Catholic Education?

During his speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia emphasized that his “faith became something vital” during his studies at a Jesuit high school. And Kaine has mentioned the importance of his Jesuit education a number of times recently in campaign speeches. But from his time in high school until now, it doesn’t seem Kaine has ever learned to embrace the fullness of the Catholic faith.…Continue Reading

Catholics urged to fast, pray for peace; group plans novena for nation

By Catholic News Service • Posted July 27, 2016 MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) — Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester is urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace in response to the ongoing violence in the U.S. and around the world. “The current civil unrest in our country, the acts of unspeakable violence in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and in Nice, France, the violence and political instability in Turkey, and the ongoing suffering in the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis on his way to Poland

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is on his way to Poland for his 15th Apostolic Journey aborad and where he will also be participating in World Youth Day events. The Alitalia Airbus A321 on which he is travelling is scheduled to land in Krakow at 16.00. He is accompanied on board the plane by a Pontifical Delegation and some 70 members of the press. Before setting off for the airport a group of young refugees of…Continue Reading

An eighty-four year old priest brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists during Mass in a Church in Normandy – The seed of hate

2016-07-26 L’Osservatore Romano Paris, 26. Shock and horror at the “absurd violence”, radical condemnation for “every form of hatred” and prayer for the victims. These were the first sentiments expressed by Pope Francis – through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi – at yet another episode of jihadist terror in Francis, barely two weeks from the attack in Nice of 14 July. Two men armed with knives broke into a…Continue Reading

Will Putin Get A Pulitzer?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Waving off the clerics who had come to administer last rites, Voltaire said: “All my life I have ever made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” The tale of the thieved emails at the Democratic National Committee…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . The Indissolubility Of Marriage, As Affirmed By The Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Later this year, as you may have already read, a revised edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is going to be promulgated in the United States, featuring notably a new, more accurate translation of the Latin text revised according to the principles of the Holy See’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Additionally,…Continue Reading

James Patrick: The Loss Of A Child

By DONALD DeMARCO We had five healthy and happy children. “God giveth and God taketh away.” And so, in His inscrutable wisdom, He called our sixth child to His home the day after he was born. It would have been far more difficult for us if we had lost our first child. And it would…Continue Reading

Companions Of Jesus

By JAMES DRUMMEY Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Below is a talk given by James Drummey, editor of the Catholic Replies column, at a retreat in Vermont, June 11, 2016. We are publishing his talk in two parts because of its length.) + + + Of all the 73 books in the Bible, only one —…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . The Indissolubility Of Marriage, As Affirmed By The Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Later this year, as you may have already read, a revised edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is going to be promulgated in the United States, featuring notably a new, more accurate translation of the Latin text revised according to the principles of the Holy See’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Additionally,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Of Christian Initiation

By DON FIER Two key features have been always present in the Church’s liturgy, dating back to apostolic times: There is one and the same Paschal Mystery and it is celebrated in a variety of forms. There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I recall thinking that when I was younger I understood that G.K. Chesterton alluded to the Church’s cultural diversity when noting that Christianity would be externally different for us had Christ been born in China or elsewhere. The many Christian symbols, such as the dove, the fish, the lamb, and the ship, would have been supplanted by others. The…Continue Reading

Have Trust In God’s Promises

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9 Heb. 11:1-2, 8-19 Luke 12:32-48 In the first reading today we are told that the ancient Jews knew the night of the Passover beforehand so that they would have courage through the sure oaths that had been made to them. It seems to us to be…Continue Reading

From Casuistry To Mercy… Toward A New Art Of Pleasing?

By MSGR. MICHEL SCHOOYANS Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Michel Schooyans wrote the following essay for LifeSiteNews, which graciously granted reprint permission to The Wanderer. The essay is appearing in two parts because of its length; part one appeared in last week’s issue. (John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, provided this background information about the essay: (“Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a top…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Profile Of A “Saturday Vigil Commando”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Meet the Saturday vigil commando: She will go to Mass any day of the week, at practically any time of the day, except Sunday. She is a veritable fixture at the Saturday vigil Mass and will even return to the parish on Sundays faithfully once per month to help count the offertory collection, but will…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Olaf

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Vikings! The word Viking comes from a Scandinavian word vik meaning bay or creek, with the extended word meaning pirate. The images the word brings to mind are amazing ships landing around Europe, even on the northeastern fringes of North America, to raid, pillage, and destroy. Although this did happen to some extent, the Vikings also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading