By Anthony Barich
As a prelate in a time when secularism is arguably taking hold of the western world like never before, Archbishop Barry Hickey rightly ponders how to get the Catechism of the Catholic Church into every home.
Question Time: 150 questions and answers on the Catholic Faith, by Opus Dei priest Fr John Flader, may just be the answer.
Fr Flader, a regular columnist with The Record who has spent almost 40 years in university chaplaincy, is adept and experienced at tackling the questions of young enquiring minds in easy-to-understand language.
Now Catholic Adult Education Centre director for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Fr Flader has compiled Question Time out of all the answers to the questions he has been asked in his column published in The Record and Sydney’s The Catholic Weekly.
These relate not only to the history of the Church but tackle new questions about changes since Vatican II and timeless questions concerning voting, the sacraments, homosexuality, divorce and evolution, among others. He’s already in the process of writing a second edition, which promises to broaden even further into issues that have dogged our federal and State parliaments in recent years.
The only detraction, as stated by one individual at the book’s launch at The Record on June 20, is that is has no index. Fr Flader said this was due to publishing deadlines.
None-the-less, Archbishop Hickey was happy to launch the book as it will prove a “good starting point” in getting the Catechism into every home as Question Time draws heavily on it. “(Question Time) is smaller and less expensive (than the Catechism) and I have no doubt that anyone who delves into it will develop a thirst for more of the beauty of our Faith,” the Archbishop said.
“Its readers will feel liberated by the knowledge they have gained, and in that liberation they will want to know more.”
The Catechism, the Archbishop says, is an “absolute treasure” that he suspects is not widely known even among Catholics.
On that basis, he says that Question Time ought to have a place in every Catholic home, “including and perhaps especially, in the homes of Catholics who have wandered from the Church”. Fr Flader references Scripture, the early Fathers of the Church, Popes through the ages and the Councils of the Church to answer a broad sweep of questions that “enlightens the reader about the Church herself. I don’t think it would be possible to read the book without becoming aware of the depth and wisdom – the very Truth – of the Church, which emerges from the pages as an ever-reliable source of the revelation of God,” the archbishop said.
For his own part, Fr Flader said he aims to give “unequivocably Catholic” answers while also carefully considering his “brother priests” who may practice the faith differently than what the Church actually affirms.
He compiled the book due to many positive responses to his columns and requests for such a book.
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, who wrote Question Time’s foreword, believes that life’s daily dilemmas will bring readers back to the book again and again.
“In its succinct and elegant explanations of Catholic teaching and belief, Catholics will find information, encouragement, reassurance and clarity,” Cardinal Pell said.
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