The Catechism & the New Evangelization: A Formative Instrument

Authored by Dr. Petroc Willey in Issue #1.2 of The Catechetical Review

On October 11, 1992, Pope St. John Paul II declared the Catechism of the Catholic Church “a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.”[i] Let us examine the key terms in this statement. They help us to understand the character of the Catechism.

In the previous article I wrote of the Catechism as an instrument that would help us to reconnect the fragments of the faith back into a living whole.[ii] In other words, it is an instrument fitted for bringing about ecclesial communion. In the situation of the new evangelization, many whom we catechize live without a strong awareness of the organic wholeness of the Catholic faith, its beauty, symmetry, and coherence. They have even less recognition that this organic wholeness of the faith flows from the living Body of Christ, having God the Son as its Head. Many of the baptized and confirmed members of the Body of Christ, therefore, have only a partial understanding that the life of Christ, as Head of the Body, is available to them—his strengths, his virtues, his faculties. As St. Gregory the Great put it, “Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.”[iii]

We long for the Holy Spirit to lead those whom we catechize into a lively consciousness of this loving union that God has established with them in his Church. This union is the “marvelous exchange” that we celebrate in the Christmas season when the Creator of all became man, born of the Ever-Virgin, making us “sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.”[iv] Only in this way, we know, through living in the light of these truths, can the lives of those we catechize be more perfectly formed into the likeness of Christ. We long for the Holy Spirit to “indoctrinate”[v] those whom we teach—to imbue them with the teachings, the doctrines, of Christ.

The Catechism is given to us precisely for the sake of enabling such an indoctrination to make the teachings of the Church accessible and available to every member of Christ’s Body so that each can become “fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.”[vi] We saw in the previous article how the Catechism has been carefully designed specifically to reach out to bring the saving doctrine of the faith to the “edges” and “peripheries” of the Church. This happens when we attend to those still holding to “fragments” of faith in order to gather and bring them into communion with the living whole.

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

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Kerygmatic Catechesis and the New Directory
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The much-anticipated Directory for Catechesis is finally here! So many of us involved in the work of catechetical renewal have eagerly awaited its publication. This directory is the third of its kind, following 1971 and 1997 directories that each proposed a vision for catechesis intended to prepare Catholics to live in the modern world as well-... Read more
An Invitation to a Faithful, Dynamic Renewal of Catechesis
By Jem Sullivan
Free This article explores c hapters 1-2 of the new Directory for Catechesis. The publication of a Directory for Catechesis by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization could not have arrived at a more providential moment as the universal Church seeks a renewal of Christian faith in local churches struggling through the effects... Read more
Becoming Windows for the Light of the Living God
By Brad Bursa
This article explores chapters 3-4 of the Directory for Catechesis. O ne could liken c hapters t hree (The Catechist) and f our (The Formation of Catechists) of the new Directory for Catechesis to a meditation on windows and how they are made. Identity and Vocation of the Catechist In the early Church, those who followed the Way were often called... 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