Sunday, March 26, 2006

on the Baltimore Catechism

Taking the “solved problem” mentality that I brought up in my last post, it struck me that the Baltimore Catechism represents a sort of “solved problem”: a generally agreed-upon solution to the problem of “what words and methods will we use to teach the faith?”

One nice thing about the Baltimore Catechism was that it provided clear, concise answers to standard questions of faith: what is the Church, what is salvation, who is saved, etc. People are right to point out the shortcomings in pre-V2 catechesis that treated this Catechism as a replacement for Scripture itself; in some places children were forbidden to read the Bible! (Incidentally, I believe 19th century Popes granted indulgences to anyone who read the Bible 15 minutes daily.....the forbidding maybe was a regional aberration.) At the same time, it would be nice to have something like the Baltimore Catechism - a “cheat sheet” for learning the faith, a set of facts that every Catholic should know.

Religion is like math and science: you have to accept a lot of things as fact first, without understanding; then, over time, the understanding comes.


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