Hip Hip Hooray, the new Directory for Catechesis has arrived!
This latest guidebook comes complete with “existential dimensions,” three new “major action principles” of “Witnessing, Mercy and Dialogue,” an invitation to “accompany others with closeness, listening and understanding,” as well as a “focus on acceptance, trust and solidarity for migrants,” and of course, a call to “profound ecological conversion!”
And, lest we forget, it retains a reminder to abandon that bigoted call for non-Catholics to convert, and instead focuses on an “ecumenism and interreligious dialogue” that can help “deepen and strengthen the identity of believers” everywhere!
In honor of so helpful a hieroglyph, we must direct your attention, Dear Reader, to that Wondrous Watershed of Catechetical Whimsy:
The one and only,
Yes, it’s the Cateshlism of the Catholic Church (CCC), that “sure norm for teaching” amid our confused and troubled age; and All Thanks Be to Whomever that we have such a laudable, squishable text! A document which, rather than vex our confusion with certainties, continues to exhibit the profoundly pastoralish brilliance of eloquent ambiguity.
And while we must refrain from taxing your mental capacities, Dear Reader, with a complete list of the Many Marvelous Mutations exhibited by the Incredible Melting Catechism™ over the years, we must highlight a few of its more serviceable switcheroos, for your reading pleasure:
- Don’t like angels? Prefer “cosmic” and “social” stuff? #57, CHANGED!
- Taught universal salvation and need to cover your tracks? #1281, CHANGED!
- Sick of hearing about that old Roman Canon? #335, CHANGED!
- Hiding a novel rewrite of the Litany of Saints? #1014, CHANGED!
A more thorough account of the CCC’s First Major Melt can be viewed here, an-
What? Still not impressed?!
Well, try this further flaunting of its Phenomenal Fluidity, as the Incredible Melting Catechism™ shows how to evolve to a full 100% reversal on an unfashionable moral doctrine, once regarded as changeless throughout Scripture and Tradition!
|…[T]he traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty. …If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means[.]||The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor. If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means[.]||Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however… the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.|
Yessiree, the Cateshlism may not be ever ancient, but it sure is ever new!
Now, the incautious observer might find the above alterations to be a Sufficiently Stupendous Spectacle in themselves…
…but you know better, Dear Reader!
You know that the Incredible Melting Catechism™ only shows its true capacity for Entirely Astronomical Amorphousness when duly measured against those dusty, inflexible old tomes that some like to call the Clarion Catechisms.
*Shudder* Consider some excerpts from these dread relics of yesteryear, per the aforementioned moral doctrine on the death penalty:
- TRENT (1566): Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent.
- DOUAY (1649): Is it not lawful to kill in any cause? Yes, in a just war, or when public justice requires it: “For the magistrate beareth not the sword without cause” (Rom 13:4).
- HORNIHOLD (1742): In what cases is killing no murder? When it is done by public authority, as when malefactors are punished with death by the magistrates[.]
- BALTIMORE (1885): Human life may be lawfully taken… by the lawful execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a crime punishable by death[.]
- PIUS X (1908): It is lawful to kill… when carrying out by order of the Supreme Authority a sentence of death in punishment of a crime[.]
My my, how Uncompromisingly Clear, how Unflinchingly Unvarnished!
Good riddance to rigorist rubbish, eh?
Now, some have asked whether the old catechisms retain any value at all, in light of the Cateshlism’s Exceptional Elasticity (indeed, how could anything keep up?). Therefore, we offer you, Dear Reader, an exclusive commentary from the Chief Catechetical Contortionist of the Libreria Editrice Wackytana on the subject:
All catechisms are tremendously important, inasmuch as they are guides to our faith, which does not change. Except when it changes. When it changes, as all things must, this is only a change in its external expressions – which are conditioned by different times and places. But essentially, this faith does not change from time to time or place to place.
Some have wondered where to locate this unchanging essence of teaching, and that is of course in the conditioned external expressions given by the pope and bishops throughout time. After all, their apostolic teaching must be regarded with greatest respect, unless and until we no longer need to respect it. It is, after all, infallible.
For instance, the Cateshlism was issued by a saintly Pope in recent memory, and thus his writings must be treated with great reverence; unlike other Popes of centuries past, many of whom were Saints, and whose writings must be treated with great reverence.
The aforementioned Pope held the Cateshlism as a sure norm for teaching, as all catechisms before it were also regarded. And a sure norm it remains – that is, after it ceased being a sure norm some five years after issuance, being revised in several places to then become a sure norm. It is now a sure norm.
That is, it is now a sure norm, having been recently revised once again, to reflect a certain radical reorientation of expression about an unchanging moral doctrine, due to our changing situational limitations. In fact, His Sublime Successitude has just announced another update to the Cateshlism, at which point it will be a sure norm. Until then, it remains a sure norm.
For this reason, all catechisms predating the Cateshlism should be deemed irrelevant. Although they teach the same essential faith and were also written by Popes, Councils, Saints and bishops of their times, the expressions of those catechisms might give the wrong impression today – as if they taught a different religion. But no, this is the same religion, simply under a different aspect. That aspect will appear different in the future as well, as already evidenced by our normative Cateshlism.
In conclusion, the authoritative teaching of all bishops of all times and places must be profoundly respected, except when it teaches something other than what is held in the Cateshlism. Catholics are always free to learn and teach from our wealth of catechetical resources, as long as these conform to the current teaching of the Cateshlism. Its most current version, that is.
There, now! We trust that clears everything up.
But Wait, There’s MORE
Soon, the Incredible Melting Catechism™ will exhibit its Alacritous Appeasement Abilities to envirocultists everywhere, and help pave the way for totalitarian regimes! As its latest Unfettered Updater has declared:
“We must introduce – we are thinking – in the [CCC]… sin against ecology, ‘ecological sin’ against the common home, because a duty is at stake.” [link]
“the use of nuclear weapons is immoral —this must also be included in the [CCC] —, and not only its use, but also its possession[.]” [link]
Sources in Rome tell us that plans are also afoot for the following little number:
“In light of this integral ecology, the refusal to vaccinate against serious diseases must be considered an offense against the dignity of the human person, called to live as a responsible member of society.”
That’s right, Dear Reader – It adapts! It updates!
Thank goodness we have th-
You say a Catholic catechism ought be clear and abiding, like the Faith it enshrines?
But… but… why, you’re starting to sound like that dogmatic old Pio No-No!
“The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.
… If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the church which is different from that which the church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.” (Vatican I, Dei Filius, Ch. 4; Can. 3)
In case you haven’t noticed, there are some very strange things currently afoot in the ecclesiastical sphere. If you don’t already own one, it would be most advisable to acquire at least one reputable Catholic catechism in hardcopy. A Catholic one, mind you. There are many.
…And bravo the restoration!
*This article is a bit satirical. The Incredible Melting Catechism does not actually hold a trademark.
**For a further demonstration of the “admissibility” of the death penalty, taken from over a dozen traditional Catholic catechisms, see here.
***For the most promising effort to reclaim traditional Catholic catechesis that we are currently aware of, see here.