GDC 192: “Environmental catechesis”

What does Rome mean by “environmental catechesis”? Not a green thought, necessarily, but mainly, the setting in which people find themselves.

192. The service of the faith today takes careful note of the environment and human habitats. It is in these that the person lives (a)concrete existence. It is here that (they are) influenced and that (they) influence. Here too (they) exercises … responsibilities. Very broadly, two major environments must be mentioned: rural and urban. Both call for different forms of catechesis. The catechesis of country people will necessarily reflect needs experienced in the country. Such needs are often linked with poverty, sometimes with fear and superstition, but also rich in simplicity, trust in life, a sense of solidarity, faith in God and fidelity to religious traditions. Urban catechesis must take account of a variety of social conditions, sometimes so extreme as to extend from exclusive areas of prosperity to pockets of poverty and marginalization. Stress can dominate the rhythm of life. Mobility is easy. There are many temptations to escapism and irresponsibility. Oppressive anonymity and loneliness are widespread.

For both of these environments the service of the faith requires adequate planning, trained catechists, useful aids and familiarity with the resources of the mass-media.

Perhaps one of the less helpful sections in this document. Human experiences are far deeper than these oversimplications of rural/urban. The particular concerns mentioned above: loneliness, anonymity, mobility, stress, escapism, poverty–these are all quite grave. Thoughts?

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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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