Catechesis in Contemporary Culture: Pragmatism

Authored by Brian Pizzalato in Issue #30.1 of The Sower

This series that examines key features of contemporary culture that characterizes the ‘field’ into which the Word is sown by catechists today.

The soil into which we wish to sow the seed of the Word of God in catechesis is radically influenced by the philosophical mindset of pragmatism, which makes the soil a bit rocky, or even thorny.

Pragmatism is a perilous way of thinking. In his encyclical letter on faith and reason, Pope John Paul II makes this clear, describing pragmatism as ‘dangerous’. He says, ‘No less dangerous is pragmatism, an attitude of mind which, in making its choices, precludes theoretical consideration or judgments based on ethical principles.’ (Fides ET Ratio 89)

This way of thinking, then, neglects truth for the sake of what appears to be practical. Pope Benedict relates this way of thinking to the narrative of the Passion: ‘In Christ’s passion narrative we find Pilate’s question: “What is truth?” (Jn 18: 38). It is the question of a skeptic who asks: “But, you say you are the truth, but what is the truth?” And thus, with truth being unrecognizable, Pilate lets it be understood: we act according to what is most practical, what is most successful and not seeking the truth. He then condemns Jesus to death because he follows pragmatism…’ Here the Holy Father reveals the evil consequences of living according to pragmatic ways of thinking, in which we are willing to ignore larger questions of truth: it results in the death of God the Son.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Leisure – God's Plan for Us
By Colleen Rainone
Free “ Life is what happens when you are making other plans.” How often people have said this with a wry smile as they cope with an untimely interruption to their well-ordered (or not-so-ordered), scheduled events. This phrase came to mind again, when Editor James Pauley informed me that he was losing his battle with a persistent cold, which developed... Read more
The Spirit of Leisurely Catholicism
By James Gaston
Free When I happened to mention to my wife that I was writing an essay about leisure, the following dialogue took place: Wife: “You can’t do that.” Me: “Why not?” Wife: “You don’t know anything about it. You’re working at something all the time.” Me: “That is somewhat true, but leisure isn’t really about what one does when one is not working. It’s... Read more
El espíritu católico del descanso
By James Gaston
Introducción Cuando le comenté a mi esposa que estaba escribiendo un ensayo acerca del descanso, se suscitó el siguiente diálogo: Esposa -No lo puedes hacer.- Yo -¿Por qué no?- Esposa -No sabes nada acerca de eso. Estás siempre trabajando en algo.- Yo -Hay algo de cierto en lo que dices, pero el descanso no trata precisamente de lo que se hace... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now