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Monday, December 12, 2005

3rd of 8: The Ministry of Catechesis

It's time for another post on one of the 8 Components of Catholic Youth Ministry. Sometimes I'm stuck as to how to best flesh out these components: But not today.

I was working out at the gym today and CNN was on the tube. The latest story was on Stanley "Tookie" Williams and the fact that Governor Schwarzenegger had denied clemency for him.

But we'll get to that in the next post.

The reason I chose "Catechesis" and not, say "Justice and Service" was because issues like this always demand that we use our God-given reasoning to figure out the answers and not our emotions. Catechesis is exactly the tool we use to engage the intellect with the mind of God.

Renewing the Vision states "The Ministry of Catechesis also helps young people enrich and expand their understanding of the Scriptures and the sacred tradition and their application to life today and live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ in their daily lives..." (p.29).

Catechesi Tradende , the document of Pope John Paul II on Catechesis is chock full of excellent quotes. In the opening he says "The Church has always considered catechesis one of her primary tasks, for, before Christ ascended to his Father after his Resurrection, he gave the Apostles a final command--to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to observe all that he had commanded". This always struck me as odd-Catechesis as on of her primary tasks? I thought, say, loving others and being obedient were primary.

But if we don't know the Truth, how can we be obedient to it? How can we love what we do not know? How can we bring others into a love that we have absolutely no understanding of?

So Catechesis is primary in our work.
"Very soon the name of catechesis was given to the whole of the efforts within the Church to make disciples, to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ."

But it is not our name that others have life. It is not our opinions of the Church that is authentic Catechesis. I love this line:
"Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one's own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that he communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that he is."

The 70's and 80's even the 90's gave us a lot of Religious Educators Opinions, but little else. My parents even sent me to a Christian school instead of the local Catholic school so that I'd get at least somewhat of a Christian education (I have a great understanding of Scripture!).

What I'm getting at is that anyone that we teach deserves to have the full Truth given to them. We don't have the right to replace the Truth that "He Is" with anything else. I like to tell people that it doesn't really matter what I believe. It just so happens that I am able to give witness to the Truths professed in our Faith.

Back to RTV: The framework also recognizes that catechesis will be an ongoing event-or at least should be. Recognized is the need to develop catechetical curriculum for different levels of development. Notice I didn't say water down anything to make it palatable. But making the immense Mystery of Jesus Christ is available to us. He revealed the Father to us. We need to do the same for the kids.

For more information, visit these websites:
http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/catechesis.asp
Cathechesi Tradendea: Catechesis in Our Time
The General Directory of Catechesis

2 Comments:

Anonymous MB@2010 said...

"This always struck me as odd-Catechesis as one of her primary tasks? I thought, say, loving others and being obedient were primary."

I would like to submit that, at least on some basic levels, catechizing, loving others, and being obedient are all one and the same thing. Without reducing the vast richness of each of those terms (i.e. there are many ways to obey God, depending on what He asks of you; we can love others without deliberately trying to catechize them, although doesn't getting loved in any way form us?; and of course, catechesis is its own field of work), I just wanted to point out that we obey God by loving others, which in many cases should/can take the form of catechizing.

Hmm -- hope that's clear!

5:20 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Just to be clear, the statement said "one of her primary tasks" not "the only primary tasks".

10:42 AM  

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