A short catechism to strengthen our faith in troubled times


By Fr. Jerry Pokorski ( bio – articles – email ) | August 15, 2022

To abandon the Catholic faith in tumultuous times is an act of betrayal and spiritual suicide. This brief Catechism aims to provide reliable reasons for enduring. “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it, and remain faithful.” (2 Tim. 3:14)

Why is the Orthodox Catholic faith essential?

Christian belief upholds reason and common sense. “God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female, he created them. (Genesis 5:1-2) Therefore, the word “man” expresses the original unity – and communal life – of men and women in marriage. Adam and Eve’s sin and our sins damage the divine image imprinted on us and distort our understanding of ourselves as human beings. The Incarnation restores our humanity in Jesus and elevates our self-understanding. The human body is the “sacrament” of the soul, destined for resurrection on the Last Day.

What are the contemporary threats to our understanding of Catholic faith and morals?

Why is it important to consider threats to the Catholic faith?

We risk the fires of hell for inaction.

How did Jesus deal with the stubbornness of the religious leaders of his day?

Many times Jesus denounces the equivalents of the clergy: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Mt. 23:27)

Are there evangelical precedents for infidelity in the Catholic hierarchy?

Jesus counts among his apostles a man who would deny him and another who would betray him.

How does Revelation reinforce the authentic teachings of the Catholic faith?

When, with good will, we accept the Resurrection as plausible, this becomes reasonable if we consider the whole story of God’s encounter with man, which has been repeatedly presented to us through the Sacred Liturgy and the liturgical year.

How does reason reinforce the authentic teachings of the Catholic faith?

The Resurrection allows us to recalibrate and assemble the entirety of God’s Revelation within the simple framework of the Apostles’ Creed. The disclosure is reasonable and consistent. The Catholic faith is the marriage of faith and reason.

Is natural law subject to change?

No. Jesus personifies natural law: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (Jn. 14:15) The union of God and man in Jesus affirms the compatibility of natural law with the law of God. Natural law enables us to see the unity of faith and reason and the complementarity of science and religion. The Incarnation affirms that science is indeed the study of the work of God.

How do footnotes strengthen the Catholic faith?

The rock-solid faith in Christ and his teachings is affirmed in the many footnotes tracing the teaching of the Church through historical records back to Christ.

How do Scripture and Tradition guide the Magisterium?

The Magisterium is inseparable from Scripture and Tradition. There may be doctrinal development and deeper understanding of doctrine, but no doctrinal contradictions. The “sense of faith” (sensus fidei) by the faithful can identify and reject violations of the “principle of non-contradiction” which holds together the entirety of revelation – Magisterium, Scripture and Tradition.

How do the martyrs bear witness to the faith?

Christian martyrs risk and give up their life in Jesus for the firm certainties of faith promising salvation. When we think of the Magisterium of the Church, we must also bear in mind the Magisterium of the Martyrs.

What is the relationship of the clergy to the magisterium?

Priests, bishops and popes are ministers of the faith, not masters.

What is the role of faithful obedience?

“…the faithful Christians are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which sacred pastors, in so far as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith, or establish as leaders of the Church.” (Canon 212 §1)

How does obedience bind the hierarchy?

Obedience also binds ecclesiastical authorities to Sacred Tradition and moral law. “…they or they [the laity]have the right and even sometimes the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on questions that concern the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful…”. (Canon 212 §3)

Is it ever possible to disagree with the Church?

Mary is the model of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Thus, to criticize the authentic teaching of the Church is to minimize Mary’s obedience, and to denigrate Mary’s faith is to criticize Christ. Our devotion to Mary restores orthodoxy.

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church – even at the highest levels, as the example of Saint Peter clearly shows— is quite capable of failing in its teaching mission.

Concretely, what can we do?

Prof. Jerry Pokorski is a priest in the Diocese of Arlington who also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Educated in business and accounting, he also holds a master’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply committed to authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full biography.

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