GDC 127-128: “Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Catechesis”

Where the Bible, the Catechism, and Catechesis intersect:

127. The Constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council emphasizes the fundamental importance of Sacred Scripture in the Church’s life. Together with tradition, it is the “supreme rule of faith”, since it transmits “the very word of God” and makes “to resound… the voice of the Holy Spirit”. (Dei Verbum 21) For this reason the Church desires that in the ministry of the word, Sacred Scripture should have a pre-eminent position. In concrete terms, catechesis should be “an authentic introduction to lectio divina, that is, to a reading of the Sacred Scriptures done in accordance to the Spirit who dwells in the Church”. (1977 Synod of Bishops, Message to the People of God 9c. Cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, IV, c, 3 l.c) “In this sense, to describe Tradition and Scripture as sources for catechesis means that catechesis must imbibe and permeate itself with biblical and evangelical thought, spirit and attitudes by constant contact with them. It also means that catechesis will be as rich and as effective only to the extent that these texts are read with the mind and heart of the Church”. (Catechesi Tradendae 27; cf. Synod 1985, II B, a, 1) In this ecclesial reading of the Scriptures, done in the light of Tradition, the Catechism of the Catholic Church plays a most important role.

I like the mention of lectio divina. I’m a skeptic on mainstream catechesis leading to such a practice. Spiritual direction, however …

128. Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are presented as two basic sources of inspiration for all catechetical activity in our time.

– Sacred Scripture as, “the word of God written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”, (Dei Verbum 9) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as a significant contemporary expression of the living Tradition of the Church and a sure norm for teaching the faith, are called, each in its own way and according to its specific authority, to nourish catechesis in the Church of today.

– Catechesis transmits the content of the word of God according to the two modalities whereby the Church possesses it, interiorizes it and lives it: as a narration of the history of salvation and as an explicitation of the Creed. Both Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church must inform biblical as well as doctrinal catechesis so that they become true vehicles of the content of God’s word.

– In the ordinary development of catechesis it is important that catechumens and those to be catechized can have trust in both Sacred Scripture and the local catechism. Catechesis, by definition, is nothing other than the living and meaningful transmission of these “documents of faith”. (1977 Synod of Bishops, Message to the People of God 9)


It makes sense to view the Bible and Catechism as vital resources, not textbooks.

It makes even more sense to view these resources as matters not only of the mind, but of the full interior life, as well as the lived expression of our Christian faith.

Interesting the mention of the “local catechism” with catechumens and others. Would that include, do you think, materials expressly catechetical, but not organized into a book form? Is it enough for the catechist (and by extension, the pastor) to say, “This is what we teach. This is of the Church.”?

Other thoughts?


About catholicsensibility

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