July 4, 2012
Notes From June 19
Excerpts of Introduction by Pope John Paul II
· To all the People of God …
· At a Synod of Bishops meeting in 1985 “very many have expressed the desire that a catechism of all catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed … a point of reference. The presentation of doctrine (in it) must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians”. … (This resulted in) this ‘reference text’, entitled the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
· I declare it to be a sure norm for the teaching of the faith. … Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism and to use it.
· It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith.
· The Life of Man – To Know and Love God. God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
· Handing on the Faith: Catechesis. Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God. … the teaching of Christian doctrine … in an organic and systematic way.
· Catechesis is built on elements of the Church’s pastoral mission: initial proclamation of the Gospel to arouse faith; examination of the reasons for belief; experience of Christian living; celebration of the sacraments; integration into the ecclesial community; and apostolic and missionary witness.
· The Aim and Intended Readership of This Catechism. This catechism aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals. Its principle sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium.
· It is offered as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.
· The plan of this catechism is inspired by the great tradition of catechisms which build catechesis on four pillars: the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed), the sacraments of faith, the life of faith (the Commandments) and the prayer of the believer (the Lord’s Prayer).
I am planning to begin the Catechism study with Part Three: The life of faith. There are two reasons for this. 1) This section talks about the “ways we can achieve the image of God through right conduct freely chosen, with the help of God’s law and grace.” It is practical and can be immediately applied. 2) Sections on the Creed or sacraments or Our Father might seem “old hat” --- “I already know that.” I don’t want to bore myself, or anyone else. Since the catechism is constructed as a whole, there is a risk that jumping to Part Three I may miss some foundations found in Parts One and Two, but I’m hoping footnotes and references will minimize this. If not, I’ll go back as necessary. The timing for readings each week is in the Study Agenda (attached separately). June 26: pp 421-429