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"Thank you God for having given me a web site to smite the heresies!"
(Titian. David and Goliath. Source)
Note: For more information about Cardinal Cram Telleuo, see his First Pastoral Letter.
of Jesus Christ,
(Who is True Man and True God)
I've been among you twenty-one months, here in the Quebec Diocese. Please believe me, if it hadn't been for your prayers, I probably would have died crushed by the burden of my responsibilities. Having the responsibility for a whole Diocese, when you take your duty to heart, is very hard. Let me repeat: what keeps me going is your prayers. Every time a young mother makes her kids add "and Jesus, take care of our Bishop, Cardinal Cram Telleuo", at the end of their bedtime prayers, kneeling in front of the Crucifix, it is the whole Diocese which is strengthened. Each time an elderly and bedridden person makes the effort to say their Rosary for the intentions of the Bishop, while accepting their illness in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the Cross, it is my sufferings which are relieved, and those of the whole Church disseminated throughout the world.
It is with great joy that I see the buds of Faith and Hope appearing here and there in the Diocese, thanks to the prayers and hard work of all the workers in the Lord's vineyard. On the other hand, our job isn't finished yet!
In this second pastoral letter, I want to talk about catechesis. Without proper catechesis, our Diocese will die. Without proper catechesis, our Mother the Church cannot "give birth" to new little lambs to increase the Lord's flock, and without proper catechesis, the little lambs that exist already cannot eat and grow, but on the contrary, they will die of hunger and cold (or worse, be strangled by wolves dressed in sheep's clothing).
The theological foundations of catechesis are well known, so I won't repeat them here. I do ask you to all make an effort to study these foundations, according to your capacities and spare time. The excellent and reliable sources are:
1) The CCC (obviously!)
2) Catechesi Tradendae by Pope John Paul II
3) Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pope Paul VI
4) The General Directory for Catechesis (1997 Edition)
5) Etc, etc...
Given these theological foundations, I hereby decree the following, as pastor of the Quebec Diocese, in apostolic communion with the Supreme Pastor, Pope John Paul II, successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ:
1) Atheists and Heretics may no longer give catechesis courses. Imagine, even for a Math teacher, it doesn't make sense! (Can you imagine a prof, who believed that 2+2=99, giving a Math course?) Except a catechesis teacher must transmit not only correct information, but also the living Faith! Starting from now, any person having the task of teaching catechesis to children or adults will have to publicly profess their Faith and their allegiance to the Holy Father. We will add within a week a special section on the diocesan web site to display these pledges. It's the parents' responsibility to ensure that anybody teaching catechesis to their kids appears on this list, but it's also their responsibility to call to my attention anything which would be incompatible with this public pledge.
2) It is forbidden to use educational material that doesn't respect the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There is a plethora of catechesis books available on the market that claim to be Catholic, and who are absolutely not so! The CCC should be the compulsory book for all catechumens over 10 years of age. For the younger ones, there is the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that is seven times shorter, in a Question-Answer format. Moreover, we'll add within a week a section on the diocesan web site a list of forbidden books and other documents.
3) I establish one "Model Parish" for the Liturgy, the Homilies and the Sacraments. The Most-Holy-Sacrament Parish in Quebec is now designated "Model Parish", and I also appoint its new Parish Priest. Not that people in the other Parishes will all go to Hell! Of course not! But just as the house-builder needs a plan to build the house properly, the Parishes of the Quebec Diocese need a model to imitate. I will personally ensure that the Liturgy, the Homilies and the Sacraments are offered in full conformity with the official teachings of the Catholic Church. There will always be Priests in the confessionals at least one hour before each Mass. Moreover, any televised Mass will have to be filmed in that Parish. I will post other rules concerning this Model-Parish on the diocesan web site, within a month.
4) Parents will from now on have to have at least as much catechesis as their children. How can you transmit the Faith to children, when the first educators of these children don't go to Mass, know nothing about the CCC, and couldn't care less about the Catholic Church? "Parents must, by their words and their example, be the first to make the Faith known to their children" [ Lumen Gentium, #11].
5) Criteria for access to the Sacraments will now be respected. The Catholic Church doesn't teach that Sacraments must be handed out any which way. See "The Sacrament of Disevangelization".
6) I hereby institute a serious investigation on the state of catechesis in Quebec. It seems that the more we do "catechesis" in Quebec, the less people are Catholic! We should investigate what these people are being taught! See "The Diocesan Demolition Derby", #3.2.6. This investigation will give at least two results: a list of forbidden books (see #2 above), and a list of people who may no longer teach catechesis (see #1 above).
7) I hereby institute a project to create a good catechesis course on DVD. These days, a DV-Cam which directly burns onto DVD-RW discs costs under 2000$ CAN. We will have to finish the first version of this course within six months. A good catechesis course on about twenty DVDs will have several advantages: (1) I will be able to guarantee the faithfulness to the Pope of the contents; (2) working adults will be able to follow this course in their spare time (see also #4 above); (3) this series of DVDs will be offered in video clubs all over Quebec; (4) people who rarely read (and Lord knows how numerous they are in our "TV-happy" civilization) will be able to educate themselves; etc. Of course, a series of DVDs isn't as good as evangelization done by a flesh-and-blood Saint Dominic or Saint Theresa of Lisieux! But it is much, much better than nothing.
Some people will say these seven decrees are hard. Yes, they are hard, but "because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." [1P 5:8].
We have a choice: to leave our little lambs be strangled, or to clean up our catechesis. And I have no intention of choosing Option 1...
God bless you all,
Cardinal Cram Telleuo
Quebec City, December 16, 2004.
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