How do we ensure that we practise a ‘personal pedagogy’?
We are aware that doctrine and its transmission is essentially personal. We ground catechesis in the living foundational realities of the faith, handing ourselves over to serve the transmission of Christ and his message. What do we mean by a ‘personal pedagogy’? A pedagogy that is personal is one that focuses principally and appropriately on the persons involved, each in their own way.
Catechesis has to do principally with persons. Persons are central to the work of catechesis. It sounds obvious, but is nonetheless worth taking time to think through so that we can begin to understand what kinds of implications this has.
All spiritual beings are persons. God himself is Personal, in fact a Trinity of Persons. Angels are persons, also. We human beings are both corporeal and spiritual, and therefore we are also persons. People in the bible and saints in history are persons. (Animals are not!) Catholic doctrine, therefore, is deeply and essentially personal.
Let’s put this same point in another way. Catholic doctrine is personal because truth is a Person; truth is the Person of Christ. We human beings are made in the image and likeness of the One who is the image of God, the One who is a Person of the Trinity. Therefore, we are created as persons.
There are several challenges here for us as catechists. In the first place the challenge is to teach doctrine in such a way that participants know that they are being introduced to persons. Then secondly, the pedagogy we use must serve the truth that all of the participants in catechetical sessions are persons. Thirdly, we can recognise that the personal nature of catechesis touches deeply and intimately on our own spiritual lives.