We continue the 52 week plan to grow in Catholic Manhood by becoming a better Catholic Son and Catholic Father. In honor of St. Joseph, the great earthly father of God, every Wednesday throughout the year we will look at one of Catholic Manhood habits to grow in holiness and happiness.

During the first six weeks of the year, we have been focused on Major Habit 1: Make Union with God your Ultimate Purpose; to review the habits, browse back through the blog.

We begin a new major habit this week: Major Habit 2 – Be Continually Formed in the Catholic Church. 

Major Habit 2 can be broken down into three smaller habits which we will be exploring in the next several weeks: Habit 7 – Study the Dogma of the Church, Habit 8 – Study the Lives of the Saints, and Habit 9 – Study under the Guidance of Trusted Catechists.

We turn our attention to Habit 7.  

Habit 7 Study the Dogma of the Catholic Church

Study the Dogma of the Catholic Church by reading and being taught about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by continually seeking inspiration and wisdom from the Catechism to live a more holy life and to be prepared to defend the Church.

Understand what “Dogma” is – The word “dogma” comes from a Greek word that means, “That which one thinks is true.” Jesus is “the truth” (Jn 14:6) and revealed was is true for the salvation of mankind through His Holy Catholic Church.  Catholic dogmas is:  “The revealed teachings of Christ which are proclaimed by the fullest extent of the exercise of the authority of the Church’s Magisterium. The faithful are obliged to believe the truths or dogmas contained in divine Revelation and defined by the Magisterium” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC). 

Why dogma is essential – Catholic dogmas are, “lights along the path of faith…[which] illuminate and make secure” (CCC 89), and does so in a comprehensive and logical way (CCC 89) which has stood the test of time.  In a world which is rife with confusion and deceit about truth, Catholic dogma continues to preserve and hand down the truth of Christ as it has successfully done for two millennia. 

What is the Magisterium? – The Magisterium (from Latin word which means to have the authority of a master), is “The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give as authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture), or in the form of Tradition. The Magisterium ensures the Church’s fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles in matters of faith and morals” that “is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (CCC 85). The teachings of the Master, Jesus Christ, is passed down through His Church’s Magisterium. 

What is a Catechism? – A catechism (from Latin word which means “to echo”) is a “echoing” of the Catholic faith which is a “popular summary or compendium of Catholic doctrine [dogma]  about faith and morals” which is used to pass along the faith. 

Catechisms of the Catholic Church – Various Catechisms have been approved over time and remain valid. The most widely read is the Catechism of the Catholic Church propagated by Saint Pope John Paul II. 

Other historical catechisms of great blessings include the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Baltimore Catechism. More recently, Credo, a compendium of the Catholic Faith offers a pragmatic question and answer format on the major elements of the Faith. Another recent popular approach of teaching the Catechism is Father Mike Schmitz’ The Catechism in a Year Podcast.  

This week’s questions – Each week there are a few questions to help you meditate upon the habit of the week. Here are this week’s questions: 

Do I know the Faith well enough to be able to teach the Faith?

Are there parts of the Faith I currently object to and am I committed to study to fully understand the Church’s teaching?

This week’s commitments Making a habit a reality requires commitment to concrete action. Here is this week’s challenge:

Pray and be guided by God to read several parts of the Catechism. Consider making a commitment to read the entire Catechism during a year. 

Don’t forget to pray with the ECM Daily Gospel Devotional each day.

Consider listening to the EveryCatholicMan.com Gospel Devotional Podcast to be better prepared for Sunday Mass.

Daily Prayer – During the week, pray this short prayer, or one like it, to become committed to seeking to ever grow in understanding of the dogmas of the Faith:

Lord Jesus Christ, You came to reveal Truth so that men might be saved and established Your Holy Catholic Church to ensure Your Truth is passed down across the generations. As a man of this current generation, kindle in me a burning desire to truly know the truth of Your Church. Guide me to be formed by Your Church and protect me from any and all errors and lies.  Amen.