GDC 181: Pre-adolescence, adolescence and young adulthood

The catechesis of believers of, say, ages ten to twenty-something was handled in section 83 of the predeessor document, the General Catehcetical Directory.

181. In general it is observed that the first victims of the spiritual and cultural crisis gripping the world (Cf. General Introduction, 23-24) are the young. It is also true that any commitment to the betterment of society finds its hopes in them. This should stimulate the Church all the more to proclaim the Gospel to the world of youth with courage and creativity. In this respect experience suggests that it is useful in catechesis to distinguish between pre-adolescence, adolescence and young adulthood, attending to the results of scientific research in various countries. In developed regions the question of preadolescence is particularly significant: sufficient account is not taken of the difficulties, of the needs and of the human and spiritual resources of pre-adolescents, to the extent of defining them a negated age-group. Very often at this time the pre-adolescent, in receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, formally concludes the process of Christian initiation but from that moment virtually abandons completely the practice of the faith. This is a matter of serious concern which requires specific pastoral care, based on the formative resources of the journey of initiation itself. With regard to the other two categories, it is helpful to distinguish between adolescence and young adulthood even though it is difficult to define them strictly. They are understood together as the period of life which precedes the taking up of responsibilities proper to adults. Youth catechesis must be profoundly revised and revitalized.

Commentary:

I’ve never understood the fear and trembling with which some adults approach interaction with children. Learn the audience, even if it means resorting to psychology and sociology.

I’m heartened that Rome is very aware of the challenge of adolescent (or pre-adolescent) Confirmation being an occasion to spur some people into abandoning the faith.

As for the call for youth catechesis to be “profoundly revised and revitalized,” what is your dicoese, your parish, your clergy and staff, and parents doing?

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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.
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