In the decades immediately following the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), we witnessed an alarming deemphasis of doctrinal teaching in religious education in favor of an overly experiential approach. The result of this catechetical malfeasance was a generation-make that two generations-of poorly formed Catholics.
So while the feminists burned their bras and draft-dodgers burned their flags, catechists and pastors burned their Baltimore Catechisms, proclaiming liberation from the rote memorization of doctrinal formulas. But were we better off because of it? What were the fruits of the catechetical novelties of the 60s and 70s? Surely not practicing Catholics who know and love the Catholic faith.
Leon Suprenant goes on with the necessary caveats about memorization without a relationship with Christ and then quotes Church documents on the subject.
Archbishop Dolan tells the story of somebody he grew up with who was saved by the Baltimore Catechism. This man had become seriously drug addicted and the person he was with decided that they might as well just overdose themselves if they had no reason to go on living. That .unless he could come up with any reason to go on living he would just fix up an overdose. After some thought Dolan’s school friend replied "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven." This was enough to deter both of them.
Now I wonder how many people’s lives were saved by a felt banner?
Like any other learning tool, the catechism should not be taught in a ‘vacumn’. It needs to be taught in the context of Catholic culture and Catholic example.(i.e. families that live the faith).
We have found the BC to be very helpful in explaining the catechism very clearly. It also includes quite a bit about a Catholic culture not necessarily evident around us and ‘culture war’. I have found , by teaching, that kids respond well to learning the facts , catechism,math, phonics. They then can use the facts to question and learn more deeply the USES and the PURPOSE.
I laugh when people throw out that red herring about ‘memorization’. It is true that memorizing the times tables is useless if the child never gets to USE the information. However, if they ever have to solve a ‘word problem’ involving multiplication of, say, loaves, it may be helpful to know the tables. : )
What good is knowing how much ‘Jesus loves me’ (the catechism I received for 10 years) if I don’t understand WHO HE IS (grade one BC).
C’mon, don’t you know we’re saved by felt alone?
Yes, but felt without glitter is empty.
…And if Elmer’s Glue should dry out, what will restore its stickiness?
super sticky paste is what shall restore it.
“And upon this felt, I will build My Church.”
Well, I had a serious comment in mind, but laughter drove it out of my head. 🙂
and what was not.) Since this is a form of poetry that originated in Japan, we tend to
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