Are we really expected to read/know the whole Catechism?


#1

It seems like whenever someone has a question about the teachings of the church they are told to check out the RCC Catechism (which IS good advice!). However, are we really expected to know the WHOLE Catechism? To read it cover to cover and to actually understand what you read is a daunting task to say the least. If the answer to my question is “No” then here is another question: does that predispose Catholics to be “cafeteria Catholics” by default since we are not expected to or able to read the WHOLE Catechism? If we can’t read/know the whole thing then we literally “pick and choose” what we DO read…
Just curious…

Karen Anne


#2

Not necessarily expected to know the entire Catechism - there’s a lot to it - but at the very least one should have a copy and be familar with it so as to use it as a handy reference. Any catholic bookstore and most major bookstores witha religous section carry the book.

Anotehr good reference is “The Catholic Source Book.”


#3

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 **In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits. **

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

To me this says we have a serious obligation to learn the basics of our faith. We know all manner of secular nonsense, yet how many of us take the time to learn our faith? I think we each will have much to answer for in relation to how much effort, or lack of effort, we undertook to learn the truth.


#4

I agree! I have a Catechism and study it regularly…There is just so much of it and so many details and situations that I wonder if ANYONE can truely know it all.

Karen Anne


#5

[quote=Karen Anne]I agree! I have a Catechism and study it regularly…There is just so much of it and so many details and situations that I wonder if ANYONE can truely know it all.

Karen Anne
[/quote]

Off the top of my head, I can think of One Man who can…and if you ask, I’m sure He will help you!

In Christ,
RyanL


#6

[quote=Karen Anne] However, are we really expected to know the WHOLE Catechism?
[/quote]

Yes, in that what we know are the basic beliefs, and we check the Catechism to confirm the details. I find that most Catholics have been taught those basics, but may sometimes not apply the facts in the proper manner. I really never find anything new in the Catechism, but do find clarity and ways to express my beliefs in a better way. I realize that converts may not have had time to absorb all doctrine and should use the Catechism for reference. (As should Catholics who received little proper catechesis.)

Kotton :thumbsup:


#7

[quote=Karen Anne]I agree! I have a Catechism and study it regularly…There is just so much of it and so many details and situations that I wonder if ANYONE can truely know it all.

Karen Anne
[/quote]

I second this. Read it a little at a time, and then again. It is a blueprint for a successful life and eternity.


#8

[quote=RyanL]Off the top of my head, I can think of One Man who can…and if you ask, I’m sure He will help you!

In Christ,
RyanL
[/quote]

Thanks! I talk to Him a lot:D .

Karen Anne


#9

[quote=Karen Anne]I agree! I have a Catechism and study it regularly…There is just so much of it and so many details and situations that I wonder if ANYONE can truely know it all.

Karen Anne
[/quote]

I think you have a good heart and good intentions. I think about these issues often in many different aspects. For example, how often have we read that a Catholic did not know about contraception being wrong or IVF or some such issue? Now, if one is attending mass and claims to be a practicing Catholic, one would be hard pressed to claim involuntary ignorance when we see from the CCC that we each have an obligation to learn the truth and form our consciences properly.

I am not saying we need the knowledge of a doctorate in moral theology, but the idea that we have endless amounts of involuntary ignorance in this society seems absurd to me. We are ignorant because we choose not to make an effort to learn the truth in many cases.


#10

When I read the Catechism, I come away so grateful to be Catholic! I feel that it makes for great devotional reading/lectio divina and, as Fix has pointed out, it can and should be used lifelong…rather like the Bible. All that said, I thought I understood that the original idea of HHPJPII was that it should be the big document that national or regional conferences would then use to come up with their own more distilled catechisms. God bless them, but I’ll hang onto my copy of the “big” Catechism until I see what kind of hash, um, document comes out of our national conference.


#11

I read it when I have a question about a specific teaching or subject. For example sexuality, exactly what is “right” and what is “wrong”, the CCC clearly and beautifully explains everything I wanted to know (and a few things I would have rather not known… LOL). Any problem you may have with the Church teaching is probably a misconception; check out the real teaching in the CCC. A companion, although legalistic, is the Canon Law; it has things like fasting, abstinence, basically requirements. You’ll be amazed at the misconceptions you have been taught or somehow picked up.


#12

[quote=Karen Anne]…However, are we really expected to know the WHOLE Catechism?
[/quote]

Why wouldn’t Catholics want to know the whole Catechism?

I agree with the above posters who say that this is a lifelong learning… and that we should know it well enough to apply it in our discussions, or be able to easily use it for reference.

Maybe your question is more along the lines of “are we expected to memorize the Catechism”. To that I would say no. We are not expected to memorize the Catechism.

I would also disagree with the statement that it is duanting. The Catechism is amazingly easy to understand. It may be a thick publication, but if you take it in sections- you may find it easier to tackle. I’ve read the Catechism front to back 3 or 4 times. I don’t really find anything new in there either, but sometimes I find clarifications that I didn’t expect to find.

Bless you for your Faith exploration.


#13

The Cathechism is a “TREASURE”. Why wouldn’t we want to study this Catholic treasure fully?


#14

[quote=Karen Anne] To read it cover to cover and to actually understand what you read is a daunting task to say the least.
[/quote]

Reading the whold Catechism is not a daunting task. Two pages a day and you’re done in a year. A person of average intelligence and moderate education can understand it. If there is something you don’t understand, ask here!

You may not retain the details of everything you read, but you’ll know where to look when a question comes up. You will attain a broader, deeper and more balanced picture of our faith.

Start with Part Four on prayer.


#15

I don’t think it’s necessary to read it cover to cover—that is, by starting on page one and proceeding until the end—though if that’s the way that best suits your reading style, then go for it. I started by reading parts of it at a time, by topic rather than by progressing from beginning to end, and then ended up by going back and reading it in a more systematic manner. The main point is that it should be read, and we should be familiar with it. As buffalo said, the Catechism is a treasure. Why wouldn’t we want to study this Catholic treasure fully?


#16

Most of you already know, but for those that don’t the vatican has the full Catechism on their website.

Here is the link: vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
Not quite as mobile as a book, but the index is hyperlinked so you can go directly to the portion of the catechism that you want to read.


#17

[quote=Karen Anne]It seems like whenever someone has a question about the teachings of the church they are told to check out the RCC Catechism (which IS good advice!). However, are we really expected to know the WHOLE Catechism? To read it cover to cover and to actually understand what you read is a daunting task to say the least. If the answer to my question is “No” then here is another question: does that predispose Catholics to be “cafeteria Catholics” by default since we are not expected to or able to read the WHOLE Catechism? If we can’t read/know the whole thing then we literally “pick and choose” what we DO read…
Just curious…

Karen Anne
[/quote]

My question to you is this: Why do you think you either are not expected or able to read the Whole Catechism? Have you read the whole scriptures? Did you know that monks used to memorize the entire book of Psalms for prayer? My point is that you are more than capable of reading the whole thing, and learning the whole thing, maybe not by rote, but at least to be able to paraphrase what it says. I understand however, that so many times there are so many other things, work, children, family that use up so much time. A good way then to do this is to put aside five minutes each day, morning, noon, evening, whatever, to read just one section of the Catechism, or one paragraph, whatever you can fit in. Before you know it, you will have read the entire thing :slight_smile:

God Bless,

Gracie


#18

[quote=Gracie2004]My question to you is this: Why do you think you either are not expected or able to read the Whole Catechism? Have you read the whole scriptures? Did you know that monks used to memorize the entire book of Psalms for prayer? My point is that you are more than capable of reading the whole thing, and learning the whole thing, maybe not by rote, but at least to be able to paraphrase what it says. I understand however, that so many times there are so many other things, work, children, family that use up so much time. A good way then to do this is to put aside five minutes each day, morning, noon, evening, whatever, to read just one section of the Catechism, or one paragraph, whatever you can fit in. Before you know it, you will have read the entire thing :slight_smile:

God Bless,

Gracie
[/quote]

I am quite capable of reading the whole thing:D . You mention “paraphrase”…This is where conflict arises! You see, we are NOT to interpret (paraphrase) the teachings of the Church (or at least that is what I understand…). While it is quite simple to remember a story we might read, it is quite another matter to remember EXACT teachings of a book such as the Catechism word for word.

Karen Anne


#19

If you don’t wish to study the whole Catechism, you might consider studying the sections titled In Brief at the end of each article. These are good, short sumaries of the articles, and they may be concise enough to memorize if you wish. You can always go back and study the articles in detail as you need the particular information contained in those articles.

As for paraphrasing, I don’t see anything wrong with that as long as it’s an accurate paraphrase. The art of teaching lies largely in being able to phrase something so that a learner can understand, and in listening to him or her reflect it back in his or her own words to see if he or she understands.


#20

[quote=Sherlock]…Why wouldn’t we want to study this Catholic treasure fully?
[/quote]

**Study it YES!!! Remember it all?:o **

Karen Anne


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