With the utmost vigor, Saint John solemnly proclaims: ‘What we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands, what we have contemplated, we proclaim also to you’ (cf.1 Jn 1:1). We cannot say who Christ is by means of intellectual concepts: what is needed is an experience that is both spiritual and ‘physical’ at the same time.

Of course, the catechism for children and theology for seminarians are phases of basic apprenticeship. Therefore, to prepare for the new evangelisation, Saint Pope John Paul II decided to issue a Catechism of the Catholic Church, entrusting the project to Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) as editor-in-chief.

The entire doctrine of the Church is found in this document. And we have an urgent obligation, says Saint Athanasius, to study ‘the ancient tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles, and guarded by the Fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name’.

But the Faith is strengthened by way of the heart, through a personal encounter with and experience of Jesus. Every day we must again choose Christ as our guide, our light, and our hope. Baptism demands some sort of daily actualisation.

I am not afraid to recall that spiritual combat is first of all a war against the evil that is within us.


Adapted and edited from Cardinal Robert Sarah ‘God or Nothing – A Conversation on Faith’ Ignatius Press 2015 P147.

This article can be found in Mirror 0416.