GDC 278: “Catechesis in educational pastoral work”

The last post on coordination of catechesis:

278. Pastoral care offered by a particular Church in the area of education should establish a necessary co-ordination between the different loci in which education in the faith takes place. It is extremely important that all catechetical means “should converge on the same confession of faith, on the same membership of the Church, and on commitments in society lived in the same Gospel spirit”. (Catechesi Tradendae 67b) Educational co-ordination primarily concerns children, adolescents, and young adults. It is more than useful for the particular Church to integrate various educational sectors and environments in a single project at the service of the Christian education of youth. All of these loci complement each other, but no one of them, taken separately, can ensure a complete Christian education. Since it is always the same and unique person of the child or young person who undergoes these different educational actions, it is important that the different influences always have the same fundamental inspiration. Any contradiction between these actions is harmful, in so far as each one of them has its own specificity and importance. Thus it is most important for the particular Church to provide a programme of Christian initiation which takes into account and integrates the various educational tasks as well as the demands of new evangelization.

I think the primary coordination model for the US is “graduation.” “Religion” is viewed as subject matter in a school format: adults provide it for kids, and the older one gets the more one sees the occasional experience of catechesis (formation for confirmation, marriage, one’s child’s baptism) as means to a specific end. That’s not to say that these catechetical efforts aren’t well-presented in terms of delivery and content. The American understanding is that one receives content to achieve a goal. The information is optional once the personal goal is achieved.

When the Church speaks of a “complete Christian education,” I’m sure we’re talking about a deeper and more profound embrace of the Gospel and its values, and the particular effort at evangelizing. That’s not quite where most parishes and believers are in the US at this time.

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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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