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8

Prologue

eration to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in frater-

nal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.

6

II.

H

anding on

the

F

aith

: C

atechesis

4

Quite early on, the name

catechesis

was given to the totality

of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that

Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his

name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building

up the body of Christ.

7

5

“Catechesis is an

education in the faith

of children, young

people, and adults which includes especially the teaching of Chris­

tian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and

systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the

fullness of Christian life.”

8

6

While not being formally identified with them, catechesis

is built on a certain number of elements of the Church’s pastoral

mission which have a catechetical aspect, that prepare for cateche­

sis, or spring from it. They are: the initial proclamation of the

Gospel or missionary preaching to arouse faith; examination of the

reasons for belief; experience of Christian living; celebration of the

sacraments; integration into the ecclesial community; and apos-

tolic and missionary witness.

9

7

“Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the

Church’s life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical

increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with

God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis.”

10

8

Periods of renewal in the Church are also intense moments of

catechesis. In the great era of the Fathers of the Church, saintly bishops

devoted an important part of their ministry to catechesis. St. Cyril of

Jerusalem and St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, and

many other Fathers wrote catechetical works that remain models for us.

11

9

“The ministry of catechesis draws ever fresh energy from the

councils. The Council of Trent is a noteworthy example of this. It gave

catechesis priority in its constitutions and decrees. It lies at the origin of

the

Roman Catechism,

which is also known by the name of that council and

which is a work of the first rank as a summary of Christian teaching. . . .”

12

6 Cf.

Acts

2:42.

7 Cf. John Paul II, apostolic exhortation,

Catechesi tradendae

1; 2.

8

CT

18.

9

CT

18.

10

CT

13.

11 Cf.

CT

12.

12

CT

13.