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Congregation for the Clergy
General Directory for Catechesis

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  • PART TWO THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
    • CHAPTER II "This is our faith this is the faith of the Church"
        • The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the General Directory for Catechesis
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The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the General Directory for Catechesis

120. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the General Catechetical Directory are two distinct but complementary instruments at the service of the Church's catechetical activity.

– The Catechism of the Catholic Church is "a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illuminated by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. (415)

– The General Directory for Catechesis provides "the basic principles of pastoral theology taken from the Magisterium of the Church, and in a special way from the Second Vatican Council by which pastoral action in the ministry of the word can be more fittingly directed and governed". (416)

Both instruments, each taken in accordance with its specific nature and authority, are mutually complementary. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an act of the Magisterium of the Pope, by which, in our times, in virtue of Apostolic Authority, he synthesizes normatively the totality of the Catholic faith. He offers the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the first place, to the Churches as a point of reference for the authentic presentation of the content of the faith. The Catechetical Directory, for its part, carries that authority normally vested by the Holy See in instruments of orientation by approving them and confirming them. It is an official aid for the transmission of the Gospel message and for the whole of catechetical activity. The complementary nature of both of these instruments justifies the fact, as already mentioned in the Preface, that this General Catechetical Directory does not devote a chapter to the presentation of the contents of the faith, as was the case in the 1971 General Catechetical Directory for Catechesis under the title: "The more outstanding elements of the Christian message". (417) Such is explained by the fact that this Directory, as far as the content of the Christian message is concerned, simply refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church", which is intended as a methodological norm for its concrete application. The following exposition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church seeks neither to summarize its contents nor to explain this instrument of the Magisterium. It simply seeks to facilitate a better understanding and use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in catechetical practice.




415) FD 4a.



416) DCG (1971) Introduction.



417) DCG (1971) Part III, chap. 2.






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