Edmund: Hi everyone, my name is Edmund and we challenged random strangers to a Google search battle.
There’s so much information online that using a search bar is an essential life skill so we challenged random strangers to use that search bar and put that skill to the test.
Ali: Just a couple of questions.
Edmund: 30 seconds or if you find it first.
Ali: First question put into Google search engine.
Edmund: Best answer wins.
Ali: What is the current population of China?
Person 1: 1 billion, 444 million.
Ali: What is the diameter of the sixth planet from the sun?
Edmund: He got it.
Ali: You got it.
Edmund: Oh, she Googled it.
Person 2: We don’t know what the diameter is.
Person 3: 72,367 miles.
Edmund: So, but what about harder things to search? Like bigger questions, bigger topics.
Ali: What is the meaning of life? What do you got?
Person 4: One article says freedom from suffering.
Ali: Does God exist? What do Catholics believe?
Edmund: So there was a time in my life where I was trying to figure out what the Catholic Church teaches. And it’s hard. It’s hard to find what the Church teaches. In fact, the Church has been around for 2000 years, so there’s so many books. There’s websites. I mean, you go online trying to figure it out. There’s opinions. There’s all these places that you can go to find someone saying what the Church might teach. It would be good if there was one place we can go for the authoritative teaching of the Church, like what does the Church actually believe? And there is a place we can go.
Wait, what did you say before though?
Person 3: Well they believe the Catechism that we had to memorize when we were in second grade, when we were in second grade, right? Do you remember that? In order to be able to do our first communion, we had to memorize the Catechism and that was what Catholics believe.
Edmund: There we go.
So we do have a place we can go to find official Church teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So this is a gift from the Church for us that has the official Church teaching. It’s not opinion, and it contains everything that Catholics believe, it’s an official summary. And it’s a beautiful gift to the Church. But it’s really big, it can be intimidating. So there’s three things that I want to tell you about it that make it less intimidating and can help you appreciate it more. It’s origin, structure and it’s heart.
So let’s talk about the origins. So the last time the Church felt the need to write a Catechism on behalf of the entire Church was the Catechism of the Council of Trent in 1552. That’s almost 500 years ago. This current Catechism was commissioned after Vatican II. So this Catechism was commissioned by Saint Pope John Paul the second (1992) and published in 1992. So not that long ago in Church years, but the origins of this Catechism go even further back. And that brings us to the structure.
So even though the Catechism contains all of Church’s teaching, it can still be intimidating to navigate because it’s a massive book. So let’s talk about the structure. If you understand the structure of the Catechism, it starts making more sense. In fact, the authors of the Catechism said themselves that the structure of the Catechism is itself a teaching.
So the Catechism is split into four parts. So imagine this cake is a Catechism. Actually, let’s go somewhere else with this. Okay no, is that a good shot? Is this out here fine? No. All right, better. So imagine this cake is the Catechism split into four parts. The Profession of Faith, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Prayer.
Ahh, these are big parts. Just keep rolling. So on. So there’s four parts. So it seems like an overwhelming, intimidating book, but when you look at it like this, it’s, it’s not that complicated, right? Creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer. Four parts. Everything Jesus taught. All of Church teaching is split up into these four parts, creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer. That’s delicious. And it’s not like a bunch of really smart guys just came up with these four parts, these four parts go way back.
So in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts chapter two, verse 42, it says that after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, it said they devoted themselves to four things. Those first Christians devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. These four things, the Apostles’ teaching in the Creed, the breaking of the bread, which is the celebration of Christian mysteries, this is sacraments, to fellowship, which is morality, how to live with one another and with God and then to prayer. So those four things.
Well, what’s also cool about the Catechism is there’s two halves, even the order of this. So creed and sacraments are what God has done, and morality and prayers, our response. So God has done all of this. He’s given us the Faith, the mysteries of the Faith for us to believe in and revealed himself. He’s given us the sacraments, these gifts, and then we can respond by our life in Christ and by Christian prayer, our relationship with God. So we’re called to respond to all of this. So this brings us to the heart of the Catechism.
So Catechism paragraph 25 says this, “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends.” So it’s all connected to the heart of the Catechism, which is Jesus. Wait, so the cake. So all of this- creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer, all of this is about the love that never ends, the heart of the Catechism, Jesus Christ. It’s all connected. Okay. These are all, all four of the pillars, connected. See, every pillar is, even though they’re four separate pillars. Are you getting the point? I think we’re done.
This is why Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household said, “We must discover the pulsating heart of the Catechism. And it’s not a teaching or a doctrine, but the person of Jesus Christ.” So the Catechism of the Catholic Church has four parts, creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer. And it’s all of Church’s, it’s the authoritative summary of Church teaching. And it’s all directed to the love that never ends, which is the heart of the Catechism, the person of Jesus Christ. So when we’re feeling overwhelmed by all the information out there, when we’re searching for what the Church actually teaches. We don’t have to do it alone. We have this gift from the Church herself in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It can seem overwhelming, but when you understand it’s structure, it’s real simple, four parts, creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer, all directed back towards Jesus Christ, the love that never ends. And it’s second only to the Bible in terms of its importance. So in a lot of ways, this is a way better place to turn instead of Googling life’s biggest questions.