Usually, adult Catholic religious education involves a class or study group, yet outside the instruction given at your parish, all an adult needs in order to learn about the faith is one good Catholic catechism, books about some of the saints, and the Bible. Armed with these treasures you are able to prepare well to receive the Catholic sacraments.
Catholic Religious Education courses are frequently for brand new converts or for those of us who did not receive much Catholic instruction after Baptism or First Communion.
There are many adults who were never asked to learn the Catholic Ten Commandments. I was one of them. The 10 Commandments are super basic to the study of any adult Catholic catechism for both First Communion and Confirmation, so why did I not learn them? No one asked. I know that my second grade teacher did a good job of covering the Commandments, yet I do not remember memorizing them. It would have been so handy in high school!
The Apostles' Creed, Catholic Sacraments, Catholic Prayers, and the virtues/vices are the basis of any catechism and is the way that the catechism Catholic church has taught Catholic Faith for centuries. So once you have these basics, you know most of what you need. You can even read ahead of time.
Bishops, priests, brothers and nuns have used the books we recommend on our site for centuries, so these would be a helpful start if you're on your own at this moment.
My favorite catechism to recommend to high school students and adults is the Catechism of the Council of Trent. It has stories of saints and Bible quotes that help explain the Apostles' Creed, Ten Commandments, and the sacraments. The section on the Our Father is worth a read every year! I am so glad that we used this book as our catechism with our children.
It is the catechism that most other catechisms use as a model.
A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture combines the Bible and the catechism. I wish all books were this good.
The The Catechism In Pictures (69 Large Full Color Classic Pictures - see the previews) even more precise especially when teaching children! The pictures alone teach the Faith better than most catechisms.
The papal encyclicals are wonderful to read, too. They're usually short pamphlets, yet they're power packed with information and a bit of history.
I like to read them in order of time since the time of Pope Pius IX so that I get a feel for what they were referring to as the years progressed. These are the main Popes who fought modernism, so we can learn much that helps us in today's environment.
The Syllabus of Errors by Pope Pius IX and Pascendi by Pope Pius X explain a lot in just a few pages and make it easy to discern between what's right and wrong. I especially love the list format. You can find most encyclicals online free from Vatican.va.
Pope St. Pius X placed such a high premium on the catechism that he made a catechism long before he was made Pope! It's called the Catechism of Saint Pius X.
Pope Benedict XVI himself, when acting as Cardinal has praised its "simplicity of exposition and depth of content," stating that: "The faith, as such, is always the same. Therefore, St. Pius X's catechism always retains its value." --Amazon Review
The basics are super simple, so if you are looking for adult Catholic religious education ideas that are concise and easy to memorize, try St. Anne's Helper's Audio book. It has the basic Catholic beliefs as found in most any Catholic catechism.
These were developed precisely for ease of use. They use an enhanced CD format that includes both the printable text and the audio files.
The audio CDs can be used in the car or while doing light chores. They can serve as a cursory review or be used in a rigorous manner so as to be able to review, review, review!
Volume 1 covers the usual questions and answers for Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. The First Communion preparation covers the basics for Baptism, Penance (Ten Commandments and their "tells and forbids" - What does the Fifth Commandment tell as well as forbid?), the Mass and the receiving of Holy Communion, and the Catholic prayers. See adult Baptism here.
See them on our order page.
Volume 2 covers the usual questions and answers for Confirmation.
Again, it is easy to listen to them for casual study or to review for a written quiz; and again, the text is included so there is no need to buy another booklet. If several of your family are studying you can copy the text for each candidate.
Adults would want to use both the First Communion and the Confirmation Audio Catechisms (CDs or Downloads) so as to cover the basics of all seven sacraments.
The Confirmation preparation offers the definitions of all seven sacraments and a deeper study about the Blessed Trinity with an emphasis on the Holy Ghost and the graces received in Confirmation.
See them on our order page.
Your children will learn right along with you. They'll also ask great questions. Just listening to what you're hearing the learn most of the answers.
Kids will love the many resources on our site. We have Catholic worksheets, the Children of The Kingdom ebook, and scores of free coloring pages to print. If your children are preparing to receive the sacraments with you, they will be able to use the same St. Anne's Helper CDs or Downloads as you.
Please understand that there is nothing difficult about becoming Catholic once our own self-will is in check and not even that, actually, as it takes God's grace to be able to control our wills. Becoming a Catholic is the greatest grace outside final perseverance because the promise is that we will go to Heaven if we keep the faith and die in the state of grace.
By Baptism we gain the state of grace that Adam and Eve lost with Original Sin and by following what the Church teaches we preserve and increase grace by receiving the sacraments, or regain the state of grace in confession when we fall .
It is very helpful to read several books on Catholic spirituality and the saints lives, but there is no need for vast studies or long courses. Many of us do not have time. God knows this. It's why He keeps things simple so that we can recognize right and wrong in our day.
But how do we recognize good books? Compare the material in them. Here are a few questions that I have found to be easy indicators. Red flags waving, if you will.
Is evolution a complicated question? No. God made each and every one of us:
One of our favorite adult Catholic religious education books, The Church Teaches explains this. It says on page 141 that the Catholic Church has always taught that God created Heaven and earth in the earliest studies of the Faith, because "the true concept of creation excludes every form of emanationism and pantheism". Certitude! There can be no macro evolution of gasses to monkeys to human beings. God made us.
This is the very first line in the Bible : "In the beginning God created heaven, and earth..." Gen 1:1. The Catechism of the Council of Trent (it's easy to read!) teaches it this way as does The Catechism Explained. They teach the many truths that we can know about Him based on this truth!
Some Baltimore Catechism versions answer that God is the Supreme Being. Of course. He created all things. Check to see, though, if the explicit teaching of God's act of creating is omitted though, before you buy the book. Look for a version that includes this truth as with some Baltimore Catechisms from the 1950s.
A good catechism teaches:
It is important to learn, or to teach, the singular version of penance and confession answers in adult Catholic religious education.
Yes, many questions can be answered in the possessive plural: "we" do confess "our" sins to a priest; yet if the singular is not taught there is room for the errors of corporate conscience.
"We" do not have "a" conscience. Catholic confession is a singular matter. Many pastors must ask their parishioners not to confess the sins of others, and the varying catechisms are part of the reason.
See Catholic Penance for more on the sacrament of Penance and confession.
Today, many people are so tempted to use subjective answers in an attempt at false generosity. Adult Catholic religious education classes can get crazy, yet precise definitions are the answer to the confusion.
Ask this question: Does the catechism present the questions that define what a truth is?
Once we know what the definition of Baptism IS we know what it DOES for ourselves AND for others. The difference between answering "What is Baptism?" and answering "What does Baptism do for you?" is that the definition offers the truth that can be applied in any subjective instance. It is clear and concise.
This does not work in reverse, though. Once you know what Baptism does for you, you do not necessarily know the definition of Baptism or what Baptism does for others. The difference is certitude. Oh! What a blessing to have certitude. Thank God for the Catholic religion and thank Him for being able to find a good catechism. Today's books can be very vague.
The same applies for "What IS Confirmation?" "What IS the Mass?" Etc.
Also, it is important to remember that such truths as the Ten Commandments are not mere suggestions! They really are commands. They are God's instruction manual for eternal happiness and makes adult Catholic religious education clear and easy to understand. My mother used to say: "They're not the ten suggestions, you know."
See more on the Catholic Ten Commandments here.
If you will soon be baptized or confirmed, you'll want to be familiar with the Roman Catholic saints names. They are a major consideration in adult Catholic religious education when studying for the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation since traditionally we choose a patron saint for each. It is best to read stories about the saints in order to choose a saint that is known to help with the virtues you need or want. Learn more about the Catholic Saints here.
See a Catholic liturgical calendar for the dates of Catholic feast days and lists of patron saints. A calendar is excellent for tracking the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation through the year (see our great holy day chart as well).
Catholic holidays are either Holy Days of Obligation or Catholic feast days. By the time one is ready for Confirmation he should know all six Holy Days of Obligation so as to better remember their obligation during the year. Just in case, would you like to sign up for a Catholic Holy Days Of Obligation Reminder?
Use our NavBar to go to the different Catholic Sacraments for Catholic Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation ideas.
Be sure to see the Catechism Copybooks, too, if you have children who are studying the Faith with you or if they simply need good Catholic books for penmanship copywork, etc. Sometimes the best adult Catholic religious education program happens best when we help our children learn the Catholic answers!
All of our Saint Anne's Helper products are on our order page.
See these links for more ideas on
St. Anne's Helper Home Page › Adult Catholic Religious Education