I'm continuing my travels throughout the state on business here, but I had a chance out of the blue to speak with my only real life practicing catholic friend. He called me while stuck in traffic out of boredom.
Its very interesting how different our experiences have been in the Church. He is a cradle Catholic, attended Catholic school, raised in it, etc, and has clung to his faith. He believes it all but can't necessarily explain it. He really is a good example of someone trying their best to follow the Church. However, the explanations he offers for the Church teachings hinge on experience and emotions instead of a balance between faith and reason. Of course when trying to explain the faith to a non-believer this type of explanation usually falls short of convincing those who would like a more definitive answer. It really says a lot about the state of catechesis these days in parishes and catholic schools. Most Catholics cannot explain what they believe or why they believe it.
My experience with catechesis is much different. As a convert in an FSSP parish I sit with my priest each week for roughly 2 hours studying with papal encyclicals, church father writings, engaging in theology discussion etc. Of course I have to do this to enter the Church and most parishes are either too large to have one-on-one classes and thus have some sort of RCIA class (my previous fssp priest said it is sometimes called "rciB", if you get the drift...).
I've also had friends who no longer practice tell me that their CCD classes consisted of coloring pictures of Jesus and Moses and not much else. But I have a solution for you if yer in this boat:
Go get yourself a Baltimore Catechism. Start at the beginning and memorize it like I'm doing. The new Compendium, which I also have, if extremely similar (kudos BXVI). But the B-cat is easier to memorize because the answers are shorter and more to the point.
Just a suggestion. Perhaps others have different experiences...which is what the comment box is for! :-)
Even if you aren't Catholic I'd love to hear about your own religious education. Sometime I think I'll post my Sunday School and Youth Group experiences from growing up. In fact, I think I would really like to do that to give a little perspective for my current religious state.
-pax et bonum-