Opening Catholic Doctrine Step I

Here are the logic exercises I use with students to understand the fundamental claim of the Catholic Church and what is implied by rejecting some teachings but not others.

The logic of If-then statements

If it rains
Then the sidewalk gets wet.
Then the parking-lot gets wet.
 The sidewalk is wet. Did it rain?
 The sidewalk is wet and the parking-lot wet. Did it rain?
 The sidewalk is NOT wet but the parking-lot is. Did it rain?
 The parking-lot is NOT wet but the sidewalk is. Did it rain?
 The sidewalk is NOT wet and the parking-lot is NOT wet. Did it rain?

If the door is open,
Then the cat can get out.
Then the dog can get out.

If leave the refrigerator off,
The food will spoil.
You will save energy.

If you add another cup of flour,
The bag will have one less cup of flour.
The bread will be dryer.

Have students develop a formula for navigating If-then statements.
If x, then y

Not Y>Not X
Not X>?

Take students through the following once they sufficiently understand the logic of If-then statements.

CCC 96: What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.

 All that Christ does is perfect.
 All that the Holy Spirit guides is perfect.

 If Christ founded the Church and promised to send the Holy Spirit to preserve and develop his teachings in faith and morals,
 Then all her teachings are true.
o Her teaching on idolatry is true
o Her teaching on homosexual unions, contraception, divorce, in vitro fertilization is true
o Her teaching on abortion, death penalty, war is true
o Her teaching on sacraments is true
o Her teaching on rules for Catholic life are true

If one teaching is false, then Christ did not found the Church OR the Holy Spirit does not always guide the Church.

So what reason remains to believe in something that is merely a human institution, that sometimes gets it right, yet claims she is divinely inspired and protected from error?

Make sure students see what is at stake.  It really is all or nothing with the Catholic Church.



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