Saturday, October 12, 2002

National Adult Catechism

There was some discussion yesterday at HMS Blog concerning the National Adult Catechism (here, here, here, and here) which is being put together by the US Bishops Conference. I'm here to reassure anybody who happens to read this that the NAC is nothing to be concerned about; it's not an attempt by the bishops to undermine the CCC by "filtering" it through an American Catechism. The fact of the matter is, a national catechism is specifically called for by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, which "introduces" the CCC; in that Constitution, the Holy Father states:

"This catechism is not intended to replace the local catechisms duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, the diocesan Bishops and the Episcopal Conferences, especially if they have been approved by the Apostolic See. It is meant to encourage and assist in the writing of new local catechisms, which take into account various situations and cultures, while carefully preserving the unity of faith and fidelity to catholic doctrine" (emphasis added).

In other words, the bishops are doing exactly what they were expected to: draft and promulgate (with Rome's approval, of course), a catechism which applies the universal teachings of the CCC to the specific cultural context of the United States. This intention on Rome's part was reiterated just yesterday at the international conference held in Rome this week celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of the CCC, in the message written by the conference's participants: "This Assembly hopes that with patient, but strongly resolute means, the aim of the Apostolic See be accomplished, that is that National Catechisms and National Directories for the different age groups be written and published. These are inestimable instruments for catechesis called to bring the strength of the Gospel into the heart of culture and the cultures (cf. DGC 131)" (emphasis added). Note: it is the intention of the Apostolic See that national catechisms be written.

Nor is such an action anything new... the venerable Baltimore Catechism was nothing but an application of the Roman Catechism (written after Trent in the 16th century) to our country in the late 19th century.

Furthermore, the draft of the American NAC has already been sent to our bishops for consultation, and I can assure you that the text is excellent.

Hope this helps.

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