Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Catechism and being Catholic

Here's an excerpt from a homily (not one I heard in person):
Last spring I wrote a bulletin article and I got a letter from downtown: "I don't like your theology. Go to pages blah-de-blah to blah-de-blah in the Catholic Catechism and straighten yout theology out." Is that what it means to be Catholic, to believe everything in the Catholic Catechism? The Catholic Catechism is no more than a physician's PDR, a bunch of cerebral things about faith. That's not what it means to be Catholic. And having said all this, let me add this: I'm proud to be a Roman Catholic, and I'm proud to be a Catholic priest, and there's nothing I could have given my life to that would have been as congruent a calling as 35 years of being a priest.
I think I understand what the priest was getting at. It's one thing to read the Catechism, but it's another to actually be Catholic. You can read everything in the Catechism, you can believe it (to some extent), but if you don't actually live what you believe, you're believing in vain. (For example, if you believe that murder is wrong, but go ahead and do it anyway, what good has your belief served you?)

But at the same time, the way this priest said it was a bit... harsh. It sounds like the Catechism is simply "cerebral things about faith" and not actually helpful to cultivating Catholic spirituality. Certainly, the Catechism doesn't replace experience, but it's not only helpful to brainiacs.

And the other issue of concern is that the priest wrote something in a bulletin at some point, and someone ("downtown", maybe from the diocesan office?) wrote to him and said that the theology represented in the article was not consonant with Catholic theology as portrayed in the Catechism. I would hope that content in parish bulletins is not contrary to that which is found in the Catechism.

No comments: