Catechetical Methodology: Teaching Gracefully

Authored by Marianne Cuthbertson in Issue #30.1 of The Sower

How can we teach in a way that allows the grace-full nature of catechesis to emerge?

This series is about catechetical methods and these methods are drawn from pedagogical principles. In the Church’s thinking, pedagogy and methodology are not the same, but are interdependent. The General Directory for Catechesis explains the relation in this way:

‘The Church, in transmitting the faith, does not have a particular method nor any single method. Rather she discerns contemporary methods in the light of the pedagogy of God and uses with liberty “everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise” (Phil.4:8)’ (GDC 148).

The principles of the pedagogy of God have recently been explained in the form of twelve ‘keys’ discerned from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and elucidated in the book the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis.[i] This series suggests concrete ways of incarnating these in catechetical methods and practice.

The ‘keys’ to effective catechesis drawn from the Catechism are that catechesis be holistic, graceful, organic, personal, true, attractive, purposeful, faithful, evangelising, Scriptural, liturgical and prayerful. The authors of the book ‘hope that readers are lead to see the beauty, necessity and practicality of the Catechetical principles that are presented both explicitly and implicitly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.’[ii] The forthcoming articles in the series are designed to encourage you to reflect critically on the methods you use in the light of these suggestions so that you can ensure that these ‘keys’ are woven into your practice.

The first key we explore in this series is that of ‘gracefulness’—that is, ensuring the primacy of grace in one’s catechesis. About this pedagogical key Cardinal Schönborn says, ‘This choice is not optional. It is self evident. It simply corresponds to the reality: God is first; grace is first.’[iii]

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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

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