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Introduction • xxiii

be met. Issues such as disbelief, relativism, subjectivism, and differences

about morality highlight conflicts between Church teachings and the

culture. The purpose of this section in each chapter is to point to the

way in which the Church proclaims salvation to the culture, based on

confidence in the validity and relevance of Catholic teaching.

It might also be helpful to note that in keeping with cultural practice

in the United States, the text uses horizontally inclusive language, that is,

describing human persons according to both male and female genders.

The only exceptions to this practice are when the


or some

other source is quoted directly. References to God in this text maintain

traditional usage.

5. Questions for Discussion

Following the section of each chapter that addresses aspects of faith as

applied to U.S. culture are questions that allow the readers to explore

personal and communal ways of internalizing the teaching of the Church.

6. Doctrinal Statements

Following both a story of faith and a concise review of the Church’s

teaching and its relation to the culture, each chapter contains a review of

points of doctrine covered in the chapter.

7. Meditation and Prayer

As far as possible, this book is meant to draw the reader into a prayerful

attitude before God. Every chapter concludes with a meditation drawn

from a saint or spiritual writer. A catechism needs to be more than a

summary of teachings. God has called all of us to prayer and holiness.

Doctrines are distillations of prayer and thought made possible by the

Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church. Prayer is the gate that leads us to

a deeper understanding of the Word of God and to the hidden treasures

of doctrinal teachings. A formal prayer is presented at this point in each

chapter. It is usually drawn from the Church’s liturgy or from traditional

prayers of the Church so that the reader may become more familiar with