Catholic Catechetical Review

Catholic Catechetical Review

Ian Rutherford is looking for volunteers to participate in his new project called Catholic Catechetical Review. This is a wiki-based web site that will review resources available for use in religious education and catechetics. The project grows out of a realization that the US bishops’ “Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series” is a negative statement, i.e. that texts appearing on the list do not contain doctrinal error, rather than an endorsement, i.e. these are good books to use in Catholic religious education.

What Ian hopes to do is get real-world reviews from people who are actually using various texts and put them online for everyone else to read. I think this is a very good idea. When I was coordinator of religious education in my parish (briefly) I decided to find a new series of texts because of complaints about the old one. Unfortunately, all I had to go on was the presentations by salesmen and marketing materials from the publishers. What I would have liked was firsthand experience from people whose opinion I trust. Thus I ended up with a series that didn’t work much better than the old one despite all the promise I saw in the sales pitch.

So if you’re a DRE/CRE or a catechist or a parent with a child in religious education, go on over and give your review of the materials you’re using. I think positive reviews of good materials are more important than negative reviews of bad stuff, but both are helpful.

(I remember a Catechetics class I took in school in which we were required to review a catechetical series. One of the requirements was that could not make only negative comments. My poor friend Dave was stuck with a series that was so bad that the only nice thing he could say was, “The pictures are nice.”)

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