It was the spring semester of 2009, I was in graduate school at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and taking Theological Foundations with Dr. Scott Hahn. One of the texts for the course we were required to read was The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam. I remember how I could never put the text down and always had a smile on my face when reading it. There were times when I was sitting in the John Paul II Library and I would pump my fist in the air to something that I had just read in the book. As a Catholic who has always been Catholic (contrasted to those who have converted to the Catholic faith), this book fueled my excitement for Catholicism and I told everyone I knew about it and still do to this day. This book needs to be in stock at every Catholic religious store.
I have chosen the title of my first blog post from this text. The underlining theme of my writings on this blog will be to evangelize, engage, and educate the Catholic lay people in the New Evangelization. I have been a teacher in the high school classroom for six years now, but feel the desire in my heart to take the knowledge given to me by the grace of God to educate the Catholic lay faithful as I have tried to educate and evangelize my students in the classroom. Pope Benedict XVI recently said to a group of US Bishops that the catholic lay people must be articulate when it comes to knowing their faith. The faith is not just mind or heart, but both mind and heart, or in more philosophical terms, faith and reason. I will take this topic up in a future blog.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, in his book, Seek First the Kingdom, encourages the lay faithful to testify to their faith in the different dimensions of their lives. I imagine both the Holy Father and Cardinal Wuerl know how important this endeavor is now, especially after nearly 30 years of poor catechesis and watered down Catholicism that the Church has endured. It is my hope that I can answer the call to engage and educate the Catholic lay faithful and do so through my writings on this blog and the speak on them when the opportunities arise (see home page about booking me to speak). I would encourage to also read Cardinal Wuerl: Education a key to the new evangelization on the importance of educating the lay faithful.
The Spirit of Catholicism, which can be purchased at Amazon is a must a read for every Catholic Christian! If you were baptized Catholic as a child and received the other two sacraments of initiation, you need to read it! If you have converted to the Catholic faith, you need to read it! If you know someone who is thinking about converting or has questions about the faith, they need to read it! I cannot say it enough how engaging and impacting this book is and how it will help you understand the Catholic Church more. I have no doubt that Karl Adam must have read Cardinal John Henry Newman since this text smells of Newman’s own writings on the faith. This book I imagine also influenced the Council Fathers of the Vatican II Council, especially the German, French, and Belgium Bishops.
To conclude, I will leave you with the words of Fr. Ray Ryland and Dr. Thomas Howard on the importance and impact this text made on them. I was able to interview both of these men via email in the Spring 2009 when I wrote a book review on the text for my course.
Fr. Ray Ryland: “The continuing relevance of the book testifies to its clear fidelity to the Church’s teaching. First published around eighty years ago, it only needs editorial correction at one point: to refer to the sacrament of healing as the sacrament of anointing, rather than as “extreme unction.” (But note: in the old liturgy, dating back at least to the end of the first millennium, the whole emphasis is on healing, not on dying.)Writers often speak of Vatican II’s recognition of the ecclesial reality of non-Catholic traditions as one of the most significant developments of Catholic thinking for which that council is responsible. That teaching is clearly set forth in Adam’s book, written forty years or so before Vatican II began.”
Dr. Thomas Howard: “Only that I think it is possibly the greatest and most wholly successful single volume that I know of that will open up to an honest and truly-inquiring mind, just what the Church is.”
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