The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

The Catechism at the Service of the New Evangelisation

Authored by Dr. Petroc Willey in Issue #33.3 of The Sower
One of the preoccupations of the catechetical movement since the Second Vatican Council has been for the Church’s faith to be seen as clearly ‘relevant’; catechesis must be seen to address our ‘real needs’. And one might think that the urgency with which the Church reiterates today the need for a ‘new evangelisation’ is a further reinforcement of such a message. The Church, it might be thought, is asking us to focus upon understanding what our culture and society today most need; and to do this she must seek ‘new methods’ and must do so with a new ardour and commitment. There is, of course, a sense in which we can affirm this desire for ‘relevance’. And it is also of course true that catechesis must always seek to announce the Gospel in a manner that engages our deepest needs. Nonetheless, the call to ‘relevance’ can easily be misdirected as a request that the Church’s attention focus upon relevance for me. I want the Church to concentrate upon me - upon my wishes, my aspirations, my hopes and my desires. Let me put the point in a way that sounds less self-centred: we understand the renewal of catechesis to be a call to focus upon us – upon our community and its wishes, desires and aspirations. Translated in this way, then, the call to a ‘Catechesis of Relevance’ means, in effect, ‘I want the Catechism to be about me and about our community.’ If this is how we understand the task of catechesis today, then the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be found to be frustratingly disappointing. For the Catechism is primary about God. ‘God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself’ opens the first paragraph of the text and the closing paragraphs climax upon the glory of the God who will be ‘all in all’. God is the alpha and the omega of the Catechism. He is the beginning, the end, and the centre.

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 [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Where There Is Great Love, There Are Miracles
By Dr. James Pauley
Free In Death Comes for the Archbishop , Willa Cather’s sweeping novel describing the evangelistic efforts of the first archbishop of Santa Fe, the author vividly describes the archbishop’s reaction upon hearing of the miraculous vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Marveling at the loving tenderness of the Blessed Mother to St. Juan Diego and his people,... Read more
The Miracles of Jesus
By Dr. John Bergsma
Free One of the most characteristic features of Jesus’ earthly ministry was his performance of miracles, particularly healings and exorcisms. A typical description of this can be found in Mark 1:34: “he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” Jesus’ ability to perform supernatural works made him one of the first “... Read more
In the Form of a Sacrificial Meal: The Sacrifice of Calvary and the Sacrifice of the Mass
By Dr. Denis McNamara
For an average Catholic, even one who speaks piously of the Mass as the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, the link between Christ’s dramatic death on the Cross can seem remote from the sacred liturgy’s formal ritual. The notion of the Mass as a sacred meal comes from its roots in the Last Supper, and the Eucharistic Prayer conspicuously... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

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

Watch Now