GDC 2: Providence and Dedication

Some would be ready to disagree, but I think the GDC has it right, both the positive and negative of the analysis:

2. The thirty-year period between the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and the threshold of the third millennium is without doubt most providential for the orientation and promotion of catechesis. It has been a time in which the evangelizing vigour of the original ecclesial community has in some ways re-emerged. It has also seen a renewal of interest in the teaching of the Fathers and has made possible a return to the catechumenate. Since 1971, the General Catechetical Directory has oriented the particular Churches in their renewal of catechesis and has acted as a point of reference for content and pedagogy, as well as for methodology.

The course of catechesis during this same period has been characterized everywhere by generous dedication, worthy initiatives and by positive results for the education and growth in the faith of children, young people and adults. At the same time, however, there have been crises, doctrinal inadequacies, influences from the evolution of global culture and ecclesial questions derived from outside the field of catechesis which have often impoverished its quality.

The issues are not that catechesis in some places before Vatican II was good and in some places after was poor–because the reverse was and is true. For me, the issue is more the striving for excellence: catechesis, as a human endeavor undertaken by flawed human beings, always has room to improve. In addition to a greater interest in the saints, and the implementation of the catechumenate, we might also add a greater appreciation for Scripture.

In addition to the notion of quality, I would add that Catholic identity is a serious consideration as well. Before Vatican II, Catholic identity was communicated more strongly because of the setting of Catholicism in the West. In Europe, there were Catholic countries and there were in Protestant nations, as in the US, the Catholic enclaves of the cities and towns. And of course in the Third World, there were problems and challenges not of great concern in the First.

I’m not so sure I see “global culture” as much of a challenge as the imperialism of Western materialism. Certainly, the reach of secular culture is a challenge to people of faith. I’m convinced it’s more of a problem of the importing of a secular gospel of wealth, privilege, and power that gets communicated via the celebrity meme. And of course, our last two popes have been celebrities in a way not experienced by the Catholic Church in many centuries.

Anything else you see?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in General Directory for Catechesis, post-conciliar catechetical documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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