VLCFF Course – Survey of Catholic Doctrine

I’m current preparing for my next Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) course; registration is open:

Survey of Catholic Doctrine (August 7 through September 10, 2011) – “This course will look at some of the major doctrines of the Catholic Church. Participants will come to a better understanding of the Trinity, original sin, church, salvation history, and the communion of saints. Participants will be asked to identify the meaning of magisterium, ecumenism, eschatology, and other Catholic terms.”

Registration information is available at the VLCFF web site. Courses are $90, or $40 if you live in a partnering diocese.

The Catholic school does not lay claim to superiority

The Catholic school does not lay claim to superiority over another on purely secular lines, although in many cases its superiority is a very patent fact; it repudiates and denies charges to the effect that it is inferior, although this may be found in some cases to be true. It contends that it is equal to, as good as, any other; and there is no evidence why this should not be so. But it does pretend to give a more thorough education in the true sense of the word, if education really means a bringing out of that which is best in our nature.

Neither do we hold that such a training as our schools provide will assure the faith and salvation of the children confided to our care. Neither church, nor religion, nor prayer, nor grace, nor God Himself will do this alone. The child’s fidelity to God and its ultimate reward depends on that child’s efforts and will, which nothing can supply. But what we do guarantee is that the child will be furnished with what is necessary to keep the faith and save its soul, that there will be no one to blame but itself if it fails, and that such security it will not find outside the Catholic school. It is for just such work that the school is equipped, that is the only reason for its existence, and we are not by any means prepared to confess that our system is a failure in that feature which is its essential one.

– Rev. John H. Stapelton, Explanation of Catholic Morals (1913)

Passing on the Faith to the Net Generation – Footnotes and Further Reading

Last night I gave a short talk to my Knights of Columbus council on technology, catechesis, and young Catholics. I talked about some characteristics of young adults in general and Catholics in particular with an eye on how the Knights can be more inviting of young Catholic men.

Here are a few of the resources I cited during my talk:

What Our Lord said about His Church

When Our Lord was starting the Church, so to speak, at the Last Supper, He took care to give to it the Four Marks He wished it to have. In His discourse afterwards in the Upper Room, He told the apostles He was offering eternal life to all flesh (read John xvii, 1-3) ; that the apostles themselves were His appointed witnesses and workers (John xv, 16; xv, 27); and He prayed that His disciples should be all one (John xvii, ii ; Xvii, 20-21); and that they should be made holy in the truth (John xvii, 17-19), getting their holy life from His as the branches from the Vine (John xv, 4-5).

If there is a true Church of Christ still on earth, we must expect it to show those four marks still.

– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part I: the Creed (1939)

One Lord, one faith, one baptism

On April 26, 1642, an immense crowd was gathered round the triangular gallows at Tyburn, and an elderly Welshman, who had come to be hanged, stood up in the cart to make his speech. He was Edward Morgan, a Flint-shire man who had been to school at Douai and made priest at Salamanca. He had been imprisoned in the Fleet for fourteen years, and suffered great hardships, before being brought to trial under the Parliament. He waited till the crowd was quiet, and everybody was astonished at his cool and smiling demeanour. He began with the sign of the cross, and gave out a text : ‘The Good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep.’ He explained that he was going to be hanged simply because he was a Roman Catholic priest, and was very glad to die for the Good Shepherd who died for His flock. ‘I offer up my blood for the good of my country, and for a better understanding between the King and Parliament.’

Then he went on to preach a full sermon on the Unity of the Church, and persisted in finishing it in spite of several interruptions from the Protestant ministers. There is one God, one faith, one baptism, he said; so there must be one Church. He gave proof that the Catholic Church was the one true Church going back to the apostles, and showed that the recent sects are all too new to have any claim to be the Church of Christ. At the end he asked God to forgive all who had injured him, and also (he said) ‘my own innumerable sins.’

Then, ‘with a merry countenance,’ he told the hangman to do his duty and said: ‘I pray thee, teach me what to do, for I never was at this sport before.’

Whereupon the minister said : ‘Mr. Morgan, this is not a time to sport, nor is it a jesting matter.’

‘Sir,’ he replied, ‘I know it is no joking matter for me, but good sober earnest. But God loveth a cheerful giver, and I hope it is no offence to anyone that I go cheerfully and merrily to heaven.’

He was allowed to hang until he was dead, before the rest of the sentence was carried out.

– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part I: the Creed (1939)