Anyone Else Resent their "Jesus Loves Me" Catechism?


#1

I’ve always known my 1970’s “Jesus Loves Me” catechism was bland, even when I was a kid in the middle of it. Today I think of how dysfunctional it has made many Catholics including myself now that I work to learn what was never taught.

I remember trying to teach myself by reading some books dad had in his book case. Imagine a 14 year old kid reading, “The Baltimore Catechism” series to learn what confirmation was truly about, for lack of anything else that would help me understand it. I would ask questions as I was hungry for answers and the response was always the same, “But Jesus Loves You”. Well, I should add that I got the “God is Love, and Love is God” response alot too.

What really put a burr under my saddle is when I realized a few weeks ago that they stripped my catechism of any talk of the following (not that it wasn’t ever brought up, but it wasn’t taught and some things even mentioned just in passing).

  • Devotion (Hey, why bother when you can just “talk to God”)

  • Sin (No explanation needed other than empty confession lines with a few folks that all have grey hair - in fact, most churches are full of saints because the communion lines are so long, but confession lines so short).

  • Sacrifice (“If it feels good do it”, and “do what you feel is good for you” replaced, “offer it up” and the Acts of Kindness and Acts fo Charity)

  • Justice (supports notion of lack of talk about sin, because catechism focused on God’s love and mercy - even though they didn’t teach us to seek the latter in confession - but never on the fact that we will face him in final judgement).

The bottom line is I think someone tried to strip the Cross from Catholicism by taking us straight from the birth of Jesus to his Resurrection, with nothing in between other than love and mercy.

Am I alone on this?

What is your favorite catechism book. I now have the CCC and Fr. John Hardens, “The Catholic Catechism”. Any other good ones out there? I know the Baltimore Catechism series is pretty rich in content, provided it is balanced out with anything that it must be in the CCC since it was written pre-Vatican II.


#2

“This Is The Faith” by Canon Francis Ripley is excellent. It’s published by TAN.


#3

I went to Catholic schools in the 60’s and 70’s

I liked what I was taught

It seems a bit of hubris to think that one generation has a better grasp of things than another…we’re always seeking


#4

Veritas Lux Mea ! - Truth enlightens me ! - Hopefully that is true for all of us.

In my school years Truth became a major factor in my survival.
So to avoid as much punishment as possible I really worked at -“Getting the facts” - or the truth- that applied to the situation.This became a guiding principle in my adult life.

It was a major factor in my becoming a catholic in 1959. It was some ten years later that I was impacted by Jn:14 v 6.
"Jesus told him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life;no one comes to the Father but through me.” NAB

Suddenly, as I read, The Truth, I realised that THE TRUTH, the total absolute truth of all and any kind was a person. The person of Jesus. At the same moment my mind flashed on its screen - "Seek me and you will find me."
I went about that; in due course something of the reality of Jesus became alive in me. It was a paradigm shift in ‘myfaith’ - and quickly led to awesome wonder of Calvary and insight into my own sinfullness.

It became clear that noone,of themselves, could ever be worthy to receive the Eucharist - not in a trillion light years. It was very hard to understand that _‘God first loved us, when we yet sinners , and afar off.’ and that Calvary had reconciled us to our Father.And that Jesus had made us ‘worthy’ in the father’s eyes.

From my understanding of what I had been taught since being in the church - I saw God as a Universal Head Prefect giving Ticks and Crosses on the pages of my life - my job was to do enough to earn His love and Eternal Life.
Confused I went to Aquinas and the Summa and found the following:
. I have never read Aquinas,but under -The Summa Part 1: God - I find:- “-------------- There must be a first mover,unmoved, a first chain in the chain of causes, an absolutely necessary being, an absolutely perfect being, and a rational designer. In this connection the thoughts of the unity,infinity,unchangeableness, and goodness of the highest being are deduced. The spiritual being of God is further defined as thinking and willing.His knowledge is absolutely perfect since he knows himself and all things and all things as appointed by him. Since every knowing being strives after the the thing known as end,will is implied in knowing. Inasmuch as God knows himself as the perfect good,he wills himself as end.But in that everything is willed by God,everything is brought by the divine will to himself in the relation of means to end. Therein God wills good to every being which exists, that is he loves it; and ,therefore,love is the fundamental relation of God to the world.---------------------------------------”

Glory to God !! - I began to believe that I was loved unconditionally and that my Cross was to agree to die daily to self - helped by that love.

I dont resent - a “Jesus loves me” catcheism - As I stumble and fall, and despair on The Way - I hear ,in my spirit, ‘Trust me’ and ‘Without me, you can do nothing.’ Thank you, Jesus - as I find gratitude within me.

Hindsight suggests, that all the years of my reading and sincerity of purpose to become a good catholic, were trying to do what Jesus had already been done on Calvary.

So I feel Grace has worked - Veritas Lux Mea! - into my life - and can do the same in every life. Amen.

Toby


#5

I see your point. I went to Catholic schools my entire life (late 80’s and all through the 90’s) and pretty much most of the stuff I know about the faith I learned on my own when I started reading about it. You wouldn’t believe the things I didn’t know. A lot of my “catholic” (don’t get me wrong, I used to be “catholic” too) friends don’t believe in the Real Prescence. They were incredibly vague about that all through school. Or any of the sexual stuff. Or missing mass. They say “God doesn’t care about that stuff.” Well, I wish that a long time ago they would have taught us that he DOES. And I wish they would start again with the kids going in now. I think they’re doing them a huge disservice.

ok, rant over…


#6

Veritas Lux Mea ! - Truth enlightens me ! - Hopefully that is true for all of us.

In my school years Truth became a major factor in my survival.
So to avoid as much punishment as possible I really worked at -“Getting the facts” - or the truth- that applied to the situation.This became a guiding principle in my adult life.

It was a major factor in my becoming a catholic in 1959. It was some ten years later that I was impacted by Jn:14 v 6.
"Jesus told him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life;no one comes to the Father but through me.” NAB

Suddenly, as I read, The Truth, I realised that THE TRUTH, the total absolute truth of all and any kind was a person. The person of Jesus. At the same moment my mind flashed on its screen - "Seek me and you will find me."
I went about that; in due course something of the reality of Jesus became alive in me. It was a paradigm shift in ‘myfaith’ - and quickly led to awesome wonder of Calvary and insight into my own sinfullness.

It became clear that noone,of themselves, could ever be worthy to receive the Eucharist - not in a trillion light years. It was very hard to understand that _‘God first loved us, when we yet sinners , and afar off.’ and that Calvary had reconciled us to our Father.And that Jesus had made us ‘worthy’ in the father’s eyes.

From my understanding of what I had been taught since being in the church - I saw God as a Universal Head Prefect giving Ticks and Crosses on the pages of my life - my job was to do enough to earn His love and Eternal Life.
Confused I went to Aquinas and the Summa and found the following:
.
I have never read Aquinas,but under -The Summa Part 1: God - I find:- “-------------- There must be a first mover,unmoved, a first chain in the chain of causes, an absolutely necessary being, an absolutely perfect being, and a rational designer. In this connection the thoughts of the unity,infinity,unchangeableness, and goodness of the highest being are deduced. The spiritual being of God is further defined as thinking and willing.His knowledge is absolutely perfect since he knows himself and all things and all things as appointed by him. Since every knowing being strives after the the thing known as end,will is implied in knowing. Inasmuch as God knows himself as the perfect good,he wills himself as end.But in that everything is willed by God,everything is brought by the divine will to himself in the relation of means to end. Therein God wills good to every being which exists, that is he loves it; and ,therefore,love is the fundamental relation of God to the world.---------------------------------------”

Glory to God !! - I began to believe that I was loved unconditionally and that my Cross was to agree to die daily to self - helped by that love.

I dont resent - a “Jesus loves me” catcheism - As I stumble and fall, and despair on The Way - I hear ,in my spirit, ‘Trust me’ and ‘Without me, you can do nothing.’ Thank you, Jesus - as I find gratitude within me.

Hindsight suggests, that all the years of my reading and sincerity of purpose to become a good catholic, were trying to do what Jesus had already been done on Calvary.

So I feel Grace has worked - Veritas Lux Mea! - into my life - and can do the same in every life. Amen.

Toby


#7

I was studying the First Communion Catechism in

1952, followed by the Baltimore Catechism series.

Lux et Veritas, I can understand what you are saying.

Perhaps it would help to understand that, along with the
Baltimore Catechism, a great stress was put on
sinfulness, judgment etc. [Ask some Catholics over age 55.]

So, what happened? The pendulum swung the other
way. Now, Jesus loves us, and probably little reference
is made to sin. In other words, the New Catechisis was a
reaction to the earlier catechesis. It didn’t just come
out of thin air.

At some point, both types of presentations [new and old]
will be superceded by a catechesis that stresses the
love of God for human beings, while acknowledging
our sinfulness…in short, a happy medium.

Just my thought.

reen12


#8

What a wonderful start on your Faith journey to realize how deeply Jesus loves you. The automatic result of such a realization would be a loving response and a desire to find out all you could learn about this powerful lover. The problems seeps in when someone doesn’t or is unable to accept the fact and truth of this great love. The product is indifference and an attraction to the baubles the world and flesh hold out to us. It is so sad when kids or adults never progress beyond the flush of first love. On the other hand one can have all the knowledge in the world and still not have a loving relationship with their creator. I suspect that not a few theologians end up in hell. Even Satan knows who Jesus is and loads more about Him. Doesn’t do him much good.


#9

[quote=toby]Veritas Lux Mea ! - Truth enlightens me ! - Hopefully that is true for all of us.

In my school years Truth became a major factor in my survival.
So to avoid as much punishment as possible I really worked at -“Getting the facts” - or the truth- that applied to the situation.This became a guiding principle in my adult life.

It was a major factor in my becoming a catholic in 1959. It was some ten years later that I was impacted by Jn:14 v 6.
"Jesus told him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life;no one comes to the Father but through me.” NAB

Suddenly, as I read, The Truth, I realised that THE TRUTH, the total absolute truth of all and any kind was a person. The person of Jesus. At the same moment my mind flashed on its screen - "Seek me and you will find me."
I went about that; in due course something of the reality of Jesus became alive in me. It was a paradigm shift in ‘myfaith’ - and quickly led to awesome wonder of Calvary and insight into my own sinfullness.

It became clear that noone,of themselves, could ever be worthy to receive the Eucharist - not in a trillion light years. It was very hard to understand that _‘God first loved us, when we were yet sinners , and afar off.’ and that Calvary had reconciled us to our Father.And that Jesus had made us ‘worthy’ in the father’s eyes.

From my understanding of what I had been taught since being in the church - I saw God as a Universal Head Prefect giving Ticks and Crosses on the pages of my life - my job was to do enough to earn His love and Eternal Life.
Confused I went to Aquinas and the Summa and found the following:
.
I have never read Aquinas,but under -The Summa Part 1: God - I find:- “-------------- There must be a first mover,unmoved, a first chain in the chain of causes, an absolutely necessary being, an absolutely perfect being, and a rational designer. In this connection the thoughts of the unity,infinity,unchangeableness, and goodness of the highest being are deduced. The spiritual being of God is further defined as thinking and willing.His knowledge is absolutely perfect since he knows himself and all things and all things as appointed by him. Since every knowing being strives after the the thing known as end,will is implied in knowing. Inasmuch as God knows himself as the perfect good,he wills himself as end.But in that everything is willed by God,everything is brought by the divine will to himself in the relation of means to end. Therein God wills good to every being which exists, that is he loves it; and ,therefore,love is the fundamental relation of God to the world.---------------------------------------”

Glory to God !! - I began to believe that I was loved unconditionally and that my Cross was to agree to die daily to self - helped by that love.

I dont resent - a “Jesus loves me” catcheism - As I stumble and fall, and despair on The Way - I hear ,in my spirit, ‘Trust me’ and ‘Without me, you can do nothing.’ Thank you, Jesus - as I find gratitude within me.

Hindsight suggests, that all the years of my reading and sincerity of purpose to become a good catholic, were trying to do what Jesus had already been done on Calvary.

So I feel Grace has worked - Veritas Lux Mea! - into my life - and can do the same in every life. Amen.

Toby
[/quote]


#10

I grew up on the Baltimore Catechism, which wasn’t vague about anything. But there was a period of time when catechetical materials seemed to suffer from a plague of terminal vagueness.

I taught CCD classes for a few years in the late 70’s. At one point the administration gave us sample textbooks from various publishers and asked for our comments about which should be used the following year.

One of the texts seemed so vague and confusing that I didn’t think kids could actually learn anything real from it. There was just one text series that seemed to be solid and doctrinal. That was the one I recommended.

But, the vague and touchy-feely text was the one selected.


#11

I should clarify that I wanted answers and none were forthcoming. Here I am, 43 years old, asking my pastor the meaning of “devotion”. Duh!

My poor father tried to teach me about devotion, but the environment I was in, with regards to the Catholic community didn’t support these things so I blew it off. Now I find meaning in it at this age.

I suppose I don’t like how certain things were stripped.

I taught an 8th grade CCD class in preparation for confirmation. There were 80 students in all, split between 3 instructors. One instructor left leaving me and my friend each with 40 students. One day, half way through class, I told them that confession would be available and took some informal polls through hand raising. I asked who had been to confession in the last week. No one raised their hand. I asked who had been to confession in the last month. No one raised their hand. I asked who had been to confession in the past year and once again, no one raised their hand. I pressed further and asked how many years it had been since they last made a confession. For most of the kids, it came years prior. I asked how many were planning on going to confession before confirmation and only 3 raised their hands.

With that, I looked at the book we were given and while it mentioned confession, there was no discussion or review of sin. I typed out some material from the Fr. John Hardon material, took it to the pastor, who gave it his blessing as additional material. Each week we discussed 2 or 3 sins in detail, with examples, then I filtered into the discussion the Acts of Charity and the Acts of Kindness, among other things such as the requirement to go to confession and receive communion at least once yearly. My friend also used the material I had typed up for her class as she had similar results.

I included talk about how we need to be clean for the Holy Spirit to enter our temples. We discussed sacrifice and how important it is to do things out of love for God and others, and not just for ourselves. This meant to “offer things up” to God that we didn’t like to do (which was where the Acts of Charity and Kindness came into play).

When the last day of catechism came, we had no class, but went directly to the church for confession. I was pleasantly surprised that out of 80 students, only three did not go!!!

That poor pastor. Some three hours later he came stumbling out of the confessional, looked at me and my colleague and said, “You two!” as he walked closer. Then, as he came up to us, he let a big smile and said, “What on earth did you do to get that many to come to confession…those were the most robust and thorough confessions I’ve ever heard out of a group of people, let alone kids!..Nicely done!”

My response to him was very straightforward: “It was simple Father. They didn’t know what sin looked like so we showed them and discussed in detail”.

I rest my case. One only needs to go into most churches on Saturdays when confession is underway. If it is not a Divine Mercy Saturday, then you are lucky in many places to see a handful of people waiting, and most have gray hair. However, these must be communities of saints because the communion lines are always long and the pews are always empty as the rows go up.

Hmmmmm…


#12

I should add that I don’t resent the “Jesus Loves Me” part of my catechism. I resent that they stripped out the “Jesus Died for Me” out of my catechism.

The cross teaches many lessons. True love requires sacrifice. It should spark a desire to not sin, and to understand what sin is in the many dimensions it can be. Prayer should never be only about what satisfies me in “talking to God”. That becomes conditional when the only time we open up the channel is when we want to talk to Him. This can easily shift into only spending time with Him when it is conventient to me. Devotions, on the other hand, are time spent praying and praising Him. While we may look for favors out of these things, the vocal prayers are a good way to give something to Him. I am only finding this now as many devotional prayers are beautiful. We think nothing of reading the poetry of Helen Steiner Rice, yet many devotional prayers are poetic and deep too. And, some have been around for centuries.


#13

Diane, sorry your catechesis was so deficient. But you sure made a great comeback!


#14

Lord, ***YES ** * I resent that fluff I learned!

I never heard the words “Baltimore Catechism” until last year, and I’m 42 and originally from Baltimore!!!

Jesus loves me, whoop dee doo. Didn’t mean anything to me, because I never learned what real love was. I thought it was a mushy “feeling”. I was told that Jesus died for me, but the explanation never went any further than that, so ok, thanks Jesus, but I’m not sure what I’m thanking you for. My children have also been enduring the “Faith First” series of books for the last few years, which again is nice, but has no real meat to it.

I bought a copy of the Baltimore Catechism last year and the first line blew me away…

  • “I was created to know, love and serve God so that I can be happy with Him in heaven” *. Such a simple line for this 42 year old. Made me realize all the time I wasted with shopping, dieting, exercising, PTA, etc. to “find my reason for being”— I began to understand that my purpose in life was that one beautiful line from that little catholic primer. I never recalled even learning that basic tenet. It was at that moment that I began to get angry :mad: and I promised myself to begin teaching my children immediately all the things I wished I had known much sooner.

Since my “awakening”, I’ve turned off the network news and listen to lots of catholic radio and EWTN TV. I read the Bible and books on saints and other religious topics. I can’t believe the amount of great information I’ve missed out on, and the enormous amount of garbage that I bought as the “truth” from the world (yes, even FOXnews). What’s really amazing is how sensitive I’ve become to indecency and immorality around me and on tv. (If you’re paying attention, even Nickelodeon will deliver bad messages!) I thank God every day for waking me up to what was going on around me before it was too late to save my children.


#15

[quote=SueG]Lord, ***YES ***I resent that fluff I learned!

I never heard the words “Baltimore Catechism” until last year, and I’m 42 and originally from Baltimore!!!

"I was created to know, love and serve God so that I can be happy with Him in heaven" . Such a simple line for this 42 year old. Made me realize all the time I wasted with shopping, dieting, exercising, PTA, etc. to “find my reason for being”— I began to understand that my purpose in life was that one beautiful line from that little catholic primer. I never recalled even learning that basic tenet. It was at that moment that I began to get angry :mad: and I promised myself to begin teaching my children immediately all the things I wished I had known much sooner.

Since my “awakening”, I’ve turned off the network news and listen to lots of catholic radio and EWTN TV. I read the Bible and books on saints and other religious topics. I can’t believe the amount of great information I’ve missed out on, and the enormous amount of garbage that I bought as the “truth” from the world (yes, even FOXnews). What’s really amazing is how sensitive I’ve become to indecency and immorality around me and on tv. (If you’re paying attention, even Nickelodeon will deliver bad messages!) I thank God every day for waking me up to what was going on around me before it was too late to save my children.
[/quote]

Wow, this sounds just like what is happening to me. I went from at least 10 hours of Prime Time TV and several hours of non prime-time tv to 0-1 hours weekly. I had it on to EWTN for the longest time and spiritual radio. I went to turn the TV back on after having it off for two weeks and one of my favorite prime time programs were on. I shut it off after the shock of “filth” I had never noticed before. I too was a news junkie too, mostly FOX as well. I lost interest in everything, even my fish hobby (but fish still get their food).

There is something in the air.


#16

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