|Fr John Flader at the launch of Journey into Truth.
A new faith resource created by Fr John Flader of Question Time column fame has received glowing praise from some of Australia’s most senior bishops.
Journey into Truth, a DVD series and its accompanying book, were launched at the Catholic Adult Education Centre in Lidcome on 18 November by the Catholic Education Office’s director of religious education and evangelisation, Anthony Cleary.
Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the series features Fr Flader delivering 24 half-hour talks on the creed, the sacraments, liturgy, morals and prayer, accompanied by illustrative and immersive visuals similar to Fr Robert Barron’s popular Catholicism series.
Originally put together with Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults groups in mind, the resource was recognised as having many more potential applications at its launch, including for both long-term and relatively new Catholics, as well as Catholic educators.
In the preface to the book, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, then the Bishop of Parramatta, said he “highly recommended” the resource, joining Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart, Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore, and Bishop Peter Elliot, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in lauding the work.
“Anyone wanting to obtain “the full measure of knowledge of God” needs to study the Catholic faith, not just to assent to it”, Archbishop Fisher wrote.
“St Thomas thought God had made us curious: we always want to learn more; the more we know, the more we realise we don’t know. Faith aids our search for the truth about God, the universe, ourselves; it is a “taste of that knowledge which will make us happy in the life to come” and once you’ve got a taste for it you will want more!
“Fr Flader’s book, Journey into Truth, is a very good place to start.”
Growing in the faith was not just a journey, but a journey “into truth” and “not mere opinion or sentiments”, Fr Flader said at the launch.
“Our faith must rest on the solid foundation of truth, of the truths of faith. But truth is not only propositions to be believed. It is also, and especially, a person to be known and loved: Jesus Christ, ‘the way, the truth and the life’.”
The idea for the project came from Roman Vedat, director of its publisher, Arts Media Productions, and Michael Mendieta of Campion College who was working with Mr Vedat.
It was created in close collaboration with the then-director of Sydney’s catechumenate office, Cathy Dennis and benefited from the suggestions of the diocese of Parramatta’s current apostolic administrator and then-Vicar General, Fr Peter Williams.
Speaking to The Catholic Weekly earlier this week, Fr John Flader said the project had taken up “every spare minute” of his free time since 2011 writing and filming the scripts for the video.
Fifteen lessons in, Fr Flader and the small production team behind Journey into Truth decided they had discovered a better way of structuring the project and made the tough decision to start filming all over again.
Fr Flader said there was never any thought of giving up. “We weren’t tempted. We thought that this would do a lot of good,” he said. “Everybody is looking for God in the sense that the intellect is seeking truth: ultimate answers to ultimate questions like ‘where did the world come from?’; ‘is there life after death?’; and then the will seeks the good and longs for happiness.
“Everybody wants to be happy and the ultimate source of happiness is the infinite good, who is God,” Fr Flader said, describing that inbuilt longing, coupled with the series’ discussion of science and the world as “a bridge to the non-believer”.
Fr Flader said that while the series does shirk from discussing vexed moral issues such as adultery – in marriage and in the heart – and abortion, he was always mindful in his presentation of God’s love for sinners, and his ready forgiveness for those who seek it.
Journey into Truth book and DVDs are available from Catholic bookshops.