catholiclearning.com
Singular Resources for Catholic Study and Reflection

This site began in 2001 as a way to distribute the free electronic course, The Old Testament in the Heart of the Catholic Church. Since then, I have added other original material. Some of it may be of immediate practical benefit, while other writings are intended to be highly theoretical and speculative -- most probably of little earthly use except to the very boldest Catholic thinkers.

In all cases, the materials at this site are scrupulously loyal to the living magisterium of the Catholic Church.

In Christ Jesus our Lord through the intercession of Holy Mother Mary.
John Kelleher

A serious, free electronic introduction to the Old Testament The Old Testament in the Heart of the Catholic Church

The Old Testament in the Heart of the Catholic Church (OTHCC) is a serious general electronic introduction to the Old Testament for any Catholic student (ages 12-14 and up) capable of adult-level academic tasks. OTHCC is absolutely FREE, no strings attached. It is suitable for use in Catholic home schooling, for individuals, and for small groups.

OTHCC is different, not difficult. It assumes absolutely no prior knowledge of the Bible -- it starts at ground zero -- and yet soon, very sophisticated ideas about the Bible will start to seem obvious to you. You will read from every book in the Old Testament and from many sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You will answer well over a thousand short questions -- and yet, by the time you get to each question, you will probably already know the answer. You will read hundreds of short ''lectures'' (usually a few paragraphs long - the longest is about 20 paragraphs) -- and yet, by the time you get to each one, you will understand much more of its ideas than you would have thought possible. Opportunities for reflection and prayer are built in.

OTHCC works on all PCs, Macs, everything -- even your Palm-OS PDA. OTHCC uses your browser (which you are using right now), so if you can read this, you can download, install, and use OTHCC. When installed, OTHCC consumes about 3 MB on your hard drive. Installation is semi-automatic (you must be able to follow a short series of directions).

OTHCC is user-friendly and completely interactive. It really will take you from ground zero and help you work your way up. Note, however, that it is a plain-text-only course. No pictures. No graphics. Just good ideas.

Look on the left side of this page for other OTHCC links.

Online Catholic Bible?

To use OTHCC, you will need a Catholic Bible. You may not know this, but even aside from translation and other issues, Protestant bibles are incomplete, because under the influence of Martin Luther, Protestants simply removed (and now ignore) several entire books from the Bible. So it really is important to use a Bible approved by the Catholic Church. When OTHCC quotes from the Bible, it uses the Catholic version of the RSV. Ignatius Press (for instance) sells a nice one.

You can also look online for the 'Douay' Bible, because it's a Catholic Bible that's copyright-free. What you will probably find online is the 1749 'Challoner' edition. The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia has a good article on the history of the 'Douay' Bible, which you may be able to find by clicking on this link (but remember that links often go dead over time). As the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia points out, there are some issues with the various 'Douay' Bible translations. (Access to good manuscripts in the original languages of the Bible was one problem all older translations had). But it's still a very good Catholic Bible. You can try drbo.org for a 'Douay' Bible online.

Online Catechism of the Catholic Church?

You will also need a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Again, it would be best to buy a copy. However, with appropriate ecclesiastical permission, an online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has been made available by a Catholic parish in the state of Mississipi, USA, which you may be able to find at this link.

Free Download, just for you
Take the entire course online

Two extended works on serious topics Other Downloads of Potential Interest

Bishops Teaching Children

The impossible, here for the taking: a reform of Catholic religious education that is truly practical because it takes Catholicism much more seriously.

Bishops Teaching Children makes the controversial assertion that if there is a practical way for a local ordinary to personally hand on the faith to the Catholic children of his diocese, then he is morally and sacramentally obligated do so -- and then shows exactly how the strengths of advanced technological market economies could be leveraged to accomplish this practically. Everybody believes that 'modern life' creates impersonality and bureaucracy, but amazingly, if you leverage advanced technological market economies in just the right way, then you can create a very complex, intricately interactive, and exceedingly practical everyday social, cultural, and business environment in which a bishop automatically becomes more personally and directly responsible for religious education in his own diocese than bishops have been able to be in a long, long time. (Thus the title). The method amounts to a radically new way to be a bishop, and radically deepens the notion of the diocese as the true 'local church.' In the year 2000 a theology professor sent it to several bishops and also to several Vatican dicasteries. Save for one somewhat positive response (from an American residential bishop), universally it was D.O.A....

Bishops Teaching Children

The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology

A kind of Junior Illustrated Classics introduction to Covenantal Theology, dogmatic theologian Rev. Donald J. Keefe, SJ's highly abstruse but devastatingly important masterwork. Covenantal Theology bears an Imprimi Potest, a Nihil Obstat, and an Imprimatur. The Knucklehead's Guide doesn't have any of those, but it tries to be a reliable introduction "for normal people."

Become a real Knucklehead

radical Catholic essays on a variety of topics from 'aesthetics' to 'university' Easter Eggs

An 'Easter Egg' is a programmers' term for a little surprise that you get when you perform a (usually unlikely) series of actions. Commonly, what you get when you open one is some kind of self-indulgent, trivial, and self-glorifying display, which may nonetheless be mildly amusing. If you are a faithful Catholic up for a few seriously radical (not liberal, radical) and highly speculative ideas on topics from "aesthetics" to "postmodernism" to "university," this is the place.

Go to the Easter Eggs page

What does 'All Chapters' mean?

It means the Table of Contents page within the electronic course, The Old Testament in the Heart of the Catholic Church. You'll see this link on nearly all of the pages in that course. From the 'All Chapters' page, you can get back to the Home page here, and to a lot of other places on this site.