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Congregation for the Clergy
General Directory for Catechesis

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  • PART ONE CATECHESIS IN THE CHURCH'S MISSION OF EVANGELIZATION
    • CHAPTER II Catechesis in the process of evangelization
      • Catechesis at the service of christian initiation
        • Catechesis, an essential "moment" in the process of evangelization
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Catechesis at the service of christian initiation

Catechesis, an essential "moment" in the process of evangelization

63. The Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae places catechesis firmly within the Church's mission and notes that evangelization is a rich, complex and dynamic reality which comprises essential but different "moments". "Catechesis", it adds, "is one of these moments—a very remarkable one—in the whole process of evangelization". (189) This is to say that there are activities which "prepare" (190) for catechesis and activities which "derive" from it (191) The "moment" of catechesis is that which corresponds to the period in which conversion to Jesus Christ is formalized, and provides a basis for first adhering to him. Converts, by means of "a period of formation, an apprenticeship in the whole Christian life", (192) are initiated into the mystery of salvation and an evangelical style of life. This means "initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life". (193)

64. In discharging in different ways the initiatory function of the ministry of the word, catechesis lays the foundation for the building of the faith. (194) Other functions of the same ministry will continue to build, at different levels, on that foundation.

Initiatory catechesis is thus the necessary link between missionary activity which calls to faith and pastoral activity which continually nourishes the Christian community. This is not, therefore, an optional activity, but basic and fundamental for building up the personality of the individual disciple, as it is for the whole Christian community. Without it, missionary activity lacks continuity and is sterile, while pastoral activity lacks roots and becomes superficial and confused: any misfortune could cause the collapse of the entire building. (195)

In truth, "the inner growth [of the Church] and her correspondence with God's plan depend essentially on catechesis". (196) In this sense catechesis must always be considered a priority in evangelization.




189) CT 18; cf CT 20c.



190) CT 18.



191) Ibidem.



192) AG 14.



193) CT 18.



194) St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses illuminandorum, I, 11; PG. 33, 351-352.



195) Cf. Mt 7:24-27.



196) CT 13; cf. CT 15.






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