By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Oct. 11, 2017
(October 11th was) the 25th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. St. John Paul II approved the provisional text in June 1992 and it was promulgated on 11 October 1992, which is also the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Hence, today is also the feast of Pope St. John XXIII who opened that Council with a speech known today as Gaudet Mater Ecclesia.
In that speech, the most important thing Pope John said was:
The manner in which sacred doctrine is spread, this having been established, it becomes clear how much is expected from the Council in regard to doctrine. That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will.
Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries. […]
… But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.
Does that sound like what is going on today?
“adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness”
“a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine”
I have a PODCAzT about John XXIII’s speech. HERE
This anniversary prompts me, once again, to urge that you dear readers begin to form small study groups. Let’s call them “base communities”.
In self-enrichment and in self-defense, begin to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church together.
US HERE – UK HERE (There are many editions. Look around.)
I am a huge fan of Kindles (US HERE – UK HERE), but you should also have the BOOK, the material volume which you can hold in your hand and write in. Get the book, which you can flip around in and hold spots in with a couple fingers as you cross check.
Read it. Pick it up. Read portions every day.
St. John Paul II called the CCC, “a sure reference point”.
Finally, I have a personal anecdote about the CCC.
First, some strong Latin students were asked to contribute to the first Latin version of the CCC. I was one of them (Matrimony). It was a strange process. The provisional text of the Catechism was composed mainly in French. The Italian text was prepared from the French, but Italian became the bases of the Latin version. Imagine the difficulties that could arise when translating quotations, etc. Keep in mind that the 1992 text was provisional. It was eventually revised. There were quite a few errors of citations, etc. The text was given to my school, the Patristic Institute Augustinianum, for double-checking and verification and correction. When that process was completed, the president of the Institute, who knew I worked in the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio across the road from the Augustininianum, asked me to deliver the finished text to the Cardinal Prefect. And so, I carried the final version of the corrected, official LATIN text wrapped up in brown paper, up to Card. Ratzinger’s office and put it into his hands. St. Pope John Paul II would promulgate that official Latin text in 1997 on the Feast of the Assumption.