With this post we commence our examination of Part Two of the General Directory for Catechesis, “The Gospel Message.” It consists of two chapters:
- “Norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis,” numbered sections 94 through 118
- “This is our faith; this is the faith of the Church,” sections 119 through 136
Just to give you a bit of perspective, we’re about one-third of the way through the document as of this post. Let’s start with two aspects of faith:
92. The Christian faith, through which a person says “Yes” to Jesus Christ, may be analysed thus:
– as an adherence, which is given under the influence of grace, to God who reveals himself; in this case the faith consists in believing the word of God and committing oneself to it (fides qua);
– as the content of Revelation and of the Gospel message; in this sense, faith is expressed in its endeavour to understand better the mystery of the word (fides quae).
Both aspects, by their very nature, cannot be separated. Maturation and growth in the faith require their comprehensive and coherent development. For methodological purposes, however, they can be regarded separately. (Cf. General Catechetical Directory (1971) 36a)
93. Part Two, considers the content of the Gospel message (fides quae).
– The first chapter, sets out the norms and criteria which catechesis must follow so as to find, formulate and present its contents. Indeed every form of the ministry of the word is ordered to the presentation of the Gospel message according to its own character.
– The second chapter examines the content of the faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the doctrinal point of reference for all catechesis. It also presents some observations which may help the assimilation and interiorization of the Catechism and locate it within the catechetical activity of the Church. In addition, some criteria are set out to assist particular Churches in compiling catechisms based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which, while preserving the unity of the faith, must also take into account diversity of circumstances and cultures.
You see we’ll get some general norms on presenting catechesis, and we’ll also take time for a good look at the Catechism.