November, final part of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and, in our Catholic tradition, the month of the Holy Souls whom we remember each day: our families and friends who are with God in the full joy of eternal life, or are accepting God’s merciful forgiveness and feeling regret for how much better a life they might have lived while here with us. We shall be the same, shan’t we? We all have regrets looking back.
“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.” Who said that? Some of you may have learnt this in the Penny Catechism or heard it at prayer at church or at school, but who said it? (See Book of Maccabees).
Do you ever read the new Catechism published in 1994. It was one of the hallmarks of St Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. He wanted an up-to-date summary of the teaching of the church, and there it is, all 691 pages of it. His key adviser was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI when Pope John Paul died. The two men were friends and scholars and they had a powerful group of theologians to work with them so that the Catechism was as complete a statement of Church and Faith as the 20th century could produce.
If you have never read it and intend never to read it what are you missing? If you can honestly say you are satisfied with what you learnt at school about the Faith and that you have never read a book about the Faith since leaving school (nor about physics or chemistry or geography or history – “I’ve been too busy”. But you’re retired now “And I’m still too busy”) people might find that sad. The riches of the teaching of the Church are awaiting our interest.
The best version of the Church’s Catechism is called YouCat. It was the brainchild of Benedict XVI – a version of the full catechism for World Youth Day: You(th) and Cat(echism). It is learned, simple, amusing, and beautifully produced. Do buy or order a version. Ask me and we can order for the whole parish. Our faith is wonderful. Long to know it.
God bless you,
(13th November 2016)