How Do I Explain Catholicism to My Friend?

Catholicism is filled with beautiful complexities, but when it comes time to explain our Catholic faith to a friend, we often don’t know where to begin. In this week’s episode, Jeff gives tips to help us start the conversation, and he reminds us to remember the most important reason for sharing our faith- God’s desire to be in relationship with each of his children

How Do I Explain Catholicism To My Friend?
  • The Catholic Church can be hard to explain because there is so much to it.
    • Frank Sheed – a Catholic apologist.
      • Our kids go through all these years of Catholic education and after they end up with a “Pile of Catholicism.”
        • All the pieces of information we received through our education.
        • We need help to sort through the “pile.”
      • We should be able to explain our faith to others.
    • The key is to use the Catechism.
What Is the Catechism?
  • It is a roadmap for living.
  • There are two universal options out there right now.
    • The need for a Catechism was recommended by Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985.
    • In 1986 Pope John Paul II appointed a Commission of Cardinals and Bishops to develop a compendium of Catholic doctrine.
      • The first edition came out in Dec 8, 1992.
    • The recommended second edition (the green edition) came out.
      • It had corrections, additions and is easier to follow.
    • A catechism is a text which contains the fundamental Christian truths formulated in a way that facilitates their understanding
    • It serves several essential functions. (article by the USCCB)
      • It conveys the essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a complete and summary way.
      • It is a point of reference for national and diocesan catechisms.
      • It is a positive, objective and declarative exposition of Catholic doctrine.
        • Cardinal Ratzinger points out that the structure of it says something powerful.
      • It is intended to assist those who have the duty to catechize, namely promoters and teachers of catechesis.
        • It is also for the lay faithful.
What is the Structure and Organization of the Catechism?
  • The key is CCC #1
    • “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.”
      • God has a plan of sheer goodness.
    • The goal of evangelization is to bring people to Christ and to his family.
  • It is divided into four pillars.
    • Creed, Sacraments & Liturgy, Life in Christ, Prayer.
    • The first twenty-five paragraphs are the prologue then from there it goes through the pillars.
    • Creed
      • They go through the Creed (what we believe.)
      • St Augustine of Hippo
        • The Creed takes Salvation History and puts it in a tightly-wound form.
      • This is the basis for the rest of the pillars.
    • Sacraments and Liturgy
      • This explains why we have them and how they help us participate in God’s plan.
    • Life in Christ
      • This is the script for how we can live in God’s plan.
      • Galatians 2:19-20 – “19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
    • Prayer
      • Community and individual.
      • It is the spice of our life.
    • Why is there no section in Mary?
      • Because she is sprinkled in throughout the whole thing.
    • How to navigate through the Catechism.
      • The first 25 paragraphs are the Prologue.
      • It is organized by parts, sections, chapters, and paragraphs. Each chapter has “in brief” at the end.
      • Page 688 and 689 is the apparatus.
        • Paragraph 2865 and on.
        • This assists you in looking things up.
        • There is an index of citations.
          • All the times the Bible is referenced
          • All of the ecumenical councils, Vatican II, synods and others that are referenced
        • Page 753 is the index of topics.
          • Any topic you may have questions about.
        • Page 864 is a glossary of Catholic terms.
        • Page 861 has the abbreviations.
          • Including those used in footnotes.

More Great Resources from Jeff                                                                   

Find free blogs, videos, and resources about Scripture and the Catholic faith at

Learn more about The Great Adventure Bible Timeline and preview any study for free.

For an easy way to transform your approach to reading Scripture, check out Jeff’s Bible Timeline Chart.

For an illustrated resource introducing God’s love story to children while helping them to understand how the Catholic Church is the body of Christ on Earth try The Great Adventure Storybook.

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