S. Ludovici, die 13. Aug. 1903.
S. Ludovici, die 19. Aug. 1903.
+ JOANNIS J. GLENNON
Coadj. Adm. Dioceseos S. Ludovici
Copyright 1903 by Joseph Gummersbach.
PRINTING AND BOOK MFG. Co.
ST. LOUIS, MO.
PART I. THE TEACHING AND AUTHORITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
PART II. THE DOCTRINES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
PART III. THE DUTIES OF CATHOLICS.
APPENDIX. Protestant Errors
That the true religion may be honored and loved by all men, the first requisite is that it be made clearly known to all. Many persons are aliens to Catholicity because they do not understand it as it is; many members of the Church do not love it as they should, and do not live up to its laws, because their knowledge of it is very imperfect. The conviction is general among educated Catholics, that a more thorough study of our holy religion is, just now, a special desideratum in this country. This study must be promoted chiefly among the young, on whose proper education the future of religion principally depends.
To accomplish this object, it is the received practice in many Catholic colleges and academies to teach religion to the more advanced students by series of lectures, rather than by recitations from text-books. This practice has much to recommend it. In particular, it enables the teacher to adapt himself to the capacity and the stage of mental development of his pupils, to address by the living voice their hearts as well as their intellects, to throw his whole soul into his subject, adding charm of style and elocution, which this study so richly deserves.
But there is one serious inconvenience in this system, which outbalances many of its advantages, namely that most students find it beyond their power to remember the explanations with such accuracy as the importance and the difficulty of the matter require. If attempts are made to take notes during the lectures, it is usually found to be impossible by such jottings to do justice to the subjects treated. A set of printed syllabi, put at the disposal of the hearers for reference and preservation, would certainly be of the highest value. By this means many details may also be supplied for the information of the students which the lecturer might judiciously have omitted in his discourse.
To furnish such an abridgement of a full course of Catholic doctrine is the direct purpose of these pages. In preparing them, the author has found it difficult to combine the necessary brevity of such syllabi with the clearness and fulness of doctrine desired in them. But instead of being induced by this difficulty to abandon his design, he has been the more convinced by it of the need of just such a volume as this for the systematic study of religion. If an old professor finds it a hard task to compose such a compendium of Catholic doctrine as is evidently needed, the notes taken in class by the average pupil must certainly be most unsatisfactory.
While thus providing a compendium of lectures supposed to be orally delivered to students, the author has taken care to make his work so clear, full, and explicit throughout, that even those pupils who have not the advantage of assisting at such lectures can use this volume with profit, either as a text-book to prepare for class recitations, or for private perusal without the aid of any teacher.
He takes pleasure in acknowledging his very great indebtedness, in the preparation of this work, to the excellent volumes of the late Rev. Sylvester Joseph Hunter, S.J., entitled "Outlines of Dogmatic Theology". With the kind permission of the Jesuit Fathers in England, for which he is deeply grateful, he has followed the general plan of that able work, and availed himself of much information contained in it which is not usually found in Latin works on Theology. He has also reproduced, usually in a much abridged form, many of its judicious explanations, finding them peculiarly well adapted to the habits of thought of English-speaking students. By way of supplying for the various shortcomings of this brief text-book, the author would respectfully suggest that those who explain it should ever have at hand a copy of Father Hunter's learned work.
May, 24, 1903.
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