Friday, 3 February 2012

Handing on the Faith

The great synthesis begun by St.Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century may be said to have reached maturity in the 16thy century and the Council of Trent. An important distillation of the Council  was the Roman Catechism, which, although designed for parish priests, catered for the spiritual education of all the faithful. The small catechisms that many of us grew up with, such as the famous Penny Catechism and the Baltimore Catechism, are direct descendants of the Roman Catechism. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) follows the same basic format.

As I begin instructing my daughter in preparation for her Confirmation in November, I should like to share with you some of my methods in her instruction.

Which book(s)?

There are many good books available these days which adhere strictly to the Church's Magisterium. Personally I have adopted the Baltimore Catechism of 1885.

There are three versions available, depending on the age and level of  understanding of the candidate. For Confirmation book 2 is probably about right. The method, like the Penny Catechism,follows a question and answer format. The idea however is not to teach by rote, but to unpack the answers and develop them as appropriate. I tend to teach for no more than about 20 minutes per day from the catechism. This teaching is then complemented by a further 15 or so minutes of Bible reading of appropriate passages. At the moment we are looking at the Fall and Original Sin, so the appropriate passages from Genesis were chosen. Also, once a week, we may look at a dvd from the well-known Bible series.

Finally, never forget that the best instruction of all is that given by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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