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The Catholic Catechist Magazine – Guidelines

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The Catholic Catechist magazine is to be a monthly publication, at least ten months of the year, excluding July and August.

The origin of this magazine goes back to Cardinal Jose Sanchez, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. During meetings that Inter Mirifica (legal arm of the Marian and Ignatian Catechists) had with Cardinal Sanchez he was the one who first proposed the magazine.

The proposal came in three stages:

  • A publication issued by the Congregation for the Clergy, which has jurisdiction over catechetics.

  • A publication by Inter Mirifica which would have a close tie-in with the Vatican. Both the preceding options were discussed in the States and in Rome.

  • It was finally decided that the responsible agency would have some dependence on the Vatican, while cooperating with Inter Mirifica.

There will be meetings at the Vatican beginning on September twentieth, to further clarify the authenticity behind this catechetical publication.

As now planned, the Catholic Catechist is to be a monthly periodical starting with some 40 pages of print. Its purpose would be manifold:

  • To promote the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • To promote the understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on every level of the Church’s membership.

  • To promote the teaching of the Catholic faith to persons on every level of mental and religious maturity.

  • To open the doors to persons who are not professed Catholic by showing them the riches of religious truth as synthesized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • To defend Catholic doctrine on faith and morals through religious education programs consistent with the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic doctrine.

  • To strengthen and where necessary, restore the sense of doctrinal unity among professed Catholics.

  • The Catholic Catechist is to be an instrumental publication, reaching out to the faithful in English speaking countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

How are these ends to be achieved? In other words, what is the present proposed format of the Catholic Catechist?

In general, all the recognized qualities of good journalism are to be sought for this catechetical enterprise.

  • The contributors of the magazine are to be up-to-date.

  • While both doctrine and practice are to be kept in view, the focus should be more on the pedagogy and how effectively to teach the Catholic faith and moral.

  • This by no means excludes articles of reasonable length in addresses to catechists. Hence, the corresponding stress on producing Christ’s teaching effectively.

  • Information from various countries on the successful use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is imperative. One purpose of this exchange of information, especially from English-speaking countries, is to promote a sense of solidarity among catechist who are faithful to the Church’s magisterium.

  • Cardinal Sanchez has agreed to assist us in this exchange of information. Inter Mirifica has a dedicated American seminarian in Rome who has his superior’s permission to act as our liaison with the Holy See.

One of the principal sources of information for the magazine is to be the catechist themselves. This includes priests and religious who are teaching the faith; priests who are in greater or less measure teaching their own children religion at home; lay catechists in parish and other religious education programs; persons in the media, whether print, video, television or computer; and in general all those who have personal experience in communicating the teachings of Christ in the modern world.

There are some dozen English language catechetical periodicals currently published under Catholic auspices, namely in the United States. A careful examination of most of these magazines reveals two things:

  • Authentic Catholic teaching on faith, morality, and worship is neutralized by a humanistic philosophy that characterizes much of the catechetical material now in English print.

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church is either simply ignored or down-played, or re-interpreted by much of the catechetical; establishment.

In the light of the foregoing, a courageously Catholic periodical like The Catholic Catechist is necessary. Otherwise the already widespread ignorance of the true faith among many professed Catholics will only widen and deepen, continually in countries like the United States.

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica






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