Foreword to “Salvation Redefined”, a book by Lorene Collins. By Msgr. Vincent Foy

Foreword to “Salvation Redefined”, a Book by Lorene Collins

  By Monsignor Vincent Foy 


“Among the aids available to catechesis, catechisms excel all others”— General Directory for Catechesis. St. Francis Xavier, in a letter to St. Ignatius in the year 1542, wrote of the situation in India. He lamented: “There is nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s law”. Yet even the children were anxious for divine Truth and grace. He wrote: “The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: ‘the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ ” Even graver than the situation in sixteenth century India has been the situation in much of the Catholic world since the Second Vatican Council. Often orthodox teaching has been replaced with false.  Spawned by a renascent Modernism, sometimes called the Teilhardian Revolution because of its roots in the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, catechetical institutes in Holland, Belgium, France and elsewhere gave us what is called “The New Catechetics.” Because of its lack of doctrinal content it is also called “Creedless Catechetics” or even “Catechetics without Catechetics”. The old catechetics dating from the early Church was rejected. The old methods enshrined in great catechisms like those of the Council of Trent, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Peter Canisius, St. Pius X, and hundreds of their offspring like the Butler Catechism and the Baltimore Catechism were despised, even forbidden. The great theologian Cardinal Charles Journet saw the new catechetics as an effect of the loss of direction by the hierarchy and the internal decay of the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger, speaking at Paris in 1983, called the new catechetics “la misere de la catechisme,” the “misery of the new catechetics.”  In an article entitled “The Corruption of Souls by the New Catechisms”, the noted defender of the Faith, Dietrich von Hildebrand, tells us that the new catechisms poison the souls of children with a distorted presentation of Christian revelation. He calls the new catechisms “a diabolical game, a terrible irreverence against God and innocent children.” He says: “What we are confronted with here is not a question of pedagogy. Written all over these text-books which are this day poisoning the souls of little children is a hatred of the sacred and of the supernatural.”  (Dietrich von Hildebrand, “ The Charitable Anathema”, Roman Catholic Books, Harrison, N. Y., 1993, p. 70 ). The prime example of the new catechetics was the Dutch Catechism, which was nothing else but the Dutch rebellion against orthodoxy. It rejected angels and the devil, transubstantiation and the sacramental priesthood. Condemned by Rome, it was only required to list its principal errors in an Appendix. Millions of copies were sold in numerous translations and it was praised by bishops, priests and catechists. It was not withdrawn until after Pope John Paul II’s synod with the Dutch bishops in 1980. It was the herald of even worse things to come. The coming of the new catechetics to Canada is the subject of the present book, entitled “Salvation Redefined” by Lorene Collins. That is an apt title because in the new catechetics we are not saved by the cross of Christ, but by an ungodly alliance with the secular order. The sub-title tells it all: “The post-Vatican II Collapse of Catechesis in Canada “. The arrival of the new creedless catechetics in Canada was ensured when our Canadian bishops authorized a Canadian Catechism in 1966.  Its composition was already far advanced by the collaboration of “a team of 30 trained catechists, theologians, psychologists, sociologists and teachers”. Their names were not given. It was first introduced into Quebec under the title of “Viens vers le Pere”. It was translated into English and published by the Paulist Press under the title “Come to the Father”. Soon it spread across Canada. It did not teach the Ten Commandments, the precepts of the Church, the Sacrifice of the Mass, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, the infallibility of the Pope, the hierarchical structure of the Church. In general it did not give as models our great saints, but secular activists like Martin Luther King. The so-called Canadian Catechism developed into a 3000-page behemoth consisting of parent, teacher and pupil texts and audio-visual aids. Probably no bishop or teacher in Canada studied the whole mess. Its very size acted as a giant smokescreen well-designed to hide its vacuity and perfidy. At about the same time the faith-destroying Canadian Catechism was inflicted upon Canadian children, sex education was introduced into our Catholic schools. It was  not family life education in modesty and chastity in accordance with Vatican II and other magisterial directives. It was blatant sex education after the model of Siecus (Sex Information and Education Council of the United States). Boys and girls were taught together the intimate details of licit and illicit sex. They learned more about sex than their parents. It has always been a mystery to me why our bishops would allow sexologist Fr. Leo LaFreniere to introduce this immoral program into our Catholic schools. The birth of the program “Fully Alive” would mean the spiritual death of countless children. So when our Catholic children were being reduced to a state of religious illiteracy, they were being traumatized by a flood of sex information for which they were not prepared. Lorene Collins, talented, vocal and dedicated, is uniquely qualified to record the demise of authentic catechetics in Canada. She fully realized that a creedless catechetical  course was depriving Catholic children of their compass to goodness and holiness. She was not content to see her own children victimized by lethargic custodians of the Faith. First Lorene Collins details her own experience in Edmonton. Her efforts can only be described as heroic. She was harassed, insulted, humiliated and subjected to attempted brain-washing. She met with other concerned Catholic parents, wrote critiques and reports. She helped in the wide distribution of the General Catechetical Directory of  1971. She corresponded with that truly great Archbishop Henri Routhier, who encouraged her. He had studied thoroughly the Canadian Catechism, wrote a critique of it and saw clearly that it was a spiritual disaster, incapable of producing practicing Catholics. Lorene, her husband Ed Collins and Father Charles Keenan were the core group which organized about 50 other concerned Catholics in setting up Canada’s first Chapter of C.U.F. (Catholics United for the Faith). Their purpose was to dialogue with others in defense of orthodox catechetics. Edmonton was a mirror or miniature of the tragedy being enacted across Canada. In this book we are given the broad picture of brave priests and groups everywhere from East to West. There were the Newberrys in Victoria, the Aherns in Halifax, Sister Mary Alexander in Hamilton and scores of others. There sprang up a net-work of C.U.F. Chapters.  In all of this Lorene Collins was a catalyst. The Epilogue to “Salvation Redefined” is called “The Tapestry of Love”. We are given a brief history of the great pioneers, including saints, who set the Church in Canada on a firm foundation. It is a moving account of dedication and holiness. It is this great history, extending over four hundred years, that gives us hope of a resurgence of orthodox teaching of our Faith in Canadian Catholic schools. This book deserves the widest possible circulation. It would be good if it were read carefully by every Canadian bishop, priest, teacher, parent and all those who wish our Patrimony of Truth to be preserved. To bishops it says: Please, as our God-given shepherds, give us a Canadian Catechism fully approved by the Holy See, in complete accord with the great catechetical directives of the Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Help us preserve the innocence of our children by removing the “Fully Alive” sex education course from our schools, a course which so often leaves our children spiritually “Fully Dead”. To priests if says: Please call for right instruments of catechesis in our schools and encourage good teachers in transmitting the fullness of the Faith. Please continue in your own homilies and instructions to transmit our Catholic heritage. To teachers it says: Please be a beacon of Truth and goodness for our children. Please remember that that those who instruct others unto goodness “shall shine like stars for all eternity”. To parents it says: Please insist on your rights as parents to have your children properly catechized in our Catholic schools. You know that those rights were fully reaffirmed in the Second Vatican Council. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, do not tolerate your children being force-fed a secularized Christianity. On July 9, 1983, at Arlington, Virginia, Cardinal Silvio Oddi, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, gave a talk on catechetics entitled “The Right of the Catechized to the Truth”. In it he said: “No catechist has the right to deny the child knowledge of the fundamentals of the faith.  A teacher unable to teach about the Fall, the Redemption, sin, grace, judgment, heaven and hell, without traumatizing his or her pupils is not worthy of his or her salt—all I am asking is that the child be given the full Gospel and taught all ten of the commandments, for no one can love God without knowing in what love of God consists: “If you love me, keep my commandments (John: 14:15 )”. On September 28, 1978, the last day of his life, Pope John I spoke to the Bishops of the Philippines in Rome on the occasion of their “ad limina” visit. He said to them: “One of the greatest rights of the faithful is to receive the Word of God in all its purity and integrity”. With dedication and love, that is the message of Lorene Collins in “Salvation Redefined”. Msgr. Vincent Foy Former Director of Catechetics, Archdiocese of Toronto.

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