GDC 208: Language

Today’s section explores a concept from Catechesi Tradendae 59. And it’s interesting that this 1979 document recognizes some important aspects abvout language that perhaps the institution forgot when it formulated Liturgiam Authenticam:

208. Inculturation of the faith, under certain aspects, is a linguistic task. This implies that catechesis respect and value the language proper to the message, especially biblical language, as well as the historical-traditional language of the Church (creed, liturgy) and doctrinal language (dogmatic formulations). It is also necessary for catechesis to enter into dialogue with forms and terms proper to the culture of those to whom it is addressed. Finally, catechesis must stimulate new expressions of the Gospel in the culture in which it has been planted. In the process of enculturating the Gospel, catechesis should not be afraid to use traditional formulae and the technical language of the faith, but it must express its meaning and demonstrate its existential importance. Similarly, it is also the duty of catechesis “to speak a language suited to today’s children and young people in general and to other categories of people—the language of students, intellectuals and scientists; the language of the illiterate or of people of simple culture; the language of the handicapped, and so on”. (Catechesi Tradendae 59)

Not surprising that Pope John Paul II would emphasize the importance of speaking to the youth of today. Clearly the institutional presenters were unprepared in this aspect in when they waded foot in mouth here. The Church cannot prepare a special script–or catechism–for everybody. Of need, good catechists will have to know how to present the message of faith accurately in that “suitable language.”

About catholicsensibility

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