Skip to main content

Introduction to the Didache

Among the many things the brouhaha over the Da Vinci Code did, was to highlight the abysmal state of adult Catholic catechesis. In particular, knowledge of Church history is negligible. I am really hoping that bishops, priests, and directors of religious education see this and spring into action. Or maybe us folks sitting in the pews will spring into action to seek the true history of our Faith. For while our faith stems from the Divine, it has a very real earthly legacy. It is important to appreciate this legacy and understand its relevance to our faith today.

Fathers of the Church blog has a good introduction to the Didache. This first century document brings into focus the Church at near apostolic times.

Twenty-first century Christians tend to romanticize those founding years of the Church as a golden age of unity, when believers absorbed sound doctrine by osmosis, and when Christians couldn’t help but love one another, and bless their persecutors, and feed the poor.

But that’s not how it was. Early on, the Church faced serious threats from self-proclaimed Christians who denied, for example, that the eternal Word truly became flesh (see 1 Jn 4:2 and 2 Jn 1:7). They also denied the reality of the Eucharist and the necessity of the Church. Quite early in the game, there were even some teachers who held that revelation was a private affair between God and the individual believer. They spun wildly creative religious systems (see 1 Tim 1:4) and gave a green-light to unbridled lust (see Jd 7). To legitimize their “revelations,” such heretics often attributed oracles to the apostles (see Gal 1:7 and 2 Thess 2:2).

Amid this confusion came order and orthodoxy in the Didache. It is, perhaps, the earliest ancestor of today’s Catechism of the Catholic Church. And, indeed, the new Catechism quotes that first one several times

The Didache is evidence that the beliefs and practices central to our modern era Catholic Faith have been part of our Faith since the beginnings of the Church. When modern heresies arise (often just echoing previous ones) we need to be prepared to answer with confidence. Knowledge of the early Church is a good start.


Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!