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Catechetical directory.

Rome - Following the summer vacations, the Vatican administration has published Norms on Theological Dissent. (Sept. 2) There appears very little that is new about these norms. The newness seems to lie in their publication, something not done hitherto.

Of much greater importance is the release of a new General Catechetical Directory, replacing the previous one dating from 1971. The new work counts 320 pages and is intended as a complement to the Catechism of the Catholic church (CCC).

The main purpose of the new Directory is to help with the production of local catechisms and catechetical programs. The Directory insists that these must be in perfect harmony with the CCC.

Among weaknesses in current catechetical programs, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Hoyos, says, is the widespread failure to understand the authority and mystery of the Church.

The new directory also lists other problems in catechesis:

* the failure to understand catechesis as a school of faith and a training in Christian life;

* the failure to appreciate the importance of Church tradition as a form of divine revelation;

* the emphasis on Christ's humanity to the exclusion of any understanding of his divine nature;

* the omission of many important doctrines from popular catechetical texts, and the proliferation of catechetical works which treat Church teachings selectively.

Other problems cited include:

* the lack of a clear connection between catechesis and liturgy;

* the excessive concentration on "method and techniques" rather than actual content;

* and the neglect of the Church's mission to convert non-believers.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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