What Catholics do when the Church’s Body is being torn apart

We live in confusing times.  Confusion racks the Church, like horses pulling limb in four directions.  Confused faithful even wonder about the indefectibility of the Church or their continued membership. Confusion like this is a sign of the Devil’s work.

Do not be afraid.  Do not lose heart.  Do not give up.

For a while now, I have been telling people in person and on this blog that when something confusing comes their way, it is time to get out your trustworthy catechisms and even found study groups.  ¡Hagan lío!

Fathers!  Get up into that pulpit with your catechism and, with finger to page, explainto  people what the Church truly teaches.   The pulls of confusion upon the members of the Church are painful. They are also opportunities to get out there teach the truth.

To teach it you must know it.  Nemo dat quod non ‘got’.

Here is a great resource for life and limb in the Church. 

At a website called Whispers Of Restoration there is a page that link you to Traditional Catechisms.  It’s pretty amazing.  You can find them all, from the 1555 Catechism of St Peter Canisius to the 1874 Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine to the 1949 classic My Catholic Faith.

This is a terrific resource which you should take time to explore.  Say a prayer for the team that made it.  It is clearly a labor of love.

Meanwhile, here are a few links to good catechisms to purchase.

We have multiple catechisms at our disposal.   Chief among them are these.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
US HERE – UK HERE (There are many editions.  Look around.)

The Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests.
US HERE – UK HERE (There are many editions.  Look around.)

Also, the Baltimore Catechism, which has different volumes for different ages (US HERE – UK HERE).  It’s so useful, in its Q&A format.

And the Catechism of Pius X is also great.  (US HERE – UK HERE).  There are many good resources available.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    I read the Catechism of Pius X when I came back to the Church last year. It’s in Q&A format. Very easy for anyone to understand and remember.

  2. arga says:

    Great advice Father, but the fact that there are multiple catechisms, which sometimes differ quite a bit in how they present and interpret Church teaching, is itself confusing and doctrinally disorienting. For example, my parish (TLM only) only uses the Baltimore Catechism — implying strongly that anything officially catechized after VCII must be wrong. And that’s what most of the parishoners seem to think. I would feel more comfortable with the CCC. It is certainly not interchangeable with the Baltimore Catechism. The divisions go deep.

  3. Heinrich says:

    I’d also recommend the Catechism Explained by Spirago

  4. arga: It is certainly not interchangeable with the Baltimore Catechism.

    Perhaps we could work to dispel the notion that you can use one catechism OR another. Fail. We can use more than one. We can use both the Baltimore AND the CCC. If the referenced catechisms teach the truth, they won’t be, as you claim, “confusing and doctrinally disorienting”. Moreover, you may be reading into the use of the Baltimore an “implication” that isn’t really there.

  5. arga says:

    An outstanding catechism, aimed especially at young people, that deserves more attention than it has been given is Fr. Joe Babendreier’s _The Faith Explained Today_. He has a marvelous gift for conveying, in simple language, the truths of the faith, following the style of Leo Trese’s classic, _The Faith Explained_. Fr. Babendreier is a priest of Opus Dei who has worked in Kenya for many years. The book is published by Scepter — https://scepterpublishers.org/products/the-faith-explained-today

  6. majuscule says:

    I am not very articulate in conversation but I feel confident now when discussing the faith because a very knowledgeable priest took us through the catechism page by page in weekly classes over several years.

    A classroom setting is very helpful for someone like me (who would probably give up reading on my own) though a study guide might also work. The questions raised by classmates (and having your own answered) bring clarity. And you form a bond with your classmates, too!

  7. Unwilling says:

    When I converted as a teen in the late 60s, the Pastor in our small town was already old. He used to preach his Sunday sermons on aspects of doctrine for the most part, e.g. “The Mystery of the Holy Trinity”, and would read them word-for-word in a recurring cycle (annual?). I lapped it up! But soon after, I heard that such repetition is a very bad way of preaching sermons and that “the people” could not care less about abstruse doctrines. Anyway, when he died 20 years later, the non-Catholic town named a street after him.

  8. richiedel says:

    I think a shout needs to go out to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger oversaw its composition.

  9. JesusFreak84 says:

    As far as using one catechism OR the other, maybe we can look to the East. The UGCC English-language Catechism came out a few years ago, (ages after Ever Other Frickin’ Language, but whatever,) and it specifically bills itself as a *supplement* to the current Catechism, even quoting heavily from the then-Patriarch’s comments on the Ukrainian translation thereof. Is it valid to see later Catechisms as supplementing rather than supplanting the ones that came before?

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  11. Greg Hlatky says:

    When I decided to return to the Faith, I asked my pastor to recommend something for me to reacquaint myself with the half-remembered teaching of my childhood. He recommended “This Is the Faith” by Canon Francis Ripley. It’s been most helpful to me.

  12. Credoh says:

    I took a quick look through the 1555 Catechism of St Peter Canisius, and randomly stopped on p128, in the section headed


    3. What manner of presumption maketh a sinne against the Holy Ghost?
    That, which maketh a man to trust only in the Mercie of God, and to be hardened and emboldened to sinne : all manner of respect of God’s justice and feare being laid aside…”

    There’s a fair bit more which pulls no punches. I’ll be taking a closer look at this catechism…

  13. teachermom24 says:

    I recently read a biography of St. Francis of Assisi (Louis de Wohl), one of St Catherine of Sienna (F.A. Forbes) and am in the middle of de Wohl’s biography of the same. My advice to anyone tempted to despair of Church of today is to read the lives of these saints. The Church was in miserable (one would be tempted to think, hopeless) condition then and God raised the saints needed to restore the Church. I don’t think anything going on today can compare to the 12th and 13th centuries.

    The Church will always struggle in this world and God continues to raise the saints we need. Let’s all sign up to be that saint :-)

    St. Francis, pray for us!
    St. Catherine, pray for us!
    Pope St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!

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  15. stephen c says:

    teachermom24 – thanks for your comment. I would like to humbly disagree: in those centuries there were no bishops who supported abortion on demand because politicians who supported that were financially helpful. I can name dozens of bishops who are great sinners because they support politicians who support abortion on demand, because those poor bishops just do not care. That was not he case in the 12th and 13th centuries, and if you did not know that before I just explained it to you, you know it now.

    There were no Popes who would not have been Popes if they had not sought out and received the voting support of cardinals who raped children, or who covered up for the rape of children. That is the reality we are faced with. If you did not know that before I explained it to you, you know it now.

    In those centuries, there were no bishops who attended the funerals of the Herods of the day, like the poor Bishop of poor Boston who attended and shamefully – more shamefully than you can imagine, if you are a good person, teacher mom – shamefully honored Ted Kennedy, whose hatred for unborn children was manifest.

    And every time, teachermom24, you call Saint John Paul – that is his name now, Saint John Paul – every tine you call him Saint John Paul the Great, you remind him that he failed in his true vocation, which was to become Saint John Paul the Good. Which nobody will ever call him, because he allowed the church to suffer so much under his watch, before his heroic and saintly end. [Perhaps you are of the mind that Popes should be able to solve every problem in the Church during their pontificates.]

  16. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM, mentioned in one of his mission talks that every Catholic should have four books in his living room. One of the four books was the CCC and the other was a good Bible. It’s only within the last ten years I learned the difference between the New American Bible and the King James Version.

    Years ago a popular priest put together a video series on the CCC. Our young adult group that I was part of back then would get together on Sunday evening and watch it. Other than the Baltimore Catechism in the early to mid 1970s, that was my first exposure to the CCC, which was published in the early 1990s.

  17. MrsMacD says:

    Lately my children are doing anything and everything to avoid Catechism and when we mention that we’re going to do something in that genre they erupt in a large collective whine. It’s disconcerting. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it?

  18. tho says:

    Reading and understanding our catechism is important, but we must remember that the church thrived during a time when illiteracy was common. St. Joan of Arc, St. Catherine of Sienna, any many others were illiterate. Prayer, and conducting oneself as a Christian is overpowering.
    The presence of good and holy priests and nuns is critical to a truly catholic life. Today, we are inundated with homosexual scandals that leave scars that are never erased. The bishops, who are to provide spiritual guidance, act as though they are politicians, mouthing social platitudes that only provide feel good social work. We need truly holy men and women as an example for us all.

  19. Nan says:

    I have that Carechism and have been told to read “Ukrainian” as “Greek Catholic” as the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church doesn’t have a catechism of its own.

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