Sunday, January 12, 2020
Wiki Catechism. . .
Now it seems some in Rome have decided that Wiki is the wave of the future. Fr Antonio Spadaro, in an article in La Civilta Catholica, has revealed that the Holy See – in a spirit of openness and generosity – is ready and waiting to receive suggestions from whomever for new clauses for inclusion in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The CCC, says Spadaro, ‘is henceforth envisaged as a do-it-yourself manual of doctrine and ethics. It should not be left to Pope Francis (after exhausting trips hither and thither) to come up with ad hoc revisions on the airplane home. It is time that the whole people of God shouldered responsibility for doctrine and catechesis.’
Now who is Fr. Spadaro? Well, Wiki says "Antonio Spadaro (born 6 July 1966) is an Italian Jesuit priest, journalist and writer. He has been the editor in chief of the Jesuit-affiliated journal La Civiltà Cattolica since 2011. He is also a consultor to both the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Secretariat for Communications (previously known as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications). He is described as being very close to Pope Francis, who is also a Jesuit." (Emphasis added)
So it may be the Pope who has decided that the Catechism is not the wisdom of the teacher but that which is taught. Now that certainly fits with Francis's style of things. He is egalitarian about everything and everyone (except those who disagree with him or challenge him). But the bigger issue here is the whole idea of the catechism being a do-it-yourself tool. The catechism for Rome and for Lutherans is one of those guardians of the faith. It changes incrementally and more in response to new challenges than in redefinitions of the old answers. It is the depository of tradition in the best sense of that word and it functions as a rudder for the faithful. It is there that the faith is taught and it is there that the faithful look for answers to the questions of the faith. It does not replace Scripture but organizes Scripture to speak topically to doctrines and questions. So if the catechism is to become a repository of people's thoughts and sentiments, it will end up being Wikipedia for the Church -- complete with all of its weaknesses and without much of the strength of a real catechism. I certainly hope no one in Lutheranism is inclined to move in this direction.