Monday, December 16, 2013

12-14-13 The New Evangelization, Ecumenism, and Introduction to Catechism

Deacon Arden Wolterman from Lexington, KY was the instructor. 

We start with a discussion of the most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church, and how it is inspired by the historical tradition of Catholic catechisms, which build catechesis on four pillars:

- the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed)
- the sacraments of faith
- the life of faith (Commandments)
- the prayer of the believer (the Lord's Prayer)

A brief history of catechisms of the Catholic church:

Early Middle Ages (300-400)

Gregory of Nyssa's Catechetical Instruction (before 385)
Augustine's Enchiridion (about 421)

These were not intended to be comprehensive or historical presentations of Christian Doctrine.  They were intended to be used for the catechist... "to impart such instruction it will not suffice to place a small manual in one's hand; rather it will be necessary to enkindle a great zeal in one's heart."  - Augustine.

Latter Middle Ages (1000-1500)

Catechism for Clergy & Scholars  (intended for the clergy)
Catechism for Children & the Uneducated

The Catechism for Children began the question & answer format, and had simplistic answers suitable for memorization.  This catechism lost some of the depth of the Christian Mystery in its simplistic format.

The Reformation
There were three significant catechisms written around the time of the reformation.  They all shared two characteristics:  there was a large version and a small version.

The small catechism used a question & answer format with short, memorizable answers summarizing Christian belief.
The large catechisms did not use a Q&A format; they are theological in nature, and were intended for clergy, scholars and designers of catechetical materials.

- Martin Luther
- Peter Canisius, S.J.
- Roman Catechism (Council of Trent)

Martin Luther led the first of the protestant schisms of the Reformation, and his catechisms were instrumental in spreading his beliefs.

Peter Canisius was a Jesuit.  His catechisms had two main sections headed "Wisdom" and "Justice".  Wisdom is what we believe.  Justice is how we live.

The Roman Catechism was produced by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent, and was in response to the split caused by Luther and the reformers.   The council convened over 18 years from 1545 to 1563.  The large catechism was issued in 1566.  There was no small Q&A version of this catechism produced.

300 years later, 1870, the Council of Vatican I voted to approve a universal "small" catechism to be published, but the council ended without a plan for implementing this new catechism.

In 1884 the US Bishops approved a national catechism, and the first "Baltimore Catechism" was published in 1885.

Vatican II
The Council of Vatican II started in 1962 under the pontificate of John XXIII and closed in 1965 under the pontificate of Paul VI.  It was the largest gathering of any Council in Church history.

An interesting note:  of those who took part in the council's opening session, four have become popes:  Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI), Bishop Albino Luciani (John Paul I), Bishop Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), and Father Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI).

"A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors, and saints of the Church, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God."

In 1971, six years after the end of the Vatican II council, the "General Catechetical Directory" was published. 
A Directory serves as a guide for addressing issues and seeks unity in the diversity of a pluralistic church.  In 1979 the U.S. National Directory was published in the United States. 
It is called "Sharing the light of Faith:  The National Catechetical Directory."

In 1992, 30 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council , the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. 

In 1997, 35 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the official version of Catechism of the Catholic Church was approved and promulgated.

It was the first new Catechism from the Catholic church in 431 years.

Pope John Paul II spoke of the Catechism: 
... "while the catechism is a compendium of the doctrine of the church, catechesis ... (is what) transmits this doctrine - with methods adapted to the age - so that Christian truth may become, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the life of the believers."

The Four Parts of the Catechism
The Profession of Faith
The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Life in Christ
Christian Prayer

Each Part has two Sections