Martin Luther Would Be Proud

Written by Gary Shirley

Continued from page 1

Clearly intrigued, and impressed with Jeff’s insights, Tom said, “Are you saying that good Catholics can actually deepen their state of sin by following their conscience instead of a Church teaching that they find difficult or confusing? If you are, then where liesrepparttar hope ofrepparttar 126935 Christian life? Where, indeed, isrepparttar 126936 mercy?” With a quick glance at Rose, who was enjoyingrepparttar 126937 dialogue, Jeff responded, “Two issues, Tom. First, I am drawing that fine line between truly not knowing a certain teaching ofrepparttar 126938 faith versus knowingrepparttar 126939 teaching in your heart and ignoring it willfully. This distinction is crucial. Do you think there’s a Catholic out there who does not know thatrepparttar 126940 Church is against all forms of artificial contraception? Yet, millions of Catholics wantonly disobey this teaching. How about capital punishment? The Church has come out inrepparttar 126941 Catechism and inrepparttar 126942 media againstrepparttar 126943 taking of human life for any reason, including those on death row. The position has been made clear many times. Now, poll your fellow Catholicsrepparttar 126944 next time an execution is scheduled. The result? ‘Killrepparttar 126945 guy,’ many will say. ‘An eye for an eye...’ and allrepparttar 126946 usual clichés will come easily offrepparttar 126947 tongue. Where’srepparttar 126948 support ofrepparttar 126949 Church’s teaching? Where’srepparttar 126950 deference to her authority? Where’srepparttar 126951 obedience? Ifrepparttar 126952 Church does not possessrepparttar 126953 one truth, who does? Once again we have “protestantized”repparttar 126954 faith. Pick any teaching ofrepparttar 126955 Church, it really doesn’t matter which one - fromrepparttar 126956 executive who thinks “white” lies are acceptable business practice, torepparttar 126957 feminist who refuses to acknowledgerepparttar 126958 sacredness of new life, torepparttar 126959 student who insists thatrepparttar 126960 cheating he does now is offset byrepparttar 126961 good he will do as a doctor inrepparttar 126962 future. In each case, they know in their hearts that they are doing wrong but to absolve themselves they vilify Holy Mother Church for solemnly reminding them of Christ’s call to perfection.”

“Sounds to me like it’s better to not knowrepparttar 126963 faith at all and plead ignorance atrepparttar 126964 feet of God when I die,” remarked Tom. “Sure, Tom,” responded Jeff, “and Our Lord should have just sat under a palm tree eating dates and not bothered to teach his flock. That brings me torepparttar 126965 second issue - never forget that we have an obligation to form our conscience. This obligation is serious, it is difficult and it is lifelong. We cannot hide behind the, ‘I’m following my conscience’ defense when we fail to properly form that conscience. We haverepparttar 126966 resources to meet this obligation inrepparttar 126967 form ofrepparttar 126968 Deposit of Faith. The Bible, Catechism, writings ofrepparttar 126969 Fathers, Saints, Doctors and Councils all provide insights intorepparttar 126970 wisdom ofrepparttar 126971 ages, ably presented to us by our bishops, priests and deacons. With these profound resources we are equipped to handle life’s moral and spiritual challenges. The problem is that most Catholics attempt to get by with an eighth-grade understanding ofrepparttar 126972 Church’s teachings or, worse, they adopt society’s spin onrepparttar 126973 profound issues of our day. That’s like turning to a Ford dealer to discussrepparttar 126974 virtues of owning a Chevy,” Jeff concluded.

Roundingrepparttar 126975 curve into his subdivision, Tom seemed pensive. Jeff read his brother’s face and asked, “What is it, Tom? Are you still convinced that your pastor was wasting his breath today?” “Quiterepparttar 126976 contrary,” replied Tom. “I now realize he was doing his job by keeping us aware of our Christian obligations. Like many inrepparttar 126977 congregation, I put up my personal filter screen to block what I did not want to hear. It’s always easier to sit inrepparttar 126978 pew and mockrepparttar 126979 message.” He continued, “I feel somewhat overwhelmed byrepparttar 126980 work I need to do to raise my level of understanding. What do you recommend?” Jeff, sensing his brother’s sincerity, replied, “I recommend we start with a pot of Linda’s excellent Colombian coffee, then we’ll crack open that beautiful Catechism you have in your study. You know...repparttar 126981 one still inrepparttar 126982 shrink wrap,” he teased, as only a brother could do.

Gary Shirley, his wife, and three children are members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Gary serves as catechist in the adult education program.

Navigating the Catechism

Written by Gary Shirley

Continued from page 1

A. The Sacraments of Initiation, Healing, and Vocation

B. Sacramentals

Life in Christ - This part ofrepparttar Catechism encapsulatesrepparttar 126934 teachings ofrepparttar 126935 faith onrepparttar 126936 inestimable value and dignity of human life. It is here where we explore those issues that often putrepparttar 126937 Church at odds withrepparttar 126938 global “culture of death.” We learn about how, fromrepparttar 126939 earliest years ofrepparttar 126940 faith, Christians honored human life from conception to natural death. We go on to learn how, contrary to societal notions, sin and its devastating effects cannot be masked behind euphemisms or “relative” morality. The Catechism conducts an exhaustive review ofrepparttar 126941 Ten Commandments, reminding us that they are still in force and how they must serve asrepparttar 126942 template to shape our lives. In summary, this part ofrepparttar 126943 Catechism explains:

A. Dignity ofrepparttar 126944 Human Person

B. Christian Morality

C. Virtues

D. Sin

E. Social Justice

F. The Ten Commandments

Christian Prayer - The last section ofrepparttar 126945 Catechism offers insights intorepparttar 126946 importance of maintaining intimate contact with our Creator through prayer. We learn aboutrepparttar 126947 various types of prayer,repparttar 126948 intrinsic value of prayer andrepparttar 126949 obstructions that can affectrepparttar 126950 quality of our prayer life. Prayer is essential to our pilgrimage but, like any endeavor, it takes practice and commitment. Saints have reminded us that God is interested in quality, not quantity. The Catechism closes with a superb exposition ofrepparttar 126951 Our Father,repparttar 126952 prayer taught to us byrepparttar 126953 Lord himself. In summary, this part ofrepparttar 126954 Catechism explains:

A. The Revelation of Prayer

B. The Tradition of Prayer

C. The Life of Prayer

D. The Lord’s Prayer

A wonderful feature ofrepparttar 126955 book is that, after every few pages, there is a bullet-type summary (known as In Brief) encapsulatingrepparttar 126956 major points presented. In a culture grown accustomed to sound bites, each In Brief section gives us a quick review and providesrepparttar 126957 cross-reference back torepparttar 126958 main text. These summaries come in handy whenrepparttar 126959 material is especially deep or theologically complex.

A journey through this profound document would be extremely difficult were it not forrepparttar 126960 supporting material that comprises almost one-fourth ofrepparttar 126961 book’s total pages. Located atrepparttar 126962 very back ofrepparttar 126963 Catechism, this material gives usrepparttar 126964 tools to pursuerepparttar 126965 source of Catholic beliefs and doctrines. It starts off withrepparttar 126966 Index of Citations which give usrepparttar 126967 source reference of each footnote, from Sacred Scripture (all taken fromrepparttar 126968 Revised Standard Version orrepparttar 126969 New Revised Standard Version ofrepparttar 126970 Bible) torepparttar 126971 Ecumenical Councils,repparttar 126972 Pontifical Documents, Canon Law, andrepparttar 126973 Ecclesiastical Writers.

Perhapsrepparttar 126974 most important navigation tool isrepparttar 126975 Index of Topics, an improvement made torepparttar 126976 second edition ofrepparttar 126977 Catechism. This comprehensive Index is a wonderful pathway torepparttar 126978 vast array of topics inside. Those new torepparttar 126979 faith find it especially helpful to go here first. They find a topic of interest or concern to them and zero in onrepparttar 126980 appropriate paragraph inrepparttar 126981 text to see whererepparttar 126982 Church stands on that issue. Coming from a “Bible only” background, it is often a revelation for them to see thatrepparttar 126983 Church has squarely facedrepparttar 126984 difficult issues ofrepparttar 126985 age and given a clear, supported teaching. For those of us who grew up inrepparttar 126986 Catholic faith, we find comfort inrepparttar 126987 fact thatrepparttar 126988 Catholic Church is consistent, i.e. that her commitment to virtue, piety and moral living is alwaysrepparttar 126989 same no matter what new challenge comes along. The difficult topics addressed byrepparttar 126990 Catechism remind us that Holy Mother Church never was, nor will ever be, afraid to stand as a moral voice for all ages. A helpful Glossary followsrepparttar 126991 Index, which aids in understanding some liturgical or theological terms we may not come across every day.

The Catechism ofrepparttar 126992 Catholic Church is a treasure. Its riches are wide open torepparttar 126993 faithful, reminding us that we are members of an ancient Church, “ old yet so new.” In miningrepparttar 126994 wisdom of its pages we hear, once again,repparttar 126995 voices ofrepparttar 126996 Apostles,repparttar 126997 Popes,repparttar 126998 Fathers, andrepparttar 126999 Saints. They remind us that, in our humility beforerepparttar 127000 world, we can still be proud to be members ofrepparttar 127001 one true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

Gary Shirley, his wife, and three children are members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Gary serves as catechist in the adult education program.

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use