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May 27, 1994     The Message
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May 27, 1994

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern'Indiana Scanning the C00techism: Lord's Prayer is a focal point By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "Christian Prayer" is the title of Part 4 of the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church." The catechism, due in U.S. bookstores in English June 22, is an 800-page official com- pendium of Catholic teaching approved by Pope John Paul II. Its first three parts deal with the doctrinal, liturgical and moral aspects of Catholic teaching and are structured around the creed, the sacra- ments and the Ten Commandments. Part 4 focuses especially on the Lord's Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught his disciPles when they asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray." Before analyzing the Lord's Prayer as a model of prayer, however, it addresses what prayer is, why people are called to pray and the develop- ment and kinds of prayer in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and the tradition of the church. The catechism gives St. John Damascene's definition of prayer, "the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." It calls prayer "a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God" and "the response of faith to the free promise of salvation" "According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain," the catechism says. "Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ," it says. It traces the call to prayer back to creation itself: "In his indefectible covenant with every living creature, God has always called people to prayer." It reviews the development of prayer in the Hebrew Scriptures, with Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and Elijah. - It calls David "the first prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer." It says his Psalms-a-l:e "the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament" and "rdnain essential to the prayer of the church." Re-ewing what the Gospels say about Jesus atprayer, the catechism says, "The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who become flesh anffdwells among us .... Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament." Among forms of Christian prayer it cites blessing and Other Catechisms in history By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The new "Catechism of the Catholic Church" is only the second official Catholic cate- chism for the whole church. But its antecedents go back to the apostles. The Gospels are sometimes considered the first great cate- chism of the Christian faith. At the end of the first centu- ry the "Didache," or "Doctrine of the Apostles," appeared in Syria. A guide to instruct per- sons preparing for baptism, it was structured around the "two ways" -- the way.of life and the way of death. Early in the fifth century, St. Augustine wrote "De Catechizandis Rudibus" (on catechizing the ignorant), a 27-chapter work on how to deepen the faith of persons otherwise knowledgeable, but ignorant in religious matters. From the ninth to the 12th century the "Disputatio Puerorum per Interrogationes et Responsiones" (a question- and-answer exposition for chil- dren)i attributed to the theolo- gian Alcuin, was a mainstay of instruction for children. It set the framework for many later catechisms, both by its question-answer format and by its structure. It covered sacred history, sacraments, the creed and the Our Father. In the 12th to 15th centuries a number of catechisms appeared. The "Lay Folks Catechism," written in 1357 by Archbishop Thoresby of York, was the first text to have "catechism" in its title. It was with Martin Luther, however, that the term cate- chism came to be the standard term for the instruction books used to teach Christian doc- trine -- "minor catechism" for the student text, "major cate- chism" for the larger teacher's manual. Luther's "Little Catechism" Catechism to have 16 U.S. co-publishers By Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sixteen U.S. co-publishers will simul- taneously release the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church" June 22 in the United States. With 566,250 copies produced in the first press run, it is believed to be the largest joint publishing project ever undertaken in the U.S. Catholic Church. The recommended retail price for the 800-page book is $29.95 for hard cover or $19.95 for paperback, but many pub- fishers offer discounts to preferred customers or for advance or bulk orders. The Vatican's Libreria Editrice Vaticana holds the universal copyright on the catechism in all languages. It granted the U.S. Catholic Conference, a national agency of the bishops, all U.S. publication rights in English. Because of the size of the project the USCC Office for Publishing and Promotion Services, in addition to its own edition, entered agreements with 15 other publishers, each of which will have an edition listing it as co-publisher with the USCC. The other 15 publishers are: Daughters of St. Paul Books and Media, Boston; Silver Burdett and Ginn, Morristown, N.J.; Brown Roa Publishing Media, Dubuque, Iowa; Benziger Publishing Co., Mission Hills, Calif.; Ignatius Press, San Francisco; Loyola University Press, Chicago; William H. Sadlier, Inc., New York; Paulist Press, Mahwah, N.J.; The Wanderer, St. Paul, Minn.; Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York; Thomas More Press, Chicago; The Apostolate for Family Consecration, Inc., Bloomingdale, Ohio; Liguori Publications, Liguori, Mo.; The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn.; and Urbi et Orbi Communications, Annapolis, Md. I I I IIIII I in 1529 and "Big Catechism" in 1530 were landmark events in catechetical history. They spawned a whole series of Catholic catechisms by theolo- gians anxious to provide a comparable educational tool for Catholics. The most notable Catholic effort was a series of three cat- echisms produced by St. Peter "Canisius in the 1550s -- a major catechism for teachers and two minor catechisms, one for younger children and one for ages 14 and up. The Council of Trent man- dated the issuance of an offi- cial Catholic catechism, and in 1566 the "Roman Catechism," the first such official Catholic text, appeared. Like the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church," it was a major catechism -- a reference work for teachers of the faith, rather than a text for stu- dents. The "Roman Cate- chism" was addressed primari- ly to pastors, the chief teach- ers in the parish. The new cat- echism is addressed primarily to bishops, the chief teachers of faith in the diocese. Among numerous Catholic catechisms written after the Council of Trent and based on the "Roman Catechism," the most influential were a chil- dren's text and a teachers' manual written by St. Robert Bellarmine in 1597-98. Pope Clement VIII urged bishops around the world to adopt the Bellarmine cate- chism and it was translated into more than 60 languages. A common catechism for Catholic children in the United States was proposed as early as 1829, but the idea did not become a reality until 1885, when the "Catechism of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore" was published. The "Baltimore Catechism," as it was more commonly known, was thoroughly revised in 1941. There were actually three texts, Nos. 1, 2 and 3, each adapted to a dif- ferent age level. adoration, petition, interces- sion, thanksgiving, praise. It speaks of prayer addressed to the Father, to Jesus, to the Spirit and with and to Mary. In explaining the ancient Christian tradition of praying to Mary, it says, "When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living." Among expressions of prayer the catechism cites vocal prayer, meditation and con- templative prayer. It devotes several pages to what it calls "the battle of prayer," describ- ing various difficulties people face in trying to praY . deepen their prayer life: The catechism Part 4 with a of the Lord's calls "truly the the whole Gospel," "the perfect of prayers" quintessential prayer  church." "In the Our Father," it in one summation, of the first three the glory of the sanctification coming of the fulfillment of his will. others present him: They ask that be nourished, and made victorious struggle of good Catechisms compa By Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Here are r used Until the BALTIMORE CATECHSIM ' prayer is the !ng up of our minds and hearts to God. (No. 475) -- First, and loyalty. -- Second, to for his favors, ii Third. him the a