Religion High School - No name

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'
Author(s): 
Alfred McBride, O.Praem.
Copyright: 
1995
Publisher: 
Good Will Publishers / Our Sunday Visitor
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
180 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

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.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat

Review Date: 
7-1-04
Reviewed by: 

Our Quest for Happiness - High School Religion Series

Copyright: 
1940
Publisher: 
Lepanto Press (reprinted)
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

I was introduced to the series as a high school freshman. I enjoyed the text very much at that time (even though I was working with a photocopy). I was equally impressed with the Sophomore text when I taught with it nearly ten years later. The first book, Our Goal and Our Guides, focuses on understanding our goal in life - attaining Heaven - and spiritual and doctrinal issues that are related to that goal (such as the roles of faith and reason, the liturgical year, the Blessed Trinity, the Fall, and Salvation through Christ). The second book, Through Christ Our Lord, studies the life of Our Lord in great detail - covering the Old Testament time of waiting for Christ, the basic events of Christ's life, a detailed study of Christ's Death and Resurrection, the Eucharist and the Mass, the Sacraments and following Christ today. The Ark and the Dove (Book Three) covers the Catholic Church and the Holy Spirit. Towards the Eternal Commencement. is designed especially to prepare graduating seniors as they go out into the world. It covers Our Lady, considerations about death and the afterlife (best reflected upon earlier in life!), vocations, those commandments, virtues and teachings important for "building a better world" and a segment on Apologetics.

Review Date: 
4-26-01
Reviewed by: 

Introduction to Catholicism

Author(s): 
Emmett Flood
Copyright: 
2003
Publisher: 
Midwest Theological Forum
Series: 
Didache
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
388 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Though this is an introductory test, it is quite thorough and well-documented. In style it is forthright, intelligent, and uncomplicated. Church teaching is succinctly but beautifully stated, and supported by plentiful quotes from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and various popes and saints. One is left with a profound appreciation for the beauty and wisdom of the Church, a better understanding of the Catholic Faith, and a deep gratitude to Christ Who guides us still through His Church.

The book begins with a treatment of the basic teachings of the Church: the universal call to holiness and need for prayer, the Trinity, Mary, the Mother of the Church, and the Church as the Body of Christ. That is followed by a general discussion of revelation and the deposit of Faith entrusted to the Catholic Church through which we come to know God. But knowing God is not sufficient for fallen creatures. We need His grace to answer the call to holiness. Consequently, each of the sacraments is explained, and instances are given of persons exemplifying the grace peculiar to that sacrament. Having established how grace is made available to us, the book then explains why it is not sufficient: free creatures must cooperate with grace. Using the Ten Commandments as a frame, the book explains the cardinal virtues and the virtuous life. This book is absolutely and unapologetically faithful to the teachings of the Church, while also inspiring, and encouraging to all who strive to live the Catholic Faith.

What I most liked about this book was its clear presentation and the ordered progression of principles, also its direct application and connection to the world of today. This connection is most evident in the photos used, and in the choice of persons and saints. So many of these persons lived in recent times. This serves to accentuate the fact that God is working today, in and through each of us. Obvious efforts were made to meld the old with the new, the past with the present, reinforcing the truth that God has been with us always. Cross references show the Scriptural basis of the teachings of the Church and the connections made through them. This is especially important if Catholics are to share the Truth with other Christians; more so today, given that many Catholics lose their Faith, which they neither know nor understand, through the persuasions of other fervent Christians.

This book was written for high school students. Its treatment of sexual matters is thorough but appropriately limited. Because children and circumstances differ, it may not be as limited as a given child needs. Parents should read relevant portions themselves to determine whether these chapters suit their needs. We have used this book with two of our children, and both have deepened their understanding of, and appreciation for, their faith.

You can view the table of contents here.

Read the first chapter here.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
2-28-07
Reviewed by: 

Chief Truths of the Faith, Mass and the Sacraments, Catholic Morality, and Catholic Apologetics

Author(s): 
Father John Laux
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
TAN Books
Series: 
Fr. Laux's High School Texts
Binding: 
Softcover
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Originally published in 1928, the current edition published by TAN Books is a complete reproduction of the 1934 edition. The 1990 editor added some footnotes to bring the series more "up-to-date." This is a highly recommended series - this is the recommended high school religion text for Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace and Seton Home Study. I have not worked my way through an entire book from this series yet, but I found it to be an excellent reference resource, especially before the Catechism of the Catholic Church was released. It makes an excellent reference because it is laid out in a very practical manner. It is possible to study a single chapter in the middle of the book in order to more fully understand a particular topic, such as the Catholic Church's teaching on Evolution (ch. VI, Bk. 1 The Origin of the Human Race) which did not change with Vatican II or Our Holy Father's recent (and highly misunderstood and misquoted) statement on Evolution. Because of this practical format, parents may find this series very useful in learning about a particular concept more fully in order to teach it to their younger children. The series is extensively illustrated.

For those interested in using this as a high school religion series, Laura Berquist has syllabi for this series, which includes quizzes and answer keyes and is available from Emmanuel Books. Seton Home Study offers, even for those not signed up with their entire program, a course using this text. This service includes telephone consultation, test correcting, grading, etc.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: