Any suggestions for introducing a friend to the catechism?

So I have a friend who is a bit of a cafeteria catholic, but it looks like it is primarily because the faith wasn’t well explained to him, but just told to him without real explanation. He expressed an interest in learning more about the faith. Does anybody have some suggestions on what to send to him? He’s very smart, but I’d imagine that just sending him the catechism and canon law and saying “here ya go, good luck!” would probably be a bit of an overload. Any tips on what to send him that would explain the Church’s beliefs in an easily digestible way?

Compendium of the Catechism issued by Pope Benedict XVI

Assuming he wants and needs more than a catechism approach, The Catholic Church Through the Ages by Dominican author John Vidmar is a great page turner if he needs to know more about the history of the Church and how it has successfully weathered assaults throughout the ages, both from without and from within.

Roughly 350 pages. Inexpensive used copies can be purchased at Amazon.com

Give him the Catechism and direct him to a place that particularly move you.

For example, it walks through the Our Father at one point. Put a bookmark there and say you’d “what do you think about this one part?” Go from there.

Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft is a great intro to Catholicism by one of America’s leading Catholic apologists / authors and is basically a walk through the CCC.

Reading the Catechism straight through can be enjoyable though, don’t knock it till you’ve done it. I remember the first time I read it, it was like drinking a cool, pure, glass of water after a steady diet of sewage (I’m looking at you religious relativism),

There are five books I would recommend. They are simple and easy to read. They are good beginner books

[LIST=1]
*]The Youcat amazon.com/Youcat-Cardinal-Christoph-Schonborn-editor/dp/1586175165/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391746493&sr=1-1&keywords=youcat
*]Youcat Study Guide amazon.com/Youcat-Study-Guide-Mark-Brumley/dp/158617701X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391746493&sr=1-2&keywords=youcat
*]Youcat prayer book amazon.com/Youcat-Prayer-Cardinal-Christoph-Schoenborn/dp/1586177036/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391746493&sr=1-3&keywords=youcat
*]Why Do Catholics Genuflect by Al Kresta
*]Catholicism for Dummies
[/LIST]

What I like about them is that they teach the catechism in a simple and easy way. I would personally purchase in order 4, 1, 2 - These three are a great beginning because #4 presents the Catholic faith in a simple question and answer format which is great for beginner Catholics or for the lapsed kind. You can then purchase the youcat books because they go into more detail than book #4. Book #5 is always a great book to add to anyone’s shelf.

I wouldn’t purchase a proper catechism until the person wants to read more. The catechism is very dense and unless someone has a basic foundation, the book is more apt to turn the person away from the faith.

If you can only afford one book. Buy book #4 because it is the best. It is so easy to read and it gives a pretty good overview. Plus it isn’t that thick nor that technical which most Catholic books about the faith tend to be.

Another good book which I read a couple of years ago - after being Catholic for over 60 years was “Why Do Catholics Do That?”. I was fascinated to find out the reasons behind such habitual things as the use of Holy Water when entering Church, genuflecting, and other things which we often do without thinking much about them. It was quite an eye opener, and also had a bit of history and catechism as well as some very interesting traditions of Catholics which your friend might never have been properly taught. It’s a great book for a beginner or one not well catechized. It was also a good book for a lifetime Catholic to take another look at so many of the old traditions and habits of Catholics that I hadn’t thought about since grammar school !

The Vatican website conveniently includes this Compendium. It’s also available in other media, such as in book form.

For convenient reference:
the Table of Contents of the Catechism in English
an index to the Catechism and the Compendium in various languages

Oh I wouldn’t dream of knocking it. I rather enjoy it when I need or want to refer to it. He says he doesn’t like how “dogmatic” the church is, but that’s probably because the dogma and doctrine have never been properly explained to him, so they just seem like senseless rules (especially the Sunday obligation). The CCC would probably help, but I’d be hesitant in case it would just seem like pure dogma at first glance.

Oh I wouldn’t dream of knocking it. I rather enjoy it when I need or want to refer to it. He says he doesn’t like how “dogmatic” the church is, but that’s probably because the dogma and doctrine have never been properly explained to him, so they just seem like senseless rules (especially the Sunday obligation). The CCC would probably help, but I’d be hesitant in case it would just seem like pure dogma at first glance.

I don’t know the age of the person in question but if they are an adult, handing them a book with stick figure cartoon drawings may be counter productive. Especially when the OP mentioned the person is quite intelligent.

I would recommend a hands on approach. If the OP knows certain things that the OP is Cafeteria about, why not give them a Catechism and talk about the relevant passages.:shrug:

The Compendium of the Catechism is a good mode to learn, but I would be weary of putting a stumblingblock of “comfort” in his path. The world purposes this too often in confliction with the path of Christ in our time.

Pope Francis said in his Lenten Message, “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” This is counsel to enliven a soul, we partake of a drama of patient struggle in the fellowship of the Spirit at the altar. It would be a dissettlement to God’s grace to purpose comfort. Let the Lord comfort the soul from within, while we embrace the authentic cross from without.

(I admit the suppuration of the sins I commit does much harm to those who seek a good examplar.)

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