Welcome to "For Catholic Grownups"

December 9, 2009

Welcome to “For Catholic Grownups”!

This blog is an attempt to provide interesting and worthwhile Catholic Adult Education materials, either texts or podcasts I have produced myself, or links to other good resources.

I am doing this for several reasons. One is to act as a means of distributing to interested people recordings I have already made. Another is to advocate for Adult Catechesis within the Catholic Community, which I believe is sorely neglected in most parishes, despite the priority it is given in official Catholic documents on Catechesis.

Doorways Old Testament Survey: Part 5 – Job, Daniel and Maccabees

April 24, 2014

Recorded March 26th 2014

Job is a challenging book, and one of my favorites in the Bible. Job is a pious and good man, but everything in his life goes wrong. His friends challenge him that he has sinned, and refuses to admit it, which is why he is suffering. He argues with them, and wants to confront God with his plight. In the end God does answer, but not as Job expects.

For more on Job see earlier posts in the Catholic Biblical School series.

Daniel and Maccabees are examples of Apocalyptic literature, an unusual style of writing full of dramatic, symbolic language, and not to be taken literally! See further recent recordings on:


Catholic Biblical School: Matthew 5-7

April 24, 2014

Recorded March 20th 2014

Today we studied the whole of the Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes, the love of enemies, the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule. It is easy to see why these chapters are loved very much by many Christians, as Jesus sets forth his most characteristic teaching.

Jesus is portrayed as a ‘New Moses’ teaching and giving a ‘New Law’ from a mountaintop, and boldly stating, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors … but I say to you.” So the way Jesus teaches continues the debate which takes place on every page of the New Testament, asking “Who is Jesus?” and giving the answer that he is the equal of God in his authority, identity and significance.

Doorways Old Testament Survey: Part 4 – The Minor Prophets, The Psalms, Wisdom Literature

April 24, 2014

Recorded March 19th, 2014

There are twelve minor prophets, but today we look at just two of them, who are arguably the most important and the most quoted in the Christian liturgy: Amos, who was a voice for social justice, and Hosea, whose experience of his own wife’s infidelity was a model to him of Israel’s infidelity to God.

With the Psalms we only have time for a few examples of different kinds –  Psalms of praise, penitence and lament. Note that almost all the Psalms end with assertions of faith and trust in God.

Finally a few quick examples from Wisdom literature: Proverbs, Ecclesiates, Wisdom and Sirach. Note that Biblical Wisdom did not include metaphysical speculation, unlike many pagan wisdom traditions, but it dealt with questions of how to live a life faithful to God in the circumstances and conditions of everyday life.

Afternoon Session:

Evening Session:

Catholic Biblical School: Matthew 1-4

April 21, 2014

Recorded March 13th, 2014


Matthew is probably the best known of all the Gospels to Catholics, because of its prominent place in the Lectionary, on most of the Sundays in Year A, which we are in now. Indeed, before Vatican II there was only one cycle of Sunday readings, and most weeks it was Matthew.

It’s familiar stories and teachings are too many to mention, but include The Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. Matthew is perhaps the most Jewish of all the Gospels, with many discussions of the Law and of fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus. It was most probably written in the Syrian city of Antioch around AD 85-90.

The first four chapters include the genealogy of Jesus, which means a lot more to the course participants now, because we have read many of the stories of the people named during our study of the Old Testament. it is notable that this genealogy includes several gentiles and some scandalous incidents. which show that Jesus came for all nations, not just to Israel, and for sinner, not just the righteous.

We include the story of the birth of Jesus from Joseph’s point of view, with no shepherds, but with the wise men from the East and their star. Then John the Baptist introduces Jesus at the beginning of his ministry.

Catholic Biblical School: Daniel 7-12

April 1, 2014

Recorded March 6th, 2014

Daniel Four Kingdoms

Daniel 7-12 is very different from Daniel 1-6 and 13-14. First of all, it is written in Hebrew whereas the rest is in Greek. (This raises an interesting issue in Protestant Bibles, where only the Hebrew sections are regarded as canonical.) It is written in an apocalyptic style, which includes a lot of obscure symbolic language. it’s teaching is that the pagan nations have risen in vain against God, and while at first they seem victorious, each will be in turn overthrown, and in the end God and his kingdom will triumph. The prophet calls his hearers to right conduct, to trust in divine control over events, and to be certain that in the end God will triumph.

The Picture above is an illustration of the vision of the Fourth Beast in Daniel Chapter 7. The picture below is a modern interpretation of it, when modern nations are seen as fulfilling what Daniel had to say. This is a contentious and stupid form of interpretation. Daniel was not interested in the events of the 21st century!



Daniel has given us several expressions in every day use, to describe someone as having ‘feet of clay’ comes from the vision of the Beast above, and last week we heard the incident about the ‘writing on the wall’.

For Christians Daniel has a value as a prophecy of the Messiah, especially the “Son of Man” in 7:13. Danile also forsees the resurrection, in 12:2-3, a text often used at funerals.

Catholic Biblical School: Daniel 1-6, 13-14

March 26, 2014

Recorded February 20th, 2014


Daniel is an unusual book in the Old Testament for several reasons. It is classed among the Prophets, but it is more properly an example of Apocalyptic literature. This is a type of literature popular between the second century BC and the first century AD, produced by Jews and later Christians facing severe persecution. It shares many features of prophetic writing, calling it’s hearers to faith in God and to a righteous life. It looks forward to the coming of “The Day of The Lord” and the end of history, when God will come in judgement, vindicate the innocent and punish the wicked. The Book of Revelation is also an apocalyptic work, and so also are passages in the Gospels.

Daniel is also unusual in that it is written partly in Aramaic (chapters 1-7) and the rest in Greek. The section we looked at today includes some sections of “didactic fiction” teaching people how to behave, in particular, how to be faithful and trust in God under pagan persecution. These stories include the three young men in the fiery furnace (above), the unmasking of the fraud of the idol Bel, Daniel’s disposal of the Dragon (a crocodile, pictured below), and the vindication of the innocent Susanna.

Daniel and Dragon

Doorways Old Testament Survey: Part 3 – The Major Prophets

March 19, 2014

Part 3 Recorded March 12th 2014

First, an outline of kingship in Israel. Kingship was an ambiguous experience, because God was the true king of Israel, and it was an act of infidelity to ask for a human king. However, God acceded to the wishes of the people and gave them a series of kings, some who were good, and some who were a disaster. However, God also gave a promise for a king to come in the future, the Messiah, who would renew God’s people and God’s covenant in a special way. As Christians we see this fulfilled in Jesus.

Second, a brief outline of the lives and teaching of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Old Testament Survey Part 3: 


Evangelii Gaudium Part 4

March 19, 2014

Recorded February 12th, 2014


The final chapter of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation is called “Spirit-Filled Evangelizers” and that is what he is calling Catholics to be. He calls us to be “Fearlessly open to the Holy Spirit” and “full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction!” He warns us against ignoring the necessity of prayer and spirituality, and on the other hand offering “a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the demands of the Incarnation.”

He stresses the need to grow in love of Jesus, and to make this love known before all else. He asks us to trust in the Risen Christ, and the action of the Holy Spirit. Finally he commends to us “Mary, Mother of Evangelization” as the image and icon of the Church bringing Christ into the world.

The final question for us is, “what do we do now?”!

Afternoon Session:

Evening Session: 

Doorways Old Testament Survey: Part 2 – Exodus, Covenant, Law

March 18, 2014

Part 2 Recorded February 26th 2014

Today we looked at several critical ideas and experiences in the Old Testament experience.

The foundational experience of God for Israel was the Exodus, God’s liberation of his people from slavery in Egypt, and making with them a covenant based upon this revelation of God, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 20:2). With the making of the covenant came the giving of the Law (The Ten Commandments, and many more, on Mount Sinai), the right way of worship, and the gift of the land of Israel.

This story is told in the Book of Exodus, and expanded and commented upon in various ways in Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges.  All these fundamental elements – Exodus,  Covenant, Law, Worship, Land – are the basic material of most of the Old Testament story.

Old Testament Survey Part 2 (afternoon): 

Old Testament Survey Part 2 (evening): 

Catholic Biblical School: The Book of Judith

March 16, 2014

Recorded February 20th 2014

Judith and HolofernesThe Book of Judith has an unusual character. It is written in Greek, so it is not regarded as canonical by Protestants, but is part of the Deutero-Canonical literature. It was written in the early 2nd or late 1st century BC, though set centuries earlier during the period of the Assyrian Empire.

The Assyrian general Holofernes sets out to punish the Jewish people for not assisting the Assyrians in their war against the Medes. He besieges Jerusalem, and just after the people are ready to surrender the pious widow Judith offers to save the nation, under God’s direction. She dresses in her finest clothes, goes to meet Holofernes for three successive nights, and on the third night kills. him, at which point his army flees.

The story has echoes of the Exodus story, and is a popular tale to tell during Passover. However, many Jewish and Christian commentators have had problems with the story because of its scandalous elements.


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