We’ll take some time with GDC 85 and 86, and spread out our examination over the next week.
These sections get into a bit more detail on the “fundamental tasks of catechesis.” These are described as knowledge of the faith, liturgical education, moral formation, teaching to pray (GDC 85) as well as “education for community life” and “missionary initiation.”
One piece at a time. Today, knowledge of the faith:
Who has encountered Christ desires to know him as much as possible, as well as to know the plan of the Father which he revealed. Knowledge of the faith (fides quae) is required by adherence to the faith (fides qua). (Cf. General Catechetical Directory (1971) 36a) Even in the human order the love which one person has for another causes that person to wish to know the other all the more. Catechesis, must, therefore, lead to “the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan”, (Cf. General Catechetical Directory (1971) 24) by introducing the disciples of Jesus to a knowledge of Tradition and of Scripture, which is “the sublime science of Christ”. (Dei Verbum 25a) By deepening knowledge of the faith, catechesis nourishes not only the life of faith but equips it to explain itself to the world. The meaning of the Creed, which is a compendium of Scripture and of the faith of the Church, is the realization of this task.
GDC 85 speaks of the fundamental stance of the believer: “to know, to celebrate, to contemplate the mystery of Christ.” Knowledge is not just the absorption of information. A believer or disciple would see the knowledge of tradition and Scripture as being a means to a greater end: nourishment for the “life of faith” as well as a tool to introduce others to Christ.
Do you think Catholics schools, children’s religious education, and adult formation have this two-pronged objective in mind?