In the last issue of The Sower, Archbishop Burke drew our attention to Pope Benedict’s statement on mystagogical catechesis. Here, James Pauley unpacks some of the implications of this teaching for our catechetical methodology. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life contains the most recently articulated magisterial teaching on the important relationship which exists between liturgy and catechesis. The importance of a deep integration of liturgy and catechesis has been a much frequented theme in these years since the Second Vatican Council highlighted the ‘didactic’ nature of the liturgy[i] and the importance of the faithful participating in liturgical life with ‘minds attuned to their voices.’[ii] Benedict’s immediate predecessor warned of an increasing liturgical participation which lacked liturgical understanding, manifesting itself in a widespread ‘hollow ritualism’ in the liturgical practice of the faithful.[iii] And, the General Directory for Catechesis called for a catechesis which consistently promotes ‘a deeper understanding and experience of the liturgy.’[iv] In a careful reading of the magisterial catechetical vision of the second half of the Twentieth century, it would be difficult to overlook the very important connection between liturgical understanding and liturgical participation.
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