Skip to main content

Continuing Education

Ebeth at A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars discusses the perils of finding Catholic reading material.

There is so much information and people to learn from and those to NOT learn from that this is a challenge. For the past 2 years, I have been working on obtaining my Master Catechist certification. Through the diocese of my parish, we are supposed to go through a certain avenue of learning programs. One such avenue is Dayton University online learning. Dayton has become the most LIBERAL Catholic higher educational source I have ever seen. Be sure that if you take courses with them that you are prepared to fight the good fight in defense of celibacy and the priesthood, women NOT becoming priests, Sacraments remaining in the Church and NOT phasing out, Satan being a real entity, not just a mere illusion called the absence of God. Oh, along with this list of individualistic theology, CarolAnn, one of the facilitators for the courses on Ecclesiology that I took, came on my private email to e-slap my hand for taking the story of the "fall" in Genesis "too seriously!" That if I wanted to, I could, but it was far more rational to realize that angels didn't really fall from grace and she chooses to follow some other "priest" and his theology of Satan and the first fall, which is inconsistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, much less the Bible itself!

Oh, how right she is! Reading and studying about my Catholic Faith has not been a life-long habit with me. For many years I figured if I made it to Mass every Sunday I got everything I needed. By the grace of God I emerged from this spiritually ignorant bliss and developed a hunger for Catholic knowledge. Then came the shock. There is a great deal of material out there with “Catholic” in the title that is a far cry from Catholicism. Authors who are called “Sister” or who wear a Roman collar promote a self-styled ideology that never saw the light of day in Rome. Just today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a statement declaring the writing of Professor Daniel Maguire, a “Catholic” Theologian from Marquette University, gravely in error.

On June 19, 2006, Professor Daniel Maguire of Marquette University sent two pamphlets to all of the Catholic Bishops in the United States, one entitled The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion and the other A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage. These pamphlets do not present Catholic teaching. His views about contraception, abortion, same sex "marriage", as well as the very nature of Church teaching and its authoritative character, cross the legitimate lines of theological reflection and simply enter into the area of false teaching. Such mistaken views should not be confused with the faith and moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Since it is apparent that considerable efforts have been made to give these views the widest possible distribution as if they were a valid alternative to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops considers it important to offer a public correction of the erroneous views proposed in these pamphlets. At the same time, the Committee on Doctrine calls attention to the Catechism of the Catholic Church where correct and authentic teaching can be found. This readily available source of the faith and moral teaching of the Catholic Church clearly demonstrates the mistaken character of the positions found in the two pamphlets and their unreliability as a guide for Catholics seeking to know and live their Catholic faith.

So what do you do? How does one discern faithful teaching? I suggest we take the advice of our USCCB and begin with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While it may be a challenging read, it is well worth the effort. For a quicker reference, use the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This condensed version written in question and answer style can easily be read cover to cover. Then as you explore the writings of Catholic authors you have a baseline against which to judge their teachings. Are their teachings consistent with the Catechism? Do they try to excuse or rationalize away behavior that contradicts Church teachings?

Deepening our faith is a life-long process. You will never know it all. If I were going to make suggestions, in addition to the Catechism, I would subscribe to a Catholic weekly newspaper. This puts the news of the day in a Catholic perspective. It gets us in the habit of incorporating our faith in every aspect of our lives. It is also a great source for reviews of contemporary Catholic writers. If you could only subscribe to one periodical, I would recommend the National Catholic Register. It is unswervingly orthodox and supportive to the Magisterium. Our Sunday Visitor is another option, though their coverage of current events seems to lag the news. DO NOT rely on the National Catholic Reporter for Catholic teaching. This publication is filled with writers advocating positions in direct opposition to Church teaching.

Of course, going to the source is always a good idea. The Vatican web site is filled with a lifetime’s worth of reading material. The papal archives give you all the teaching material from the more recent pontiffs. I really think much of the chaos following Vatican II resulted because the faithful in the pews never bothered to read the Vatican II documents. It was easy for those with an agenda to promote distorted interpretations of these documents because no one was reading these important teaching documents for themselves. And don’t forget our Communion of Saints! The writings of the Church Triumphant have much to say to us in our current lives.

Finally, seek out others who also desire to read faithful Catholic teaching. Share the authors and books you have discovered. Then share your zeal with the rest of your community. Inspire those around you to move beyond what they learned in Confirmation class. We have a lifetime of lessons awaiting us.


Ebeth said…
Hey Denise,

Well done!! Maybe if enough of us blog the Truth and some guidance to those seeking further information, we can get rid of the "trash" that is polluting our faith. Thanks for your input!!

Lynne said…
Finding good (orthodox) material is easy. Just flip through an Ignatius Press catalog. It will take me years to work through all those books.

Also, to ensure that others have easy access to good Catholic books, volunteer to work at/start your parish's library.
Travis said…
You may also want to check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for Adults. I just picked up a copy of that because I love having reference material. It's format is different from the Catechism and the language is a little easier to read, but it includes many references to Catechism by CCC numbers, and the overall struture is similar in nature.

God Bless,

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!