GDC 104: Three Aspects of Liberation

The GDC offers three aspects of the message of liberation in catechesis.

104. To prepare Christians for this task, catechesis is attentive, amongst other things, to the following aspects:

– it shall situate the message of liberation in the prospective of the “specifically religious objective of evangelization”, (Evangelii Nuntiandi 32; cf. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 41 and Redemptoris Missio 58) since it would lose its raison d’être “if it were divorced from the religious basis by which it is sustained which is the kingdom of God in its full theological sense; (Evangelii Nuntiandi 32) thus, the message of liberation “cannot be confined to any restricted sphere whether it be economic, political, social or doctrinal. It must embrace the whole (person) in all … aspects and components, extending to (the) relation to the absolute, even to the Absolute which is God”; (Evangelii Nuntiandi 33. Cf. Libertatis Conscientia. This Instruction is an obligatory point of reference for catechesis.)

– catechesis, in the ambit of moral education, shall present Christian social morality as a demand and consequence of the “radical liberation worked by Christ”; (Libertatis Conscientia 71) in effect, the Good News which Christians profess with hearts full of hope is: Christ has liberated the world and continues to liberate it; this is the source of Christian praxis, which is the fulfilment of the great commandment of love;

– at the same time, in the task of initiating mission, catechesis shall arouse in catechumens and those receiving catechesis “a preferential option for the poor”, (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 42; Centesimus Annus 57; Libertatis Conscientia 68. Cf. Catechism 2443-2449) which “far from being a sign of individualism or sectarianism, makes manifest the universality of the Church’s nature and mission. This option is not exclusive” (Libertatis Conscientia 68) but implies “a commitment to justice, according to each individual’s role, vocation and circumstances”. (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 41; cf. Libertatis Conscientia 77. For its part the 1971 Synod devoted attention to a theme of fundamental importance to catechesis: Education in Justice (III, 2). Cf. Documents of the Synod of Bishops, II De Iustitia in mundo III, 835-937)


Liberation is not isolated to political considerations only. Cardinal Ratzinger’s and the CDF’s Libertatis Conscientia emphasizes that human beings must be liberated to follow God, if they choose.

The believer’s stance of liberation is part of a person’s “moral education.” Injustice is immoral. Christians fail in their duty to the Truth by ignoring or dismissing injustice. Charity alone is not enough.

That “preferential option for the poor” is decidedly not political, however it’s advocates and detractors attempt to spin it. Pope John Paul and Cardinal Ratzinger both consider it material for the basic formation of the Christian.

Your comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in General Directory for Catechesis, post-conciliar catechetical documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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