Catechism Aimed at Young U.S. Adults Is in the Works

Bishop Wuerl Warns of «Aggressively Secular» Culture

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NEW YORK, OCT. 27, 2002 ( A key U.S. bishop on education hopes that a new catechism aimed at young adults will be ready for Vatican review by November 2003.

Bishop Donald Wuerl, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Education, discussed the project at the recent international congress in Rome marking the 10th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The bishop of Pittsburgh spoke bluntly about the need for catechesis in the United States.

«Our American culture is aggressively secular, to such an extent that the environment can be actually hostile to Christian faith,» he said in his address [the full text appears in today’s Forum section].

«In fact, the heavy emphasis on the individual and his or her rights has greatly eroded the concept of the common good and its ability to call people to something beyond themselves,» the bishop said.

«This impacts strongly on the Church’s ability to persuade people to accept revealed teaching that cannot be changed by democratic process and to embrace an absolute moral imperative that is not the result of prior popular approbation,» he warned.

Yet, «on the brighter side, there is a sense among many of our young people that the secular, material world does not provide them sufficient answers for their lives,» Bishop Wuerl said.

«Over and over, the phenomena of youth gatherings from as large as World Youth Day to as modest as small parish programs speak of the searching for value and direction that characterizes a growing number of our faithful,» he said. «There is a hunger for God and the things of the Spirit but it needs to be encouraged, informed and directed.»

To help fill that need, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos suggested in 1998 that a national adult catechism be produced for use throughout the United States. The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy made that suggestion at a U.S. convocation that was studying the use of the Catechism.

Bishop Wuerl said: «It is anticipated that by no later than November 2003, the adult Catholic catechism written for and directed particularly to the young adults who form so much of the focus of the new evangelization today will be ready for final approval by the Conference of Bishops. Following this, it will be sent to the Holy See for ‘recognitio.'»

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