GDC 148: Diversity of methods in catechesis

Sections 148-162 make up Part Three, Chapter II and here we will examine “Elements of methodology” over the course of the next several posts. These methodologies are treated briefly in the GDC, and in somewhat of a technical manner. Perhaps trained educators, if any are tuned in, might have something to say about the particulars of the Church’s approach. All of us, though, might see some method to the madness of modern catechesis as we experience or witness it.

GDC 148 is titled, “Diversity of methods in catechesis (Catechesi Tradendae 51). Let’s read it:

148. The Church, in transmitting the faith, does not have a particular method nor any single method. Rather, she discerns contemporary methods in the light of the pedagogy of God and uses with liberty “everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise” (Phil 4:8). In short, she assumes those methods which are not contrary to the Gospel and places them at its service. This is amply confirmed in the Church’s history. Many charisms of service of the word have given rise to various methodological directions. Hence, the “variety of methods is a sign of life and richness” as well as a demonstration of respect for those to whom catechesis is addressed. Such variety is required by “the age and the intellectual development of Christians, their degree of ecclesial and spiritual maturity and many other personal circumstances”.(cf. Catechesi Tradendae 51) Catechetical methodology has the simple objective of education in the faith. It avails of the pedagogical sciences and of communication, as applied to catechesis, while also taking account of the numerous and notable acquisitions of contemporary catechesis.


Form people by whatever means necessary that are in harmony with the Gospel. In other words, the recipients and the core of the message are primary. And no single method can be expected to serve in all situations. Indeed, if an old form of catechesis is found wanting, it should be discarded for the new and effective.

The variety of catechetical methods speaks to the needs of the various people we wish to address. But it also respects the Pauline notion of gifts–the community has at hand the various personal and spiritual gifts needed to provide that complete catechesis spoken of so often in this document.

About catholicsensibility

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