As he struggled against the trends that, in the very heart of Catholic Europe, did all they could to "destroy the Infâme" and plant the seeds of the Revolution that was about to come, Pope Clement XIII knew that the hearts of the faithful had to filled with true, basic, simple, essential Catholic doctrine, to be found in the Roman Catechism - which should be once again made widely available to all priests. In Dominico Agro, signed on June 14, 1761, is thus a strong charter for the catechization of the faithful - and, at the same time, a dramatic reminder of what the failure to properly do so has allowed: the loss of entire nations and of uncountable souls.
Particularly interesting is the warning of Pope Clement XIII on the teachings of Catholic writers. It is not only with heterodox writings that Bishops should be concerned. Scholarly discussions should not be introduced to the faithful - and the post-Conciliar period seems to prove this true.
The faithful -- especially those who are simple or uncultivated -- should be kept away from dangerous and narrow paths upon which they can hardly set foot without faltering. The sheep should not be led to pasture through trackless places. Nor should peculiar ideas -- even those of Catholic scholars -- be proposed to them. Rather, only those ideas should be communicated which are definitely marked as Catholic truth by their universality, antiquity, and harmony. ... The faithful should obey the apostolic advice not to know more than is necessary, but to know in moderation.
As our predecessors understood that that holy meeting of the universal Church was so prudent in judgment and so moderate that it abstained from condemning ideas which authorities among Church scholars supported, they wanted another work prepared with the agreement of that holy council which would cover the entire teaching which the faithful should know and which would be far removed from any error. They printed and distributed this book under the title of The Roman Catechism. There are aspects of their action worthy of special praise. In it they compiled the teaching which is common to the whole Church and which is far removed from every danger of error, and they proposed to transmit it openly to the faithful in very eloquent words according to the precept of Christ the Lord who told the apostles to proclaim in the light what He had said in the dark and to proclaim from the rooftops what they heard in secret. ... Therefore, in case the Church should be deceived and wander after the flocks of the companions who are themselves wanderers and unsettled with no certainty of truth, who are always learning but never arriving at the knowledge of truth, they proposed that only what is necessary and very useful for salvation be clearly and plainly explained in the Roman Catechism and communicated to the faithful.
And the Pope ends his powerful document with a significant warning:
[I]t is of the utmost importance that you choose for the office of communicating Christian teaching to the faithful not only men endowed with theological knowledge, but more importantly, men who manifest humility, enthusiasm for sanctifying souls, and charity. The totality of Christian practice does not consist in abundance of words nor in skill of debating nor in the search from praise and glory but in true and voluntary humility. There are those whom a greater wisdom raises up but also separates from the society of other people. The more they know, the more they dislike the virtue of harmony. [In Dominico Agro]
O Lord, grant us priests!
O Lord, grant us holy priests!
O Lord, grant us many holy priests!