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|Congregation for the Clergy|
General Directory for Catechesis
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220. Catechesis is a responsibility of the entire Christian community. Christian initiation, indeed, "should not be the work of catechists and priests alone, but of the whole community of the faithful". (143) Continuing education in the faith is a question which concerns the whole community; catechesis, therefore, is an educational activity which arises from the particular responsibility of every member of the community, in a rich context of relationships, so that catechumens and those being catechized are actively incorporated into the life of the community. The Christian community follows the development of catechetical processes, for children, young people and adults, as a duty that involves and binds it directly. (144) Again, at the end of the catechetical process, it is the Christian community that welcomes the catechized in a fraternal environment, "in which they will be able to live in the fullest way what they have learned". (145)
221. The Christian community not only gives much to those who are being catechized but also receives much from them. New converts, especially adolescents and adults, in adhering to Jesus Christ, bring to the community which receives them new religious and human wealth. Thus the community grows and develops. Catechesis not only brings to maturity the faith of those being catechized but also brings the community itself to maturity.
Yet, while the entire Christian community is responsible for Christian catechesis and all of it members bear witness to the faith, only some receive the ecclesial mandate to be catechists. Together with the primordial mission which parents have in relation to their children, the Church confers the delicate task of organically transmitting the faith within the community on particular, specifically called members of the people of God. (146)
143) AG 14. In this sense CT 16 says: "Catechesis always has been, and always will be a work for which the whole Church must feel responsible and must wish to be responsible." Cf. also 1977 Synod; MPG 12; RCIA 12; CIC 774 § 1.
144) Catechesis must be supported by the witness of the ecclesial community, DCG (1971) 35; cf. part IV, chapter 2.
145) CT 24.
146) "Besides this apostolate, which belongs to absolutely every Christian, the laity can be called in different ways to more immediate co-operation in the apostolate of the hierarchy, like those men and women who helped the apostle Paul in the Gospel, labouring much in the Lord" (LG 33). This conciliar doctrine is adopted by CIC 228 and 759.
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