.- A leading priest in Ghana has proposed new initiatives to counter the exodus of young people to sects. His proposals include a local edition of the compendium of the Catechism.
The Italian-born Fr. Martino Corazzin told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that young people are leaving the Catholic Church to join various sects that have rapidly grown in the last 25 years. In that time the number of Ghanaians belonging to independent Pentecostal churches, which combine traditional magical beliefs with Christianity, has risen by 400 percent. Fr. Corazzin, who has worked in Ghana since 1991, said an ACN-sponsored Ghanaian edition of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will help stop the exodus by allowing youth to know their faith more deeply.
“At a catechists’ meeting I was told, ‘Many of the youth you baptized two years ago – they don’t come anymore they attend other churches,’” he said. “Many sects are mushrooming – and they’re a threat to the faithful who are Catholic.”
Reportedly, 8,000 copies of the Compendium have already been distributed, with another 25,000 due to go out over the next month.
Fr. Corazzin said youth go to the sects’ churches because they want entertainment.
“It is merely superficial,” he said. “That is why the Compendium will be a great help to answer the questions and doubts they have.”
The Compendium, a summary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, uses a simple question and answer format to explain the Faith. Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Compendium in 2005.
According to ACN, in many cases those who leave the Catholic Church either return or move to another sect.
Rev. Dr. Andrew Halemba, ACN’s Africa expert, commented on the subject, saying: “The faith has been weakened terribly so they need a clear foundation and explanation of the basics facts of our faith.”
“After Vatican II there was a tendency to move away from catechisms based on ‘questions and answers’ as too formal and somehow primitive,” he explained.
“Nowadays, they have discovered that there is need for such a book and that it could play a very important role in the process of evangelization.”
Fr. Corazzin said that he expects the Compendium will help people answer questions sects raise about Catholic belief and practice.
“They are asking about Mary, about the saints, all these things,” he said, expressing appreciation for the ACN benefactors helping the effort.
Fr. Corazzin has initiated more than 60 social and pastoral projects in the country, including opening 22 schools.