GDC 167-168: Individuals and Communities

Let’s dive into Chapter I of Part Four, “Adaptation to those to be catechized: General aspects.” Some broad strokes on the individual and the faith community:

The need and right of every believer to receive a valid catechesis (Evangelii Nuntiandi 49-50; Catechesi Tradendae 14; 35s)

167. All the baptized, because they are called by God to maturity of faith, need and have therefore a right to adequate catechesis. It is thus a primary responsibility of the Church to respond to this in a fitting and satisfactory manner. Hence it must be recalled that those to be evangelized are “concrete and historical persons”,(Redemptor Hominis 13; cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 31) rooted in a given situation and always influenced by pedagogical, social, cultural, and religious conditioning. They may or may not be aware of this.(Cf. Redemptor Hominis 13-14; Catechism 24) In the catechetical process, the recipient must be an active subject, conscious and co-responsible, and not merely a silent and passive recipient.(Cf. General Catechetical Directory 75)

I believe the nuance given here is important: the believers do not exist merely to be serviced, to have their needs met in a hierarchical manner. In other words, those with all the information imparting to those who have none. Catechesis is proactive and mutual.

A community need and a community right (Cf. General Catechetical Directory 21)

168. In giving attention to the individual, it should not be overlooked that the recipient of catechesis is the whole Christian community and every person in it. If indeed it is from the whole life of the Church that catechesis draws its legitimacy and energy, it is also true that “her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis”.(Catechesi Tradendae 13)

And how indeed do we form communities in the faith, outside of obvious settings such as the liturgy?


About catholicsensibility

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