How To Listen To Real Catholic Church Teachings
Q: Since the Pulpit is no longer used to inform Catholics what the Church teaches (the sermons I hear only reflect the Gospel of that day), how are Catholics to know Church teaching? (name withheld)
A: It is true that many Catholics today are poorly formed in the faith. Yet there are many reasons for this, not just silent pulpits. Neither is it necessarily fair to describe pulpits as silent. I know my own isn’t, and I know many brother priests who carefully teach the faith from their own pulpits. This is certainly an ongoing process. I would say it takes at least five years in a parish before I can say, with St. Paul, that I have proclaimed “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
All that said, it is problematic to place exclusive focus on the pulpit. For there are many ways that the Catholic faith must be taught. This is especially the case since most Catholics Masses have sermons lasting little more than twelve minutes. Thus, other things must be added beyond the sermon in order to teach the faith.
At the heart of handing on the faith, is the family. And thus, catechesis must focus on renewing and equipping the family to better teach the faith. In my own parish, while the children are in Sunday school classes, I, as pastor, teach the parents what their children are learning. I also model for them how to teach. For example, we read Bible stories together, and then show them how to teach using those stories. We also learn how to use the Catechism to find answers.
Beyond the parish, there are many wonderful resources for Catholics to learn of their faith. This very publication, “Our Sunday Visitor”, is one good example. There are also many publications, blogs, websites, and various forms of Catholic media, including movies and lecture series.
Hence, beyond the pulpit, many other things are both needed, and offered. Indeed we are very blessed today with many resources that help to teach the faith.