Father McBride's Teen Catechism

Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Book cover: 'Father McBride's Teen Catechism: Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church'
Alfred McBride, O.Praem.
Good Will Publishers / Our Sunday Visitor
Number of pages: 
180 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 

Teen Catechism is a nice entry point into the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In spite of its name, Teen Catechism could be used by an adult convert or any person who wants a solid introduction to or review of our Catholic faith. It follows the topic sequence of the Catechism, covering the Creed, the Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer in its 36 chapters.

Each chapter begins with a passage quoted from another source which is selected as a lead-in to the chapter's topic. The purpose is to raise questions in the reader's mind, or make him aware that there is a question involved. This is followed by a "Some Say" section which is a wrong or incomplete version of the answer. Then there is a "The Catechism Teaches" section which contains quotes from the Catechism on that topic, and "We Catholics Believe" which translates the CCC quotes into everyday language. The "Reflection" is a quote from Scripture or a saint's writings which allows one to meditate further on the topic. Each chapter concludes with "In my Life" a series of open-ended questions which lead the reader to ponder how to apply the stated truths of the chapter to his life. Finally, there is a Prayer and a glossary of theological terms used in the chapter.

The layout is very clear and easy to follow. A variety of fonts are used to distinguish the different parts of the chapter from each other. Brief Scripture verses introduce and conclude the meditations. There is at least one black and white illustration per chapter, either a photograph or a sketch related to the topic. The strategy within the chapters is somewhat similar to St Thomas Aquinas's layout in the Summa Theologicae - a question, some objections, then a reply to the objections. This approach is well suited to the world we live in today, where we often hear a multiplicity of different opinions on a topic, and it is difficult to sort out which is closest to the traditional teachings of the Church.

The book could easily be used in a discussion group, or even as topics for personal devotions. It would be easy to plan "extensions" or further study on a given topic, either by looking into what the Catholic Catechism says in full, or by doing further research on the saints and other people mentioned within the book.

So much of the time, the word "teen" is associated with trendy, lightweight resources, but this book is quite the opposite. It is a solid and thoughtful introduction to the basics of our Catholic faith. One caution for younger readers: in the sections on the 6th and 9th Commandments, the opening stories are of St Maria Goretti, and the story of Susannah and the wicked judges. While the stories are not unnecessarily graphic, they do cover the topic of rape and violence, and may need to be discussed by parents with their younger teenagers.

Additional notes: 

Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat

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