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Catechism Project, #18-25

When I sat down to read today’s section of the Catechism and realized that five of the eight paragraphs deal with the typesetting and formatting of the document I thought, “wow, three days into the project and I’m going to wind up with a post that puts the ‘duh’ in ‘dud'”.  Well, let’s just say that if I was right it won’t be because the other three paragraphs didn’t offer plenty to work with.

If you’ve ever heard me talk about RCIA (and this applies to all catechetical programs I think, but RCIA is the field where I spend my time) you’ll know that one of my biggest gripes is that all but the most exceptional programs have a tendency to treat everyone who goes through them as if they’re popped out of a cookie cutter.  They all get the same resources, sit through the same talks, follow the same schedule and poof at some predetermined time out is supposed to pop a “sufficiently” catechized member of the Body of Christ.  Anyone who has worked in catechesis for any amount of time, however, knows that’s just never the case – start a program with ten people and when the catechetical egg timer goes off you’ll more likely than not wind up with ten people in very different stages, ranging from the still-raw-in-the-middle folks who were never drawn close enough to the heat of Christ to those extra-crunchy types who have a mountain of intellectual formation but whose hearts never really got involved at all.  If you’re lucky (and yes, if you’re really good) you’ll have a few who come out of the program at just the right time with enough intellectual and spiritual formation to know what they’ve gotten themselves into and are possessed of a burning desire to continue and deepen their formation.

Don’t we all wish we could do better than that?  Even right here in the beginning the Catechism in quoting the Roman Catechism warns us of the need to recognize and provide for the particular needs of every individual:

Above all, teachers must not imagine that a single kind of soul has been entrusted to them, and that consequently it is lawful to teach and form equally all the faithful in true piety with one and the same method!  Let them realize that some are in Christ as newborn babes, others as adolescents, and still others as adults in full command of their powers.

Even as most of our school calendar-based programs are chugging close to their halfway point, perhaps there is still enough time to make a little assessment of whether we could find a way to make sure more particular individual are being addressed.  Even if we can’t do anything to change now, it always helps to think about what you’d like to try in the future.

As important as my little soapbox issue may be, CCC #25 ends the Prologue of the Catechism by reminding us all that there is something far more important than any catechetical style, selection of materials or particular program of formation by again quoting the Roman Catechism:

The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends.  Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.

Deus Caritas Est.

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