December 16, 2022

Ken’s 12-Pack / Ken Ogorek

Things most Catholics wish they knew better: The 12-Pack is almost empty!

Ken Ogorek

12th in a yearlong catechetical series

The end is near. This is the final serving from Ken’s 12-Pack.

Where have we been together this year? What have we learned, with whom should we share it—and how?


We’ve reviewed 10 doctrinal deficiencies in catechesis from the 1970s and 1980s. To be clear: our reflection was neither accusatory nor without hope.

Many folks catechized from the late 1960s through the early 1990s describe their experience as fluffy—or words to that effect.

An analysis by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, found that many religion books available circa 1995 (their doctrinal content was largely unchanged for 30 years) showed a clear pattern of deficiency in 10 areas of doctrine.

Presuming good intentions by the architects of catechesis in that era, and acknowledging methodological gains as well as ways the culture of the time influenced folks’ knowledge and experience of the faith, the fact remains that lots of adult Catholics today say they feel sorely lacking in knowledge of their Catholic faith. These same adults struggle to raise children and influence grandchildren in a culture that doesn’t exactly reinforce the doctrinal and moral teaching of our holy, Catholic Church.

Teach your adults well

Adult catechesis, then, not only remains the most important area of faith formation (according to multiple Church documents) but must also shore up in an intentional way these identifiable gaps in knowing who God is, what Jesus has accomplished, how the Holy Spirit remains with us, etc. An easy way to see a list of these deficiencies is

A personal, disciple relationship with Jesus remains the context for catechesis. To know Jesus, though, knowing about him is helpful. To live a disciple relationship with Jesus in full communion with his mystical body and spotless bride, the Church, knowing her basic doctrinal and moral teaching goes a long way.

Get to adults via their kids

In my years of catechetical administration, I’ve often encouraged catechists to give assignments requiring children and teens to sit down with mom and/or dad, discussing this or that aspect of the faith. Knowing that parents are the primary educators of their children, we know that kids can struggle to grasp some aspects of our Catholic faith when their parents are fuzzy on it.

These both/and types of assignments (encouraging both children and adults to reflect on doctrinal and moral teaching) can strengthen the faith knowledge of moms, dads, grandparents, guardians, etc., while seeing to it that young folks don’t inherent the deficiencies of our older generations’ childhood catechesis.

Sympathy and teachable moments

Let’s be patient with each other. We all need ongoing catechesis and lifelong faith formation.

Let’s remember that Jesus is our teacher. Sacred Scripture and sacred tradition—including the 10 key areas of doctrine filling up Ken’s 12-Pack—help us encounter the authentic Jesus, the one Savior of the world.

In the end, intimacy with Jesus should be the result—by God’s grace and mercy—of any catechetical effort. I pray that Ken’s 12-Pack has helped quench your thirst for knowledge of the living Jesus, and that together we’ll drink a toast at the never-ending wedding banquet in heaven.


(Ken Ogorek, archdiocesan director of catechesis, can be reached at his archdiocesan e-mail address or by using the contact information at

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