Catechesis has both philosophical and theological aspects

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio (1984):

Theological work in the Church is first of all at the service of the proclamation of the faith and of catechesis.117 Proclamation or kerygma is a call to conversion, announcing the truth of Christ, which reaches its summit in his Paschal Mystery: for only in Christ is it possible to know the fullness of the truth which saves (cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Tm 2:4-6).

In this respect, it is easy to see why, in addition to theology, reference to catechesis is also important, since catechesis has philosophical implications which must be explored more deeply in the light of faith. The teaching imparted in catechesis helps to form the person. As a mode of linguistic communication, catechesis must present the Church’s doctrine in its integrity,118 demonstrating its link with the life of the faithful.119 The result is a unique bond between teaching and living which is otherwise unattainable, since what is communicated in catechesis is not a body of conceptual truths, but the mystery of the living God.120

Philosophical enquiry can help greatly to clarify the relationship between truth and life, between event and doctrinal truth, and above all between transcendent truth and humanly comprehensible language.121 This involves a reciprocity between the theological disciplines and the insights drawn from the various strands of philosophy; and such a reciprocity can prove genuinely fruitful for the communication and deeper understanding of the faith.

117 Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendæ (16 October 1979), 30: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [AAS] 71 (1979), 1302-1303; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 7: AAS 82 (1990), 1552-1553.
118 Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendæ (16 October 1979), 30: AAS 71 (1979), 1302-1303.
119 Cf. ibid., 22, loc. cit., 1295-1296.
120 Cf. ibid., 7, loc. cit., 1282.
121 Cf. ibid., 59, loc. cit., 1325.

Fides et Ratio 99

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