Friday, March 16


Some Catechesis is Bad; Some is just...

The other day I was amazed to find the Fourth Grade (age 10) edition of a catechism text published in 1975, "We Have Seen The Lord."

I think that is an exagerated claim.

Allow me to reproduce, in full, chapter 25, which offers the text's reflection on:
- The Last Supper
- The Crucifixion
- The Divinity of Jesus
- The Mass



Theme 25: Jesus Dies on the Cross and Reveals Himself as the Son of God

Whereever he went, Dr. Carlson was called by the Congolese "Good Dr. Carlson." He had come as a doctor and missionary to serve a population of over 100,000 people in one province of the Congo.

He came to the Congo for the first time in 1961. Struck by the sufferings of thousands of people who had no doctors, and impelled also by his love of God, he deceided to leave his home in California and settle in a tiny Congolese village called Wasolo. In Congoloese, Wasolo means "the village at the end of the world."

There in a small hospital Dr. Carlson began to care for the sick who came in large numbers. Dr. Carlson had to work as long as 18 hours a day. Although he was very over-burdened, he remained cheerful and was happy to live among the Congolese people.

That year a serious rebellion broke out in the country. The small village was taken by bands of rebel troops. They placed Dr. Carlson under arrest. They accused him of being a spy for the United States. He was tried and condemned to death.

Dr. Carlson was imprisoned with several other persons, and while awaiting the day of his execution he remained calm and tried to strengthen and encourage the other prisoners. He prayed with them.

One morning guards took the prisoners out of their cell and made them get into a bus. They did not tell them where they were going. The bus broke down on the road. While it was being repaired they heard a call for help: "Someone is sick. The doctor! The doctor!" The soldiers allowed Dr. Carlson to go to the sick person. He cared for him as well as he could.

On seeing him do these things the other prisoners were astonished at his generosity. They said to one another, "How could he really be a spy?" Dr. Carlson would merely answer, "I am a missionary and a doctor and nothing else."

The prisoners did not know why they were being moved. The reason was that the rebels who imprisoned them had to retreat before government troops. Before fleeing they shot and killed their prisoners. The government troops arrived a few minutes afterward, but it was too late.

This happened on November 24, 1964. A short time before his tragic death Dr. Carlson had written to his relatives and friends in the United States, "Pray that in the midst of all our trials we may be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ."


Take it and eat. This is my body which will be given for you (Matthew 26:26)

Drink all of you from this; for this is my blood, which will be poured out for you (Matthew 26:28)

Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was. (John 13:1)

A man can have no greater love then [sic] to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)


Jesus gave me his life that each of us might have eternal life.

Before he died, he gave us the gift of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.


Why do we call Jeuss our Savior? We call Jesus our Savior because by his life, death, and resurrection he delivers us from sin and leads us to a new life.

What did Jesus do at the Last Supper? At the Last Supper Jesus praised and thanked his Father and offered his life for the salvation of all persons.


Don't get me wrong. I admire this Dr. Carlson immensely. But, I can't help but be astounded that a 4th grader using this text in 1975 would know more about Dr. Carlson than about the Last Supper, divinity, death, and Eucharist of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. And, if Dr. Carlson was the Chrisitan which the book claims, he would be more offended than I.

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