History and Theory of Catechetics II TRS 751C

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  • Class: TRS 751C: History and Theory of Catechetics II
  • Professor: Rev. Dr. Emanuel P. Magro
  • Taken: Fall 2015
  • Description: Discussion of the contributions of the Second Vatican Council and of post-conciliar documents to catechetics and religious education. Readings in selected works of contemporary writers in the fields of catechetics and religious education. Exploration of contemporary issues in catechesis and religious education.

Class materials on CUA Blackboard

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COURSE GOALS The main objectives of this course are to

  • identify the major figures and movements in catechetics since the Second Vatican Council; and
  • examine some key issues in contemporary catechesis and religious education.


By the end of this course, the students will be able to:

  • define the main contributions of the Second Vatican Council and of post-conciliar documents to catechetics and religious education;
  • expound the theories of some current writers in catechetics and religious education;
  • explain the major trends in current catechesis; and
  • outline the impact of some cultural and ecclesial issues on contemporary catechetics and religious education.

INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS Lecture, class discussion, and students’ presentation.

Required Text:

ADDITIONAL READING LIST (on reserve at Mullin Library or on Blackboard)

  • Bennett, Jana Marguerite. “What Faith Formation Means in the Age of ‘Nones.’” Liturgy 30, no. 3 (2015): 48-56.
  • Coleridge, Mark. “To Awaken the Spirit: Proposing a Vatican II Faith to a Secular Faith.” In The Great Grace: Receiving Vatican II Today, edited by Nigel Zimmermann, 109-120. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Colleen M. Griffith, Colleen M. “Practice as Embodied Knowing: Epistemological and Theological Considerations.” In Invitation to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Visions, edited by Claire E. Wolfteich, 52-69. New York: Paulist, 2014.
  • Delfra, Louis A. “Narrative Theology in the High School Classroom: Teaching Theology through Literature.” Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice 8, no. 3 (March 2005): 346-374.
  • Erdozain, Luis. “The Evolution of Catechetics.” In Sourcebook for Modern Catechetics, edited by Michael Warren, 86-109. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 1983.
  • Espinoza, Benjamin D. and Beverly Johnson-Miller. “Catechesis, Developmental Theory, and a Fresh Vision for Christian Education.” Christian Education Journal Series 3 11 (2014): 8-23
  • Francis. Evangelii gaudium.
  • Francis. Laudato si. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa- francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
  • Groome, Thomas. “The ‘Mind of the Church’ in the General Directory for Catechesis: Where We Are Now; Reaching Beyond.” Theoforum 41, no. 1 (2010): 11-29.
  • Heft, James L. Catholic High Schools: Facing the New Realities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Hunt, Thomas C. “Catholic Schools: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” Journal of Research on Christian Education 14, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 161-175.
  • Kaster, Jeffrey and Craig Gould. “Lost and Found: Catechesis on the Care of Creation.” New Theology Review (Online) 26, no. 2 (Mar 2014): 88-95.
  • Kenneson, Philip D. “What’s in a Name? A Brief Introduction to the ‘Spiritual but Not Religious.’” Liturgy 30, no. 3 (2015): 3-13.
  • Kock, A. (Jos) de. “Promising Approaches to Catechesis in Church Communities: Towards a Research Framework.” International Journal of Practical Theology 16, no. 2 (2012): 176-196.
  • Kohut, Pavel Vojtěch. “The Offer of Catholic Spirituality,” European Journal of Theology 21:2 (2012): 156-165.
  • Magro, Emanuel. “The Role of Imagination in Religious and Spiritual Education.” in New Perspectives on Religious and Spiritual Education, edited by Theo van der Zee and Terence J. Lovat, 165-177. Műnster: Waxmann, 2012.
  • Malone, Peter. “Dei Verbum, Communication and Media.” In God’s Word and the Church’s Council: Vatican II and Divine Revelation, edited by Mark O’Brien and Christopher Monaghan, 163-178. Adelaide, Australia: ATF Theology, 2014.
  • Marthaler, Berard. Catechetics in Context: Notes and Commentary on The General Catechetical Directory Issued by The Sacred Congregation For the Clergy. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1973.
  • -------. “Socialization as a Model for Catechetics.” In Foundations of Religious Education, edited by P. O’Hare, 64-92. New York: Paulist Press, 1978.
  • -------. “Handing on the Symbols of Faith.” Chicago Studies 19 (Spring 1980): 21- 33.
  • Moran, Gabriel. “Revelation, Dialogue and the Christian Community.” Theoforum 41, no. 1 (2010): 31-51.
  • Mul, Jos de. Cyberspacyberspacce Odyssey: Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. E-book.
  • “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 14-23. http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/files/Catholic_School_Standards_03-12.pdf
  • Nolan, Lucinda A. “Scaling the Heights of Heaven: Sister M. Rosalia Walsh and the Use of Story in the Adaptive Way.” Religious Education 102, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 314-327.
  • Ouellet, Marc. “Communio: The Key to Vatican II’s Ecclesiology.” In The Great Grace: Receiving Vatican II Today, edited by Nigel Zimmermann, 19-35. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Owens, John F. “Dei Verbum and the Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer.” In God’s Word and the Church’s Council: Vatican II and Divine Revelation, edited by Mark O’Brien and Christopher Monaghan, 179-191. Adelaide, Australia: ATF Theology, 2014.
  • Ozar, Lorraine A. “A Shared Vision to Act on.” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 10-13. http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/files/Catholic_School_Standards_03-12.pdf
  • Second Vatican Council. Documents of the Second Vatican Council. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/index.htm
  • White, Joseph D. “Involving Families in Catechesis.” The Priest 69, no. 3 (March 2013): 49- 51.
  • Jared Wicks. “Tridentine Motivations of Pope John XXIII Before and During Vatican II.” Theological Studies 75, no. 4 (2014): 847-862.

Course Requirements:

Determination of Grade The following criteria will determine the grade for this course:

  • Class participation – 10%
  • Bi-weekly reflection papers – 25%
  • One research paper – 35%
  • One presentation – 5%
  • Oral exam – 25%

Grading System

  • Grade - Numeric Range - Meaning - Equivalent
  • A - 94 – 100 - Excellent - 4.00
  • A- 90 – 93.9 - 3.70
  • B+ - 87 – 89.9 3.30
  • B 84 – 86.9 Satisfactory 3.00
  • B- 80 – 83.9 2.70
  • C 77 – 79-9 Passing but Marginal 2.00 -
  • F76.9 and below Failure

University Grades The University grading system is available at http://policies.cua.edu/academicgrad/gradesfull.cfm#iii for graduate students.

Description of Course Requirements

Class Participation

Students are to participate in class discussions and share their attentive reading of the assigned texts, their reflections and insights on them. They are to engage one another in discussion while respecting the perspectives of others. In their contributions, students are to base their input on solid theological and/or catechetical grounds. Such participation in class demands that the students will read and engage with the assigned texts prior to their attendance.

Students are to be punctual expressing thus respect to both their instructor and their classmates. In cases of tardiness and habitual occurrence 1 to 5 percentage points may be deducted from the student’s final grade. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor his/her own behavior.

Class participation demands the physical presence of the students. Missing classes will diminish the class as a whole and set the students back in preparing their assignments. To be excused from class students are to discuss the issue with the instructor prior to the date in question. Each unexcused absence, besides the first one, will incur a loss of 2 percentage points from the student’s final grade.

Bi-Weekly Reflection Papers Through the set of reflection papers students are to engage critically with the weekly assigned readings establishing relationships, identifying implications and/or issues, and highlighting what they have learnt.

It is imperative that the students express themselves clearly in good English grammar following standard punctuation and spelling. They are to organize their reflection papers in a logical and well-organized manner referring appropriately and correctly to the sources that they use in their argumentations.

The length of each paper is between 750 and 800 words and is to be neatly typed using a 12-point regular font style, double-spaced with one-inch margins. When referring to and/or quoting any works that are not their own, students are to follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html). Students are to print the number of words at the end of the reflection paper. A rubric for the reflection papers is at the end of the syllabus.

For the dates when the bi-weekly reflection papers are due, see the tentative syllabus. Students are to hand in each reflection paper in a hard copy format at the end of class. For every day that the students hand in the assignment late, they lose a letter grade from the mark of that paper. The first reflection paper is due on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

One Research Paper

For the paper students are to choose a contemporary issue in catechetics and explore its role in and effects on catechesis and/or religious education. Such a topic could be language, culture, socialization, virtual reality, social media, imagination, ecumenism, religious dialogue, community building, developmental psychology, the role of parents, family catechesis, hermeneutics, storytelling, spirituality, and the environment.

Students are to ask for the approval of their choice by the instructor not later than October 14, 2015. Besides giving the topic they want to research, students are to hand in a short bibliography containing at least 6 sources besides the material assigned and covered in class. At least one of these sources is a book.

The format of the paper includes:

  • I. the reason(s) for choosing this particular issue;
  • II. a description of its particular characteristics and aspects;
  • III. its role in and its effects on catechesis/religious education; and
  • IV. the students’ assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the issue in catechetics.

The length of the paper is between 4,500 and 5,000 words. It is to be neatly typed using a 12-point regular font style, double-spaced with one-inch margins. When referring to and/or quoting any works that are not their own, students are to follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html). A rubric for the research paper is at the end of the syllabus.

The paper is due on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.


On the last day of classes, Wednesday, December 9, 2015, students are to make a 10-minute presentation of their research paper highlighting how their topic is relevant to the material covered in the course.

Oral Exam

The oral exam takes the form of a conversation between the instructor and the student. It focuses on what the student has learned, the level of integration that the student has achieved in sythesizing the various materials on different topics and aspects of catechetics, and how the student sees all this affecting his/her future role as a leader and minister of catechesis.


Electronics Policy Cell phone use in class is not allowed. Students may use a laptop/notebook for taking notes. Other uses of these and other electronic devices are not permitted in class. If these devices become a distraction, students may be asked not to use them and be prohibited from bringing them to class.

Course Schedule


  • Wednesday, September 2 – Introduction
    • Luis Erdozain, “The Evolution of Catechetics,” Sourcebook for Modern Catechetics, vol. 1, pp. 86-109.
  • Wednesday, September 9 – Vatican II and its Contributions to Catechetics
    • Jared Wicks, “Tridentine Motivations of Pope John XXIII Before and During Vatican II,” Theological Studies 75, no. 4 (2014): 847-862.
    • Mathaler, Berard, “Introduction,” Catechetics in Context, pp. xvi-xxx.
    • Documents of Vatican II: SC 35 and 64, CD 14, 17, 30, 35 and 44, GE 4, AG 13-15, and AA 28-32.
  • Wednesday, September 16 – Post-Conciliar Times: A Productive Period for Catechetics
  • Wednesday, September 23 – Mass with Pope Francis
  • Wednesday, September 30 – Gabriel Moran and Thomas Groome
    • Gabriel Moran, Religious Education Development, pp. 183-207.
    • Gabriel Moran, “Revelation, Dialogue and the Christian Community,” Theoforum 41, no. 1 (2010): 31-51.
    • Thomas H. Groome, Christian Religious Education, pp. 184-232.
  • Wednesday, October 7 – Socialization: Westerhoff and Marthaler
    • Will Our Children Have Faith, Westerhoff, John
    • Berard Marthaler, “Socialization as a Model for Catechetics,” in P. O’Hare, ed., Foundations of Religious Education, New York: Paulist Press, 1978, pp. 64-92.
    • --------, “Handing on the Symbols of Faith,” Chicago Studies 19 (Spring 1980): 21-33.
    • 2nd Reflection Paper
  • Wednesday, October 14 – Catechesis and Religious Education in Catholic Schools
    • The Second Vatican Council. Declaration on Education (Gravissimum educationis)
    • Ozar, Lorraine A., “A Shared Vision to Act on” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 10-13.
    • “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 14-23.
    • James L. Heft, “Historical Developments,” Catholic High Schools: Facing the New Realities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 15-36.
    • Thomas C. Hunt, “Catholic Schools: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” Journal of Research on Christian Education 14, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 161-175.
    • Topic and bibliographic due
  • Wednesday, October 21 – Catechesis for the Whole Community and Family Catechesis
    • Whole Community Catechesis in Plain English, Huebsch
    • A. (Jos) de Kock, “Promising Approaches to Catechesis in Church Communities: Towards a Research Framework,” International Journal of Practical Theology 16, no. 2 (2012): 176-196.
    • Marc Ouellet, “Communio: The Key to Vatican II’s Ecclesiology,” The Great Grace, pp. 19-35.
    • Joseph D. White, “Involving Families in Catechesis,” The Priest 69, no. 3 (March 2013): 49-51.
    • 3rd Reflection Paper
  • Wednesday, October 28 – Homo catecheticus – Christian Anthropology and Catechetics
    • Benjamin D. Espinoza and Beverly Johnson-Miller. “Catechesis, Developmental Theory, and a Fresh Vision for Christian Education” Christian Education Journal Series 3 11 (2014): 8-23.
    • Colleen M. Griffith, “Practice as Embodied Knowing: Epistemological and Theological Considerations” in Invitation to Practical Theology, pp. 52-69.
    • Mark Coleridge, “To Awaken the Spirit: Proposing a Vatican II Faith to a Secular Faith,” in The Great Grace, pp. 109-120.
    • Emanuel Magro, “The Role of Imagination in Religious and Spiritual Education,” in New Perspectives on Religious and Spiritual Education, pp. 165-177.
  • Wednesday, November 4 – Language, Hermeneutics, and Narrative in Catechesis
    • John F Owens, “Dei Verbum and the Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer,” in God’s Word and the Church’s Council, pp. 179-191.
    • Lucinda A. Nolan, “Scaling the Heights of Heaven: Sister M. Rosalia Walsh and the Use of Story in the Adaptive Way,” Religious Education 102, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 314-327.
    • Louis A. Delfra, “Narrative Theology in the High School Classroom: Teaching Theology through Literature,” Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice 8, no. 3 (March 2005): 346-374.
    • 4th Reflection Paper
  • Wednesday, November 11 – Globalization, Social Media and Mass Communication
    • Peter Malone, “Dei Verbum, Communication and Media,” in God’s Word and the Church’s Council, pp. 163-178.
    • Jos de Mul, “Virtual Polytheism: Religion in the Age of Digital Re-Enchantment” and “From Homo Erectus to Homo Zapiens” (pp. 207-241) in Cyberspace Odyssey, pp. 207-241. E-book.
  • Wednesday, November 18 – Ecumenism, Inter-Faith Dialogue, and the Environment in Catechetics
    • Berard Marthaler, Nature, Tasks and Scope, pp. 227-240.
    • Jeffrey Kaster and Craig Gould, “Lost and Found: Catechesis on the Care of Creation,” New Theology Review (Online) 26, no. 2 (Mar 2014): 88-95; and
    • Pope Francis, Laudato si, “Ecological Education and Spirituality” (Chpt 6), par. 202-245.
    • 5th Reflection Paper
  • Wednesday, November 25 – Thanksgiving Recess
  • Wednesday, December 2 – Forming the faith of the “Nones”
    • Philip D. Kenneson, “What’s in a Name? A Brief Introduction to the ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’” Liturgy 30, no. 3 (2015): 3-13.
    • Jana Marguerite Bennett, “What Faith Formation Means in the Age of ‘Nones,’” Liturgy 30, no. 3 (2015): 48-56.
    • Pavel Vojtěch Kohut, “The Offer of Catholic Spirituality,” EJT 21:2 (2012): 156-165.
    • Paper due
  • Wednesday, December 9 – The Future of Catechetics
    • Thomas Groome, “The ‘Mind of the Church’ in the General Directory for Catechesis: Where We Are Now; Reaching Beyond,” Theoforum 41, no. 1 (2010): 11-29.
    • Presentation of papers
  • Wednesday, December 16 – Oral Exam

Rubric for Reflection Papers Exceeds Standards 5 points Meets Standards 3 points Below Standards 1 points Format 750-800 words in length, neatly typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point regular font. 750-800 words in length, neatly typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point regular font. Shorter than 750 words or exceeds 800 words; formatting rules ignored. Grammar and Spelling No errors. Some minor errors. Major errors. Submission On time. On time. Late. Reflection Shows strong reasoned reflection and insight. Shows reasoned reflection and insight. Lacks reflection and insight. Synthesis Very well integration of the author’s own reflection with the material, incorporating and referring to the material. Good integration of the author’s own reflection with the material, referring appropriately to the material. Poor integration of the author’s own reflection with the material, relying mostly on referring to and/or quoting the material. Structure Very well organized presentation of arguments; excellent logical flow. Organized presentation of arguments; good logical flow. Disorganized presentation of arguments; lack of logical coherence. References References and/or quotations are accurate, to the point, and appropriate. No errors in citing and/or referring to the material. References and/or quotations are accurate, to the point and appropriate. Some errors in citing and/or referring to the material. References and quotations are inaccurate and mostly too long and out of point. Many errors in citing and/or referring to the material. Completeness Addresses all these elements. Addresses all these elements. Addresses some of these elements.

Rubric for the Research Paper Exceeds Standards 35 points Meets Standards 28 points Below Standards 20 points Format 4,500-5,000 words in length, neatly typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point regular font. 4,500-5,000 words in length, neatly typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point regular font. Shorter than 4,500 or exceeds 5,000 words; formatting rules ignored. Grammar and Spelling No errors. Some minor errors. Major errors. Submission On time. On time. Late. Reason(s) for choosing the topic Distinct articulation of and strong reason(s) for choosing the selected issue. Clear articulation of and strong reason(s) for choosing the selected issue. Lacks clarity in describing and in stating the reason (s) for choosing the selected issue. Description Excellent description of the topic highlighting its particular characteristics and aspects. Good description of the topic and its particular characteristics and aspects. Poor description of the topic and its particular characteristics and aspects. Role and Effects Well defined identification and excellent explanation of the issue’s role in and effects on catechetics. Good identification and good explanation of the issue’s role in and effects on catechetics. Poor identification and poor explanation of the issue’s role in and effects on catechetics. Student’s own opinion Well-articulated assessment. Good articulated assessment. Poor assessment or no assessment. Structure Very well organized presentation of arguments; excellent logical flow. Organized presentation of arguments; good logical flow. Disorganized presentation of arguments; lack of logical coherence. References References and/or quotations are accurate, to the point, and appropriate. No errors in citing and/or referring to the material. Use of more than 6 reference works. References and/or quotations are accurate, to the point and appropriate. Some errors in citing and/or referring to the material. Use of 6 reference works. References and/or quotations are inaccurate and mostly too long and out of point. Many errors in citing and/or referring to the material. Use of less than 6 reference works. Completeness Addresses all these elements Addresses all these elements Addresses some of these elements


Week 1


  • 1) Outline each of the three phases that Erdozain discusses. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each phase?
    • The Kerygmatic Phase
    • The Anthropological Phase
    • The Political phase
  • 2) In light of this article, what are the current trends in catechetics?
  • 3) Which topics/issues do you think one needs to tackle in current and future catechetics?
    • a blending of previous approaches to find the proper balance to address content, method, and

Erdozain, Luis. “The Evolution of Catechetics.”

  • 1959 - 68 concern was "the same concern - the presentation of the Christian message in Today's world".
  • The current preoccupation at the time was active participation in the liturgy
  • "The work of this meeting has been gathered into one volume, Renouvellement de la Catechese (Renewal in Catechetics),"
  • Kerygmatic renewal is what has most influenced catechetics in our century.
  • Origins of Kerygmatic movement renew - The ancient School of Ttibingen, b) the Munich method,

and c) the failure brought about by the excess of methodology.

  • The School of TUbingen held sway for a century due to its pragmatic pastorate befitting this enlightened century, these men made the case for one which is centered on Revelation, in the service of "the

one and only Word of God, uttered through the Person of Christ ....

  • The Munich method. In 1912, the Congress of Vienna adopted the new, and now famous, process termed "Methode de Munich."In its three component parts, Presentation, Exposition, and Application
  • These innovations in method were approved by the Catechetical Congress of Munich (1928), which may be regarded as the climax of a constant endeavor in the field of pedagogy
  • The failure of methodology - recognizes that it is not teaching which is at fault: But what is lacking among the faithful is a sense of unity, seeing it all as a whole, an understanding
  • new turning point. There was a climax reached at this point, a shift of perspective-emphasis was now to be transferred from method to content
  • Trends in kerygmatic catechetics. a) The basic concept, the message
  • what constitutes the true kernel of the Christian message, the kerygrna. This is why the movement is termed kerygmatic
  • One begins by placing catechetics within the mission of the Church.
  • The principle is then established by which the catechetical renewal is not to be brought about by a methodological adaptation but by an examination of the essence of the Faith
  • There is the realization that Christianity . is not a system of truths, or a code of rules, but above all a message, the Good
  • Christ's death and resurrection
  • This, then, in general, is the basic standpoint and the message that the kerygmatic movement promoted at the Eichstatt congress. The method The catechetical renewal remains not only faithful to content but also mindful of the manner by which God chose to be revealed. It perceives the four languages or ways in which catechetics can bring its influence to bear, as follows:
    • Since the history of salvation is recounted in the Bible, catechetics must use a biblical language.
    • Since the salvation portrayed in the Bible finds its active outlet in the liturgy, catechetics must use liturgical language.
    • Since this redeeming work of God is seen day after day in the life of the Church and of each of its members, the "testimony" must shine through catechetics as an existential language.
    • Since this history of salvation, narrated in the Bible, celebrated in the liturgy, and experienced in everyday life, takes progressively a concrete form in the shape of the Church, catechetics must use as well the doctrinal language.
  • It comes into contact with other movements which had been developing over a long period: the liturgical movement, the biblical movement, the apostolic movements. It is clear that the kerygmatic renewal owes much to all these movements. Kerygmatic renewal has been helpful in reorganizing them, completing them, and harmonizing them around the figure of Christ.
  • The Anthropological Phase - The word anthropology is very much in fashion these days. Originating in the scientific world, it carries overtones far beyond the limits of catechetic.
  • There is not talk of providing for stages of preparing "the ground" of using language with which the people are familiar.
  • One word was in ascendancy pre-evangelization ... a new stage had begun one of distinctly anthropological tendencies.
  • France had begun a Christianization.
  • The foundations of pre-evangelization - It is an admonition to remain faithful: (a) to the very manner in which the Master and the first apostles presented the message (b) to the Church's tradition as evidenced in the history of catechetics, and (c) the very nature of the Christian message.
  • Incarnation
  • Two completely different attitudes of mind. The kerygmatic attitude refers back constantly to the Bible and the liturgy. Very much tied to a rich theological inheritance, it is there that it finds its coherence and is most at home. The anthropological attitude, in contrast, opts for the psychological approach; renouncing the already acquired treasures, it seeks its ends choosing insecurity and hardship.
  • There is no opposition at all, rather a progression
  • One of the richest acquisitions of present day catechetics is precisely the discovery of this vital, organic unity between subject and object:
  • Word of God, word of humanity. God and Humankind. Theology and anthropology merge into catechetical actio.. this unity is the very process of catechesis.
  • Anthropocentric catechesis is difficult to put into practice
  • The Political Phase
  • Individualistic anthropology leaning too much on the present... individualistic subjectivity cheapens subjectivity which cheapens objective reality
  • danger of losing the whole meaning of the Revelation by suppressing the transcendental and the gratuitous.
  • The kerygmatic renewal profited by this injection of personalism
  • Since then, a whole wave of events has broken over the Church: an approach to the world, a recognition of religious pluralism, a reparisal of its social structure, an attack on superstition, secular undercurrents requiring as a result a secularized catechesis
  • 1968 conference ideas three points a) a description f the realities of the situation, humanity in its setting b) a theological option, the unity of God's plan c) application to catechetics, a change of perspective in content and method.
  • the primacy of action based upon the will to act and become involved.
    • a) Humanity in its setting. the first job is to identify oneself completely with the human state and to take on humanities's anguish and hopes
    • b) The history of salvation and the history of humanity seen as one. It was necessary to build a bridge to join the so called "sacred" world to the "profane" world.
  • Conclusion -

Week 2


  • What were the objectives of the council set by John XXIII?
    • aggiornamento that is bringing up to date
    • focus should be on pastoral rather than doctrinal correctness.
  • In what ways can one say that the council intended to be pastoral?
    • expansively on issues outside the Church, about human aspirations that would find their echo in the council: issues of the family, work, peace within nations, education, culture, social duties, and the freedom that corresponds to human dignity.
  • What are the council's contributions to catechetics?
    • SC
      • 35. The liturgy and particularly the homily has a role in "instruction"
      • 64. Genesis of the RCIA e.g. several distinct steps and "sanctified by rites"
    • CD
      • 14. Bishops should direct catechetical instruction to children, adolescents and adults. That catechists are properly trained, adapt better ways of instruction
      • 17. Lay apostolate including catechesis is encouraged
      • 30. Role of pastors
      • 35. Responsibility of the apostolate to the Bishop. Religious have a responsibility to the community but still to the diocese, cooperation between religious communities
      • Order for the creation of the Catechetical Directory considering the fundamental principles of instruction of the Christian people.
    • GS 4. The church must keep up with rapid changes in the world, income inequality
    • AD
      • 13. Conversion must take place during the period of the Catechumenate. The church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the faith,
      • 15. Lays out the rules for missionary activity including the activities of Catechetics
    • AA
      • 28. Formation of the Apostolate.
      • 32 Aids for the formation of the lay apostolate including centers or institutes, "centers of Documentation and study,
  • From the assigned conciliar texts, can one create a vision that the council might have had on catechesis?
    • The references to catechesis were throughout most of the documents. This, I believe means that catechesis in integral to every aspect of the faith.

Jared Wicks, “Tridentine Motivations of Pope John XXIII Before and During Vatican II,”

  • Roncalli said "Have you not heard the word aggiornamento repeated many times? Here is our church, always young and ready to follow different changes in the circumstances of life with the intention of adapting, correcting, improving, and arousing enthusiasm. In summary, this is e nature of the synod, this is its purpose.
  • Bergamo from the era marked by try the renewal of its its religious life after the Council of Trent.
  • which Roncalli served in the Italian army as a military hospital chaplain. The Council of Trent offered the spectacle of a vigorous renewal of Catholic life . . . [in] a period of mysterious and fruitful rejuvenation and, what seemed still more marvelous, of efforts by the most remarkable individuals of the Church to implement the new legislation.
  • This accoount of the post-Tridentine era in Roncalli's native Lombardy stresses the Church's potential to become ever again rejuvenated.
  • After his election as Pope John XXIII, he undertook to promote such a rejuvenation, similar to what followed Trent, by making it a central objective of the Second Vatican Council
  • The writings of Angelo Roncalbalh attest to the spiritual impact on him of the ideals and labors of three individuals of the post-Tridentine era—one a historian (Cesare Baronio) and two episcopalsm. Baronio r implemented of Trent's reforms (Carlo Borromeo and Gregorio Barbarigo).
  • Catholics have to meet this challenge, as Baronio did in his time, with well- grounded historical scholarship, already promoted by Pope Leo XIII, and they must show no fear of the results of historical studies.
  • Angegelo R Roncalli was elected pope on Octobeer 28, 1958, and was pleased to schedule his coronation mass on November 4, the day of the liturgical memorial of St. Charles.
  • Thus Roncalli wrote in August 1958. Six months later, as Pope John XXIII, he will announce that he intends to convene a synod of the diocese of Rome and an ecumenical council of the whole church.
  • The objectives of both were present for mcalli already in the Borromean acta: recapturing ecclesial youthfulness, correcting substandard practice, giving the impetus of evangelical truth toward superior values, helping souls with guidance and encouragement for living well.
  • At Christmas 1961, John formally convened Vatican II to meet in 1962
  • 1)
    • He notes the existence of crises in society, in which “distrustful souls see only darkness burdening the face of the earth,” but he reaffirms his trust in Christ “who has not abandoned the world that he redeemed.”
    • The coming council will promote the sanctification of church members and articulate revealed truth. It will turn to the problems and worries of the world, concerned to heighten in people a proper sense of their human dignity, to reaffirm the moral order and Catholic social doctrine.
  • 2)
    • He states the common expectation that the council will concern itself with the Church’s vitality within by presenting the light of its doctrine and the sanctifying power of grace.
    • John then spoke expansively on issues outside the Church, about human aspirations that would find their echo in the council: issues of the family, work, peace within nations, education, culture, social duties, and the freedom that corresponds to human dignity.
  • 3) One objective of the assembly, he said, is to enhance Catholic teaching with a view to the penetration of souls. Truth can be reformulated. The council should undertake this, and in doing so, it should act as a agisterium that is especially pastoral in nature
  • Because Trent’s reform decrees had a broad impact on the local churches that he knew well, Angelo Roncalli saw Trent as a model for the Catholic Church even in the mid-20th century * Roncalli saw Trent as a model for the Catholic Church even in the mid-20th century. To realize this, he had to contest a notion of the Church’s teaching office focused wholly on doctrinal correctness and the exclusion of error. The pastoral dimension of the teaching’s formative influence had to be present all through the process of doctrinal formulation.
  • the council also became a doctrinal council of ecclesiology, expressing in fresh ways the Church’s self-definition and its relation to different “others.”

Mathaler, Berard, “Introduction,” Catechetics in Context, pp. xvi-xxx.

  • Bishop Lacointe formally recommended a directory. He correctly anticipated that others wo uld urge the resumption of a project left unfinished at the end of the first Vatican Council, namely, the redaction of a universal catechism for children
  • The Preparatory Commission for the Eastern Churches drafted a series of schemas, one of which was " The Catechism and Catechetical Education." It argued that the growing diversity in the world today makes it ever more necessary to insure uniform teaching and learning about Christian doctrine. The commission urged a kind of "compendium" which it described as a single catechism for the universal Church.
  • I) to draw up plans for a new catechism containing the principle elements of the sacred liturgy, church history as well as social doctrine
  • In the course of its work the commission adopted the position that a single catechism for the universal Church was not feasible (non expedire) because conditio ns differ greatly from country to country and individual to individual. On the other hand, it opposed a proliferation of catechisms which would permit each diocese to have its own. Instead it proposed a common directory for the universal Church. The directory would establish "rules a nd general norms, which would have to be observed in compiling individual catechisms." It would be concerned with the goals of catechesis, the principal tenets of doctrine, and the wording of formulas.
  • The subcommission decided in the summer of 1962 to incorporate everything on catechetics in a new schema that was being drafted, De cura animarum ("The Care of Souls") * Chapter five reduced the general considerations on catechesis to eight articles (53-60), the last of which prescribed a directory " which would treat the fundamental principles of catechesis and formation of the Christian people, the organization of catechetical education and the production of appropriate texts"
  • a) The principal mysteries of faith , namely: I) the unity and trinity of God; 2) the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus C hrist. Likewise to the creation and origin and also the end of man; revelation; the church; sanctifying grace; the seven Sacraments; Mary, the Virgin Mother of God.
  • b) The decalogue and the precepts of the Church ; the seven corporal works of mercy and the seven spiritual works of mercy; the theological and cardinal virtues; the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; the seven capital sins.
  • Another note specifies the prayers to be committed to memory: The Sign of the Cross. The Our Father, that is, the Lord's Prayer. The Hail Mary, that is, the Angelic Salutation. The Creed, that is, the Symbolum of the Apostles. Salve Regina. Confiteor. T he Angelus. Acts of faith, hope, charity and sorrow or contrition.
  • After the council it fell to the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy to implement the mandate of the decree on the pastoral office of bishops in the church
  • After the synod, in January, 1968, Cardinal Villot sent the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences a list of twelve questions
  • The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith approved the final text of the Directory on February 24, 1971
  • The 1969 version of Part Three had four chapters: 1) "Subject Matter of Catechesis and Its Christocentric Nature." 2) "Essential Elements of the Christian Message for a Full Introduction into the Mystery of Faith." 3) "Anthropological Implications in Catechesis." 4) "The Sources of Catechesis
  • the GCD does not attempt "to show a suitable way for order-ing the truths of faith according to an organic plan in a kind of synthesis which could take just account of their objective hierarchy .. " (36). This is the task of theology and not catechesis as such
  • Eichstiitt (1960), a landmark in the history of modern catechetics, gave the kerygmatic approach a new impetus.
  • the main features stressed in the Foreword to the Directory itself:
    • I) It grew out of the decrees of Vatican II on the pastoral office of the bishops and is "chiefly intended for bishops, Conferences of Bishops, and in general all who under their leadership and direction have responsibility in the catechetical field ."
    • 2) As it now stands the Directory is in large part the product of consultation and collaboration with Episcopal Conferences around the world.
    • 3) The intent of the directory is "to provide the basic principles of pastoral theology" and not pedagogical theory. Its stress on pastoral action puts the GCD very much in the mainstream of the modern catechetical movement.
    • 4) From the very beginning the chief concern of many involved with the project was the "contents" of catechesis, including doctrinal and prayer formulas.
    • 5) It is a directory presenting guidelines for the production of national and regional directories and indirectly for catechisms and other catechetical materials.
  • Catechetical formulas are one thing; a catechism, that is, content, and a catechism text for students are two others

Documents of Vatican II for Catechetics II

Documents of Vatican II for Catechetics II

Week 3


  • What were/are some of the Church’s (universal and local) main concerns, difficulties, and challenges regarding catechesis/catechetics?
  • What are some of the principles that one may draw from these documents to do catechesis in the 21st century? Give reasons for your choice of principles.


  • Francis. Evangelii gaudium.
    • IV. Evangelization and the deeper understanding of the kerygma
      • 160. The Lord’s missionary mandate includes a call to growth in faith: “Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). Hence it is clear that that the first proclamation also calls for ongoing formation and maturation. Evangelization aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. All of us need to grow in Christ. Evangelization should stimulate a desire for this growth, so that each of us can say wholeheartedly: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
      • 161. It would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Clearly, whenever the New Testament authors want to present the heart of the Christian moral message, they present the essential requirement of love for one’s neighbour: “The one who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the whole law… therefore love of neighbour is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:8, 10). These are the words of Saint Paul, for whom the commandment of love not only sums up the law but constitutes its very heart and purpose: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’” (Gal 5:14). To his communities Paul presents the Christian life as a journey of growth in love: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Th 3:12). Saint James likewise exhorts Christians to fulfil “the royal law according to the Scripture: You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (2:8), in order not to fall short of any commandment.
      • 162. On the other hand this process of response and growth is always preceded by God’s gift, since the Lord first says: “Baptize them in the name…” (Mt 28:19). The Father’s free gift which makes us his sons and daughters, and the priority of the gift of his grace (cf. Eph 2:8-9; 1 Cor 4:7), enable that constant sanctification which pleases God and gives him glory. In this way, we allow ourselves to be transformed in Christ through a life lived “according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:5).
    • Kerygmatic and mystagogical catechesis
      • 163. Education and catechesis are at the service of this growth. We already possess a number of magisterial documents and aids on catechesis issued by the Holy See and by various episcopates. I think in particular of the Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (1979), the General Catechetical Directory (1997) and other documents whose contents need not be repeated here. I would like to offer a few brief considerations which I believe to be of particular significance.
      • 164. In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the centre of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. The kerygma is trinitarian. The fire of the Spirit is given in the form of tongues and leads us to believe in Jesus Christ who, by his death and resurrection, reveals and communicates to us the Father’s infinite mercy. On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” This first proclamation is called “first” not because it exists at the beginning and can then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is first in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment.[126] For this reason too, “the priest – like every other member of the Church – ought to grow in awareness that he himself is continually in need of being evangelized”.[127]
      • 165. We must not think that in catechesis the kerygma gives way to a supposedly more “solid” formation. Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma, which is reflected in and constantly illumines, the work of catechesis, thereby enabling us to understand more fully the significance of every subject which the latter treats. It is the message capable of responding to the desire for the infinite which abides in every human heart. The centrality of the kerygma calls for stressing those elements which are most needed today: it has to express God’s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; it should not impose the truth but appeal to freedom; it should be marked by joy, encouragement, liveliness and a harmonious balance which will not reduce preaching to a few doctrines which are at times more philosophical than evangelical. All this demands on the part of the evangelizer certain attitudes which foster openness to the message: approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, a warmth and welcome which is non-judgmental.
      • 166. Another aspect of catechesis which has developed in recent decades is mystagogic initiation.[128] This basically has to do with two things: a progressive experience of formation involving the entire community and a renewed appreciation of the liturgical signs of Christian initiation. Many manuals and programmes have not yet taken sufficiently into account the need for a mystagogical renewal, one which would assume very different forms based on each educational community’s discernment. Catechesis is a proclamation of the word and is always centred on that word, yet it also demands a suitable environment and an attractive presentation, the use of eloquent symbols, insertion into a broader growth process and the integration of every dimension of the person within a communal journey of hearing and response.
      • 167. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis).[129] Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism[130] which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful,[131] the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith. Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables”.[132] We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others.
      • 168. As for the moral component of catechesis, which promotes growth in fidelity to the Gospel way of life, it is helpful to stress again and again the attractiveness and the ideal of a life of wisdom, self-fulfilment and enrichment. In the light of that positive message, our rejection of the evils which endanger that life can be better understood. Rather than experts in dire predictions, dour judges bent on rooting out every threat and deviation, we should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals, guardians of the goodness and beauty which shine forth in a life of fidelity to the Gospel.
    • Personal accompaniment in processes of growth
      • 169. In a culture paradoxically suffering from anonymity and at the same time obsessed with the details of other people’s lives, shamelessly given over to morbid curiosity, the Church must look more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary. In our world, ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.
      • 170. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father.
      • 171. Today more than ever we need men and women who, on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience and docility to the Spirit, so that they can protect the sheep from wolves who would scatter the flock. We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives. But this always demands the patience of one who knows full well what Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us: that anyone can have grace and charity, and yet falter in the exercise of the virtues because of persistent “contrary inclinations”.[133] In other words, the organic unity of the virtues always and necessarily exists in habitu, even though forms of conditioning can hinder the operations of those virtuous habits. Hence the need for “a pedagogy which will introduce people step by step to the full appropriation of the mystery”.[134] Reaching a level of maturity where individuals can make truly free and responsible decisions calls for much time and patience. As Blessed Peter Faber used to say: “Time is God’s messenger”.
      • 172. One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations or fears. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow.
      • 173. Genuine spiritual accompaniment always begins and flourishes in the context of service to the mission of evangelization. Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Titus provides an example of this accompaniment and formation which takes place in the midst of apostolic activity. Entrusting them with the mission of remaining in each city to “put in order what remains to be done” (Tit 1:5; cf. 1 Tim 1:3-5), Paul also gives them rules for their personal lives and their pastoral activity. This is clearly distinct from every kind of intrusive accompaniment or isolated self-realization. Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples.
    • Centered on the word of God
      • 174. Not only the homily has to be nourished by the word of God. All evangelization is based on that word, listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized. It is indispensable that the word of God “be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity”.[135] God’s word, listened to and celebrated, above all in the Eucharist, nourishes and inwardly strengthens Christians, enabling them to offer an authentic witness to the Gospel in daily life. We have long since moved beyond that old contraposition between word and sacrament. The preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the sacrament, and in the sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy.
      • 175. The study of the sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer.[136] It is essential that the revealed word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith.[137] Evangelization demands familiarity with God’s word, which calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to provide for a serious, ongoing study of the Bible, while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal reading.[138] We do not blindly seek God, or wait for him to speak to us first, for “God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us”.[139] Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word.
  • * Marthaler, Berard. The Nature, Tasks and Scope of the Catechetical Ministry A Digest of Recent Church Documents.

Week 4


  • N.B. The first hour or so of the lecture will focus on Moran; the second on Groome.
  • Moran
    • Outline the three stages and the six moments of religious education.
    • What is his notion of revelation on which he builds his theory?
    • What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this model?
  • Groome
    • Describe the key elements and the five movements of Shared Praxis.
      • Components - Present Action, critical reflection, dialogue, the story, the vision that arises from the story.
      • Five recognizable pedagogical movements -
        1. The participants are invited to name their own activity concerning the topic for attention (present action).
        2. They are invited to reflect on why they do what they do, and what the likely or intended consequences of their actions are (critical reflection).
        3. The educator makes present to the group the Christian community Story concerning the topic at hand and the faith response it invites (Story and its Vision).
        4. The participants are invited to appropriate the Story to their lives in a dialectic with their own stories (dialectic between Story and stories
        5. There is an opportunity to choose a a personal faith response for the future (dialectic between Vision and visions).
    • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this approach to catechesis/religious education?


Year Event detail
1962 Second Vatican Council Convened
1971 General Directory of Catechesis Congregation for the Clergy Congregation for the Clergy
1971 To Teach as Jesus Did USCCB
1973 Basic Teachings for Catholic Religious Education USCCB
1975 Evangelii nuntiandi Apostolic Exhortation (Paul VI)
1979 Catechesi tradendae Catechesi tradendae Pope John Paul II on Catechesis in our time.

Apostolic Exhortation (JP2)
1979 Sharing the Light of Faith USCCB
1981 Familiaris consortio Apostolic Exhortation (JP2)
1984 Reconciliatio et paenitentia Apostolic Exhortation (JP2)
1986 The Challenge of Adolescent Catechesis USCCB
1988 Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community COINCAT
1988 The Christian Initiation for Children of Catechetical Age USCCB
1990 Guidelines for Doctrinally Sound Catechetical Materials USCCB
1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church Papal Commission
1997 General Directory for Catechesis Congregation for the Clergy
1999 Our Hearts Were Burning Within In USCCB
2005 * National Directory for Catechesis USCCB
2013 Evangelii gaudium Apostolic Exhortation (Francis)

  • GABRIEL MORAN Revelation, Dialogue and the Christian Community
    • This essay explores faith and revelation not as two separable things but as the poles of a divine human relation.
    • The Vatican bureau that Pope Benedict XVI headed for many years is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. its judgments pertain to doctrines about faith
    • "faith" has three elements: to believe in, to believe that, and beliefs. The first element has a primacy that is supported by the use of "faith" in the Bible
    • If faith-revelation is used as a description of the divine-human relation, then "faith" can be described in detail as a human activity. In contrast, there is not much one can directly say of the Christian use of "revelation" after saying that it is activity on the divine side of the relation
    • the Church does not have a revelation from God; what it has is a result or consequence of the divine activity of revelation
    • The Constitution on Divine Revelation shockingly has no mention of Revelation/Apocalypse.
    • What a Catholic brings to the table is a complex set of doctrinal beliefs that distinguishes the Catholic Christian from Muslims, Jews, Protestant Christians, and other religious people. The Catholic tradition does not lop off beliefs from the past because they seem out of fashion in the present
    • The Roman Catholic Church was somewhat late in challenging the compromises of the enlightenment period. The issues are now unavoidable; the churches have to take a stand on issues of war and peace, state executions, medical science, economics, environment, sexual practices and marriage.
    • The divine revelation is the illumination of all creation which still lives partially in darkness awaiting the birth of a new creation. In the Christian view, a brilliant light came into the world at a particular time and place
    • Revelation or enlightenment is not alien to the Bible, but it is subordinate to the metaphor of speaking-listening.
    • The central metaphor of both biblical and qur'anic traditions is that God speaks. The part that humans play is to listen and then respond. Prayer is thus imagined as a conversation with God.
    • When the New Testament came to be written, it was in the popular spoken Greek of the time, not literary Greek. Only gradually did the collection of gospels and letters assume the form we identify as a book.
    • The particular danger for the Church was the impression it could give that God revealed secrets until about the year 30 C.E. and then God went silent.
    • A God who delivered a message to one group of people at one short period of history does not seem believable as the God of the universe.
    • Revelation means the secret is now known, the mystery is resolved, no further questioning is necessary.
    • The Church's mission is not to save the world but to be a place where the Word of God takes human shape and the words and actions of human beings follow in response.
    • Dialogue among Christians is closely related to an understanding of divine-human dialogue as the heart of Christianity.
    • Community
    • The necessary context of faith in a revealing/speaking God is a living community where the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit is credible.
    • revelation is the activity of God requiring the response of faith, then dialogue has to be at the centre of church life.
    • the basis of a community is that everyone knows and cares for all the others who constitute the group. An organization of millions of people cannot be such a community. However, a large organization can shelter under its roof the development of many communal groups; large size then becomes an advantage.
    • Communities can be of many kinds, but the term connotes a human bond that goes beyond belonging to an organization, working on a task force, or being a colleague at work

Week 5


  • Westerhoff (whole book) and the articles by Marthaler
  • 1. Outline the key elements of each theory of socialization.
  • 2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each theory?
  • 3. What are some of the contributions that each author makes to catechetics/catechesis?

Week 5 notes

Berard Marthaler, “Socialization as a Model for Catechetics,”
    • I use "model" as a heuristic device to disclose the way selected phenomena interact and relate to one another
    • other~he adequacy of a model is measured in pragmatic. terms, that is, by its usefulness in interpreting data and establishing patterns of meaning.
    • It is my contention that a socialization model is useful for explaining and interpreting many of the varied activities that are carried on in the name of religious education.
    • Common denominator of definition of socialization is the interaction of an individual with a collective.
    • socialization is interaction: The individual is not simply a bit of clay to be molded by society, but rather an actor who while acquiring personal and social identity influences the group. A child is not simply a tabula rasa that mysteriously responds to the stimuli of adults.
    • Psychology understands socialization in a general sense as the development of the individuals as a social being with emphasis on the consciousness of self in relationship to other selves
    • Sociology focuses on group relationships and the ways in which they influence the individual. It is concerned with special control and such agents of socialization as the family, school, church, mass media, and so forth. It sees socialization as the process whereby individual is assimilated into and brought to conform to the ways of the social group to which they belong.
    • Anthropologists, however, understand socialization in a more basic sense. They see it in terms of culture and even use "enculturation" and "acculturization" as synonyms for socialization.
    • Thus culture is understood as a comprehensive symbol system that gives meaning and value to every aspect of social living.
    • Social scientists generally recognize that socialization takes place in a fundamental dialectic
    • three "major moments"
      1. externalization, Humans struggle to shape the world in their own image and to fit it to their own needs.
      2. objectification, Objectification is a corollary of externalization. When we speak of externalized producers of mental and physical activity, we imply that they have attained a distinctive existence apart from their producers. A special case of objectification is the human production of signs, the carriers of meaning. Language, however, is a system of verbal and/or nonverbal signs for the avowed purpose of self-expression-of transmitting thoughts, information, and meaning. that human action is never simply behavior, but behavior plus meaning
      3. internalization. Internalization is the term used to describe the reassimilation into consciousness of the objectified world of meanings
    • In the sense that socialization connotes a sharing of common meanings and values it is the basis that permits the members of a particular group to understand and communicate with one another
    • Identity formation - identity is a phenomenon that emerges from the dialectic between the individual and society
    • Society carries on this dialogue at various levels and in a number of ways. One way is to assign a social identity to an individual with the expectation that he/she will internalize it. A second way in which a group socializes its members is by encouraging the socializes to appropriate as their own the symbol system that embodies the meanings it shares and gives expression to its values and attitudes.
    • Socialization, at least in the case of the young, begins before the socializees are capable of normal reasoning, and in every case involves more than purely cognitive learning.
    • the specialized form of religious socialization we call catechesis
    • Catechesis
      • The socialization model brackets out aetiological, theological, and epistemological considerations
      • The Christian neophyte the modern Christian finds a world already externalized by previous generations who shared a common faith.
      • Faith is understood as a basic orientation, a fundamental attitude... primal and often non-conceptual. It is an act of the whole person. Religious beliefs are thematized in doctrines, moral codes, rituals, prayer formulas, and countless other commonly shared symbols.
      • For Roman Catholics (and probably for all Christians), examples of foundational symbols are Jesus Christ Church, Eucharist, and Scripture. Second level-symbols can be as diverse as Canon Law and the parish church, the Vatican and religious orders, Gregorian chant and infant baptism.
    • Faith in Education
      • "Faith," says John Westerhoff, "cannot be taught by any method of instruction; we can only teach religion
      • we teach do not transmit 'the faith.' They transmit particular interpretations or understandings of faith
      • Catechesis, which is here taken to be synonymous with "education in faith," Faith is at once a gift of grace and the free response of the person to God's call
      • Catechetical training," in the words of Vatican II "is intended to make mens faith become living, conscious, and active, though the light of instruction. Catechesis cannot engender faith, but only awaken, flourish, and develop what is already there.
      • Catechesis begins as an exercise in hermeneutics. Education in faith becomes a lesson in interpreting one's personal experiences as well as historical events in the light of faith
      • Catechesis is a matter of consciousness-raising, of uncovering the mysteries hidden beneath the surface of everyday life.
      • Catechesis aims rather at transmitting the wisdom of a particular religious tradition, which in the context of these discussions is Roman Catholic Christianity. The so-called "experiential" and "anthropological" approaches in catechesis try to build and reinforce this heritage by integrating religion with everyday life.
      • In the framework of the socialization model, education in the faith has thhree objectives. They roughly parallel the focal interests of the psychologists, the sociologists, and the anthropologists in their employment of the socialization model.
        1. growth in personal faith;
        2. religious affiliation
        3. the maintenance and transmission of a religious tradition
    • Handing on the Symbols of Faith
      • Though it referred primarily to the creed, the catechesis in the ancient Church peaked in a special ceremony known as the traditio symboli - a ritualized handing on of the symbol of faith.
      • The meaning is not always self-evident, at least to succeeding generations, and therefore needs to be mediated by stories (myths), art, ritual, and theology.
      • Catechesis, therefore, has a second task: It is a matter of "world maintenance," the holding together of a shared vision of reality that gives both the community as a whole and the persons who constitute it a sense of identity.
      • Education in the faith implies, therefore, an effort to sustain the framework of meaning and value that aids communities and their members to interpret human existence and pattern their behavior
    • Religious Belonging
      • To Teach as Jesus Did, published by the United States bishops, says that one of the goals of Catholic religious education is "to build community
      • To build community" means in this context to socialize the members into an ecclesial community with at least minimal structures and organization
      • The primary symbol of this community, at least in the Catholic tradition, is the eucharistic assembly
      • In the framework of a faith community, catechesis becomes community education
      • A Vision of Youth Ministry, published by the United States Catholic Conference, outlines a program of community education for young people. States 2 goals (1) the "personal and spiritual growth of each young person," and (2) "responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the faith community. The document sees catechesis primarily as a form of the ministry of the word, but it recognizes that it is integral to and in practice inseparable from the ministries of healing, enabling, guidance, worship, and service
      • The young are socialized through an interaction with the adult community that witnesses to faith and provides role models for youth to imitate and emulate
      • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, operates from the same premise
    • Personal Faith
      • The encounter is described as personal because it involves one's whole being the entire person mind, heart, and soul. Faith has a cognitive or intellectual dimension, but it is more than knowing something about God; it is knowing God. Faith implies loving, valuing, caring, and feeling as well.
      • The General Catechetical Directory recognizes that children, adolescents, young adults, and mature grown-ups have different needs and dispositions. It admits, moreover, that stage-development allows for various degrees "both in the global acceptance of the total word of God and in the explanation of that word and the application of it to the different duties of human life, according to the maturity of each and differences of individuals"
      • James W. Fowler Ill, whose "structuralist-developmental" approach is now well known, that religious educators have become sensitive to this aspect of faith development.
      • to the area of "faith-knowing." "Faith," he writes, "is a knowing which includes loving, caring and valuing, as well as awe, dread and fear
      • Fowlers six stages
        1. Intuitive-Projective Faith. The child is powerfully influenced by the examples, moods, actions, and language of the visible faith of significant adults. The phase is characterized by imitation. There is little distinction between fact and fantasy.
        2. Mythic-Literal Faith. The person begins to appropriate the stories, beliefs, and rituals that symbolize one's identity with a faith community. Concepts tend to be largely concrete in reference; symbols, one-dimensional and literal. Mythic forms function in lieu of explanation. Appeal to trusted authority (parents rather than peers) serves as the basis for verification.
        3. Synthetic-Conventional Faith. Faith is required to help provide a coherent and meaningful synthesis of involvements that grow increasingly complex and diverse and extend beyond the family. The individual, however, does not yet have to make a personal synthesis of meaning. The conventional wisdom suffices.
        4. Individuating-Reflexive Faith. This stage marks the collapse of the kind of synthesis adequate in previous stages. The responsibility for a world synthesis and particular life-style shifts more clearly to the individual. Faith is called upon to help reduce the tension between such unavoidable polarities as individuality versus belonging to community, self-fulfillment versus service to others, the relative versus the absolute, and so forth. A person in Stage IV is likely "to see most institutional religion as 'conventional' and to be drawn to the exotic or novel in traditions."
        5. Paradoxical-Consolidative Faith. Authority has been fully internalized. "Faith-knowing involves, at this stage, a moral or volitional affirmation of that which is somewhat paradoxical it affirms the beliefs, symbols and rituals of a community while 'seeing through' them in a double sense. It sees the relativity, partiality, and time-boundness of the tradition - the scandal of its particularity. But it also sees and values it as a way to see through to the Universal it mediates. What Stage V sees in its own faith-knowing and its symbols, rituals and the like, it also acknowledges in the developed traditions of other persons and cultures. Stage· V generally involves a reappropriation (and reinterpretation) of one's past, and of the significant persons and groups whose example and teachings influence its growth in faith-knowing."
        6. Universalizing Faith. Few reach this stage. It is characterized "by an integration of life in faith in which immediacy of participation in the Ultimate is the fruit of development, of discipline, and, likely, of genius."33 The sense of the oneness of all persons becomes a permeative basis for decision and action. Particulars are cherished because they are vessels of the universal. Life is both loved and held loosely.
      • Moral conversion changes one's horizons so that one's choice and decisions are made not on the basis of personal gratification but on a basis of values
      • Conversion and catechesis are so inextricably linked that they serve to define each other
      • Fowler's descriptions bring the theology of grace and the process of socialization, which too frequently move in different orbits, into dialogue with each other.
    • Implications
      • the socialization model provides (1) a heuristic tool for a better understanding of what much of religious education is about, and (2) a clearly defined basis for planning programs.
      • Insofar as religious education is a socialization process, I refer to it as catechesis. The term embodies the threefold goal of religious education that has concerned the Christian community from New Testament times: (1) the broadening of one's horizons-growth in personal faith, (2) the gradual incorporation of members into a society of believers-religious belonging, and (3) the maintenance and transmission of a particular symbol system that constitutes and expresses Catholic identity-communicating meaning
      • This is not to say that sacramental preparation, Bible study, human experience, social action, and similar activities are ignored in other models of religious education, but it does suggest that they play a different role and have a different significance in catechesis.
      • Three additional points about the socialization model.
        1. the e socialization model opens the way for a stronger emphasis in religious education on process. This is not to say that methodology assumes the chief role, but rather it is an honest acknowledgement that catechesis in the final analysis is community education. The community of faith with all its formal and informal structures is the chief catechist. Professionals and paraprofessionals engaged in various aspects of the educational ministries are its agents.
        2. A corollary of the above is that catechesis not merely with individuals but with the community taken as a whole. The socialization process implies the transformation (though I have not emphasized this aspect in these pages) as well as the transmission of culture. Just as the individual Christian needs to undergo continuous conversion, so too must the Christian community constantly broaden its horizons, reforming and renew itself. Catechists thus become agents of change.
        3. The content of religious education is not 'faith" as a kind of abstraction. It is always mediated by a symbol system. The teaching of doctrine becomes a means-albeit one of the most important, only a means- in communicating meaning and giving the community a sense of identity. Religious language- myths parables, and other narratives-and theology are other means of transmitting the symbols of faith. The success or failure of catechetical programs must ultimately be judged in terms of how effectively the socialization process is proceeding, not in terms of how much information church members have.
        4. Unlike theology, which (from a catechetical viewpoint) is a means, ritual and liturgy are part and parcel of community experience. Like all experience they have an educational dimension but the sacramental liturgy is to be celebrated for its own ends, not merely for its educational purpose.
        5. Ultimately, the success of the socialization process is judged in terms of the adult members of the community: how well they understand and carry on the mission of Christ in the world, the mission the Church has assumed as its own.
Berard Marthaler, “Handing on the Symbols of Faith,”
  • Catechesi Tradendae, of Pope John Paul II that catechesis consists of more than teaching Catholic doctrine. "Authentic catechesis," according to the papal statement, "is always an orderly and systematic initiation into the revelation that God has given of himself to humanity in Christ Jesus, a revelation stored in the depths of the Church's memory and in sacred scripture, and constantly communicated from one generation to the next by a living, active tradition.
  • The Message to the People of God issued by the bishops at the 1977 Synod describes catechesis as a process of "inculturation" (n. 5). It says, to be a Christian means to enter into a living tradition"
  • Church of the 70s - Belief systems and values which touch on every aspect of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness compete with one another. Diversity of lifestyle is a fact, pluralism is a value, and the freedom of adults to choose a particular religious tradition or no religion at all is accepted as normative. The symbol system- dogmas, sacraments, worship, moral axioms - maintained by the Church at large is affirmed in substance, but with a tolerance for selected observance and privatized meanings.
  • A religious tradition represents what social scientists refer to as a "symbol system" - a network of interlocking and mutually supportive beliefs, values, attitudes and patterns of behavior. In short, every kind of distinctive language, ritual and institution is itself a symbol.
  • There are primary and secondary symbols Taken together the symbols give Roman Catholicism its identity
  • Symbols have a dynamism of their own. They are at once expressive and creative of culture and tradition. They are the means by which concrete, social forms of religious faith are perpetuated or transformed.
  • Catechesis aims to assimilate individuals into the Christian community by inducing them to adopt the rich symbol system which has both created and been created by one's particular tradition
  • From St. Paul to the present all catechetical activity has in one way or another focused on Christian symbols. Though it referred primarily to the creed, the catechesis in the ancient church peaked in a special rite known as the traditio symboli- the handing on of the symbol of faith
  • Catholic Symbols
    • The Church, adhering to its tradition cannot be permitted to symbolize sectarianism, divisiveness and isolation
    • There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28 cf. Col. 3:11).
    • Unlike many of the sacramentals - second order symbols -which modern catechetics consciously deemphasizes, the sacraments are expressive of life's mysteries with a profoundness that transcends particular social and cultural milieux
    • Modern catechetics like the "new theology" is intent on refurbishing the catholic image of Catholicism
    • In theological terms it is the question of hermeneutics - how to translate the Christian message into a language that can speak to men of today and tomorrow
  • Catechesis as Socialization
    • Principals of Socialization
      1. The first is clear enough in the models. Education of every kind must be seen in the context of total life. Schooling, however primitive and informal, is only a single factor and a rather ineffective one if not reinforced by social patterns and institutions and compatible symbols systems. A second and third principle of socialization may not be immediately evident because of the way that I sketched the models, but they are implicit dynamics of all three parishes.
      2. The second principle helps distinguish catechesis from mere conditioning. Effective socialization demands that the socialize take on al identity as a member of the collective with which he is associated. External conformity is not enough at least in adults. As one matures, a person "internalizes," that is, understands and consciously affirms the world view mediated by the Church's symbol system Allegiance must be given out of interior conviction that the cause is right and that the values and structures of the group are apt to the end. A corollary of intenalization is that adult performance is the criterion by which socialization process must ultimately be assessed, a point made in the national catechetical directory several
      3. The third principle affirms that socialization is a two-way process. Tradition challenges and challenges and is challenged by contemporary interests and values. Socialization is a dialectic interaction between the group and the individuals who constitute it, so that the socializers are at the same time socializes and the socializes, socializers: This is an important point to stress if catechesis is to be distinguished from indoctrination.
  • A Broader Issue
  • The Challenge for the Eighties
    • Christians are a minority in the modern world, estranged from a culture which does not share and even has repudiated them. Faith is constantly.meeting contradiction. Christian symbols clash with the symbols of secularism and unbelief.
    • In the eighties, catechesis will be called upon to construct its own life context. It will become more imperative than ever for catechesis to collaborate in building a Church community which mediates Christian symbols effectively and honestly Catechists must join with homilists,liturgists, ethicians, theologians and the magisterium in a massive hermeneutical effort. Their immediate and primary task is to develop a new religious idiom which breaths fresh life into traditional symbols and form so that they can interpret the values and ideals of the Gospel for people in a post Christian culture.

Week 6

Week 6 Questions

  • 1) What are some of the characteristics of the Catholic view of education?
    • The Nine Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools
    • Centered in the Person of Jesus Christ
    • Contributing to the Evangelizing Mission of the Church
    • Distinguished by Excellence
    • Committed to Educate the Whole Child
    • Steeped in a Catholic Worldview
    • Sustained by Gospel Witness
    • Shaped by Communion and Community
    • Accessible to All Students Established by the Expressed Authority of the Bishop.
  • 2) What are some of the features of Catholic schools?
  • 3) What is the role and relationship between religious education and religious practices in a Catholic school?

Week 6 Notes

  • Ozar, Lorraine A., “A Shared Vision to Act on” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 10-13.
    • National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools" (2012) [NSBECS for brevity] provides school leaders and governing bodies with the necessary framework-credible, consistent, agreed-upon criteria- to confidently lead truly excellent catholic schools
    • The Nine Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools
      • Centered in the Person of Jesus Christ
      • Contributing to the Evangelizing Mission of the Church
      • Distinguished by Excellence
      • Committed to Educate the Whole Child
      • Steeped in a Catholic Worldview
      • Sustained by Gospel Witness
      • Shaped by Communion and Community
      • Accessible to All Students Established by the Expressed Authority of the Bishop.
    • Standards - 13
    • Benchmarks - 70
    • The NSBECS does not constitute a set of policies or procedures for operating effective Catholic schools; instead, it lays out the full range of school-related practices that must be included in comprehensive, effective policies and procedures
    • Standards and Benchmarks provided in the following pages give leaders a basis for prioritizing actions and making decisions.
  • The Second Vatican Council. Declaration on Education (Gravissimum educationis)
    • 1. The Meaning of the Universal Right to an Education
    • 2. Christian Education
    • 3. The Authors of Education - Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. The family which has the primary duty of imparting education needs help of the whole community
    • 4. Various Aids to Christian Education
    • 5. The Importance of Schools
    • 6. The Duties and Rights of Parents
    • 7. Moral and Religious Education in all Schools
    • 8. Catholic Schools -
      • But let teachers recognize that the Catholic school depends upon them almost entirely for the accomplishment of its goals and programs.(27) They should therefore be very carefully prepared so that both in secular and religious knowledge they are equipped with suitable qualifications and also with a pedagogical skill that is in keeping with the findings of the contemporary world
      • Let them work as partners with parents and together with them in every phase of education give due consideration to the difference of sex and the proper ends Divine Providence assigns to each sex in the family and in society
    • 9. Different Types of Catholic Schools
    • 10. Catholic Colleges and Universities
    • 11. Faculties of Sacred Sciences - training of priests and lay
    • 12. Coordination to be Fostered in Scholastic Matters
    • Conclusion - The sacred synod earnestly entreats young people themselves to become aware of the importance of the work of education and to prepare themselves to take it up, especially where because of a shortage of teachers the education of youth is in jeopardy. This same sacred synod, while professing its gratitude to priests, Religious men and women, and the laity who by their evangelical self dedication are devoted to the noble work of education and of schools of every type and level, exhorts them to persevere generously in the work they have undertaken and, imbuing their students with the spirit of Christ, to strive to excel in pedagogy and the pursuit of knowledge in such a way that they not merely advance the internal renewal of the Church but preserve and enhance its beneficent influence upon today's world, especially the intellectual world.
  • “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.” Momentum 43 (February-March 2012): 14-23. http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/files/Catholic_School_Standards_03-12.pdf
    • The bishops of the United States, particularly in the seminal document, To Teach as Jesus Did (1971), continuously underscore the three-fold mission of our Catholic schools—to proclaim the Gospel, to build community, and to serve our brothers and sisters. In their most recent document, Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium (2005), the United States Catholic Bishops emphasized that the entire Catholic community is called to evangelize our culture, and stressed that Catholic elementary and secondary schools play a critical and irreplaceable role in this endeavor.
    • the bishops in their document, Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium (2005), recognized challenges in the areas of the changing face of our Church, personnel, and finances, they expressed strong commitment to the future of Catholic schools
    • Characteristics, Standards and Benchmarks
      • The essential elements of “an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program” mandate curricular experiences—including co-curricular and extra-curricular activities— which are rigorous, relevant, research-based, and infused with Catholic faith and traditions
      • Standards for operational vitality must focus on the “operation” of the school—how it works and how it is supported—in four key areas: finances, human resources/personnel, facilities, and institutional advancement
    • James L. Heft, “Historical Developments,” Catholic High Schools: Facing the New Realities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 15-36.
    • During the colonial period religion and education were seamlessly woven together. By the middle and late nineteenth century, however, waves of immigrants posed new threats to Americans who thought that the greatest need was to "Americanize" the "unwashed" immigrants
    • Common school movement, begun by Horace Mann (I796-I859), a Unitarian , minister, who designed the schools to provide a common socialization for all citizens. Mann's educational program promoted a generic Protestantism, beginning with daily readings from the KingJames Bible. In response, the Catholic bishops felt they had to establish their own educational system .
    • John Henry Newman, who converted in l 845 from the Church of England to the Roman Catholic Church, addressed in an extended and systematic way what has come to be referred to as the "development of dogma." He explained that dogmas don't change, but they do ,develop.
    • Since the foundation of Catholic schools in the United States, there have been two major changes: First, the shift in modern culture from a dominantly Protestant culture to greater pluralism and secularization in the late nineteenth century; second, the exodus of many religious brothers and sisters from the schools and the dramatic increase in the lay leadership in the latter twentieth century.
    • focus of this book- mission, culture and laity
    • In first several centuries in US education was run by religious groups for religious purposes
    • "public tax support for religious church-related schools continued and even increased until about 1 820s
    • In response to controversies mostly in protestant schools, Horace Mann set out in his "common school" movement, concentrated as it was in the Northeast, to educate all citizens of the country for democracy
    • He wanted to create a School system that was "non-sectarian. He however created schools that were distinctly Protestant
    • With influx of european immigrants, there was a lot of anti-catholic sentiment
    • Gathered at the Fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore in l 840, Catholic leaders had already begun to complain about the hostile attitude their children encountered in some of these "common" schools
    • But that Council is most famous because it was there that the bishops decided to require every parish to establish its own school.
    • "Under the influence of those most ruinous movements of indifferentism, naturalism and materialism; the world had drifted away from religious truth and adopted a purely secular outlook on the meaning and purpose of life
    • The bishops did not mince words: they stated clearly and forcefully that the preservation of the faith was most important, and that Catholic schools were the the best means to do so
    • Despite the determination of the bishops to have, every parish establish a school, no more than half the parishes ever did
    • Bishop John Ireland wanted to cooperate with public schools became big controversy Americanise Crisis
    • Leo XIII's 1899 encyclical, Testem benevolentiae, an encyclical which raised the alarm about the dangers of trying to reconcile the faith with modern civilization, solidified support for Catholic schools that lasted until the post-World War II period.
    • Catholic schools were fighting the Protestantism of secularism of public schools
    • One of the landmark cases ~f the twentieth century challenged the very legitimacy of the existence of Catholic schools. The case arose in Oregon where in the 1920s anti-Catholicism was especially strong. The influence of the Ku Klux Klan, then at its peak, targeted catholics as enemies of the country. One of its leaders, Grand Dragon Fred Gifford, called immigrants "mongrel hordes" who needed to "be Americanized.
    • US Supreme Court (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925) which declared the statute unconstitutional and established the right of Catholic and other private schools to exit
    • However, a very important legal principle in the United States had been established. Parents'. rather th_an the state, were recognized as exercising primary responsibility for the education of their children
    • In 1963, the US Supreme Court in the School District of Abington Township v. Schempp case ruled that Bible-reading and other religious devotions were unconstitutional for all public schools
    • In 1968, the Supreme Court decided in Board of Education of Central School District No. I v. Allen in favor of a New York statute that required public school boards to purchase and loan textbooks for secular instruction of all students, grades 7-1 z., living within district boundaries, regardless of whether they attended public or private schools
    • 1971, the Lemon v. Kurtzman case involved a Rhode Island statute that authorized paying teachers of secular subjects a salary supplement in private elementary schools. The Supreme Court ruled that the statute violated the Establishment Clause. The Court's ruling also established the so-called three-prong "Lemon test" to determine the constitutionality of financial aid to religious schools
    • the history of Catholic schools in the twentieth century, attention must be paid to a series of legal decisions by both state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Secondly, the cultural setting of Catholic schools gradually changed from the public ("common") schools being a vehicle for Protestant socialization to becoming secular institutions.
    • It was not until 1821 in Boston that the first public high school was established
    • In 1 892 Charles W. Eliot, the president of Harvard University, led a committee that wanted to restrict the high school curriculum - The other vision of education, promoted by G. Stanley Hall, a psychologist and president of Clark University, attacked as -"elitist" the recommendations of the Eliot committee
    • Chief among the progressives was the very influential philosopher John Dewey, who believed in the education of the "whole student
    • These movements often focused on increasing the rigor of the academic programs. In 1983, for example, the Ronald Regan presidency issued A Nation at Risk. Then in 200 r, the George W. Bush presidency passed the No Child Left Behind Act. The Act called in vain for standardized testing on the federal level since each state sets and enforces its own educational standards.
    • Under the force of law and the need to be accredited, Catholic schools, especially the high schools, embraced professionalism and became somewhat "Americanized." Patrick Carey states that instead of becoming vehicles for complete separatism from the dominantly Protestant and secular culture, Catholic schools began to adopt some forms of professionalism with the hope of being recognized as better schools.
    • finances are a significant challenge, especially for diocesan schools in urban and inner-city areas. But, as stated, there is also a continuing ambivalence about the value of maintaining these schools. That ambivalence began to grow after World War II and especially after Vatican II
    • In l 884 the bishops of the United States called for the establishment of Catholic schools to protect Catholic children against the public schools, which then still breathed a Protestant atmosphere. Toward the end of that century, the bishops also sensed a second major threat that would grow only stronger in the twentieth century: secularism.
    • As long as Catholic schools could count on having large numbers of priests and religious as teachers, they remained affordable
    • Tracy Ellis. The l955 issue of Thought, a Jesuit journal of theology and culture, carried Ellis' essay, "American Catholics and the Intellectual Life
      • Before the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic community was able, certainly not without some difficulty, to lead and fund their schools. Large numbers of religious sisters and brothers and priests staffed and led these schools. Developments after Vatican II put the stability and future of Catholic schools in question, not just because of the exodus of many of the religious men and women and the subsequent escalation of the cost of a Catholic education
  • Thomas C. Hunt, “Catholic Schools: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” Journal of Research on Christian Education 14, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 161-175.
    • Catholic schools were established in Florida and Louisiana in the seventeenth century, prior to those founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Religious zeal was the primary motive for the founding of these schools
    • “The School Question,” as it came to be known, dominated Catholic affairs in the latter years of the nineteenth century. The debate among the bishops over the necessity of Catholic schools and over some of the attempts initiated by Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, for instance, to work out a mutually satisfactory compromise with the public education sector, was so heated and bitter that it took the personal intervention of Pope Leo XIII to settle the internal strife.
    • With a world awash in a sea of totalitarianism, Pope Pius XI issued his famous encyclical, “The Christian Education of Youth” in 1929. In it he reiterated Catholic educational teaching on the primary rights of parents as educators of their children and emphasized the “Godcentered” nature of education
    • Catholic K-12 enrollment reached an all-time high in 1965-1966 at 5.6 million pupils, a figure that represented 87% of nonpublic school enrollment and accounted for 12% of all K-12 pupils in the United States.
    • Finally, there is the growing concern that Catholic schools, especially at the secondary level, with the well-earned heritage of educating the poor, are now increasingly populated by the upper class
    • Recent years have witnessed the rise of alternatives in Catholic education, both in institutional forms and in teacher preparation. Perhaps the best known of the institutional forms are the Cristo Rey high schools. Begun in Chicago for Hispanic/Latino youth in 1996, Cristo Rey high schools combine work and study and are supported by fundraising, tuition, scholarships and financial aid, and by the Cassin Foundation

Week 7

Week 7 Questions

  • What are the foundational principles of Whole Community Catechesis? What are some of its strengths and weaknesses?
    • whole community catechesis does rely on a certain level of Christian homemaking.
    • requires a level of maturity of the parish and of the family
    • The notion of large groups "catechesis assemblies" diminishes the "age appropriate" concept.
    • The notion of Catechesis Assemblies is as he admits "radical" and would require major shift.
  • Outline the conciliar teachings for understanding the Church as a communion.
  • In what ways may catechesis promote and realize such an understanding of the Church?
  • What are the reasons for de Joch’s preference of the apprenticeship model?
  • White argues for placing families “at the center of our catechetical efforts” (51)? What are some implications of this statement?
    • Small, practical steps that don't require major changes from structure of existing programs.

Week 7 Notes

  • Whole Community Catechesis in Plain English, Huebsch
  • Involving Families in Catechesis White
    • When are the evangelizing moments? They are the times when families are naturally more open to the Church and what she can give. In the usual family life cycle, these moments may include developmental milestones of family life, such as a wedding, the birth of a new child, a child’s entry into school, the death of a family member, and other important times. Evangelizing moments might also be spiritual or religious milestones in the life of a family, such as Baptism, First Eucharist, or Confirmation.
    • When pastoral ministers welcome families warmly and reach out to families in need, they can make the most of these evangelizing moments to let the family know that they are part of a larger Christian community that seeks their presence.
    • Family-Friendly Grade-Level Catechetical Programs. Family friendly materials, families as volunteers. Provide intergenerational experiences.
    • Family-Sensitive Adult Formation
  • Marc Ouellet, “Communio: The Key to Vatican II’s Ecclesiology,
  • A. (Jos) de Kock, “Promising Approaches to Catechesis in Church Communities: Towards a Research Framework, 2015

Week 8

Week 8 questions

  • Espinoza and Johnson-Miller
    • 1) What are the main criticisms of developmental theory?
    • 2) Espinoza and Johnson-Miller “propose a fresh vision of catechesis that does not reject the insights of developmental theory, but in fact appropriates developmental theory in the Christian formation process” (15-16). What is your opinion about their statement?
  • Griffith
    • 3. What are the main elements of practices as embodied knowing? What is the role of such practices in catechesis/catechetics?
  • Coleridge
    • 4. The author outlines a profile of the secular world and discusses “the spiritual awakening” that occurred at Vatican II. In what ways do these issues affect catechesis?
  • Magro
    • 5. What are some aspects of the process operative in the act of imagining?

Week 8 Notes

Week 9

Week 9 Questions

  • Describe the various elements of the process of understanding according to Gadamer discussed by Owens.
  • Outline the three methods mentioned by Nolan. In what ways do they complement and differ from one another?
  • How would you describe the role of story, storytelling and that of the storyteller in catechesis?
  • What are the features of narrative theology discussed by Delfra?
  • What is your opinion about Delfra’s own project to present catechesis through “narrative faith”?

Week 9

Week 9 Questions

  • Malone
    • Outline the Church’s outlook on mass media as discussed in the conciliar and post-conciliar documents.
    • What are the major changes between 1960s and the present age of social and mass communication? What are their strengths and weaknesses of these changes?
    • What are some of the challenges that these types of communication pose to catechetics?
  • de Mul
  • Describe the relationship between religion and technology.
  • What are the effects of the movement from orality to literacy and of that from literacy to hypermedia on religious experience?

Week 9 Notes

Week 10

Week 10 questions

  • How can catechesis develop an ecumenical attitude?
  • How can catechists help their audiences discover and appreciate the common heritage to Jews and Christians?
  • What are some of the reasons for neglecting “the care of creation” in catechesis?
  • How may catechesis connect environmental stewardship and discipleship?
  • What are some of the suggestions that Pope Francis makes for an ecological education and spirituality? How can catechesis implement them

Week 10 notes

Week 11

Week 11 Questions

  • What are some of the issues that one has to keep in mind when discussing the phenomenon of SBNR and RBNS?
  • Outline the four categories of spirituality that Ammerman discusses.
  • Mercadante distinguishes five types of SBNRs. Are there common elements among them?
  • What are the suggestions Bennett makes for reaching out to SBNR and MTD?
  • In what ways should catechetics/catechesis address SBNRs and RBNSs?
  • What is your opinion on Bennett’s comments on the importance and significance of the environment and contemplation in catechetics?
  • Describe the main features of Catholic Spirituality as discussed by Kohut.
  • How can catechetics/catechesis encourage spirituality?


  • blasphemy
  • Hermeneutical theology - emerged in the 1960s in response to systematic theology, emphasizing the particularities of time and place in theological formulation, and calling for the rethinking of classical theological formulations
  • Liberation theology
    • has been described as "an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor...an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor" source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology
    • Liberation theology also shares three common perspectives on the experience of God in history. First is the biblical promise of liberation. God is the one who sets people free, and the Gospel announces the good news of liberation. God is biased toward the marginal people—the have-nots, the oppressed, the hurt, the out- siders. Christ has set and is setting the captives free. Second, life is understood as centered in history and is changing and changeable. That is, life is s a series of events moving the world in the direction God intends. Liberation theology asserts that we have hope because we have a memory of God's past acts in history; and we have purpose because God has given us a vision of the future God intends. Third, salvation is a social event in the present, not an escape from history but an engagement within history. Source: Will Our Children Have Faith, Westerhoff,