Important study: “On Doctrinal and Moral Disorders Abiding in the Church” — Fr. John Hardon’s 1990 critique of the “revised draft” of the Catechism (Part 1) 

From Rorate Caeli

Rorate has received from Drs. Maike and Robert Hickson the following important study, which introduces and then provides the critique written by Fr. John Hardon, S.J. (1914–2000) in 1990 when he was given the opportunity to review a “revised draft” of what would become the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The text offered here, in two parts, was first published in Christian Order in 2016 and is now being made available on the internet for the benefit of a wider readership.

Ever since Pope Francis decided to use the Catechism as a Trojan Horse for his erroneous position on the death penalty, we have become aware once more of the possibility of “weaponized catechisms,” and so, Fr. Hardon’s study acquires new relevance. It should be noted that many of his just criticisms seem to have made no difference in the framing of the final text.—PAK

Doctrinal and Moral Disorders Abiding in the Church 1
Fr Hardon and St John Paul II

Father John A. Hardon’s 1990 Commentaries on the “Revised Draft” of the Catholic Catechism(Part I)


June 21, 1990       Dear Bob,      Enclosed is a copy of my report on the “Proposed Draft” for the Universal Catechism. It is not to be duplicated or distributed. We can discuss it further on my 3-day stay in Front Royal.       In Our Lord,       John A. Hardon, S.J.

(A handwritten 1990 note that introduced the Sealed Package sent from Father John A. Hardon, S.J. to Dr. Robert Hickson in Front Royal, Virginia. This personal introductory note was written in ink on the official stationery of the “Jesuit Community at the University of Detroit” and it was dated 21 June 1990. The typed Report itself was entitled “Basic Reservations on the Revised Draft of the Catechism For the Universal Church”; and this 77-page Report was a copy of the one “personally submitted to Archbishop Jan Schotte, Secretary of the Synod of the Bishops, and also discussed with Rev. Christoph von Schonborn [sic], editor of the Catechism for the Universal Church.”)

Robert,We are witnessing a massive effort to re-make our historic Faith.” (These are Father John Hardon’s own unforgettable words to me, first uttered in mid-1990: words that he later again at least three times solemnly, slowly and gravely expressed to me, his assistant, in person, during our collaboration on the proposed drafts of the New Catechism of the Catholic Church—starting in 1990 and lasting through 1995 mostly, then again intermittently until the official Latin Text of the New Catechism was finally promulgated on 15 August 1997.)

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