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Congregation for the Clergy
General Directory for Catechesis

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  • PART TWO THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
    • CHAPTER I Norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis
        • The christocentricity of the Gospel message
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The christocentricity of the Gospel message

98. Jesus Christ not only transmits the word of God: he is the Word of God. Catechesis is therefore completely tied to him. Thus what must characterize the message transmitted by catechesis is, above all, its "christocentricity". (310) This may be understood in various senses.

– It means, firstly, that "at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth". (311) In reality, the fundamental task of catechesis is to present Christ and everything in relation to him. This explicitly promotes the following of Jesus and communion with him; every element of the message tends to this.

Secondly, christocentricity means that Christ is the "centre of salvation history", (312) presented by catechesis. He is indeed the final event toward which all salvation history converges. He, who came "in the fullness of time" is "the key, the centre and end of all human history". (313) The catechetical message helps the Christian to locate himself in history and to insert himself into it, by showing that Christ is the ultimate meaning of this history.

Christocentricity, moreover, means that the Gospel message does not come from man, but is the Word of God. The Church, and in her name, every catechist can say with truth: "my teaching is not from myself: it comes from the one who sent me" (John 7,16). Thus all that is transmitted by catechesis is "the teaching of Jesus Christ, the truth that he communicates, or more precisely, the Truth that he is". (314) Christocentricity obliges catechesis to transmit what Jesus teaches about God, man, happiness, the moral life, death etc. without in any way changing his thought. (315)

The Gospels, which narrate the life of Jesus, are central to the catechetical message. They are themselves endowed with a "catechetical structure". (316) They express the teaching which was proposed to the first Christian communities, and which also transmits the life of Jesus, his message and his saving actions. In catechesis, "the four Gospels occupy a central place because Christ Jesus is their centre". (317)




310) Cf. CCC 426-429; CT 5-6; DCG (1971) 40.



311) CT 5.



312) DCG (1971) 41a; cf. DCG (1971) 39, 40, 44.



313) GS 10.



314) CT 6.



315) Cf. 1 Cor 15:1-4; EN 15e, f.



316) CT 11b.



317) CCC 139.






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