Loading
November 12, 2012
The Faith introduction
By Jason Godin *

By Jason Godin *

As the Year of Faith continues, the 2005 introduction to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, written by the present pope as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, can help us learn more about our faith. Catholics can explore the broad contours of their faith and, over time, use it to introduce to the world the treasures of Catholicism.

The introduction explains three important features about the Compendium:

First, the Compendium is reliable because its contents are based exclusively on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope Benedict has identified as a guiding text for the Year of Faith. The Compendium is “not a work that stands alone” or “intended in any way to replace” the larger Catechism, first published in 1992. What the Compendium seeks to accomplish, with unequivocal clarity but more briefly, is to “reawaken interest in and enthusiasm for” the universal breadth and spiritual depth found for millennia in Church teachings and traditions. Toward these two ends, the Compendium employs margin number references to and maintains the four-part structure of the Catechism: “The Profession of Faith”, “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery”, “Life in Christ”, and “Christian Prayer.”

Second, the Compendium is readable because it formats the teachings of the Church like a conversation. Cardinal Ratzinger explained that such formatting reflects the desire “to reproduce an imaginary dialogue between master and disciple, through a series of incisive questions that invite the reader to go deeper in discovering ever new aspects of his faith.” The structure translates into a noticeably smaller product – the Compendium is 204 pages, the Catechism 904 – but one that still speaks authoritatively about the treasury of the faith. It also results in a process that provides a timeless lesson important to remember for 21st century evangelization: effective teachers ask deep questions and, regardless of posing them personally in the flesh or through the media of their era, challenge their students to seek true answers.

Finally, the Compendium is representative because it communicates the faith beyond mere words. Full-color icons printed throughout its pages seek to share the joys of Catholicism to a world increasingly believing only what the natural senses can comprehend. Cardinal Ratzinger observed how religious images “have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers” throughout human history by “presenting them in the splendor of color and in the perfection of beauty.” The Icon of Christ and Adoration of the Magi, for example, make the Compendium “an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message.”

When done well, an introduction establishes context, defines purpose, presents a plan, and prepares the reader for what awaits ahead. The preliminary section to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church not only meets but exceeds these criteria. By describing the text as reliable, readable, and representative, the future pope gives a faith introduction that meets us wherever we are on our journey of faith today. And, ultimately and importantly, the wisdom found within its pages provides a resource for us to go out and walk with others in their journeys of faith for many tomorrows to come.

Jason Godin teaches United States history at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. You can find him on Facebook here.

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: