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Celebrating 60 Years With the Baltimore Catechism

Who made you? God made me. Why did God make you? God made me to love, know, and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him in the next.

Virtually every catholic prior to 1960 knew the answers to these fundamental questions about their Catholic faith. They could tell you about sin, grace, Mass obligation, confession, worthy reception of Holy Communion, and various other aspects of the faith. All of these topics (and several others) were presented to young Catholics in The Baltimore Catechism, The New Saint Joseph Edition, published 60 years ago in 1964. The question-answer format; interesting pictures; straight-to-the-point information has set this particular catechism apart from other catechetical resources in the last hundred years.

If you were to ask many Catholics today who God is and why He made us, you may get varying responses – or perhaps none at all. The general catechesis among catholics in the United States in recent generations has dwindled at an alarming rate. Catholics are leaving the Church, and many of them have never been presented with the fullness of the faith.

At the most recent World Youth Day, Bishop Robert Barron highlighted this alarming decline in catechesis:

“The Catholic faith is, in some ways, declining in the West…Young people don’t want an uncertain trumpet; they don’t want a vacillating message. They want something clear, and when they get it, they respond to it…My generation ‘dumbed-down’ Catholicism, and that has been a pastoral disaster.”

The Catholic faith has been dumbed down. And this has led to a pastoral disaster. Bishop Barron rightly describes the general decline in formation among catholics in the United States. After the Second Vatican Council, the teaching methods within parishes swiftly changed, even though the Council never called for such changes. The Baltimore Catechism was replaced by alternate resources that have not sufficiently handed on the faith to recent generations.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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