Part 3 of Chapter 6 treats the matter of “Initiation to Christian Life and Permanent Catechesis.” Numbered sections from today’s through number 300 will hit the topic.
At the risk of curbing reader enthusiasm, the Aparecida bishops point out a reality for them, and for nearly all the rest of the Church:
286. There are many believers who do not take part in the Sunday Eucharist, receive the sacraments regularly, or involve themselves actively in the church community. Without ignoring the importance of the family in Christian initiation, this phenomenon deeply challenges us to imagine and organize new ways of approaching them in order to help them to value the meaning of sacramental life, community participation, and citizen commitment. A high percentage of Catholics are unaware of their mission to be salt and leaven in the world, and their Christian identity is weak and vulnerable.
What they describe is a Church membership that sees its connection to Christ as just that: membership in a club. It is a flaw to be found in casual believers as well as hardcore Catholics: the lack of integration and unity in liturgy, community, and engagement in the world. Many people think one or two of these is enough. Not true. We’ll explore that idea further in the days ahead.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.