I’ve just written a catechism! It started life as a series of short articles about the Catholic faith, and gradually morphed into a more systematic presentation within a traditional catechetical structure.
The full title is The Christian Faith: A Mini-Catechism for Catholics. You can order it here from the Catholic Truth Society – a bargain at £2.50.
I’ve copied below the Introduction, to give you a sense of what it is all about, and the Contents page, so you can see the topics and the structure.
This booklet presents the Christian faith in a series of short articles. Each article expresses, in a nutshell, the core ideas about each topic as they are found in the Catholic tradition. The aim is to give food for thought, and to provide a mini-catechism of the most important elements of the Christian faith.
The richness and beauty of faith cannot be expressed in mere words; but the right words can point us to this richness and beauty, and encourage us to enter into it more deeply.
I have tried to squeeze as much as possible into each article, in just two or three hundred words, and to make them more or less self-contained. As a consequence, some of the explanations are quite dense, some may appear simplistic, and now and then there is some repetition. If you want to open up any of these tightly packed articles, or to go deeper, you can look up a particular subject in the index of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
These articles were first published in The Portal, the online magazine of the Personal Ordinariates of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of the Southern Cross. They were presented there in a different format, as “An A-Z of Catholic Faith”. I would like to thank Ronald Crane and Jackie Ottaway, the UK co-editors of The Portal, for inviting me to undertake the project, for encouraging me over the two years of the serialisation, and for giving permission to reprint the articles in this booklet. Please do visit their website at www.portalmag.co.uk to see both their current issue and their archives.
The articles were then presented as short catechetical talks to the students at Newman House Catholic Centre, which is part of the Catholic Chaplaincy to the Universities and Higher Education Institutions in the Diocese of Westminster. I would like to thank the students who attended for the many stimulating questions and insights they shared in the discussion times. I would also like to thank various friends who have commented on the text.
I do not claim any great originality in this presentation of the Catholic faith. Many of the articles are simply summaries of the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But if there are any mistakes then they are mine. Some passages of the text are borrowed from other writings I have published with the CTS. The theology presented here reflects for the Western/Latin tradition, and so there are certain nuances in the Eastern tradition that are not alluded to.
Here is the Contents Page. You could spend forever thinking-discussing-arguing about where you start and what progression you take as you journey through the Christian faith…
PART 1: The Meaning of Faith
PART 2: The Christian Story
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
THE DEVIL AND THE REALITY OF EVIL
THE JEWISH PEOPLE
THE LIFE OF CHRIST
THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS
THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
PART 3: Church, Tradition, Bible
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
PART 4: Sacraments of Initiation and Healing
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK
PART 5: Sacraments and the Christian Vocations
ORDINATION TO THE DIACONATE
ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD
ORDINATION TO THE EPISCOPATE
PART 6: The Vocation to Love
THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS
FREEDOM AND CONSCIENCE
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR
LIFE AND DEATH
THE SOCIAL TEACHING OF THE CHURCH
LOVE FOR THE POOR
PART 7: The Spiritual Life
THE OUR FATHER
OTHER KEY PRAYERS
PART 8: The Last Things
JUDGEMENT, HEAVEN, PURGATORY, HELL
THE SAINTS ON EARTH
THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
TWO MARIAN PRAYERS