GDC 170: “Adaptation takes account of diverse circumstances”

As we read yesterday, adaptation is the term applied to different individual settings in which seekers and learners are found. It may include culture, but in most parishes, it will also address differences within a community due to our biological or psychological diversity:

170. Adaptation is realized in accordance with the diverse circumstances in which the word of God is transmitted.(Cf. Redemptoris Missio 33) These are determined by “differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity and social and ecclesial conditions amongst all of those to whom it is addressed”.(Catechism 24) Much careful attention shall be given to them. It shall be remembered that, in the plurality of situations, adaptation must always keep in mind the totality of the person and his essential unity, in accordance with the vision of the Church. For this reason catechesis does not stop with a consideration of the merely exterior elements of a given situation, but is always mindful of the interior world of the person, the truth of being human, “the first fundamental way of the Church”.(Redemptor Hominis 14) In this manner a process of adaptation is determined which becomes the more suitable, the more the questions, aspirations and interior needs of the person are considered.

The message and its transmission doesn’t end with adaptation and inculturation of the message. The Church is concerned that we maintain respect for the big picture, a holistic integration into Christ. We feed the interior life of people because quite simply, we all share it. It’s not only the “fundamental way of the Church,” as Pope John Paul II reminded us. It’s how we are also fundamentally human.

That last sentence describes the process of dialogue. Catechists always attend, as Jesus did, to “questions, aspirations, and interior needs.” We imitate Christ, and by doing so, we assist others in finding him.


About catholicsensibility

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