'If you are comfortable in your faith and your church, then you need read no further than the Creed,' writes Fr John Moffatt SJ in the introduction to Beyond the Catechism - intellectual exercises for questioning Catholics.
'If you want to understand the meaning of the sentences of the Creed more deeply, then the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains everything (and more) that you need to know for salvation. You do not need what follows and you should stop reading here. However, if you are not entirely at ease with your Catholic faith, if there is a gap between the way you think and the words you speak on a Sunday, then read on. The essays that follow are written for you.'
Fr Moffat is chaplain at St Ignatius' College in the north London borough of Enfield, and was for some years the coordinator of Living Theology, a summer school for lay people wanting to explore questions of faith.
'Over the last few years,' he explains, 'I have been working on a presentation of the Christian and Catholic tradition that takes seriously the challenge of modern culture with all its assumptions about science and reason - that little voice at the back of our heads which says, as we leaf through the Bible, or through the Catechism, "You cannot be serious..." The primary purpose of this text is to help people who might be struggling, intellectually, with their faith.'
The first eight chapters are taken up with developing a coherent approach to traditional teachings about God, and specifically the Christian God. Different elements of that approach then provide a framework for the discussions in Chapters 9 to 14, which reflect on elements of the Christian tradition, primarily from a Catholic perspective, such as the history and meaning of 'the Word', understanding the meaning of 'the soul', evil, knowing and believing in God, sacrifice and salvation, and the sacraments.
Beyond the Catechism - Intellectual exercises for questioning Catholics is available free for download as a PDF from the British Jesuits' website: www.jesuits.org.uk You can also order the printed paperback from the Lulu website: www.lulu.com/content/405059.
Source: Jesuit Communications
first posted LONDON - 15 November 2006 - 370 words