We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Catholic author and publisher Ryan Grant for a few years. And we are pleased to bring to you his latest work, a translation: "Christian Doctrine: The Timeless Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine."
Rorate readers can now purchase this book by clicking here to receive a 20% discount ($16). Also, for our readers to consider, is the foreword to the book written by another friend of this blog, His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, posted below.
By His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider“THERE is nothing more effective than catechetical instruction to spread the glory of God and to secure the salvation of souls” (Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolic Constitution, Etsi minime). Saint Pius X said, that the great loss of souls is due to ignorance of divine things (cf. Encyclical Acerbo nimis).
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His Apostles, and though them, to all holders of the Magisterium of the Church the solemn and weighty duty to teach the truths of the faith to all people of all times until He comes again (cf. Mt 28: 19). The believers in Christ have, as well, the duty to learn and to know the Divinely revealed truths. The bishops and their first collaborators the priests, especially the parish priests, must nourish the faithful with the Divine food of the truth and of the sacraments. They have to be “that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season” (Lk 12: 42). The Council of Trent, treating of the duties of pastors of souls, decreed that their first and most important work is the instruction of the faithful (cf. Sess. V, cap. 2, De Reform.; Sess. XXII, cap. 8; Sess. XXIV, cap. 4 & 7, De Reform). Each faithful Catholic must be able to repeat with all his heart the words of Saint Paul: “I know Whom I have believed” (2 Tim 2: 12). A true Catholic has to know, therefore, his faith.
An essential characteristic of a Catholic consists in keeping the truths of the faith faithfully and purely according to the Apostolic admonition: “Continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them” (2 Tim 3: 14). Paraphrasing the words of Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans 10: 14, one could say: How then shall the faithful know Christ when they have not been taught? And how shall they be taught without a good catechism?
In our time we are witnessing an unprecedented crisis of the faith inside the Church, which last already more than fifty years and which is marked by a widespread ignorance of the Catholic truths and at the same by a general confusion regarding their immutable validity. The following words of Saint Pius X, spoken over a hundred years ago, are highly up to date and fully applicable to our times: “We are forced to agree with those who hold that the chief cause of the present indifference and, as it were, infirmity of soul, and the serious evils that result from it, is to be found above all in ignorance of things divine. This is fully in accord with what God Himself declared through the Prophet Osee: “And there is no knowledge of God in the land.” (Osee 4: 1).
[...] The corruption of morals and depravity of life is already so great, and ever increasingly greater, not only among uncivilized peoples but even in those very nations that are called Christian. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, repeatedly admonished them in these words: “But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as become saints; or obscenity or foolish talk” (Eph. 5:34). He also places the foundation of holiness and sound morals upon a knowledge of divine things—which holds in check evil desires: “See to it therefore, brethren, that you walk with care: not as unwise but as wise. . . Therefore, do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-16).” (Encyclical Acerbo nimis from April 15, 1905).
A good and solid knowledge of the Catholic faith has as its aim a virtuous life through which alone with the help of God's grace one can achieve eternal salvation. Saint Pius X teaches therefore: “Christian teaching not only bestows on the intellect the light by which attains truth, but from it our will draws that ardor by which we are raised up to God and joined with Him in the practice of virtue” (Encyclical Acerbo nimis from April 15, 1905).
The true knowledge of the Catholic faith fills the human mind with a light and this light, in spite of being sometimes obfuscated by a bad will, is usually the effective means of salvation. “A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open.” (Encyclical Acerbo nimis from April 15, 1905).
Saint Pius X, the great catechist on the Papal throne, made the following luminous and at the same time highly realistic observation: “How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction! It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them” (Encyclical Acerbo nimis from April 15, 1905).
In our time of an enormous and general confusion in matters of Catholic faith we do need urgently a crystal-clear, absolute reliable and at the same time simple Catechetical text. Such a text represents the famous Catechism of Saint Robert Bellarmine, which notwithstanding being written four hundred years ago, remains nevertheless up to date. This catechism had until the 20th century about 400 editions and has been translated in 60 languages. It was a favorite catechetical tool for the missionaries in the past centuries.
The countries of the so-called Western civilization became today almost neo-pagan societies, and there are even people who name themselves Catholics but are living like pagans. It is therefore obvious that we are living in a missionary period both inside and outside the Church.
Mr. Ryan Grant, who operates Mediatrix Press, has the merit of publishing in our days the Catechism of Saint Robert Bellarmine in English. This catechism can be considered as a valid and effective catechetical tool for the work of the evangelization, a work which has to be realized with a new missionary zeal towards those who don't know the Catholic faith and as well towards those who know it defectively and insufficiently.
May those who will read this catechism, as well as those who will use it in the noble and meritorious work of teaching Christian doctrine, may be equipped with the sure and sacred doctrine of the Catholic faith, in order to stand, having their loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, they shall take the shield of faith, wherewith they shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (cf. Eph 6: 14-16). In this way, they will be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks them the reason of their hope, with meekness and fear (cf. 1 Peter 3: 15-16).
The integral truth of the Catholic faith will set people free (cf. John 8: 32), because it is not a human, but a Divine truth. Indeed, each human person has been created in order “to know, serve and love God, to offer all of creation in this world in thanksgiving back to him and to be raised up to life with him in heaven” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 67).
July 7, 2016
+ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDERAuxiliary Bishopof the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana