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Holistic Catechesis: A Renewed Approach
What is an effective and truly engaging model for Catechesis? R Jared Staudt argues that a new approach is needed, one that cultivates every aspect of faith to create a dynamic experience of the Christian life for those being catechized. In a short piece entitled “Models of Catechesis,” Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., describes various approaches to catechesis practiced by the Church in the twentieth century. Foremost among these Dulles lists doctrinal catechesis, which “relies heavily on the authority of Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church,” and whose “objective is to produce Christians who are confident and orthodox in their faith.”[i] It is not surprising that a dire crisis in both confidence and orthodoxy afflicted the Church in the late twentieth century when doctrinal methods of catechesis were virtually abandoned.[ii] In what follows, I will argue that new approaches to catechesis, rather than being completely abandoned, should be integrated in a holistic fashion in which the doctrinal method holds priority. Such “holistic catechesis” will lead to a vibrant spiritual life for those catechized in which the faith that is learned is also encountered and, ultimately, lived out.