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Thought-Provoking Quotes

H. Clay Trumbull, in a massive survey about catechizing, related this conversation that took place in the 1800s: A Roman Catholic priest was visiting an Episcopal bishop of the United States. The priest said to the bishop, “What a poor foolish people you Protestants are. You leave the children until they are grown up, possessed of the devil, and then go out reclaiming them with horse, foot, and dragoons. We Catholics, on the other hand, know that the children are as plastic or clay in our hands. We quietly devote ourselves first to them. When they are well instructed and trained we have little to fear for the future.”

“Give me the children until they are seven years old, and anyone may take them afterwards.”

– Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuits

“We believe it is to the discontinuance of this practice [of catechizing] that we can trace much of the doctrinal ignorance, confusion, and instability so characteristic of modern Christianity.”

– John J. Murray

“When catechizing was left out of the Church, [the Church] soon became darkened and overspread with ignorance.”

– Lancelot Andrews (head of the first company of translators of the Old Testament for the King James Version of the Bible)

"There are other practical results [to catechizing] as well. When I first entered the ministry, I was quite surprised at how many times I heard from people how the catechism questions and answers they memorized in childhood kept coming to mind when temptation or doubt would assail them later in life. Many were able to recount how catechism in their youth kept them from joining cults, because they knew enough doctrine to know that you must believe in the Trinity to be a Christian, or how catechism kept them from marrying people from non-Christian religions, since they knew enough biblical teaching to tell the difference. Indeed, several who were on the verge of leaving the faith altogether simply could not escape what had become such an important part of their subconscious. The catechism questions and answers they had memorized many years before simply would not leave them when the going became difficult. It was a part of their life history that they could not escape no matter how hard they tried."

– Dr. Kim Riddlebarger

And finally, Protestant theologian B.B. Warfield wrote these words about his experience with the question and answer method of teaching doctrine to children:

"It is worthwhile to be a Shorter Catechism boy. They grow up to be men. And better than that, they are exceedingly apt to grow to be men of God."