My post on 5th February about the new “I am a Catholic” card had a welcome visitor in the comments box. He is Mr Brian McMahon, who is a candidate in training for the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He has an interesting blog, Cursor Mundi, which I cordially invite my readers to visit.
I confined myself to thanking Mr McMahon for his comment, because I thought I would need some time to reflect on it. He makes a number of points, in a very friendly spirit. His comment is, I would guess, a pretty accurate rendering of what was probably in the Bishops’ minds when they were working on this project. I’d now like to add some reflections to what he has written.
The wheel has been invented, and well done to whoever invented it. But if it doesn’t work, it needs modification. The card looks very attractive; but its list of faith-statements strikes me as weak, and in one instance - "Celebrate the sacraments regularly" - inaccurate. Inaccurate in rather a complex way: it seems like a stringing-together of words at a brainstorming session, which when joined together become incorrect and even meaningless.
I believe the text of the card matters, because the substance of words matters, in the sense of their weight and meaning. In such a small space every word should count, in terms of attracting the reader - including the young reader - to Christ, His Church and the sure path to eternal life She offers.
However simply expressed, the message surely has to be both theological and catechetical, albeit in concentrated form. Teaching about God, giving a reason for the hope that is in us, as Catholic Christians, should be at the heart of it. I don’t think the Bishops’ card has achieved this. I hope they will treat this production as Mark I, and not as the last word in this very good initiative.
You will by now have gathered, Mr McMahon, that your contribution has provided me with valuable encouragement to further thought on this subject. God bless you in your studies, and in your future ministry.