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Spiritual Renewal

Following the principle that child learns not simply by listening but even more by doing, this school stressed the value of action. See Josef A. William A. Huesman New York: Sadlier, Jungmann placed himself in the company of those who advocated renewal through a return to the sources of Christian tradition — that is, through res- sourcement28 — and, as such, he was initially accused of straying from theological orthodoxy.

In time, however, his ideas gained currency among catechists and eccle- sial authorities alike, with such acceptance paralleling the greater influence of the new theology on the Church in the years leading up to the Council. His book, The Good News Yesterday and Today, along with the rest of his catechetical writings, therefore took what was happening on the theological plane and translated it into the realm of catechetics. He explained: Christian customs have become a protective armor shielding religious life. In fact, one might say that there is religious life stored up in them.

For the custom itself evolved out of an intensely lived religion, just as the protective bark of a tree develops from the life of a tree. Nor could religious life maintain itself without a sound armor of custom, no more than a tree could flourish without its bark or a plant without its stalk. Nor should one wonder that an age like ours, which feels its very foundations shaking, should look back to the beginnings of Christian history where principles were distinct and tangible, contrasts sharp and clear, forms fresh and vigorous. The main value in this turning back to early Christianity ought not to be seen in the fact that we here meet with examples of great holiness and courageous witness these can be found in all ages , nor in the relatively high level of religious-moral life in these Christian communities; but rather in the pristine spirit and single-mindedness of its Christian life and in the clarity of its ideals — ideals not broken up and watered down, but dynamically alive in the consciousness of the faithful, providing the assurance and impetus needed for the conquest of a pagan world.

See also Daniel M. Jungmann, The Good News, 3. Josef A. Most people know all the sacraments; they know about the person of Christ, as well as about Our Lady, Peter and Paul, Adam and Eve, and a good many others. They know enough about the commandments of God and the Church.

But what is lacking among the faithful is a sense of the unity, seeing it all as a whole, an understanding of the wonderful message of divine grace. All they retain of Christian doctrine is a string of dogmas and moral pre- cepts, threats and promises, customs and rites, tasks and duties imposed on unfortunate Catholics, whilst the non-Catholic gets off free. They are averse to believing in and acting up to their beliefs, a reluctance which, in an atmosphere of unbelief and materialism, soon leads to disaster for the individual Catholic. Jungmann, The Good News, Mk and Acts , among many other examples.

Mk , what is to be believed Rom , or simply the logos, or word Acts , 2 Tm This perhaps caused the greatest unrest for opponents of his thought. Nevertheless, their perception was not entirely true. The discussion … on the need for a kerygmatic theology has been sidetracked far away from the real question. From this center must come the forces by which we shall once again conquer the world. First, to properly grasp Christ, one must turn to the testimony of the scriptures. They are recognizing that, beyond this, they must introduce the faith- ful into the meaning and interrelation of the doctrines, to a vision of the great master-plan of God which will inspire ideals and enthusiasm.

The Call To Evangelism - Ray Comfort

See Mary C. Lived, but above all prayed, dogma will prove to be the best school. Emphasis mine. The liturgy was both Christian school and Christian instruction; the liturgy enriched the parents interiorly to such an extent that they were enabled to instruct their children; the liturgy made the Christians coalesce into one com- munity.

Through the liturgy, i. See Kenneth R. This includes the lectures he gave at the University of Notre Dame in , the first time kerygmatic catechesis had been brought to the United States. These Study Weeks, in one sense, provide a unique view into the modern catechetical movement, for they act as a prism in which to view the movement as a whole. Taken together, they form a backdrop for more recent developments. Without proper attention to the study weeks, one tends to distort and in other ways misunderstand what has happened and continues to evolve in the movement.

Johannes Hofinger, ed. Johannes Hofinger, introduction to Teaching All Nations, xv. A young girl is doing her housework reluctantly, slowly, and wearily. Her mother who lies sick in bed sadly watches the joyless activities of her daughter. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and the post- man delivers a letter for the young girl, which she opens and reads.

The mother wit- nesses in amazement a sudden transformation which now comes over her daughter. Its core is the Good News of our redemption in Christ. Its fruit should be the grateful response of our love. According to Alfonso Ne- brada, a Jesuit who was heavily involved in the proceedings, there was a certain tension present between the Germans who advocated the kerygmatic approach and the French-speaking participants, especially those from Paris and the Belgian Lumen Vitae institute, who advocated a pedagogy of signs.

Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism

She is like a different person, like one reborn. What news did the letter bring? This news, this message of a future event, makes its effect felt in the present. The message has the power to change the existence of the young girl. Then human nature, which has been prepared psychologically, will receive kerygma not as an alien element, but as revealed fulfillment of its own nature.

Kerygma and Method have now fused into one. The sisters walk along hand in hand, each attentive to the other. For they have, after all, the same origin. At the gathering in Bangkok in , the participants offered the first signs that modern catechesis was making what can be called an anthropological turn.

As Hofinger explained, Western catechesis had initially developed as the teaching of those who had already professed faith, and thus, in the past, no special preparation was needed for hearers to embrace the Gospel. The See D. It is not to be limited to ethnography nor to cultural anthropology. It will consider how man treats himself, tries to understand himself, his fight for integrity and freedom, and how he faces death, etc.

Anthropological research in catechetics tries to discover what these situations mean for man. It is an investigation also into the way Jesus Christ in revelation has taken all that is human unto Himself. Here one begins to see the concerns of the New Evangelization in germ. Must not his or her experiences be mined for those places which can make the message more accessible, more palat- able? At the gathering in Manila — with the Second Vatican Council closing only two years prior — the participants saw in the conciliar documents an af- firmation of the anthropological concerns of the renewal.

A summary report of some of the discussion groups explains their overall approach to the Council: [The Church] is called to become incarnate in local cultures, to dia- logue sincerely with all Christians, all believers, and also with those See Theodore G. This means taking the other seriously, his person, his conscience, his truths — even though these be fragmentary.

It consists in taking due consideration of the man with whom we speak, and in removing the personal obstacles which prevent his ready acceptance of the kerygma.

Mongoven, The Prophetic Spirit of Catechesis, From being a ghetto the Church is called to give herself to the modern world, to share in its hopes and anxieties and to collaborate with all men of good will for the building of human communities of brotherhood, equality, justice, and peace. In so doing the Church would witness to the values of Christ in a manner intelligible and acceptable to men of our times. Today we should stress Christianity as continuity and fulfillment.

And if so, would this not furthermore imply that salvation is already taking place before the kerygma is preached and accepted? The author of the report is unnamed. The third issue of this volume of Teaching All Nations contains reports and papers from the Manila study week.

Lumen Gentium, no. Acts , and since the Savior wills all men to be saved cf. Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation.

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If these religions in- deed contain elements that are good and true, then perhaps conversion need not im- ply their outright rejection. Coincident with the theology of liberation that was emerging from the same context, the catechesis promoted by the gathering manifested an expansion of the priority of human experience to include social and communal necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of their, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life.

What- ever good or truth is found amongst them is considered a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life. Eerdmans Publishing Company, However the well-known convert Dom Lou points [out] that this is a totally mistaken idea and he professes to be a Confucianist and a Christian. Terrence J. Johannes Hofinger and Terrence J.

Thus, one of the published general conclusions states that: Contemporary catechesis, in agreement with a more adequate theol- ogy of revelation, recognizes in the historical situations and in authen- tic human aspirations, the first sign to which we must be attentive in order to discover the plan of God for the men of today. Such situations therefore are an indispensable part of the content of catechesis.

Rather, it is the content of catechesis itself. The practical method that emerged from this new view took place in three stages.

9 Replies to “Church Growth”

First, a catechist must help a group identify — in fact, be present to — its current situation. After cultivating this self-awareness, the catechist must then walk with the group, helping the people to see and live within the dynamic process by which their situation constantly changes. Finally, the catechist is to name Jesus and The con- ference is often remembered for raising ecclesial awareness of liberation theology and is controversial in this regard. Joseph A. It is a theological reflection born of the experience of shared efforts to abolish the current unjust situation and to build a different society, freer and more human.

But in the turmoil of Latin American society, the experience of injustice was the property belonging not only to one but to many. If God reveals himself in the present, then he is at work not only in the aspirations and fears of an individual but in the history of society as well, past, present, and future. Catechesis cannot rest contently with forming the catechized in the life of the Church, but must give priority to liberating praxis, critiquing unjust estab- lishments and aiding the community in freeing itself from such institutions. Catechesis therefore cannot limit itself to the individual dimensions of life.

An interesting connection can be made — though to my knowledge it has not been done — between this shift in the study weeks and the influential theologies of Karl Rahner and his student, Johann Baptist Metz.


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Rahner emphasized the role of human experience by paying particular attention to subjectivity and human transcendence. Metz critiqued his teacher, claiming that Rahner had ignored the political and societal dimensions of Christianity. David Smith New York: Crossroad, , John H. Westerhoff III and O. Edwards Jr. Social experience undoubtedly varies from culture to culture, and liberation refuses any type of rigid conformity. This is evidenced in the appeal they made to Cardinal Villot, president of the Congregation of the Clergy — the congregation charged, at the time, with creating a catechetical directory for the entire Church the General Catecheti- cal Directory of From my own read- ing of Freire, it is unclear how his model of education can be appropriated by catechesis without correction on a fundamental level.

Though he opposes outside content, liber- ating praxis can never be achieved, in a truly ecclesiological and theological sense, by remaining solely within the experience of the catechized. Revelation always maintains a transcendent character. The Effects of the Movement Even with such a necessarily abbreviated survey of the history of modern catechetics, I believe the keen observer will recognize the roles that such develop- ments played in both conciliar discussions and the theological and pastoral practice that has played out in the postconciliar era.

Regarding the former, one could surmise that the various personalistic and kerygmatic emphases of the conciliar documents were, at least in part, influenced by the work of Jungmann and his contemporaries. But the most direct effect of the modern catechetical movement on the Council is evidenced in Christus Dominus no. Indeed, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Council had initially considered the creation of a universal catechism, a project first raised at the First Vatican Council but left unfinished. The fact is, however, that Vatican II envisaged both directories and catechisms.

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Marthaler ultimately claims that directories should not be opposed to catechisms, expressing that both need to be adapted to the needs of nations and more local regions. General Catechetical Directory, no. Ultimately, such a caution offered by the directory is indicative of the difficul- ties facing the Church in the postconciliar era, whether on a theological or pastoral level. That Joseph Ratzinger and the editors of the journal Concilium could, at one point, both acknowledge a postconciliar crisis in catechesis is telling.

Yet, their so- lutions are, of course, quite different. Reform and Renewal within Tradition Undoubtedly, then, while the Church has gained much from the modern catechetical movement, there remain clear indications of the further development needed for catechesis to play an effective role in the New Evangelization. Yet how should the Church proceed? I believe that a resolution to the chal- lenges brought about by the catechetical renewal will not be found by opposing the days of catechism instruction with the ultimate conclusions of the catechetical movement, that is, by opposing doctrine to human praxis and experience.

Too often theologians and catechetical scholars have emphasized one over the other, a sort of swinging of the pendulum that only perpetuates a reactionary push in the opposite direction. Take for, instance, the more recent debate over the doctrinal framework for high school curricula published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Put differ- ently, it seems clear that the challenges brought about by the catechetical renewal are similar — if not intimately tied to — the challenge of implementing the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council.

The mass in the vernacular, the revision of the rubrics, the increased participation of the laity, mitigation of fasting and abstinence laws, ecumenical dia- logue and openness to religious pluralism, questioning of traditional teaching and values were obvious signs of a Church in transition and of issues yet to be resolved. In such a view, the handing on of the past and the experience of the present are necessarily in conflict. Hofinger, as the mind behind the Study Weeks, is universally heralded for instigating the international gatherings that serve as a lens for viewing the renewal as a whole.

Yet, to my knowledge, very little of catecheti- James Youniss, John J. Convey, and Jeffrey A. Rather, they were at pains to show that their work was a progression which developed the tradition without ever rejecting it outright. Thus, they recognized that doctrine — the objective form of revelation emphasized by neo-scholasticism — was not to be discarded, but was to be re-grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ: Unity of doctrine becomes evident only if the Person of Jesus Christ is the center.

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