In this article we will examine the guidance provided by the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the pedagogy needed for liturgical catechesis.
The Catechism’s main concern is the presentation of the content of the Deposit of Faith;[i] however, the Catechism also offers us the “pedagogy of the faith.”[ii] The Instrumentum Laboris for the 2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization noted that the Church published the Catechism for a dual purpose: to provide a definitive account of the Church’s faith and morals and also to articulate this account according to the unchanging pedagogy of the faith.[iii] We can therefore expect the Catechism to identify, in its presentation on liturgy and the sacraments, key pedagogical elements that need to guide and inform particular methodologies, as they are developed for specific groups that have their own particular needs related to context, culture, or age.[iv]
In the Catechism, “pedagogy” always refers to God’s way of forming and teaching his people. The term is used only ten times, but the main contours of its meaning are clear: the majority of the references intend us to focus on the gradual and progressive movement of God’s formative activity, while others highlight either the culmination of such a movement in the Person of Christ, or else the loving nature of this design on God’s part.[v] We should notice this double action in the pedagogy: a gradual revelation with a corresponding fostering of the capacity of the person. God “communicates himself to man gradually,” preparing his people “by stages” to become capable of welcoming, knowing, and loving him “far beyond their own natural capacity.”[vi]