WASHINGTON (November 10, 1997) -- The U. S. Bishops approved a five-year extension of the Office for the Catechism at their semi-annual meeting in Washington, November 10. The Bishops agreed unanimously by voice vote to fund the extension of the Office which they established in June, 1995 to assist the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism .
According to Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism. "The members of the Ad Hoc Committee determined that their work would not be completed by the end of 1998 when funding for the Office for the Catechism was to end," Of the objectives given the Ad Hoc Committee, the extensive review of catechetical materials as to their conformity with the Catechism and the continuing study of the feasibility of a national catechism/catechetical series were cited as requiring more time for completion.
The proposal by the Ad Hoc Committee for the extension of the Office for the Catechism was made in light of a $500,000 grant announced by Our Sunday Visitor Institute in March, 1997. The grant is to be given to the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in $100,000 installments over five years.
The proposal submitted to the General Assembly during their meeting offered a brief history of the objectives assigned to the Ad Hoc Committee by the Administrative Committee, an update on the progress made in completing those objectives and an outline of the future work necessary to achieve the objectives.
Included as rationale for the projected future work were:
- "Authors and publishers who use direct quotations from the Catechism must obtain copyright permission. The Ad Hoc Committee must review the manuscripts to discover if they are consistent with the Catechism. The number of manuscripts which are directed to the Ad Hoc Committee's attention continues to rise and shows no signs of declining.
- With regard to the study of the feasibility of a national catechism/catechetical series based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "most of the components of the feasibility study will completed by September, 1998. One component, however, the scope and sequence instrument based on the Catechism, may well take a longer period of time to complete and may involved the Committees on Education, Liturgy and Evangelization, especially if the Ad Hoc Committee decides to explore the possibility of including learning objectives for high school catechetical programs, RCIA curricula and or adult catechetical programs. Thus, depending on the judgment of the Ad Hoc Committee in consultation with other Committees of the Conference, more time may be needed to complete the feasibility study."
- "The Ad Hoc Committee spends approximately percent of its time reviewing catechetical materials voluntarily submitted as to their conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and working with the publishers of those materials to bring them into conformity with the Catechism. Together with staff and expert consultants, the Committee takes approximately 400 hours over a four to six month period to complete the review of a single catechetical series. Thus far the Committee has reviewed eleven such series. An additional eleven series are presently in one stage or another of the review process. The number of series that are being submitted to the Committee for review continues to rise and shows no signs of declining. There are potentially as many as forty or fifty catechetical series or partial series that could be submitted for the Committee's review. The Ad Hoc Committee does not anticipate the achievement of this objective for several more years,"
As well as its involvement noted above, the Office for the Catechism has provided support to the Ad Hoc Committee and assisted its members in keeping bishops informed on matters related to the Catechism, one of its objective.
The Bishops approved funding for a three year period when it established the Office for the Catechism in 1995 and appointed Reverend John Pollard, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as Executive Director.