GDC 143: Divine pedagogy and catechesis

Another listing. Seven ways in which catechesis accomplishes a connection between the believer and God, Jesus Christ, and the Church:

143. Catechesis, as communication of divine Revelation, is radically inspired by the pedagogy of God, as displayed in Christ and in the Church. Hence, it receives its constitutive characteristics and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it sets out a synthesis to encourage a true experience of faith, and thus a filial encounter with God. In this way, catechesis:

– is a pedagogy which serves and is included in the “dialogue of salvation” between God and the person, while giving due emphasis to the universal end of this salvation; with regard to God it underlines divine initiative, loving motivation, gratuity and respect for our liberty; with regard to (humanity) it highlights the dignity of the gift received and the demand to grow continually therein; (Ecclesiam Suam (Paul VI, 1964) III)

– it accepts the principle of the progressiveness of Revelation, the transcendence and the mysterious nature of the word of God and also its adaptation to different persons and cultures;

– it recognizes the centrality of Jesus Christ, the Word of God made (flesh), who determines catechesis as “a pedagogy of the incarnation”, and through whom the Gospel is to be proposed for the life and in the life of people;

– it values the community experience of faith, which is proper to the people of God, the Church;

– it is rooted in inter-personal relations and makes its own the process of dialogue;

– it conducts a pedagogy of signs, where words and deeds, teaching and experience are interlinked; (Dei Verbum 2)

– draws its power of truth and its constant task of bearing witness to it, since the love of God is the ultimate reason for his self-revelation, from the inexhaustible divine love, which is the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Redemptoris Missio 15; Catechism 24b-25; General Catechetical Directory 10)

Thus catechesis takes the form of a process or a journey of following the Christ of the Gospel in the Spirit towards the Father. It is undertaken to reach the maturity of the faith “given as Christ allotted it” (Eph 4,7) and according to the possibilities and the needs of everyone.

This is pretty rich stuff. It should also be somewhat familiar to us, touching on points already discussed in the GDC. Some brief, and certainly not exhaustive commentary:

Catechesis serves the conversion process, it does not dominate it. Catechesis should serve as a means of assisting the dialogue between the seeker and God. It should also point any believer to the need for continuing conversion. To the extent catechesis gives the impression of being a syllabus with the aim being graduation–this must be avoided at all costs.

Catechesis must be human. Human in the sense of Christ incarnate as a central aspect. Human in community. Human in relationships among seekers and believers.

I like the reference to Dei Verbum, that brings a high value to signs, with an aim of blending experience and book knowledge. A focus on wisdom, in other words, rather than only religious intelligence. This would be my assessment of the biggest failing in the neo-apologetics movement: not enough wisdom, too much esoteric stuff.

And obviously, the notion of journey–my preferred term would be pilgrimage–is Christianity in its essence.

But what are you seeing in this section?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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