Roman Catholics: From Rote to Reality

Most U.S. Roman Catholics who went to parochial school learned the facts of their faith by memorizing them.

Generally, Catholic educators have relied on religious texts based on the 1884 Baltimore Catechism — a turgid compendium of factual questions and answers that the student was expected to learn by role. Last week the Paulist fathers introduced a new catechism that puts dogma in language that children, rather than theologians, can understand. More important, it tries to relate the student's intuition of the divine to his own youthful experience.

The new catechism series, called Come to the Father, is colorfully illustrated, avoids flat...

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