Speaking of ancient wisdom: Here you have a manual of right and wrong. You’re not going to agree with all of it, or even most of it. But what I got out of reading this, before I became Catholic, was that some very smart people over the course of hundreds of years had thought through the basic norms of correct action and written them down. The catechism embeds rules for living within a larger framework of reality, built on faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God. Again, most of you aren’t going to believe that, as I didn’t when I first read the Catechism. But the critical thing is the coherence and accountability in this document. Nothing is out of place. Every rule for right action has some connection to the overarching scheme. There are no inconsistencies (this is the church’s theory, not its actions).
And by this book, you can hold yourself accountable in very specific ways. Are you flirting with someone at work? Look in the index for divorce and delve into what adultery means. Are you drinking too much? Look up addiction and dive into the theory of gluttony as a sin. Wandering around in life? Read up on acedia, the sin of letting yourself get bored. I’m not recommending this because of the content, though. I recommend it as a method because it makes you put everything together: Your beliefs, your commitments, your strategies, and your actions. The catechism shows that it is possible in this whiny age to have moral commitments that make sense and are firm as steel.