Baltimore Catechism

Last updated
Baltimore Catechism relief on the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore Baltimore Catechism relief - Cathedral of Mary our Queen.JPG
Baltimore Catechism relief on the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore

A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore, or simply the Baltimore Catechism, [1] was the official national catechism for children in the United States, based on Robert Bellarmine's 1614 Small Catechism. The first such catechism written for Catholics in North America, it was the standard Catholic school text in the country from 1885 to the late 1960s. From its publication, however, there were calls to revise it, and many other catechisms were used during this period. [2] It was officially replaced by the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults in 2004, based on the revised universal Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Contents

In response to a personal copyright taken out by Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, [3] various editions include annotations or other modifications. While the approved text had to remain the same in the catechisms, by adding maps, glossaries or definitions publishers could copyright and sell their own version of the catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was widely used in many Catholic schools until many moved away from catechism-based education, though it is still used in some.

History

In the nineteenth century, repeated efforts had been made in the United States towards an arrangement by which a uniform textbook of Christian doctrine might be used by all Catholics. [4] As early as 1829, the bishops assembled in the First Provincial Council of Baltimore decreed: "A catechism shall be written which is better adapted to the circumstances of this Province; it shall give the Christian Doctrine as explained in Cardinal Bellarmine's Catechism (1597), and when approved by the Holy See, it shall be published for the common use of Catholics" (Decr. xxxiii). The clause recommending Bellarmine's catechism as a model was added at the special request of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Bellarmine's Small Catechism, Italian text with English translation, was published in Boston in 1853.

The wish of the bishops was not carried out and the First and Second Plenary Councils of Baltimore (1852 and 1866) repeated the decree of 1829. In the Third Plenary Council (1884) many bishops were in favor of a "revised" edition of a 1775 catechism by Archbishop Butler from Ireland, but finally the matter was given into the hands of a committee of six bishops. At last, in 1885, was issued A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore. The council had desired a catechism "perfect in every respect" (Acta et Decr., p. 219). Nearly every US bishop gave the new national catechism his official approbation and many schools adopted it, but it also received considerable criticism. In 1895, only ten years after publication, the American archbishops began a process of revision, but this was abandoned due to a lack of consensus. Between 1885 and 1941 over 100 other Catholic catechetical manuals were published in America with official imprimaturs, although none was as widely-used as the "Baltimore Cathechism". [5]

Soon various editions came forth with additions of word-meanings, explanatory notes, some even with different arrangements, so that soon there was a considerable diversity in the books that go by the name of Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism became the standard text for Catholic education in the United States for the next four generations. [6] Since the 1960s, many Catholic churches and schools have moved away from catechism-based education.

Original volumes

The standard edition was created by Fr. Januarius De Concilio during the Council and published on April 6, 1885. [7] This catechism contained 421 questions. Then for no known reason Bishop John Lancaster Spalding deleted many of the questions, reordering some, to make an abridged version containing 208 questions. [8] This shorter catechism he identified as "number 1." However, the questions retained their original numbering; so, for example, in Lesson First the reader finds Q1, Q2, Q3, Q6, Q9. In September 1885 Bishop Spalding registered a separate copyright under his own name for what became commonly known as Baltimore Catechism Number 1. Since the standard text was larger, people and publishers came to refer to it as Baltimore Catechism Number 2.

Revised volumes

Later in the twentieth century the United States bishops decided to update the Baltimore Catechism. During the process they were determined to address the handful of criticisms that scholars had raised against the original. For example, the 1885 version was primarily written by one man, Fr. De Concilio. So the revised edition involved hundreds of theologians, scholars and teachers. The original was primarily written in ten days while the revised versions took years, in a long process of review and editing. Whereas Fr. De Concilio crafted one text which he intended for use by all schoolchildren, the revised text resulted not in one catechism, but a series of texts for different ages and grades. The Episcopal committee for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), engaged Fr. Francis J. Connell, professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America, as editor and theological advisor in the production of the graded texts. [9]

Volume 1 The 33 lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 1 present the basics of the Catholic faith in a manner suitable for first communicants through fifth graders.

Volume 2 The 37 lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 2 present the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith in a manner suitable for sixth through ninth graders and those preparing for Confirmation.

Volume 3 The 37 lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 3 are intended for students who have received their Confirmation and/or high schoolers. It includes additional questions, definitions, examples, and applications that build upon the content of the original Baltimore Catechism (No. 2).

Volume 4An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism can be used as a reference work, or as a teacher's manual for the original Baltimore Catechisms. It is often used as an advanced textbook. Its explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic Faith are designed to reward the questioning reader. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Transubstantiation Catholic doctrine that in the Eucharist the bread is changed into the body and the wine into the blood of Jesus

Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his Blood. This change is brought about in the eucharistic prayer through the efficacy of the word of Christ and by the action of the Holy Spirit. However, the outward characteristics of bread and wine, that is the 'eucharistic species', remain unaltered." In this teaching, the notions of "substance" and "transubstantiation" are not linked with any particular theory of metaphysics.

<i>Catechism of the Catholic Church</i> book by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It sums up, in book form, the beliefs of the Catholic faithful.

Catechism A summary or exposition of doctrine

A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals – often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorised – a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well. According to Norman DeWitt, the early Christians appropriated this practice from the Epicureans, a school whose founder Epicurus had instructed to keep summaries of the teachings for easy learning. The term catechumen refers to the designated recipient of the catechetical work or instruction. In the Catholic Church, catechumens are those who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Traditionally, they would be placed separately during Holy Mass from those who had been baptized, and would be dismissed from the liturgical assembly before the Profession of Faith (Creed) and General Intercessions.

Magisterium

The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition translation of the Bible including the deuterocanonical books

The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition is an English translation of the Bible first published in 1966. In 1965, the Catholic Biblical Association adapted, under the editorship of Bernard Orchard OSB and Reginald C. Fuller, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) for Catholic use. It contains the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament placed in the traditional order of the Vulgate. The editors' stated aim for the RSV Catholic Edition was "to make the minimum number of alterations, and to change only what seemed absolutely necessary in the light of Catholic tradition."

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) is an association established in Rome in 1562 for the purpose of giving religious education. Its modern usage is a religious education program of the Roman Catholic Church, normally designed for children. In some parishes, CCD is called PSR, meaning Parish School of Religion, or SRE, meaning Special Religious Education.

James Gibbons Catholic cardinal

James Gibbons was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Apostolic Vicar of North Carolina from 1868 to 1872, Bishop of Richmond from 1872 to 1877, and as ninth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death in 1921. Gibbons was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1886.

Roman Catechism catechism

The Roman Catechism was commissioned during the Catholic Counter-Reformation by the Council of Trent, to expound doctrine and to improve the theological understanding of the clergy. It differs from other summaries of Christian doctrine for the instruction of the people in two points: it is primarily intended for priests having care of souls, and it enjoyed an authority within the Catholic Church equalled by no other catechism until the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992). The need of a popular authoritative manual arose from a lack of systematic knowledge among pre-Reformation clergy and the concomitant neglect of religious instruction among the faithful.

John Hardon American theologian

John Anthony Hardon was an American Jesuit priest, writer, and theologian. He is recognized by the Catholic Church as a Servant of God

Lay ecclesial ministry

Lay ecclesial ministry is the term adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to identify the relatively new category of pastoral ministers in the Catholic Church who serve the Church but are not ordained. Lay ecclesial ministers are coworkers with the bishop alongside priests and deacons. In other contexts, these may be known as "lay pastoral workers", "pastoral assistants", etc.

<i>Metousiosis</i>

Metousiosis is a Greek term (μετουσίωσις) that means a change of ousia.

Catechesis Christian religious education

Catechesis is basic Christian religious education of children and adults. It started as education of converts to Christianity, but as the religion became institutionalized, catechesis was used for education of members who had been baptized as infants. As defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 5 :

Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.

John Lancaster Spalding Catholic bishop

John Lancaster Spalding was an American author, poet, advocate for higher education, the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria from 1877 to 1908 and a co-founder of The Catholic University of America.

Dutch Catechism post-Second Vatican Council catechism in Dutch, mainly written by Edward Schillebeeckx and Piet Schoonenberg

The Dutch Catechism of 1966 was the first post-Vatican II Catholic catechism. It was commissioned and authorized by the Catholic hierarchy of the Netherlands. Its lead authors were Edward Schillebeeckx OP, the influential Dominican intellectual, and Piet Schoonenberg, S.J., a professor of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

Johann Baptist von Hirscher German theologian

Johann Baptist von Hirscher was a German Catholic theologian.

Joseph Deharbe was a French Jesuit theologian and catechist.

William Forbes (bishop) Scottish bishop

William Forbes was a Scottish churchman, the first Bishop of Edinburgh.

Servants of the Holy Family an all-male traditional Catholic religious community located in Colorado Springs

Servants of the Holy Family is a semi-contemplative, traditional Catholic religious community of men located in Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA). Membership includes priests, seminarians and brothers. SSF's website states that it is faithful to the traditional Latin Mass and Catholic doctrine and morals.

The role of a Catholic catechist is to catechise (teach) the Faith of the Catholic Church by both word and example.

References

  1. "The Baltimore Catechism (1891 version)". Archived from the original on 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  2. Bryce, Mary Charles (April 1972). "Happy Birthday Baltimore Catechism". Catechist: 6–9.
  3. Sloyan, Gerard (1963). Modern Catechetics: Message and Method in Religious Formation. New York: Macmillan.
  4. Peter Guilday, A History of the Councils of Baltimore 1791–1884 (New York: Macmillan, 1932) p. 240
  5. Bryce, Mary Charles (April 1972). "Happy Birthday Baltimore Catechism". Catechist: 6–9.
  6. Fernandes, Earl. "Are the Baltimore Catechism and Catechism of the Catholic Church the same?", The Catholic Telegraph, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 31, 2013
  7. Sharp, John K. (1929). "How the Baltimore Catechism Originated". The Ecclesiastical Review. 81 (6): 573–586.
  8. Sloyan, Gerard (1963). Modern Catechetics: Message and Method in Religious Formation. New York: Macmillan. p. 89.
  9. Rocha, Biff (2013). De Concilio's Catechism: Catechists and the History of the Baltimore Catechism. Dayton, OH: University of Dayton diss. p. 35.
  10. Marthaler, Berard (2003). "Baltimore Catechism". New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd edition (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press): 123.

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Trent Catechism of the Council of Trent CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church US Adult United States Catholic Catechism for Adults