GDC 200: “Catechesis in the context of other religions”

Regarding Islam and other religions, a heavily footnoted title includes references to Evangelii Nuntiandi 53, the 1977 Synod of Bishops Message to the People of God 15, Christifedeles Laici 35, Redemptoris Missio 55-57, Catechism 839-845, Tertio Millennio Adveniente 53, and the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – Pontifical Council for inter-religious dialogue’s Dialogue and Proclamation (19 May 1991). You might get the idea the Church takes interfaith relationships seriously. Let’s read:

200. For the most part, Christians today live in multi-religious contexts; many, indeed, in a minority position. In this context, especially with relation to Islam, catechesis takes on a particular importance and is called to assume a delicate responsibility which is expressed in several duties. Above all, it deepens and strengthens, by means of appropriate adaptation or inculturation, the identity of believers—particularly where they constitute a minority—who find themselves in an obligatory encounter between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of other religions. For this exchange, solid, fervent, Christian communities and well prepared, native catechists are indispensable. In the second place, catechesis assists in creating awareness of the presence of other religions. It necessarily facilitates Christians in discerning the elements in those religions which are contrary to the Christian message, but also educates them to accept the seeds of the Gospel (semina Verbi) which are found in them and which can sometimes constitute an authentic preparation for the Gospel.

In the third instance, catechesis promotes a lively missionary sense among believers. This is shown by clear witness to the faith, by an attitude of respect and mutual understanding, by dialogue and cooperation in defence of the rights of the person and of the poor and, where possible, with explicit proclamation of the Gospel.

This “third instance,” is the situation contrasting the catechetical approach with ecumenism (other Christians) and/or Judaism. Any thoughts on this?

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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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