Inculturation and Organizational Structures in the Directory for Catechesis

Authored by Monsignor John Pollard in Issue #7.1 of The Catechetical Review

This article explores chapters 10-11 of the Directory for Catechesis.

Catechesis at the Service of the Inculturation of the Faith

At the press conference to present the new Directory for Catechesis (2020), Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, stated, “The need for a new directory was born of the process of inculturation which characterizes catechesis in a particular way and which, especially today, demands a special focus.”[1] The preface sets forth the reasons for producing a third catechetical directory for the universal Church at this particular time, namely the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and the dual phenomena of the digital culture and the globalization of culture (see DC, Preface, p. 4). Given this context, then, it is not surprising that the Directory for Catechesis devotes two chapters to the interaction of catechesis and culture.

Chapter eleven is titled “Catechesis at the Service of the Inculturation of the Faith.” After a brief but important introductory paragraph, the chapter contains two sections: “Nature and Goal of Inculturation of the Faith,” and “Local Catechisms.”

The introductory paragraph retrieves a description of the process of inculturation from St. Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. There immediately follows a parallel citation from Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. These two perspectives on the process of the inculturation of the faith set the context for the chapter’s exploration of the dynamic interaction of faith and culture.

On the one hand, Evangelii Nuntiandi insists on the inculturation of the Gospel message “without the slightest betrayal of its essential truth.”[2] And on the other, Evangelii Gaudium highlights the “new and eloquent expressions” of the Gospel message that are generated in the process of inculturation.[3] The former emphasizes that which is given: the unchanging truth of the Gospel message in every age. The latter emphasizes that which is received: the Gospel message accommodated to the particular circumstances of a culture.

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

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor’s Reflections: On Incarnational Coherence
By Dr. James Pauley
Free Beneath the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth is the place where tradition tells us the Angel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary. An altar stands in this grotto, inscribed with these words: “verbum caro hic factum est” (the Word became flesh here ). The Incarnation of God’s Son into human flesh is not a myth or fairy tale. It is an... Read more
Finding God in an Unexpected Place
By Sr. Carino Hodder, OP
Free When John Everett Millais’ Christ in the House of His Parents was first displayed at the Royal Academy, the public response was near-universal revulsion. At that time it bore no title but Zechariah 13:6: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my... Read more
Antiquum Ministerium: Instituting the Ministry of Catechist
By Monsignor John Pollard
On May 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally instituted the ministry of catechist with the apostolic letter Antiquum Ministerium , which he issued motu proprio , or on his own initiative and under his personal signature. An initial reaction to the formal institution of the role of catechist might be to wonder, “So what’s new?” The role of catechist has... 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