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Monday, February 12, 2007

A Compendium of Problems

It's been several months since the Compendium to the Catholic Church was released, and to date, there have been no corrections to several egregious errors in the text.

The major problem:

#57 - Jesus Christ who died and rose in order to vanquish that moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils.

Human sin is at the root of ALL OTHER evils?
Human sin caused the fall of Satan and his angels?
That seems very unlikely.
If human sin did not cause the fall of Satan and his angels, then it could not be at the root of all other evils.

In fact, #57 is specifically contradicted by #75 which says When tempted by the devil, the first man and woman allowed trust in their Creator to die in their hearts.

Certainly this phrasing needs to be corrected, right?

Other problems

The Compendium uses the phrase "original holiness and justice" but never bothers to define the terms.

It uses the phrase "human soul" but never points out that the soul is comprised of the intellect and the will, thus the discussion of Jesus two wills #91 is a bolt from the blue.

It mentions Jesus human intellect in #90, but never uses the phrase divine intellect, or explicitly says that He possessed it, although it does admirably state he knew fully the eternal plans which he had come to reveal.

#134 failed to mention that the Lord's Second Coming depends on the conversion of the whole Hebrew people to the Faith, that is, it summarizes CCC #675-677 but carefully omits any reference to #674. Oddly enough, Compendium #215 does the same thing. If you mention the Second Coming twice, wouldn't at least one summary mention this rather important detail? It's almost as if someone systematically removed the portions of the CCC he didn't like.

#168 "Who belongs to the Catholic Church? All human beings in various ways belong to or are ordered to the Catholic unity of the people of God." Compare this summary of CCC #836-838 to the original and the Compendium's distinction between those who are baptized and those who are called to be baptized is shown up as the palest of shadows. This is especially disturbing given how emphatically this same distinction is emphasized in the original CCC articles. As #168 is worded, an uncareful reader might conclude that everyone is Catholic.

#259 fails to mention that parents help children grow in Baptismal grace, although it is at pains to point out that godparents and the ecclesial community do this.

#506 says we must give special attention to those species which are in danger of extinction as part of respect for the goods of others. The CCC makes absolutely no mention of this "special attention."

#507 completely changes the emphasis of CCC #2416-2418. The CCC specifically warns us not to accord to animals the level of respect due only to persons. The Compendium article spends all its words warning against inflicting excessive pain in animal experiments. True, one might argue these are differences in emphasis, not meaning, but the difference in emphasis is exceedingly great, nonetheless.

Finally, according to the index, the Compendium makes no mention of homosexuality, fornication, pornography, sex. It shows that abortion appears one time, adultery thrice, and has a section on birth control but no cross-reference for contraception. Celibacy is mentioned twice, chastity in two sections. Given the challenges faced by the Church in the 21st century, this seems an unusual set of omissions.


It is also interesting to see how many Catholic bloggers over the last several months have praised the Compendium without, apparently, having read it and compared it to the original.

1 comment:

Jordan Potter said...

"the Compendium to the Catholic Church"

Make that "Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

I've never seen a copy of the Compendium, but I've seen other Catholics on the internet make occasional criticisms along the lines that you have made, not only in terms of how the Catechism was selected but also how it was translated. These are some pretty serious flaws. I think I'll just stick to the Catechism and skip the dumbed-down version.