Friday, October 19, 2012

A Catechism on Every Shelf

I am very happy to welcome Mary DeTurris Poust to "Catholic Moms Talk" today. Mary DeTurris Poust is an award-winning journalist, author, columnist, speaker, and blogger who has written for Catholic and secular publications for close to 30 years. She is the author of six books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Catholic Catechism and two new books to be released this fall: Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God, and Everyday Divine: A Catholic Guide to Active Spirituality. Mary is co-host of "Guided by Grace," a new cable show for Catholic women debuting on Telecare TV on October 29. She writes about the spiritual journey at her own blog, "Not Strictly Spiritual"  and in her monthly column "Life Lines," which has been published in Catholic New York since 2001. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and three children.

Now, here's Mary...
People often find it hard to believe I can get so enthusiastic about the Catechism. I mean, just look at it. Clocking in at almost 1,000 pages, it’s more than a little intimidating to the average Catholic. But I had the good fortune of being asked to write a book that put it all into “plain English.” And, as I often tell people, the time I spent writing “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism” was as close to a conversion experience as this lifelong Catholic has gotten. At least so far. And because of that, I want to share the Catechism and what it has to offer with everyone, especially my own children and the children I’ve taught in faith formation classes.

When I taught fourth- and fifth-grade religion classes at my parish in recent years, I’d always make sure I had a copy of the Catechism and my own Idiot’s Guide on hand. I knew that at least once during every class I’d get a difficult question or need to explain something, and there’s no better reference tool than the Catechism. It is at once informative, inspiring, and poetic, not to mention the fact that is a foundational teaching tool for all Catholics.

Someone recently asked me what surprised me most during my research and study of the Catechism. I think it was the fact that it so beautifully weaves together all the different aspects of Catholic teaching. All the things we profess each week -- often without thinking -- and all the controversial things we hear only in headline form from the secular media are put into the context of Scripture, Apostolic Tradition, and Catholic teaching down through the ages. It’s really quite an amazing accomplishment and gift the Church gives us!

Each of my own children has a copy of my “Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism” on their bookshelf, and we have the full version of the Catechism in a family bookcase right alongside the Bible and other spiritual reading because, as far as I’m concerned, the Catechism is essential, foundational, necessary if we want to steep ourselves and our children in the teachings of our faith and the reasons behind those teachings. In an age of increasing secularism, knowing the “whys” behind our beliefs will help our children navigate their way through the questions and doubts others will inevitably throw at them. But no matter what your age, the Catechism can be – should be -- your go-to guide for all things Catholic.

~Mary DeTurris Poust blogs at She recommends using her "Complete Idiot's Guide to the Catholic Catechism" as a study guide to the full Catechism.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. The Catechism is a great treasure, and I would not be without my own copy, my Compendium, and my Idiot's Guide. Without that last piece, I get a little lost!