As a teaching method in catechesis, dialogue is often given a prominent place: it is seen as a ‘democratic’ mode of teaching, enabling a range of views to be heard and considered within a relationship of mutual give and take; it seems to be respectful of the learner, speaking ‘with’ rather than ‘to’ the person, allowing the other into the teaching which is taking place; and it can develop the learner’s potential, encouraging the development of critical and intellectual skills through a mutual and shared engagement with questions.
Many go further, arguing that catechesis should privilege dialogue as the preferred means of communication of the Faith.
The Church documents speak of God’s ‘dialogue of salvation’[i] being at the heart of catechesis, so that ‘The wonderful dialogue that God undertakes with every person becomes its inspiration and norm’.[ii] God speaks his word and seeks the response of his creatures. God reveals to man the plan he is to accomplish and calls for a response in faith to that Revelation. At the beginning of the first part of the Catechism this fundamental orientation of catechesis towards dialogue is implied: ‘The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being’.[iii] Cavalletti rightly emphasises that in catechesis there is a call to ‘be attentive to the dialogue that is concretized in the covenant’.[iv]