The Need for Sufficient Content

Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington wrote a great article about the importance of content and discipline in catechesis today.  He began the article by saying:

“Almost no one in the Church would claim today that we have done a good job of handing on the faith to our children. Depending on how we reckon it we have lost two or three generations to an ignorance and inability to articulate the  faith. Even the most basic teachings are unknown to the young.”    You can find the complete article/blog entry by clicking here:

He makes many great points about the importance of repetition, memorization, time, accountability and resourcefulness to not only convey content well but to make sure discipline is also a part of learning.

3 Important Points by Blessed John Paul II

This also makes me think of Pope John Paul II who speaks of the importance of content in ” On Catechesis in Our Time” paragraph 30:

“With regard to the content of catechesis, three important points deserve special attention today.
The first point concerns the integrity of the content. In order that the sacrificial offering of his or her faith(75) should be perfect, the person who becomes a disciple of Christ has the right to receive “the word of faith”(76) not in mutilated, falsified or diminished form but whole and entire, in all its rigor and vigor. Unfaithfulness on some point to the integrity of the message means a dangerous weakening of catechesis and putting at risk the results that Christ and the ecclesial community have a right to expect from it. It is certainly not by chance that the final command of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel bears the mark of a certain entireness: “All authority…has been given to me…make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all…I am with you always.” This is why, when a person first becomes aware of “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus,”(77) whom he has encountered by faith, and has the perhaps unconscious desire to know Him more extensively and better,” hearing about Him and being taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus,(78) there is no valid pretext for refusing Him any part whatever of that knowledge. What kind of catechesis would it be that failed to give their full place to man’s creation and sin; to God’s plan of redemption and its long, loving preparation and realization; to the incarnation of the Son of God; to Mary, the Immaculate One, the Mother of God, ever Virgin, raised body and soul to the glory of heaven, and to her role in the mystery of salvation; to the mystery of lawlessness at work in our lives(79) and the power of God freeing us from it; to the need for penance and asceticism; to the sacramental and liturgical actions; to the reality of the Eucharistic Presence; to participation in divine life here and hereafter, and so on? Thus, no true catechist can lawfully, on his own initiative, make a selection of what he considers important in the deposit of faith as opposed to what he considers unimportant, so as to teach the one and reject the other.”

In a day and age that is preoccupied with making the faith attractive to students (which is important), content can get lost along the way or at least be diminished.  It is vital that we do both.  Therein lies the challenge.

How do you make your classes engaging and convey sound content?