Friday, May 31, 2013


Do our Catholic children and most adults know what these image teaches?

All of us know one of the elephants in the room of the Catholic Church. Our religious education programs are not handing on the essence of our Catholic Faith, our parents are befuddled about their role in handing on the faith and the materials we use are vapid or if good do not make an impression on young minds. We are afraid of asking for memorization and thus most don't remember anything they've learned about God and Church other than some niceties and feel good emotions.

I teach each class of our grades 1-6 (we don't have 7th or 8th) each Thursday, rotating classes from week to week. For the last two years I have used Baltimore Catechism #1 as my text book. It is wonderful to use with children and it is so simple yet has so much content. If Catholics, all Catholics, simply studied Baltimore Catechism #1, we would have very knowledgeable Catholics.

These past two years I've used Baltimore Catechism #2 with our adult religious program which we call Coffee and Conversation following our 9:30 AM Sunday Mass, which coincides with our CCD program which we call PREP (Parish Religious Education Program).

This #2 book has more content and is for middle school, but upper elementary school children must have been more capable of more serious content back when this book was formulated and used through the mid 1960's because it is a great book to use with adults and not childish at all. We all use this same book as a supplemental book for the RCIA because it is so clear, nobly simple and chocked full of content!

Yes, there are some adjustments that need to be made to some chapters, but not that many, in light of Vatican II and the new emphasis we have on certain aspects of Church that are not present in the Baltimore Catechism. But these are really minor.

What is more important though is that when the Baltimore Catechism was used through the mid 1960's it was basically the only book that was used for children in elementary and junior high school. It was used across the board in the USA thus uniting all Catholics in learning the same content. There was not, in other words, a cottage industry of competing publishing houses selling new books and different content each year.

The same thing has occurred with liturgical music, a cottage industry of big bucks has developed around the sale of new hymnals, missalettes and new music put on the open market for parishes to purchase. It is a money making scheme.

Why do our bishop allow this to happen in both liturgical music and parish catechesis? The business of selling stuff to parishes and making mega bucks off of it is a scandal that has not be addressed.

In the meantime, our liturgies suffer and become fragmented because every parish uses a different resource for liturgical music and the same is true of religious formation, everyone uses something different of differing quality or no quality at all.

Isn't it time to wake up and move forward with tried and true practices that were tossed out in favor of a consumerist's approach to our faith that has weakened our liturgies, our parishes and our individual Catholics?


Anonymous 5 said...

1) Add to the list of banal moneymakers the NAB, which American parishes are required to use at Mass. If memory serves, the USCCB holds the copyright, so it's a moneymaker for them despite the fact that it's a pretty bad translation with no literary value. More on this:

2) I don't think most people realize exactly how bad most catechesis is. The teachers (including priests) and materials sin by both omission and commission; regarding the latter they deliberately and actively misrepresent the Catholic faith, and I know of at least two situations in which very orthodox persons seeking to join the Church were either refused or actively discouraged from doing so by priests.

qwikness said...

That Baltimore Catechism #1 looks like a good gift. I recently gave the YouCat as a gift for Confirmation. Hopefully it was the right decision.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, apologetics was a great benefit to me and it may be to others not only as a defense but as a comparison. Around here in the South we are surrounded by the protestants and some of there understanding might seep in thereby causing confusion if not misunderstanding of our own faith. As an analogy, studying a foreign language has helped me with my understanding of English grammar. Apologetics has helped me see the Protestant side's misinterpretation and understand my side and form a defense and explanations. It explains all the important beliefs such as the Real Presence, transubstantiation, Primacy of the Pope, Faith and Works. Mary and the Saints. I believe it is invaluable.

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

So, Father, do you require the Baltimore Catechism be used by the CCD instructors in your parish, or is it just a special thing you do, while the regular teachers use the typical "arts and craft" junk?

I once donated a box of "penny Caetechisms" to my parish's CCD program to use as a supplement to the regular "arts and crafts" textbooks. They went unused, and suspect may have been thrown into the recycle bin.

rcg said...

This can't be over emphasised. There is a related thread in the Fr Z blog concerning the defeat of Christianity in UK and its replacement by Islam. The Muslims actually operate in an atmosphere of their religion and defy anyone to stop it. I don't admire that in itself, but Christians have allowed their teachings to be softened to the point they have evaporated from our culture. Some were just taught incorrectly, or the clergy simply don't believe or understand them. Many years ago I confessed to priest that I didn't understand or really believe transubstantiation. He said, in summary, didn't matter. Eventually I came to understand it and confess it is true, but the poor young priest was not well trained and I wonder what other souls wandered away because he just did not know what he should.

Gregorian Mass said...

Blame the spirit if "Emancipation"

sicar said...

Just to comment on one of the illustrations: I believe that the souls in Purgatory do pray for us.