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|Congregation for the Clergy|
General catechetical directory
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In regions which have been Christian from of old, catechesis often takes the form of religious instruction given to children and adolescents in schools or outside a school atmosphere. Also found in those regions are various catechetical programs for adults. There are also various catechumenate programs for those who are preparing themselves for the reception of baptism, or for those who have been baptised but lack a proper Christian initiation. Very often the actual condition of large numbers of the faithful necessarily demands that some form of evangelisation of the baptised precede catechesis.
In churches that have been established recently, special importance is placed on the work of evangelising in the strict sense. Accordingly, they have the well-known form of the catechumenate for those who are being initiated in the faith SO that they may prepare themselves for receiving baptism (cf. AG, 4).
in a word, catechetical activity can take on forms and structures that are quite varied, that is to say, it can be systematic or occasional, for individuals or for communities, organised or spontaneous, and so on.
20 Shepherds of souls should always keep in mind the obligation they have of safeguarding and promoting the enlightenment of Christian existence through the word of God for people of ail ages and in ail historical circumstances (cf. CD, 14), 50 that it may be possible to have contact with every individual and community in the spiritual state in which each one is.
They should also remember that catechesis for adults, since it deals with persons who are capable of an adherence that is fully responsible, must be considered the chief form of catechesis. All the other forms, which are indeed always necessary, are in some way oriented to it. In obedience 10 the norms of the Second Vatican Council, shepherds of souls should also strive "to re-establish or better adapt the instruction of adult catechumens" (CD, 14; cf. AG, 14).
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