U.25 — CCC 1699-1729
In this podcast, Emily and Edmund discuss the challenges and strategies for presenting the Church’s teachings on morality effectively to a modern audience, and the significance of approaching catechesis and…Watch
This episode tackles the questions, “what’s the difference between catechesis and evangelization? Do they overlap at all? And how do we encounter Christ in the Catechism?”
(00:04) Edmund and Emily introduce this episode, its mission and its guest. Today, they are joined by Dr. Petroc Willey, Ph.D, Ph.D. professor of theology at the Franciscian University of Steubenville. Dr. Willey is the Director of the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, Consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation (now the Dicastery for Evangelization) in Rome, and is on the Board of Advisors for Real+True. Edmund shares how he encountered Dr. Willey and the impact of Dr. Willey.
(03:40) “How did you encounter the Catechism, Dr. Willey?” Our guest shares how a project to write a commentary on the Catechism introduced him to the book that would change his life. “It (the Catechism) was asking of me a response of faith, and it was challenging me into entering a relationship with Christ the whole time. It wasn’t a book that could just stay on the shelf.” Edmundo then shares his personal story of encountering the Catechism.
(10:20) Catechesis and Evangelization: what’s the difference? And how do they overlap? Evangelization is a process, and catechesis is a moment within it. Dr. Willey explores this and details that the Church considers primary catechists to be parents. “The catechist needs what’s in the catechism in order to introduce the other person to Jesus Christ and his saving truth.” The goal of catechesis is ‘insertion into the mystery of Christ.”
(19:50) Introducing others to Christ: encountering the Catechism and encountering Christ. Dr. Willey shows us an example of how the Catechism speaks to the human heart, and the “depth of its spirituality.” Dr. Willey switches out the word “mankind” with the name of the person he’s speaking to as an example of how powerful the Catechism is. Emily asks Edmund to explain how to pray with the Catechism, following the structure of Lectio Divina.
(32:44) The gift of the Catechism: “The Church gives us what we need for our times…. And this will convert, heal, and restore us… in the most important ways, in our understanding, our faith, our worldview, and our relationship with Christ.”
Edmund: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to The Real+True Podcast. I’m your host Edmund Mitchell.
Emily: And I’m your host Emily Mentock
Edmund: And on The Real+True Podcast, we’re gonna be exploring the mission of Real+True, unlocking Catechism for the modern world. We want to help equip you to use the Catechism for evangelization and catechesis. So we’re gonna be interviewing experts as well as sharing a little bit of the behind the scenes of the process of helping people unlock the Catechism for the modern world. So, hi, Emily, how are you doing today?
Emily: I’m doing great today, Edmund. How are you?
Edmund: Doing awesome. I’m excited for today’s episode.
Emily: Yes, we are so excited for today’s guest, Dr. Petroc Willey. And why don’t we just dive right in and introduce him, to our audience?
Edmund: Yeah. So Dr. Petroc Willey is one of the closest things to an expert, a scholarly expert on the Catechism, we could, I could find, um, when I first started getting involved, uh, rediscovering the Catechism. So he helped establish a Center of Formation for the New Evangelization called the School of Annunciation in England, where he grew up and where he studied. He’s now professor of Theology at Franciscan University. He’s the director of the Catechetical Institute there. He’s also a consulter for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which is now called the Dicastery for Evangelization in Rome. He’s also, we’re also very grateful that he’s one of our board, he’s on the Board of Advisors for Real+True.
Emily: And Edmund, I know that Dr. Petroc has had such a real impact on your formation, um, over the years when we first started talking about doing a project together on the Catechism, he was a name that I heard you reference so many times as someone who really understands what the Catechism could be if it were unlocked for people. So why don’t you just take us back of how did you first encounter Dr. Willey and how has he influenced your vocation as a catechist over the past many years?
Edmund: Yeah, so when I first started really rediscovering the Catechism, I was looking for people who had written about the Catechism, and I came across a book called “the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis” which was written by Christoph Schönborn, an editor for the Catechism, Barbara Morgan, who also helped found the Catechetical Institute at Franciscian and Dr. Petroc Willey. And when I started looking at Dr. Willey’s CV, I was like, man, this is the closest thing to an expert on the Catechism. Like all of his work was around the Catechism, and you’ll hear today in the interview how he really fell in love with it and decided to commit his life to promoting the Catechism and helping the Church unlock it. And so I remember being at a conference where they were celebrating an anniversary for the Catechism, and it was at the Bosco Conference at Franciscan University, and everyone was giving lectures on the Catechism, but Dr. Petroc was, his lecture just stood out. He just took one paragraph of the Catechism and just slowly unpacked it. He opened the lecture with a story about World War II and then told, um, a poem and kind of like, uh, recited this poem and unlocked it, and then started connecting it to one paragraph of the Catechism. And just the way he speaks, I mean, obviously the, the British accent is really lovely, but just the, the way he’s such a pure-bred catechist, like the way he so embodies the vocation and spirit of the Catechism and putting people in touch with the person of Jesus, it really inspired me. And even even doing the interview, um, I just walked away from it feeling so inspired and, and just passionate about our mission and vision for Real+True.
Emily: That’s awesome. Yeah. So why don’t we dive in. We asked Dr. Petroc how did he encounter the Catechism and, uh, how did he end up falling in love with it to where he devoted his whole career to this?
Edmund: Could you start by sharing with us, I know this is a really big question, but could you share with us how you became so passionate about the Catechism?
Dr. Petroc Willey: Yes. I mean, I really can, and like many people, um, it was just given to me. It was given to me with a request to find out how to use it. Um, and so it wasn’t my discovery so much as it had just been published. Um, and I had no idea when I opened that volume that it would become my life-long companion and become something which I would turn to carry around, you know, the back would break and I would have it covered in notes, and I would learn to avail of its wisdom and beauty and spirituality for the whole of my life after that. But that was in 1992 and I was working for a small catechetical institute, and they wanted to produce something to introduce the Catechism to others, and we decided to do something fairly ambitious, which was to write a complete commentary on the Catechism. And my, my job was to was to edit that, not to write at all, but definitely to edit it. So I got to know it back to front. It took three years. And, um, I must say during that time, that was my crash course, first of all, in the Church’s faith, because although I’d studied a lot of theology, I’d never really studied basic doctrine. So I found myself continually grateful that I was being told something very clearly, which I hadn’t really understood before, even though I was an adult convert to the faith. And I thought I knew what I was doing by becoming a Catholic, and I was also a catechist. But I realized there were so many gaps. That was, um, the first thing I was grateful for. The second thing was because Catechetics was reasonably new to me because I had been a Protestant and not brought up in the Catholic Church to think about what Catechetics was, I approached it, um, thinking of it more like a book of theology where I’d find out a lot of interesting things. What I hadn’t been expecting was that it was, I can only say it was more like the scriptures in my life, and that when you read the scriptures, you know, you might start by thinking, I’m studying this, I’m in control. But you have to, you know, as soon as you realize you are faced with the person of Christ in the Gospels, you have to keep coming to a decision about are you gonna let him control your thinking or will you try and contain him? And I found that was the same experience with the Catechism, that I found it was asking from me a response of faith, and it was challenging me into enter a relationship the whole time with Christ more deeply. As I say, it took me by surprise that it wasn’t able to be a book that could just stay on the shelf and be put back, and you could just leave it there and it would never affect your life, but it ended up being the closest equivalence to the Holy Scriptures for me.
Emily: I love that Dr. Petroc said the Catechism originally was just given to him. I think that that’s the experience that so many of us have had. Um, I know that I’ve shared on this podcast, you know, many times that my encounter with the Catechism for many years was just as a textbook in school that I had to study or memorize certain parts of as sort of my formal faith formation. Um, but I don’t know if the audience has ever heard, Edmund, sort of how you first encountered the Catechism and what, uh, led you to also fall in love with. It’s similar to the way that Dr. Willey has.
Edmund: Yeah, and we talked a little bit about this in the interview, um, but my experience was I went to Franciscan University where I was studying to be a youth minister. At the time I was studying theology and Catechetics. So theology is the science of the study of God. Catechetics is “how do we pass on the deposit of faith to others?” And even though we studied the Catechism and we studied Catechetics and theology, it wasn’t until I went out into the world I was recently married, I was off on my own, trying to like, you know, kind of establish my own life. Now I’m a real adult. I have a job and a family. And, um, so I was trying to figure things out and I realized that I was very, very influenced a lot of my preaching, um, or a lot of, when I tried to pass on the faith, a lot of it often would be echoes of other speakers or other evangelists or other authors. So I would like read something and, and maybe those of you listening might have had this experience too, you come across something that just like really preaches to your soul, right? Like you feel evangelized, you hear a sermon by Father Mike Schmitz or someone else, and it’s like, oh man, this is amazing. And then you just go and try to tell someone the thing that someone else told you, right? This thing that you heard. The problem I started running into was like, a lot of the stuff that I was inspired by was through, it felt like it was through this secondary means. Um, whereas Father Mike Schmitz and Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavans and these, these evangelists, Matt Fadd, they, it felt like they were going direct to the source and then being inspired and living their lives after being changed by the direct source. And so I started having this desire to go directly to the source, like, have I spent enough time really reflecting on the basic fundamental doctrines of the Church, the way that they’re proposed by the Church? So I came across the Catechism and then started learning that the way the Catechism is written is not just for catechesis, but for evangelization, that it’s supposed to, um, introduce us to the person of Jesus Christ. And I love that Dr. Petroc said at one point, um, in the same way that you start reading the Bible and realize that you’re not really totally in control as you’re reading scripture, there’s really like a person that you’re encountering that’s the same experience that, that you can have with the Catechism. You start reading through it and realizing you’re not totally in control as you read it, that if you really read it with an open prayerful heart, you, you encounter the person of Jesus in this invitation to intimacy with him. So that really set up that journey for me and just taking small little bits and being transformed by it, I started experiencing ways that my life was changing, um, not just directly from an evangelist or a catechist, but because I was like reflecting on the deposit of faith and saying, man, I want, I want this to just permeate my whole life. Um, so that, that’s, that’s a little bit of the, of the journey for me.
Emily: Yeah. I love that it, there is so much overlap between catechesis and evangelization. I think that it’s really important to understand, you know, how are those different, and then how are they really united? I mean, catechesis, um, uh, and Dr. Petroc’s expertise on the Catechism now folds into, as we mentioned in the intro the Dicastery for Evangelization. So we actually wanted to talk with him a little bit directly about the relationship between those two things, catechesis and evangelization.
Dr. Petroc Willey: So number one, completely true what you just said, that the Catechism is central. So the way to think about this from what, how does the Church think about it, is that Pope Benedict founded the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization. Uh, and then two or three years later, what he did was there’s, within the Dicastery for in the Holy See, there’s something called competence, which means, “where does a particular topic rightfully belong?” And what Benedict did was he wrote, um, a letter and he said, the competence for Catecheticss and that, and he specified, and I mean the Catechism very strongly here, is in the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. So what he said was, this is, um, absolutely central to the work of evangelization. Now the Catechism is written for catechists. So first of all, we have to think with the breadth of the Church on that. That means who is a catechist in the Church? Well, it’s definitely the clergy. The other main catechists, the Church always thinks about are parents as first catechists of their children. And then of course, in the United States, though not, not in very many countries do we have a lot of volunteer lay catechists. So, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. I think the Church would like to develop that in many other countries. The idea of the lay catechists, um, now, so it’s for those people who are to hand on the faith, that’s primarily for them. So who is that? Well, we’ve already seen it’s parents, so they need to get into it and so on. What the, what the Church did, and this is something which will be interesting to explore, I don’t know whether you and Real+True want to do something on this as well, is in 2005, Pope Benedict brought out the Compendium of the Catechism, which I’ve got a, here’s here’s the copy, which was, um, published by the USCCB or another little one from England, you know, so they’ve published in most places, it’s much smaller than the Catechism. And it says, this is for every Christian. And it’s a little summary in question and answer form of the content of the Catechism. Now, what Pope Bendict says as he introduces it, he says, this is in a dialogue form because the catechist who’s got the Catechism introduces the faith to another person. So let’s say an evangelization. The catechist needs what’s in the Catechism in order to introduce the other person to genuinely evangelize them, introduce them to Jesus Christ and to his saving truth. So the catechist needs that. The Compendium, if you like, is where you are going to start the person with. And it gives you, Pope Benedict says, he says, it gives you an imaginary dialogue between the catechist and the person receiving it, which is using the Catechism in order to teach somebody else. And that reminds us that the catechist learning the Catechism is to learn it so that they can personally and individually hand it onto another person. And this is almost like this is the dialogue, which you could have if you’ve learned how to use the Catechism. The other interesting thing about it is, this is I think, a really exciting thing about the Catechism… Alongside all those questions and answers, Pope Benedict has placed all the paragraph references to the Catechism, which refer to that dialogue. And he says at the beginning, this is to help you, the person who’s going through the Compendium become a catechist yourself. So if you like, you know the phrase sheep make sheep, you know, the catechist is to make more catechists. The point of having the Catechism and the Compendium is now a little tool to help you with, but to help you realize you will probably need to be able to do this in as well as an informal teaching kind of relational ministry. And you need to be able to bring somebody to the point where they get so excited about the faith and so converted by it that you are introducing them how to use the Catechism themselves. That’s what I think young people, maybe who are getting excited about the faith through the work you’re doing with them, can realize that the work they’re doing on the Catechism is to be handed on to another person. We’ve got a sort of model of how to do it. And that the Compendium is quite interesting in how it presents that model. All the different kinds of questions you ask people, um, and you yourself, as the catechist are learning how to evangelize them in and through the Catechisms content. Now, that means the Catechism’s content is what we call kerygmatic. It is an evangelizing content. So it’s what the, the most basic way to think about this is every topic that’s taught is taught in order to introduce the person through the topic to the person of Christ.
Emily: So that was a really great, clear conversation, uh, with Dr. Willey about catechesis and evangelization. And he actually did a great job sort of like explaining the sort of like technical Vatican setup of these things, which he knows because he’s involved directly with them, um, and is an expert in those areas. Um, what I’ve learned from the, this project Real+True that we’ve worked on together now for a couple years, um, is that the Catechism is so essential to evangelization. Um, and of course that doesn’t mean that you go and hand someone a book to evangelize them. Like you guys talked about in the interview. That’s not what that means. Um, but how could you ever effectively evangelize, um, without knowing sort of like who Jesus really is, knowing Jesus as a person. And of course, since the heart of the Catechism is Jesus and everything within that can all point back to Jesus, um, it’s such an important way to get to know Jesus before going out to evangelize. And I thought that if I had to pull out one quote from the, the entire interview, um, that catechists who are listening to this podcast would sort of like, hear and take to heart, it would be, um, when Dr. Whiteley said this, that the catechist needs what’s in the Catechism in order to introduce the other person, to genuinely evangelize them, uh, and to introduce them to Jesus Christ and to his saving truth. Um, so if I had to pick one thing, from the whole interview, I feel like that’s just like the mic drop moment right there.
Edmund: Yeah. It’s so important and crucial. You know, evangelization is a process and catechesis is a moment within it=-the Church teaches that. Yeah. And during catechesis, the goal of catechesis is, um, this phrase “insertion into the mystery of Christ” which sounds intense and crazy, but it’s true. Like we don’t, it’s not just intellectual formation, it’s insertion to the very mystery of Christ. And so there are a few ways that you can do that. One is through the sacraments and the liturgy. Another is encountering, um, Jesus in sacred scripture. Another is in Christian community. We encounter like the presence of Jesus Christ in Christian community. And then the last one is the through the deposit of faith, like through our receiving the deposit of faith and then responding to it. And I love that Dr. Petroc said, like, and like you just said, the Catechism gives us that. Like it gives us that, right? So if we wanna evangelize and help someone be inserted into the mystery of Christ, to actually like, encounter Jesus, one of the means is for us to give them the deposit of faith and not just give them the book, but us to have it and explain it to them and accompany them, um, with it. And so I love, you know, often there’s this, uh, false dichotomy between evangelization and catechesis. Like, oh no, we’re not catechizing, we’re just evangelizing, or “No, we’re not just evangelizing, we need to catechize.” Right? But they, they go together. And one of the most beautiful, um, examples of this that I’ve ever heard is, is coming up next where Dr. Petroc talks about how if he wanted to introduce you to, tell you about his wife and his wife wasn’t there, uh, how he would do that by, by showing you things that his wife loved. And so just listen to, this is a really amazing analogy.
Dr. Petroc Willey: It would be, and I think this is where once we’ve got that idea, it becomes simple. Let’s just say I was trying to introduce somebody to get to know my wife, and let’s just say I took them into my house and and I brought out, um, I dunno, um, let’s just think, I showed them a pair of shoes. Okay, now a pair of shoes which belong to her. I could just talk about the shoes and just explain the shoes and just describe them. But really what I want to do is to introduce the person to my wife. So I’ll say she loves these shoes because, she always likes wearing these kind of hardy shoes cause she likes walking. Now that’s introducing the shoes. And you say, look how hardly the shoes are, you know, and you explain the shoe, but you explain it in order to introduce the person to my wife. And I think a lot of people have been taught the faith as though they’re being introduced to a pair of shoes all the time,. And that of course never excites people cuz what was the point of that?
Dr. Petroc Willey: And, uh, the Catechism is very, very beautifully written. And it says at the beginning, we’ll make sure this is kerygmatic, everything is going to introduce it to Jesus Christ. And it makes sure, and it gives you a way of introducing all the topics to do that.
Edmund: Hmm. That’s, that’s such a great, uh, example or analogy because I’m just thinking how you could explain a very fancy set of shoes. But the question really is, what, what does this pair of shoes mean to your wife? What does it mean to her? Yes. What does, what does she think about it? And there’s so many parts of the faith that leave people, there’s so many presentations of the faith often where it leaves someone going, but what does that mean to God? Like, why, why does it matter to God that I do x, y, or z outside of church? Why does it matter that, what does it mean to him that I, you know, don’t lie.
Dr. Petroc Willey: Yeah, sure. No, that’s right. And I do think, and you know, I’ve been guilty of it myself. You know, one can introduce sacraments as though they’re things. Rather than they are Christ acting in your life. And yeah. And as you say that beautiful way of putting it, you just said, you know what, why has God given us baptism? What does that mean for him? What is he wanting us to receive about him from that? Yeah. And to learn about Christ. Now, one thing you can do, um, maybe this is something to try if you’ve got a companion to try this with, is obviously the Catechism is written, it’s not written, it doesn’t use the “you” word. It doesn’t say, “‘you know, you need to do this.” You know, it speaks about man, or “one” needs to do this. It speaks in terms of universals because this is the truth for every person. But what you can do, maybe I’ll just do this with this, um, just with the opening phrase. So let’s say you take number 27, which is almost the first paragraph. Okay? It says, “the desire for God is written in the human heart because man is created by God. And for God, God never ceases to draw a man to himself.” Now, I found that one of the things which is really helpful to do is to have somebody read that to you, or you read it to them, but you put their name in it. So I would, for example, “the desire for God is written in Edmund’s heart because Edmund is created by God and for God. And God never ceases to draw Edmund to himself. Only in God will Edmond find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” It’s quite powerful to, I found to hear oneself addressed by the Catechism.
Edmund: Yeah, that was powerful. Just now.
Dr. Petroc Willey: Well, isn’t it interesting, which, and the thing is obviously the Catechism is addressing us, but it’s addressing us as a member of the universal, but it’s to be received by the catechists so personally that we know, oh, that, oh, of course I’m a human being, so this means me, you know? So, so we make that explicit for ourselves, and that’s the fundamental purpose of the Catechism. Um, again, Pope Benedict, he said, the reason the Catechism will remain the perennial text is because, text for catechesis, is because of the depth of its spirituality. And it’s try by spirituality we don’t mean something unreal or anything. What we mean is the depth of the most important thing in our lives. And for catechists, that is, that will always, well for Christians, that’s always God’s relationship with us. Um, and for a catechist, we will present the faith and live the faith convincingly insofar as we know that it’s the truth of God, which is touching us and means a lot to us. And that way of reading it and realizing that, again, as you read the paragraph, slowly realize, put your own name in it or get in a dialogue with somebody and read it to each other. So you can appreciate that.
Emily: I love that practice of inserting your name because I think it really helps make that deposit of faith, makes that encounter, um, with Jesus, with through the Catechism, really personal. Um, and you know what I couldn’t help but think of, we were hearing Dr. Petroc explain this, Edmund was, as he’s talking about reflecting on this and, and really letting it speak to you personally, I was thinking about how, you’ve mentioned to me several times sort of the practice of doing Lectio Divina with the Catechism. Could you explain a little bit more about that?
Edmund: Yeah, so this was something that at first I was really nervous to do. I was like, is this okay? Right? Because the practice, for those of you who don’t know lectio divina meaning ‘divine reading’, it’s an ancient practice of taking just a small chunk of scripture, meditating on it, hearing it out loud, and then allowing God to speak to you through it. And there’s, uh, many Church Fathers that practice this, and it has a little bit of a rhythm to it. Um, and then the thought crossed my mind that, um, the Catechism, every single word is so crafted and has been so prayed through, has gotten tons of revision comments or whatever from all the bishops all around the world. So like every word, there’s no wasted words. Like every word has been crafted. So it’s really a gift to the Church. And because it is a summary of the deposit of faith, the content of the words is powerful. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a way for us to encounter the deposit of faith. So it is appropriate for us to do divine reading for us to prayerfully listen to the Catechism and have a conversation with God and to respond. So, um, what do you think, Emily? Maybe just walking through briefly, the the steps would be good.
Emily: Yeah, that’d be great.
Edmund: Okay. So in, um, in Lectio Divina there’s just a few steps. And so the steps are lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. So there’s a lot of ”oios there. Um, but really it’s read, meditate, pray, contemplate. So those of you familiar with this process, you know, you kind of get the idea, but for those of you who aren’t, we would take the Catechism, maybe just one paragraph. So I like to kind of, when I work with people with the Catechism, I just say like, find something that just stands out to you for some reason. mMaybe it’s a section on Jesus or on confession or some sacrament. Find something that just kind of stands off the page and just focus on one paragraph. And what we’re gonna do in the first step is just read it very slowly. We’re just gonna get the gist of this paragraph. Maybe you have to read it a couple times. The next step is meditatio. So we’re gonna meditate on this paragraph. A great, um, thing that we can do is what Dr. Petroc is suggesting here, where replace parts where it says man or mankind, or man and woman or the person replace it with your name. So how would this paragraph sound differently if you place it with, you know, Edmundis destined for heaven or, or God made Edmund in his image. Um, so that’s the step of meditatio where we start, starting to apply to ourselves and meditate, like, what is God speaking to me? The next is Oratio: prayer. So what is being stirred up in you? What kind of response are we having? How are we, how are we feeling called to respond in prayer in a conversation with God? What is it? What are you, what are you feeling? Like you might even start having stirrings of, I should do something different with my life, or I want to believe something different. And then finally, in contemplatio, in the, in the contemplation, this is where we just kind of sit silently and wait for God to speak to us or wait for God to give us like that gift of grace or an abundance of virtue or the gifts of the Holy Spirit in prayer. Um, so that’s that final stage. So we have reading, meditating, praying, and then contemplating. And then finally at the end of all this, it’s really good to, to just kind of end in a prayer of thanksgiving, but to make some type of commitment, like, what could you do differently? It could be something as simple as, um, the next time, you know, the next time I’m at church, I’m gonna remember this moment and, and this new, this belief, this, um, I dunno this like, uh, renewal of this belief. It could be just something like, you know, simple. Like the next time I make the sign of the cross, I’m gonna remember, you know, the Incarnation and how precious the Incarnation is to our lives. Um, so that’s a really, really powerful way to pray through the Catechism. And, um, I’ve, I’ve done, I’ve taught lots of people how to do this and I’ve done this myself and often find, just like new things in the Catechism, the way God speaks to you through the deposit of faith, and it’s very, very powerful. So does that make sense? Emily, do you have any questions or things we should fill in?
Emily: That was a great explanation. You know, we spent a, uh, in every episode of season one, we would invite listeners to also chime in or comment what sort of, what Catechism paragraph from that unit stood out to them. But I think this is really kind of, you know, inviting people to take it to that next level by inviting them to do that more prayerfully. So if you have time today, this week, uh, this coming month to actually open your Catechism and pray with it in the way that Edmund is just sort of outlined for us, we really invite you to do that. I think there’s a lot in there, especially, um, if you, maybe if you wanted a place to start, um, about the Incarnation as we’re coming up more on the Christmas time and Christmas season as well.
Edmund: Could I add one more thing? Yeah. Just to bring it back to Dr. Petroc’s, you know, example here. It, if let’s say, you know, Dr. Petroc, let’s say you’re looking at some items of clothing of someone you love, like a spouse or your mom, let’s say your mom or dad, right? You’re looking at these items as clothing. Well, you look at these items, you could just look at it and just go, this is a shoe. Like what is this shoe? And just think of it as just a separate thing. Or like Dr. Petroc said that you could think of this shoe and say, what is it, what did this mean to my father? Like, this is his boot. He went to work for 20 years wearing this boot. What did this mean to my, my dad? Like, like what, what parts of his life was this about? Why, why was this boot important to him? And then also, why is it important to me? Like, man, my dad worked in this boot to make money to support me. Like the love and care is kind of incarnated in this boot, right? There’s a very different way to look at it. And when we’re praying through the Catechism, we’re not just looking at it and go, the Church teaches this. We’re like, man, like there’s a person, like why does this matter to God? Why does this matter to Jesus that we follow the 10 Commandments? And then why does it matter to me? So all of, every page of the Catechism, we can be asking that question like, wow, here is something that is an article for belief. Why does this matter to God that I know this? And what does it matter for me? How does this put me more intimate with Jesus and with others? So I think that was, that was so cool the way Dr. Petroc set that up. And I’m totally looking at the Catechism through this lens now. Like, what does this mean for God? And what does this mean for me?
Emily: Yeah, that’s a great take away, to just simply it down to that, the way to reopen your Catechism, to start unlocking it again, can be to carry those two things with you and then let that set you up to share the gift of our faith in the Catechism with others. And this is something to remember about the Catechism, that it really, it is a gift. And because it’s a gift, um, it’s a gift that we are called to receive. You know, you don’t wanna like discard the gift and not, not use it, not receive it. Like we should be grateful for this gift that the Church, um, and that God has given us through his Church. Um, and then also as a gift we should share it with others. So the deposit of faith that can be found there in the Catechism, we want to share it with others. And Dr. Petroc talked about this a little bit as well.
Edmund: Is it overstating it? Because I, I’m very, probably very biased and very passionate about the Catechism, but it, would it be an overstatement to say, besides the sacraments, besides, you know, like the actual graces of the Church, that in terms of a, in terms of a work, it’s one of, one of the greatest gifts of the Church in the last, I mean, since the 1500’s was the last time we had a Catechism written by the Church universally, is it, is it over? Am I overstating it there to say it’s just one of the greatest direct fruits of Vatican II and gifts that the Church has really given us recently?
Dr. Petroc Willey: No, you’re not, you’re not overstating yet in any way at all. Okay. It is one of the greatest fruits of that council. And, you know, the Church gives us what we need for our times. And we’ve got a, an evangelizing presentation of the faith which will convert, heal, restore us, uh, in the most important ways in terms of our understanding, our faith, our worldview, and our relationship to Christ. And that’s what we need in order to be able to go out and share the faith with others.
Edmund: So thanks so much for listening to this interview. Dr. Petroc had amazing nuggets there that are so helpful. I would highly recommend going and looking up some of the different works that he’s written. He has a bunch of different books that help you unlock the Catechism, um, and also in catechesis. So I’d highly recommend checking that out.
Emily: And as a reminder, if you need other resources for the Catechism, um, this podcast is part of Real+True. Our mission is to unlock the truth and beauty of the Catechism and help people all over the world encounter its pulsating heart: Jesus Christ. We do that by creating videos, social media content, this podcast, uh, discussion guides, everything you could possibly need to equip Catechists and those who want to just encounter and learn more about their faith, who are curious about their faith, uh, really unlock the Catechism in a way that’s relevant to their lives and helps them navigate the modern world. You can find all of these resources which are in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese at our website, realtrue.org.
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