How was this project born?For almost two years I have been placing various catechetical leaflets dealing with current issues of our Christian faith at the disposal of those entering the Basilica of St. Charles on the Corso where I am the Primicerio. During this time I have noted, with a certain degree of wonder, that well over 2,000,000 of these leaflets have been taken away by those who make a visit to the Basilica. Therefore, spurred on by the encouragement of many, I have decided to gather the 50 leaflets into a pocket-sized single volume which is now to be published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. This publication will also be available in the Basilica and will be posted on the internet.
I decided that the leaflets should deal with current issues. I wanted to explain briefly what the Catholic Faith affirms on some certain relevant subjects which today are often the focus of discussion and debate. In some cases, subjects were selected that were perhaps slightly forgotten by many Christians today or even disputed by some.
What are the sources or inspiration for these subjects?Basically they are inspired by the documents of the Holy See, and in particular by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium. This was a deliberate choice so as to create an awareness of the vast richness, completeness and beauty of these documents which are, in some circles, hardly known at all. In this way, it is possible to present the essential and fundamental contents of the faith which are professed, not just by the individual Catholic, but by the Catholic Church throughout the world as it adheres to the Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops. It is this teaching that was willed by Christ himself in order to confirm the faith of individual believers, so that, through the centuries and in various different parts of the world, everyone should profess the one true Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
From an editorial point of view, the arguments are presented in a dialogical manner, that is to say with questions, each of which is followed by a brief response. This dialogical format, while inviting us to continue reading, is born of and remains faithful to a constant and noble catechetical tradition in the history of the Church. It is well known that many catechisms responsible for the faith formation of entire generations used – and in a very fruitful way – this kind of pedagogical tool. It should not be forgotten that the same Christian faith, a special gift of God, can itself also be described as a continuous dialogue between God with man, and between man and God.
I am also convinced that this approach can help to meet the needs of the today’s world, which certainly has an appetite for interviews of a journalistic type, let alone a taste for synthetic sound bites and catchphrases. This may be due in part to the fact that many people nowadays have little time and, even though they say they are Catholics, need to deepen their faith. This lack of time, unfortunately, often leads to religious ignorance, which in turn, results in a widespread relativism, an arbitrary subjectivism and, last but not least, an impressive reduction in mnemonic capacity regarding the contents of faith. This is not only the case in children and young people but also in adults, both in their catechetical journey and in their various and demanding activities and profession.
The word Fragments was inserted as a sub-title in order to underline the fact that only some of the contents which form the rich and mysterious tapestry of the Catholic Faith, as well some of the challenges that grip the present world, were being presented in this volume. At the same time I would like to stress that, in dealing with each single topic, I do not intend to present all its aspects and contents. For this reason I do not wish – due to a lack of space and time – to give each subject a comprehensive and complete treatment but merely to offer some suggestions, fragments of reflections.
It is hoped that it may help people to know the beauty and the importance of the Christian faith that is offered to all in a better way by discussing certain of the issues that characterize our society at this point in time.
For this reason it is aimed at Christians in order to give them the opportunity to know and to deepen certain contents of their faith, and to every person who wishes to know what the Catholic Church, through some of her official documents, believes and lives, with the Lord’s help.
Rome, 8 April 2009