Picking up on yesterday’s post on the first proclamation of the faith and catechesis, we read …
62. Nevertheless in pastoral practice it is not always easy to define the boundaries of these activities. Frequently, many who present themselves for catechesis truly require genuine conversion. Because of this the Church usually desires that the first stage in the catechetical process be dedicated to ensuring conversion. (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 19; General Catechetical Directory (1971) 18) In the “missio ad gentes”, this task is normally accomplished during the ‘pre-catechumenate’. (RCIA 9-13. cf. canon law 788) In the context of “new evangelization” it is effected by means of a “kerygmatic catechesis”, sometimes called “pre-catechesis”,* because it is based on the precatechumenate and is proposed by the Gospel and directed towards a solid option of faith. Only by starting with conversion, and therefore by making allowance for the interior disposition of “whoever believes”, can catechesis, strictly speaking, fulfil its proper task of education in the faith. (Cf. RCIA 9,10,50; Catechesi Tradendae 19)
*In the present directory it is supposed that those to whom kerygmatic catechesis or pre-catechesis is addressed will be interested in the Gospel. In situations where they have no such interest then primary proclamation is called for.
This is a vital distinction. We cannot hope to effect a conversion or a life-long commitment to the Christian faith through the intellect alone. A human being cannot be “educated” into grace.
Granted, the Church does not look for a perfected “option of faith,” only a solid one. Solidity, commitment, an interior favorability: these are all the judgment call of the companions of the newcomers to the faith.
The fact that catechesis, at least initially, assumes a missionary objective, does not dispense a particular Church from promoting an institutionalized programme of primary proclamation to execute more directly Jesus’s missionary command. Catechetical renewal should be based thus on prior missionary evangelization.