GDC 61: “Primary or first proclamation and catechesis”

Is there a distinction between catechesis and proclamation? According to the GDC, yes:

61. Primary proclamation is addressed to non-believers and those living in religious indifference. Its functions are to proclaim the Gospel and to call to conversion. Catechesis, “distinct from the primary proclamation of the Gospel”, (Catechesi Tradendae 19) promotes and matures initial conversion, educates the convert in the faith and incorporates him into the Christian community. The relationship between these two forms of the ministry of the word is, therefore, a relationship of complementary distinction. Primary proclamation, which every Christian is called to perform, is part of that “Go” (Mk 16:15 and Mt 28:19) which Jesus imposes on his disciples: it implies, therefore, a going-out, a haste, a message. Catechesis, however, starts with the condition indicated by Jesus himself: “whosoever believes”, (Mk 16:16) whosoever converts, whosoever decides. Both activities are essential and mutually complementary: go and welcome, proclaim and educate, call and incorporate.

Two halves, if you will, of a very important ministry. Do Catholics feel and live out that “haste,” that urgency, of leaving the friendly confines of home, church, circle of friends? Not as much as we are called, I suspect. And even that second aspect, catechesis: is it as fully realized as it could be? Note the two-pronged effort there: faith education and social incorporation. In our overly rationalistic culture, I suspect that too much of lassoing new believers is about making sure they possess the knowledge and information. Only to have an intellectual curiosity languish and perhaps die once they are initiated.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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