|Photo by Thicke|
Year of Faith
When Pope Benedict announced that the Church would be celebrating a Year of Faith, he suggested we read the documents of the Second Vatican Council and that we read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). This makes sense because this year is the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and it is also the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism.
Norm for Teaching the Faith
The CCC is only the second universal catechism handed down by the Church. The Catechism of Trent is the other and it was written in 1566 primarily for priests. The CCC is one of the fruits of Vatican II and it is intended as resource for ALL members of the Church. Blessed John Paul II called the CCC "a sure norm for teaching the faith" and he asserted that it would help "serve the renewal" of the Church. He continued in Fidei Depositum (Deposit of Faith), explaining that the CCC "is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium."
According to the USCCB, the CCC serves several important functions. They include:
- Conveying the complete, essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a summative way.
- It acts as a point of reference for the development of national and diocesan catechisms like the "burgundy" one developed by the USCCB.
- It is a positive, objective and declarative exposition of Catholic doctrine.
- It aids those who have a duty to catechize, namely promoters and teachers of catechesis. I contend this includes parents, who are the primary instructors of the faith to their children.
Pope John Paul II called the Four Pillars of Faith the "four movements of a great symphony." They include:
- Profession of Faith (The Apostle's & Nicene Creeds) - what the Church believes
- Celebration of the Christian Mystery (The Sacraments & Liturgy) - what the Church celebrates
- Life in Christ (Commandments and Beatitudes) - what the Church lives
- Universal Call to Prayer (Our Father) - what the Church prays
The Catechism is made up of 2,865 paragraphs. This is how we find things in the CCC - we look up the paragraph number that has been referenced. I liked the way the New Evangelizers referred to the CCC as being written like an encyclopedia, dictionary and history book all in one. In the back of the "big green" version of the CCC are a number of cross reference tools for scripture, papal documents and documents of the councils. It is written in easy to understand prose and calls upon Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church fathers, the saints and the Magisterium.
(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location. (USCCB)