The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

The Pedagogy of God, Part 2

Authored by Dr. Petroc Willey in Issue #30.3 of The Sower
We examine the concrete implications for a catechesis inspired by the pedagogy of God. In the last issue of The Sower we noted the centrality of the notion of the pedagogy of God in the General Directory for Catechesis. We saw that it is God himself who is the pedagogue and that catechists work within the pedagogy of God. ‘Catechesis, as communication of divine Revelation, is radically inspired by the pedagogy of God, as displayed in Christ and in the Church’ (GDC 143). As Pedagogue, God’s work is that of disciplining, or ‘discipling’ his people. In this article we examine the concrete implications of this for our catechetical work. The central point being made in the General Directory for Catechesis is that the initiative in catechesis belongs, above all, to God himself. The ‘transmission of the Gospel through the Church remains before all else and forever the work of the Holy Spirit’ (GDC 138). The work of the catechist is always to assist, to help, to prepare, and to work in docility to the greater work of the Lord. We really can have the confidence to know that, in catechetical work, the outcomes lie in the Lord’s hands. Faith is always a divine gift (cf Matt 16:17; 1 Cor 12:3). Successful catechesis, therefore, is not primarily about learning more and better sets of skills. The catechist, therefore, emphasises the ‘divine initiative’ (GDC 143), avoiding any confusion between ‘the salvific action of God, which is pure grace, with the pedagogical action of man’ (GDC 144). Then, the GDC carefully adds: ‘Neither, however, does it oppose them and separate them’. The catechist must not confuse himself with God – but neither is he to be cast aside. He, too, comparatively insignificant though he might be, still has his part to play! Teaching skills are not irrelevant since although we cannot by ourselves bring faith about, we can assist in preparing for the reception and deepening of the gift of faith in others.

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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 sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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