New Catechism Program in 2012


Dear families,

In 2012, we will be re-organizing our Catechism courses to reproduce the exact layout of the original Baltimore Catechism of 1885.  We have offered Classic Catechism I and Classic Catechism II as a two-part study of what was Baltimore Catechism II.

Petty Schoolers:  CLAA Petty School Religion
Pre-Communion:  CLAA Baltimore Catechism I
Pre-Confirmation: CLAA Baltimore Catechism II
Post-Confirmation:  CLAA Baltimore Catechism III

This will not, at all, disrupt the studies of students currently enrolled in Classic Catechism I or II.  Students finishing Catechism I will simply begin Baltimore Catechism II and we will set them on the lesson they would have begun in Classic Catechism II.  Students in Classic Catechism II will simply finish that course.  Please note that Baltimore Catechism I was made up of the most urgent and necessary questions of Baltimore Catechism II, so younger students in the CLAA’s Classic Catechism I course can just stay put.  FYI, my children are completing Classic Catechism II now and I’m going to have them repeat the entire course of Baltimore Catechism II over the next 2 years.

We are making this change to more perfectly restore the traditional arrangement and to serve parishes interested in using our Catechism courses for their own Faith Formation program.

You will also notice on the CLAA’s new Religion page that we are offering a course in a historic non-Catholic catechism, the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  This was the official Catechism of the English Reformation, published in 1646 by the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Puritans as their official catechism.  It is actually an excellent catechism, except for the obvious non-Catholic errors.  On those areas in which we agree, their teaching is very edifying.  I am hoping to promote the study of this catechism among non-Catholics so that Protestant children can actually learn what the real issues are that supposedly separate them from Catholic Christianity.  The explanation of the Catechism will actually be that of a 17th century Puritan, Thomas Vincent, who was an Oxford and Cambridge catechist in England at the time.

You all should know that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said that most people do not reject Catholicism, only what they think Catholicism to be.  I would go further than the Archbishop to say that most people are Protestants BECAUSE they don’t know what Protestants actually taught at the time of the Reformation.  I believe many good Protestants are, at heart, Catholics who think that Catholics believe something other than what they believe and because they think the Reformers taught something other than they did.

I want them to know because I believe that knowing will assist future discourse between Catholics and Protestants–at least in CLAA circles, where we have the added benefits of Reasoning, Philosophy, etc., coming down the road.    Protestants who know the Westminster Catechism will be better Christians than Protestants who do not and will be nearer to Catholic Christianity than modern Protestants are, who don’t even know what they believe.   Therefore, if you have any Protestant friends, you might want to let them know about our course in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Info on the program is available here:


God bless,

William Michael


Categories: Education, Religion


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13 Comments on “New Catechism Program in 2012”

  1. Darcy
    January 13, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    So, will Baltimore Catechism I be a pre requisite for Baltimore catechism II?

    • wmclaa
      January 13, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      No, Darcy. Parents are free to place their children where they wish in the program. However, Baltimore Catechism I will not include all of the details content of the Baltimore Catechism II lessons. It will focus on memorization of the pre-Communion questions with an abridged lesson from the original explanation by Rev. Kinkead. I’m going to try to work the BC I course so that the little guys can work as independently as possible, hopefully adding audio for the memory work so they can recite their memory work alone and read along.


  2. Carol Blanchard
    January 13, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Wow! Thank you so much!! We’re looking forward to the PS Religion course and I can’t wait to share the news about the Westminster Catechism course. This is great!

  3. January 13, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Thank you William Michael. I am so excited to be a part of CLAA. My children are learning so much about our faith this year. We are also a part of an ecumenical Christian group with Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians so I am also happy to introduce my non-Catholic friends to the CLAA. I believe you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I will keep you in my prayers!

  4. jessica
    January 14, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    Will the westminster shorter catechism be in the same format of the other CLAA courses that we have gotten spoiled to?

    • wmclaa
      January 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Yes. There will be the catechism and the explanation and the exam. I think what we’ve established is very effective for catechesis. I’m excited to see what happens in 10 years when all these little theologians grow up.

  5. Stacy
    January 20, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Will the Petty School religion class be a Catholic course, or a ecumenical Christian course? Don’t think we’re going ecumenical-whacky here…it’s one course on the Westminster Catechism. That’s all.

    • wmclaa
      January 20, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      It will be Catholic…actually modeled on what was called “Baltimore Catechism 0″…as weird as that is. The date for all this new stuff is March 1, 2012.

  6. January 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I thought Cat I and Cat II were based on fr. Kinkead’s Baltimore Cat. IV, which is more “advanced” in comprehension than Balt.I, II or III. How are you gonna move those who finish Cat I and move them to Baltimore Cat II?

    • wmclaa
      January 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      You have this all confused. Baltimore Catechism Book IV was not a part of the student program. It was originally published as a supplement to help Sunday School teachers explain the lessons to the children. It was given for adults to use to teach children. When I created the Classic Catechism I and II course, I just let the kids read the content of Book IV. In the new courses I’m going to play Sunday School teacher and use book IV as it was originally intended as a teacher’s source book. There’s nothing difficult about this change.

      • January 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

        Does it mean that you’ll remove fr Kinkead’s text and add yours or you will comment or add to his?

      • wmclaa
        January 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

        Nope. In Baltimore Catechism I, which is intended for pre-communion kids, I will abridge Fr. Kinkade’s notes for little ones. In Baltimore Catechism II, I will simply turn them from notes into pleasant reading texts. No content additions, only formatting, adaptations to students use. WM

  7. Pam Malinoski
    February 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    My 13-year-old daughter is on Lesson 32 of Catechism I. Would you recommend enrolling her in Baltimore Catechism II as the next course?

    My 11-year-old son is technically on Lesson 12 of Catechism II; however, he really didn’t have Catechism I “down pat” so we’re really at the end of Catechism I now. Would you recommend that he just work through Catechism II or transfer to the new Baltimore Catechism II course?

    I noticed that on your course development page, Catechism II is completed to Lesson 20 out of the planned 28 Lessons. So, when you suggest “finishing Catechism II” in the above article, would you mean that the old course would be completed or just replaced with the new? Thanks.

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