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Congregation for the Clergy
General Directory for Catechesis

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    • CHAPTER III The nature, object and the duties of catechesis
        • Observations on the totality of these tasks
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Observations on the totality of these tasks

87. The tasks of catechesis, consequently, constitute a totality, rich and varied in aspect. On this point it is opportune to make some observations.

– "All of these tasks are necessary. As the vitality of the human body depends on the proper function of all of its organs, so also the maturation of the Christian life requires that it be cultivated in all its dimensions: knowledge of the faith, liturgical life, moral formation, prayer, belonging to community, missionary spirit. When catechesis omits one of these elements, the Christian faith does not attain full development.

– Each task realizes, in its own way, the object of catechesis. Moral formation, for example, is essentially christological and trinitarian. It is deeply ecclesial, while also open to social concerns. The same is true of liturgical formation. While essentially religious and ecclesial, it also strongly demands commitment to the evangelization of the world.

– These tasks are interdependent and develop together. Each great catechetical themecatechesis of God the Father, for example—has a cognitive dimension as well as moral implications. It is interiorized in prayer and appropriated in witness. One task echoes the other: knowledge of the faith prepares for mission; the sacramental life gives strength for moral transformation.

– To fulfil its tasks, catechesis avails of two principal means: transmission of the Gospel message and experience of the Christian life. (275) Liturgical formation, for example, must explain what the Christian liturgy is, and what the sacraments are. It must also however, offer an experience of the different kinds of celebration and it must make symbols, gestures, etc. known and loved. Moral formation not only transmits the content of Christian morality, but also cultivates active evangelical attitudes and Christian values.

– The different dimensions of faith are objects of formation, as much of being given as received. Knowledge of the faith, liturgical life, the following of Christ are all a gift of the Spirit which are received in prayer, and similarly a duty of spiritual and moral study and witness. Neither aspect may be neglected. (276)

– Every dimension of the faith, like the faith itself as a whole, must be rooted in human experience and not remain a mere adjunct to the human person. Knowledge of the faith is significant. It gives light to the whole of existence and dialogues with culture. In the liturgy, all personal life becomes a spiritual oblation. The morality of the Gospel assumes and elevates human values. Prayer is open to all personal and social problems. (277)

As the 1971 Directory indicates, "it is very important that catechesis retain the richness of these various aspects in such a way that one aspect is not separated from the rest to the detriment of the others". (278)

275) Cf. CIC 773 and 778 § 2.

276) Cf. DCG (1971) 22 and 23.

277) Cf. DCG (1971) 26.

278) DCG (1971) 31b.

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