Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Right Way to Catechize: A Short Summary

Here's a short paper I wrote last night for my Methods (of Catechesis) class. Actually, it was only supposed to be 2-3 paragraphs, so that's really short and it leaves no room to go really in depth on anything. But, I suppose it's a good little summary of what a proper catechetical methodology is supposed to look like.

Let's do it right the first time, people -- as in, grounded in Catechesi Tradendae and the General Directory for Catechesis.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
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A Methodology that Reflects the Aims of Catechesis

Through the combination of various articles from the General Directory of Catechesis (or “GDC”), one can confidently state that the aim of catechesis is understanding and conversion for insertion into the Mystery of Christ, with the ultimate goal being union with Him (nos. 53-57, 80-86, 144; cf. Catechesi Tradendae, nos. 5, 18-20). Methodology is basically how one goes about achieving these ends, and only a certain methodology will do. As with the goal of catechesis, the GDC is our guide in characterizing the proper methodology of catechesis.

In order to achieve the aims of catechesis, it is required first that our presentation of the faith be grounded in the “word of God” as it is found in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and most profoundly in the Word of God Himself, Jesus Christ (94). Grounded in these sources, our catechesis should naturally take on a “trinitarian christocentricity” in which we teach as the three Persons of the Trinity teach (139-143) and the content of our message leads one into a participation in the communion of Persons that is the very being of God (99). It should also be focused on the Kingdom that Jesus preached and inaugurated, and the salvation that comes when He reigns in our lives (101-103).

But this is not all. Since what we are passing on is the faith of the community of believers (the Church), our catechesis should be ecclesial and historical in character (105-108). Just as God condescended to speak to us, our catechesis must also be adapted to our audience, taking into account the various cultural factors (109-110) and circumstances of their daily lives (116-117), and presented in an understandable way (146). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we should maintain the integrity of the Gospel message, “in all its rigor and vigor” (111), organized based on the hierarchy of truths (114) and containing all that the Church has definitely held (112-1115).

3 comments:

Scott said...

as a new catechist, and recently converted (from no religion) Catholic, I should like to have the English, down to earth, lay-person's translation of that. I think I am with you. But, it would be great to have that more simply put. It sounds about right, having re read it a few times!

phatcatholic said...

Scott...........I can see where it would be confusing at first, especially if you are unfamiliar with the catechetical documents of the Church. The best thing to do is read the GDC and Catechesi Tradendae over and over again. They instruct us in the proper way to teach the faith and bring about understanding and conversion in the lives of our audience. As catechists, our work should be governed by these documents.

Catechesis in the Third Millennium said...

Your brief paper on Methodology is good to begin with but I would be interested for you or anyone who has read your paper to translate this info to how that works in a religious education setting, an adult faith formation setting, or a presentation to a youth group. Would you choose the Ecclesial Method or something different? Peace! William

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