GDC 242: “The human sciences and the formation of catechists”

Today, affirmation for psychology and sociology:

242. The catechist also acquires a knowledge of (humankind) and the reality in which (we live) through the human sciences which have greatly developed in our own time. “In pastoral care sufficient use should be made, not only of theological principles, but also of secular findings, especially in the fields of psychology and sociology: in this way the faithful will be brought to a more mature living of the faith”. (Gaudium et Spes 62b)

It is necessary for the catechist to have some contact, with at least some of the fundamental elements of psychology: the psychological dynamics motivating (people); personality structure; the deepest needs and aspirations of the human heart; progressive psychology and the phases of the human life-cycle; the psychology of religion and the experiences which open (people) to the mystery of the sacred.

The social sciences provide an awareness of the socio-cultural context in which man lives and by which he is strongly influenced. It is therefore necessary that in the formation of catechists that there take place “an analysis of the religious situation as well as of the sociological, cultural and economic conditions to the extent that these facts of collective life can greatly influence the success of evangelization”. (General Catechetical Directory 100) In addition to these sciences, explicitly recommended by the Second Vatican Council, other human sciences should be used in one way or another in the formation of catechists, particularly the sciences of education and communication. 

This is less what some conservative Catholics would consider rationalism or excuses, and more the utilization of tools to ensure the Gospel message has the most effective means of delivery.

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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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