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April 8, 1994     The Message
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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana The Catechism of the Catholic Church: An ore By JAMES CORR Director of Religious Education Following is an article adapted from a presentation by James Corr to the Serra Club of Evansville. The new Catechism of the Catholic Church is written in four main sections following the traditional structure of the Roman Catechism written after the Council of Trent: Part One: The Creed or Pro- fession of Faith -- how one comes to know the gratuitous revelation of God, and an ex- II amination of the articles of the Apostle's Creed. Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mysteries  the meaning of Sacrament and Sacramentality as an en- counter with God; the Mass, as the Celebration of The paschal Mystery; and the seven specific Sacraments. Part Three: Life in Christ -- as our response to God's reve- lation and the fulfillment of the human vocation; how we should live in this world with others following the great com- mandment of the New Testa- Monastery Renovation Contract Awarded Letters of intent for renovation work have been sent to Streicher Construction, Inc., of Jasper; Harrell Mechanical, Inc., of Bloomington, and Weyer Electric of Ferdinand. Renovation of the six-floor complex known as St. Benedict Hall at Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, is tentatively scheduled to begin April 11, and be completed by June 1995. To date, a $5.1 million capital campaign drive has brought in over $3.7 million in pledges. Golden Anniversary corrections Captions for two Golden Anniversary photographs were in- advertently switched in the April 1 issue. The Message re- grets the errors. Information about family celebrations was correct. Oscar and Lorena (Mehringer) Englert celebrate their fifti- eth wedding anniversary at St. Anthony Church, St. An- thony, with a Mass of Thanksgiving, April 10, at 10 a.m. A dinner for the family and invited guests will be served at noon at the St. Anthony Community Center, followed by an Open House from 2 to 4 p.m. Raymond "Jack" and Jean (Primus) Glass celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary at St. Thomas Church, St. Thomas, with a Mass of Thanksgiving, April 9 at 5:30 p.m. A buffet reception will follow. I II I I MILLER & MILLER "A family name you can trust" 424-9274 iiiiii AUTO TOPS SEAT COVERS BOAT COVERS STEREO SALES & INSTALLATIONS 254-3943 HWY 50 EAST, BEHIND UPS CENTER EUGENE WELP, OWNER I I DUBOIS COUNTY BANK YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK i i iiii ii I IIIII I llll I I | Hi-Tech Sheet Metal Inc. | | Residential, In_dustr[al & C orr/meral Heating & Cooling i | Installation Sates  ervice I [422'-'9242 I" H= , ,i l iOpe=ted by Michoe! and Petn'cin Koch 15 S I Third Avenue, Evansville Miller & Miller Colonial Chapel Supports the Knights of Columbus MEMBERS Bernie Miller Gerald Miller Jon Miller Greg Betz I I I ment; and the decalogue of the Hebrew Scriptures Part Four: Christian Prayer our life of prayer, how we relate to God personally through Jesus and in the Spirit. This last part is de- scribed by commentators as the most beautiful and creative section of the Catechism. Pope John Paul II describes it this way: The four parts are related one to the other: The Christian mystery is the object of faith (first part); it is cele- brated and communicated in liturgical actions (second part); it is present to enlighten and sustain the children of God in their actions (third part); it is the basis for prayer (fourth part). History and Origin The new Catechism was pro- posed by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston at the 1985 Ex- traordinary Synod of Bishops at the Vatican. Cardinal Law said, "Very many have ex- pressed the desire that a cate- chism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be com- posed, that it might be, as it were, a point of reference for the catechisms or compendi- ums that are prepared in vari- ous regions. The presentation of doctrine must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians." In accepting this proposal, Pope John Paul II said such a catechism would respond to "a real need." It is important to note the terms used by Cardinal Law to describe the new Catechism: "a compendium of all. Catholic doctrine" and "a point of refer- ence for catechisms or com- pendiums that are prepared in various regions" The pope later stated, "I made this desire (of Cardinal Law) my own," and again re- ferred to the Catechism as "this 'reference text' for.., cat- echesis." And in November 1993, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of The Con- gregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and presider of the commission that produced the Catechism stated, "The Cate- chism is intended to be a point of reference for the drafting of national and local catechisms." What is a Catechism? The word catechism is de- rived from the Greek, chate. chein, which means to echo or resound. It is the term used by Christians when they talk about resounding or passing on the good news of our faith, the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Catechesis does not mean instruction alone. It means more a tutoring or mentoring someone, as in faith formation or training. A catechist is therefore more than a religion teacher. Originally, catecheti-. cal instruction was done orally and homilies were the main form of instruction. During the dark ages, instruction in the faith declined and eventually a book or books of instruction came to be written for this pur- pose. These were called cate- chisms. A major catechism is a com. pendium or book of doctrine, morals, and spirituality writ- ten as a reference work for bishops and teachers. The minor catechism is a book used for teaching, such as the old Baltimore Catechism. The new Catechism is not intended to be another Baltimore Catechism. In teaching the faith, the textbook is only a tool. The person of the catechist is the main source of instruction in the faith. This is very impor- tant in understanding religious education today in our schools and parish programs. TWO Purpose8 The Catechism of the Catholic Church, then, has two purposes. First, it is a compendium of the content of the faith at this chronological moment in the history of the Church. Second, it is a reference work for a possible national catechism; it is a guide for text book publishers, bishops, and Offices of Religious Education in carrying out their official role. Religion teachers or cate- chists may refer to it in their work, but by no means is this catechism intended to be used as a text for teaching religion. Cardinal Ratzinger says that the catechism must be read as a whole, because it is intended to have an internal unity or in- tegrity. But it is not a book that one picks up to read since it is over 600 pages long and is quite technical in its language and format. A Compendium Our faith is a living tradi- tion that is best handed on orally through preaching and catechesis in a community gathered around the Eu- charist. Just as the written gospels capture .a frozen mo- ment in the ongoing oral tradi- tion of the Church, so this cate- chism only captures the faith as it is understood and ex- pressed in this time -- the last decade of the second millen- nium. While we do not expect our major doctrines to change, the way we formulate them does go through development. We can never capture the depth of the richness of our understand- ing of God in any one particu- lar phrase or formulation. Our formulations of God's revela- tion are always inadequate and therefore can always be improved. remains to be seen.: ,i What It Is Not It is limitation chism. It is echism. where and intended to be applied in tural experience, the English .... carefully This quick fix for dissatisfaction ing the gi and schools. catalyst for the process faith to comments refer to the luded to ...... For Catholic Pope John this Catechism the faithful deepen their unfathomable tion." As should the us? In his Seekers ney of the tion," Wade so-called Baby tion. These years old, third of the tion. this ence over stitutions personal munity, giances. that theY are commit thing of for Council taught at the ed adults are i into matt that their ] C prograV a schools fective, faith at ing, anl underS through A Reference Book mation. The second purpose of this The catechism is to be a point of chisrn reference for the development of a possible national cate- faith chism. The Dutch, French, and nity German Churches and others already have national cate- tiate chisms. In the United States, about we have a national book of guidelines for catechesis and work, religious education called the an National Catechetical Direc- our day tory. It includes an outline of initiate doctrine to be taught and is a guide for the organization and of religious education and the the publication of textbooks in the United States. Whether bring we will have a national faith atechism in the future