September 9, 2011

Excerpts from the Vatican’s 1997 General Directory for Catechesis

The General Directory for Catechesis, issued by the Holy See’s Congregation for Clergy in 1997, sets forth six basic tasks for catechesis and reflects on each of them at some length.

The following are excerpts from these reflections.

  • Promoting knowledge of the faith—“By deepening knowledge of the faith, catechesis nourishes not only the life of faith, but equips it to explain itself to the world. The meaning of the creed, which is a compendium of Scripture and of the faith of the Church, is the realization of this task” (#85).
  • Liturgical education—“Catechesis, along with promoting a knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and the sacraments, must also educate the disciples of Jesus Christ ‘for prayer, for thanksgiving, for repentance, for praying with confidence, for community spirit, for understanding correctly the meaning of the creeds,’ as all of this is necessary for a true liturgical life (#85, quoting Catechesi Tradendae, #67c).
  • Moral formation—“Conversion to Jesus Christ implies walking in his footsteps. Catechesis must, therefore, transmit to the disciples the attitudes of the Master himself. The disciples thus undertake a journey of interior transformation, in which, by participating in the paschal mystery of the Lord, ‘they pass from the old man to the new man who has been made perfect in Christ’ ” (#85, quoting Apostolicam Actuositatem, #10).
  • Teaching to pray—“Communion with Jesus Christ leads the disciples to assume the attitude of prayer and contemplation which the Master himself had. To learn to pray with Jesus is to pray with the same sentiments with which he turned to the Father: adoration, praise, thanksgiving, filial confidence, supplication and awe for his glory” (#85).
  • Education for community life—“Christian community life is not realized spontaneously. It is necessary to educate it carefully. In this apprenticeship, the teaching of Christ on community life, recounted in the Gospel of St. Matthew, calls for attitudes which it is for catechesis to inculcate” (#86a).
  • Missionary initiation—“Catechesis is also open to the missionary dimension. This seeks to equip the disciples of Jesus to be present as Christians in society through their professional, cultural and social lives. It also prepares them to lend their cooperation to the different ecclesial services, according to their proper vocation. This task of evangelization originates, for the lay faithful, in the sacraments of Christian initiation and in the secular character of their vocation” (#86b). †

 

(Related: Six tasks of catechesis can guide adult faith formation programs)

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