Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Section V. On what a priest should teach.
Chapter IV. On the catechism.
The priest has the obligation to instruct the faithful in christian doctrine, in the mysteries which they should believe, in the precepts which they should keep, in the Sacraments which they should receive and in the prayers which they should pray; how they are to remove themselves from evil and do the good, and how they are to live in the holy fear and love of God.
The Bishops shall take care that children be punctually taught the fundamentals of the faith or catechism; the obedience that they owe God and their parents; and, if necessary, they shall require that they be taught, with ecclesial censures and no impeding privileges. by the persons to whom it pertains in all of the parishes, at least on sundays and other feast days. (Council of Trent, session XXIV, chapter 4 de Ref.).
And the sacred Congregation, by the decree of 5 august of the year 1732, says: Each pastor shall teach the elements of christian doctrine to the boys and girls of his parish, placing them separately the boys from the girls, as it is done in Rome and in other places.
The same sacred Congregation declared on 5 august 1774 that the explanation of doctrine could not be interrupted on even one feast day of the year in any parish, not even at vintage time, even if there should be no more than one person in attendance in the temple.
Benedict XIV says: May the priest pastors know that they have two principle obligations: one is that they are to preach to the people on feast days, and the other is that on the same feast days they are to instruct the children and the ignorant adults in the christian doctrine.
Saint Charles Borromeo with the greatest severity would order that the pastors preach to the people in the morning at the mass and to the children in the afternoon, ringing the bell for them to come.
The obligation to preach to the people and to catechize the children and the ignorant binds sub gravi.
Benedict XIV orders that the pastors be helped in this work of catechizing by those initiated in tonsure and those that aspire to the priesthood, the Bishops refusing final ordination to those who should present themselves lax or reticent in this matter; and for this reason care shall be taken that they know the catechism well, because sometimes they do not know it, and in that case they will poorly know how to teach it. Nemo dat quod non habet.
The above mentioned Pontiff also asks and demands that in addition to the pastors, priests and ordained (including all aspirants to the priesthood), who should teach the christian doctrine to the boys and girls, fathers and mothers of families, teachers and the brothers of the confraternities also teach it.
The priest pastors should know that the Catechism is more necessary than preaching, for the latter becomes almost useless when the listener is ignorant of the Catechism.
The Catechism is of two types: for children and for adults.
Article 1. On the catechism for children.
The main defect in catechesis is too much talking; thus the catechist should speak little, he should ask the question and the child should respond: if he errs he shall make another child correct him, and thus they will ensure that all shall be attentive.
The children are only alert when they speak and when they are told illustrating examples; and so, before finishing the catechism some analogy to the material or to their age or customs shall be told to them.
The catechist should have method; otherwise he shall progress very little. The method which we have hitherto seen to give the best results is the one which we are going to give here, which rests on these points:
1. If there is only one catechist and many students, he shall have them placed, standing or seated, in the form of a half moon or semi-circle and the catechist shall place himself in the middle, in such a way that with one glance he can see them all.
2. If there are two or more catechists the students shall be divided, because the fewer each catechist has the more progress will be made, because all can exercise themselves more.
3. If there are few catechists and many students, they can use the more advanced students to teach the groups of the beginners, and after they have taught a while the respective classes shall be placed.
4. Before beginning the catechism, and placed as indicated, the catechist and students all make the sign of the cross with pause and devotion; and after they pray three Hail Mary's to most holy Mary, and an Our Father and Hail Mary to the guardian Angels.
5. One begins according to the little book of catechism of the diocese with the first question; he asks the question to one whom he knows knows it, and if he does not know it the catechist will help him word by word. He will ask the same question to others. Sometimes it turns out well that one same thing be said by all together and at the same time, and after to ask it one by one; and one shall not pass to the second question until the first is known well.
6. When the first question is known well one passes to the second; when the second is known it is joined to the first and both are repeated; then one passes to the third, and when it is known it is joined to the preceding ones and they are repeated, and one continues thus.
7. The first day that one should return to the catechism, before asking one shall begin by reviewing these same question, then one shall ask the others that follow.
8. When the children know some questions they are placed in front of the class, and both, two by two, ask each other and respond reciprocally.
9. Two lines may also be formed, one facing the other, and the first (student) in one line asks the first (student) of the other line, and the latter responds and asks the second of the other line.
10. When the children know the letter of the Catechism, the catechist shall vary the wording and ask the same things to see if the children understand them.
11. He shall also add some questions to it, but this shall not be done until the little book is known well. That is how they become used to discussing.
12. Before concluding a small talk of few minutes is given according to their capacity, in clear and simple terms, and it shall have five parts: The 1st shall be the proposition, which shall serve as an introduction; 2nd an exposition; 3rd an example or case; 4th a moral, and 5th a resolution.
Article 2. On the catechism for adults
The catechism is not just to be taught to children but also to adults; and experience shows that more fruit is had with the catechism or doctrinal points than with sermons.
To give the catechism for adults the catechist should be wise and experienced, and he should observe much method.
In each instruction or talk he shall observe the following: 1st he shall make the introduction, the exposition of the matter, and the division; these three will form the exordium of the doctrinal talk.
Next he follows with the explanation of the precept, sacrament or mystery.
Then he goes to the moral. And finally he responds to the objections (difficulties or excuses) which the lax or those who are a little timid might presumably make. Regarding the introduction, it shall be made from the preceding instruction or talk, synthesizing it: this is very useful for the catechist, who needs not work too hard, and it greatly serves the listener, because it refreshes the ideas of the previous instruction and makes him more firm in them, correcting if he did not well understand something, and those who were absent shall know the material that was covered and what will be covered.
Then the matter shall be expounded, and shall be divided, and thus one shall speak with more clarity, it shall be better understood and better remembered; he shall explain the material, he shall prove the doctrine by authorities, but that they not be many nor long, with reasons, with likenesses and comparisons, and with some small example or story taken from sacred Scripture or from some author or commentator.
Later the moral lesson shall be brought up, the remedies shall be shown, the means, the difficulties shall be solved and the excuses shall disappear.
With all the rest as it may be seen in the authors of the catalogue. (Here Saint Claret is referring to his list of books that each priest should own in each branch of theology, etc. pp. 398-408. I shall provide that list (in Spanish) in a future blog.)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"Brain Fuel" read the sticker on the bananas this morning. Clever, though a bit misplaced and exaggerated, I thought.
Over breakfast, I considered that the sticker would be much more appropriately placed on the Word of God and on the Magisterium of the Church, recalling the words of the Lord:
"Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God". (Matt. 4:4)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The encyclical is expected to be called "Veritas in Caritate," and it is thought that it will be published June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Holiness is a state of being, a position, being with, namely, that of grace, of sanctifying grace. It is the position of being with God, God calling you, working on you, God giving you interior life, wisdom, strength and enthusiasm, He purifying you, sending you out to bear fruit. It is all about Him with you, in you, active in you, in His great mercy (Pater misericordiarum v.3), and you at peace with that, Him, with His good company, purified, well-disposed, "a gusto", comfortable! Holiness is liking Him, liking being with God and liking His work in you! Like the cat at one of my first Friday communion calls.
An elderly man (92 year old American Indian) to whom I take Holy Communion once a month has a cat which, this past Friday after I administered the Sacrament, very graciously lept onto the coffee table, let his owner affectionately scratch its head and most serenely lied down on the table licking its back and calmly waving just the tip of its tail up and down in an expression of complete contentment in the good care and fine presence of the owner and the priest. That cat provides an illustration of interior communion with God.
Communion with Christ is confidence in Him which gives complete contentment and profound peace in the soul.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The next question, after finding about all of the dignitaries that died on the flight, is, did anyone hate them? Who were their greatest enemies? Can a flight be destroyed on purpose? Could the enemies of those passengers have destroyed the plane? Planes do not typically disappear these days, even over the Atlantic, especially with princes aboard. The present-day lack of investigative journalism is alarming!