General Directory for Catechesis

The General Directory for Catechesis is the Roman document that guides the Church on the ministry of faith formation. It originates with the Congregation for Clergy. This second “incarnation” succeeded the 1971 General Catechetical Directory in 1997. From this ample work, national conferences, bishops, dioceses, parishes and their ministers derive guidance for directing the faith formation of believers.



A Collaborative Effort (1)

Providence and Dedication (2)

Praising Bishops, Conferences, and a Pope (3)

Catechesis as an Evangelical Work (4)

The Catechetical Legacy of John Paul II (5)

Busy Bishops of the 80’s (6)

A Necessary Revision (7)

The GDC Outlined (8)

Reflections and Principles (9)

The Preface Ends (10-13)


Minding the Field for Sowing (14)

Preaching the Gospel in the contemporary world

Listen! A sower going out to sow (15)

Looking at the world from the standpoint of faith (16)

The field that is the world (17)

Human rights (18-19)

Culture and cultures (20)

Religious and moral factors (22-23)

The Church in the world

The faith of Christians (24 and 25 and 26)

The internal life of the ecclesial community (27 and 28)

The situation of catechesis; its vitality (29 and 30)

The sowing of the Gospel (31)

How to read the signs of the times (32)

Some challenges for catechesis (33)

Part One


The missionary mandate of Jesus (34)

The meaning and purpose of Part One (35)

Chapter One

Revelation and its transmission through evangelization

The revelation of God’s providential plan (36-37)

Revelation: deeds and words (38 and 39)

Jesus Christ: mediator and fullness of Revelation (40 and 41)

The transmission of Revelation by the Church, the work of the Holy Spirit (42-45)

Evangelization (46)

The process of evangelization (47 and 48 and 49)

The ministry of the word in evangelization (50)

Functions and forms of the ministry of the word (51-52)

Conversion and faith (53 and 54 and 55)

The process of continuing conversion (56 and 57)

Socio-religious situations and evangelization (58)

The mutual connection between the activities of evangelization which correspond to these socio-religious situations (59)

Chapter Two

Catechesis in the process of evangelization (60)

Primary or first proclamation and catechesis (61 and 62)

Catechesis at the service of christian initiation

Catechesis, an essential “moment” in the process of evangelization (63 and 64)

Catechesis at the service of christian initiation (65 and 66)

Fundamental characteristics of catechesis of initiation (67-68)

Catechesis at the service of ongoing formation in the faith

Continuing education in faith within the Christian community (69 and 70)

Various forms of continuing catechesis (71 and 72)

Catechesis and religious instruction in schools

The proper character of religious instruction in schools (73)

The school context and those to whom religious instruction in schools is directed (74 and 75)

Education in the Christian family, catechesis and religious instruction at the service of education in the faith (76)

Chapter Three

The nature, object and the duties of catechesis (77)

Catechesis: activity of an ecclesial nature (78 and 79)

The object of catechesis: communion with Jesus Christ (80-81)

The object of catechesis is expressed in profession of faith in the one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (82 and 83)

The tasks of catechesis accomplish its objective (84)

Fundamental tasks of catechesis: helping to know, to celebrate and to contemplate the mystery of Christ (85)

Other fundamental tasks of catechesis: initiation and education in community life and to mission (86a and 86b)

Observations on the totality of these tasks (87a and 87b)

The baptismal catechumenate: structure and progression (88-89)

The baptismal catechumenate: inspiration for catechesis in the Church (90 and 91)

Part Two


The meaning and purpose of part two (92-93)

Chapter One

Norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis

The word of God: source of catechesis (94)

The source and the “sources” of the message of catechesis (95 and 96)

Criteria for the presentation of the message (97)

The christocentricity of the Gospel message (98)

The trinitarian christocentricity of the Gospel message (99-100)

A message proclaiming salvation (101 and 102)

A message of liberation (103 and 104)

The ecclesial nature of the Gospel message (105-106)

The historical character of the mystery of salvation (107 and 108)

Inculturation of the Gospel message (109 and 110)

The integrity of the Gospel message (111 and 112-113)

A comprehensive and hierarchical message (114-115)

A meaningful message for the human person (116 and 117)

Methodological principle for the presentation of the message (118)

Chapter Two

“This is our faith, this is the faith of the Church”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the General Directory for Catechesis (119)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (120)

Nature and purpose of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (121)

Structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (122)

The inspiration of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: trinitarian christocentricity and the nobility of the Christian vocation (123)

The literary genre of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (124)

The Deposit of Faith and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (125-126)

Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (127-128)

The catechetical tradition of the Fathers and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (129-130)

Catechisms in the local Churches

Local catechisms: their necessity (131)

The literary genre of the local catechism (132)

Aspects of adaptation in a local catechism (133)

The creativity of local Churches in the elaboration of catechesis (134-135)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church and local catechisms: the symphony of faith (136)

Part Three


“You have one Master, the Christ” (Mt 23:10)

The meaning and purpose of Part Three (137 and 138)

Chapter One

The pedagogy of God, source and model of the pedagogy of the faith

The pedagogy of God (139)

The pedagogy of Christ (140)

The pedagogy of the Church (141)

Divine pedagogy, action of the Holy Spirit in every Christian (142)

Divine pedagogy and catechesis (143)

The original pedagogy of faith (144)

Fidelity to God and to the person (145)

The “condescension” of God, a school for the person (146)

Evangelize by educating and educate by evangelizing (147)

Chapter Two

Elements of methodology

Diversity of methods in catechesis (148)

The content-method relationship in catechesis (149)

Inductive and deductive method (150-151)

Human experience in catechesis (152-153)

Memorization and catechesis (154-155)

The role of the catechist (156)

The activity and creativity of the catechized (157)

Community, person and catechesis (158)

The importance of the group (159)

Social communication (160 and 161-162)

Part Four


The Kingdom is for all” (Rm 15)

The meaning and purpose of Part Four (165-166)

Chapter One

Adaptation to those to be catechized: general aspects

The need and right of every believer to receive a valid catechesis

A community need and a community right (167-168)

Adaptation requires that catechesis be a healthy and adequate food (169)

Adaptation takes account of diverse circumstances (170)

Chapter Two

Catechesis according to age

General observations (171)

The catechesis of adults

Adults to whom catechesis is directed (172)

Elements and criteria proper to adult catechesis (173 and 174)

General and particular tasks of adult catechesis (175)

Particular forms of adult catechesis (176)

The catechesis of infants and young children

The important context of infancy and childhood (177)

Characteristics of catechesis for infants and children (178-179)

Infants and children without religious support in the family or who do not attend school (180)

Catechesis of young people

Pre-adolescence, adolescence and young adulthood (181)

The importance of youth for society and the Church (182-183)

Characteristics of catechesis for young people (184 and 185)

Catechesis for the aged

Old age, gift of God to the Church (186)

Catechesis of fulfilment and hope (187)

Wisdom and dialogue (188)

Chapter Three

Catechesis for special situations, mentalities and environments

Catechesis for the disabled and the handicapped (189)

The catechesis of the marginalized (190)

Catechesis for different groups (191)

Environmental catechesis (192)

Chapter Four

Catechesis in the socio-religious context

Catechesis in complex and pluralistic situations (193-194)

Catechesis and popular devotion (195-196)

Catechesis in the context of ecumenism (197-198)

Catechesis in relation to Judaism (199)

Catechesis in the context of other religions (200)

Catechesis in relation to “new religious movements” (201)

Chapter Five

Catechesis in the socio-cultural context

Catechesis and contemporary culture (202)

Duties of catechesis for inculuration of the faith (203)

Methodological processes (204)

The need for and criteria of evaluation (205)

Those with responsibility for the processes of inculturation (206)

Privileged forms and means (207)

Language (208)

The media of communication (209-210)

Anthropological environments and cultural tendencies (211)

Intervention in concrete situations (212)

Tasks of the local Churches (213)

Guided initiatives (214)

Part Five


The meaning and purpose of Part Five (215-216)

Chapter One

The ministry of catechesis in the particular Churches and its agents

The particular Church (217-218)

The ministry of catechesis in the particular Church (219)

The Christian community and responsibility for catechesis (220-221)

The Bishop has primary responsibility for catechesis in the particular Church (222-223)

Priests, pastors and educators of the Christian community (224-225)

Parents, primary educators of their children (226-227)

The role of religious in catechesis (228-229)

Lay catechists (230-231)

Various types of catechists particulary necessary today (232)

Chapter Two

Formation for the service of catechesis

Pastoral care of catechists in a particular Church (233)

Importance of the formation of Catechists (234)

Nature and purpose of the formation of catechists (235-236)

The inspiring criteria of the formation of catechists (237)

The dimensions of formation: being, knowing, savoir-faire (238)

The human, Christian and apostolic maturity of catechists (239)

The biblico-theological formation of the catechist (240-241)

The human sciences and the formation of catechists (242)

Various criteria which can inspire the use of human sciences in the formation of catechists (243)

Pedagogical formation (244-245)

The formation of catechists within the Christian community (246-247)

Schools for catechists and centres for higher learning for experts in catechesis

Schools for ordinary catechists (248-249)

Institutes for those with responsibility for catechesis (250)

Higher institute for experts in catechesis (251-252)

Chapter Two

Loci and means of catechesis

The Christian community is a home for catechesis (253-254)

The family as an environment or means of growth in faith (255)

The baptismal catechumenate of adults (256)

The parish as an environment for catechesis (257-258)

Catholic schools (259-260)

Associations, movements and groups of the faithful (261-262)

Basic ecclesial communities (263-264)

Chapter Four

The organization of catechetical pastoral care in the particular Churches

Organization and exercise of responsibilities

The diocesan service of catechesis (265-267)

Services of inter-diocesan co-operation (268)

The service of the Episcopal Conference (269)

The service of the Holy See (270-271)

The co-ordination of catechesis

The importance of an effective co-ordination of catechesis (272-273)

Coherent diocesan catechetical programmes (274-275)

Catechetical activity in the context of new evangelization (276-277)

Catechesis in educational pastoral work (278)

Some responsibilities proper to the catechetical ministry

Analysis of the situation and its needs (279-280)

Programmes of catechetical action and orientation (281-282)

Elaboration of instruments and didactic aids for catechetical activity (283)

Preparation of local catechisms: a direct responsibility of the episcopal ministry (284-285)

Conclusion (286-291)

2 Responses to General Directory for Catechesis

  1. Pingback: Forward In Evangelization « Catholic Sensibility

  2. Pingback: A New Catechetical Directory | Catholic Sensibility

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