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Reading the Compendium

  /   Monday April 17, 2006  

I recently read Jimmy Akin’s comments on the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I bought a copy not too long ago myself, and I have had a little while to read parts of it. Here’s what I think:

I guess you could say that I like some parts of the Catechism (not the Compendium) and dislike others. I’m not talking about the doctrinal content but rather its clarity or lack thereof. It was and still is a badly needed book.

When someone tries to tell you, for example, that the Church now permits contraception, you could show this person any number of books. However, he is likely to reply that whatever you show him is just someone’s opinion, and then he will show you a book that says the contrary. The Catechism is an official reference, and the case can be settled definitively, even if one party doesn’t admit it.

There are things that are explained beautifully in the Catechism. For example, the reason for the existence of Heaven and Hell are very clear in the Catechism. There is a lot of good writing in the area of prayer and morality. However, turn to some parts on the Trinity, and it is difficult to discern just what was the point was.

Now, here comes the Compendium with its question and answer format and concise answers to the questions. It is easy to read and to the point. In a number of the answers that I read, the answer is simple enough for easy memorization, but there is enough explanation for you to gain an understanding. The one exception that I noted was in some of the sections on morality. Some of the difficult teachings were mentioned in a list of sins, but there was no explanation. For example, the only thing that the Compendium says on homosexual acts is that they are sinful. Yes, I know it is intended to be a simpler work, but there are some sources of confusion in our society that need at least some explanation even in a work like this.

Nevertheless, the Compendium is excellent. I hope to see it in wider use. It will definitely not replace the full Catechism, but it will supplement it nicely. Maybe people can read the Compendium first and then go on to the Catechism.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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