GDC 136: “The symphony of faith”

A musical metaphor brings us to the conclusion of Part Two, Chapter II. The notion is that catechists and their resources work together to present a harmonious and fruitful training in the Gospel.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms: the symphony of faith

136. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms, each, with its own specific authority, naturally, form a unity. They are a concrete expression of the “unity of the same apostolic faith”, (Fidei Depositum 4b) and, at the same time, of the rich diversity of formulations of the same faith. To those who contemplate this harmony, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms together express a “symphony” of faith, a symphony inherent above all in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which has been drawn up with the collaboration of the entire Episcopate of the Catholic Church, a symphony harmonized with this and manifested in local catechisms. This symphony, this “chorus of voices of the universal Church”, (Redemptoris Missio 54b) heard in the local catechisms and faithful to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has a very important theological significance.

– It manifests the Catholicity of the Church: the cultural riches of the peoples is incorporated into the expression of the faith of the one Church.

– The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms make manifest to the ecclesial communion of which “the profession of the one faith” (Catechism 815) is one of the visible links, “in which and formed out of which the one and unique visible Church of Christ exists”. (Lumen Gentium 23a) The particular Churches, “parts of the one Church of Christ”, form with the whole, the universal Church, “a peculiar relationship of mutual interiority” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, n. 19 l. c. 843) The unity which thus exists between the Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms makes visible this communion.

– The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms equally express, clearly, the reality of episcopal collegiality. The Bishops, each in his own diocese and together as a college, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the greatest responsibility for catechesis in the Church. (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 63b)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms, by their profound unity and rich diversity, are called to be a renewing leaven of catechesis in the Church. Contemplating them with her Catholic and universal gaze, the Church, that is, the entire community of the disciples of Christ, can say in truth: “This is our faith, this is the faith of the Church”.

Do you agree that various catechisms are better than one? The GDC suggests a multiplicity has theological significance. Is that how Catholics view it? A plus to cultural diversity. Thumbs up to particular Churches in relationship to the One Church. A positive regard for the office of bishop, especially bishops working together. The chapter concludes on an affirming note, that acclamation from the Rite of Baptism that headed up this Chapter.

Would you agree that multiple catechisms are a means of Catholic renewal?


About catholicsensibility

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

3 Responses to GDC 136: “The symphony of faith”

  1. FrMichael says:

    I would if the bishops themselves would write them, taking in account the situation unique to their dioceses and regions. I imagine in real life that these regional catechisms are written in committee by anonymous theologians, so the theological significance is diminished by having the successors of the Apostles removed from the drafting.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    The theological significance is based on the integrity of the writing, not who wrote it. The idea that bishops being involved in the drafting of any catechism imputes any kind of theological significance is mind boggling.

    The days of clerical hegemony over religious truth are going fast and close to being long gone.

  3. FrMichael says:

    Jimmy Mac, I guess you reject Vatican II’s idea of the bishop as the chief teacher of his diocese.

    I’m not surprised by your comment, but it is jarring to hear it so plainly from a “Spirit of Vatican II” guy like yourself.

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