8 Key Elements of Authentic Catechesis

Authentic catechesis includes 8 key elements.

Ever wondered how to see if the catechesis in your catechumenal process is up to par?

Take a moment to see if it holds up the 8 Key Elements of Authentic Catechesis, as described below.

Key #1: Centered on Christ – (1 Cor 2:2)

“We must therefore say that in catechesis it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught.  Everything else is taught with reference to him and it is Christ along who teaches.  Anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips.”

(Pope John Paul II, On Catechesis in Our Time, #6)

Key #2: Systematic and Organic – (Acts 20:26-28)

“Authentic catechesis is always an orderly and systematic initiation into the revelation that God has given of himself to humanity in Christ Jesus, a revelation stored in the depths of the Church’s memory and in sacred Scripture, and constantly communicated from one generation to the next by a living active traditio.”

(Pope John Paul II, On Catechesis in Our Time, #22)

Key #3: Associated with Life Experience – (1 John 1:1-4)

“No one can arrive at the whole truth on the basis solely of some simple private experience.  That is, to say without an adequate explanation of the message of Christ who is ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).  Nor is any opposition to be set up between a catechesis taking life as its point of departure and a traditional, doctrinal and systematic catechesis.”

(Pope John Paul II, On Catechesis in Our Time, #22)

Key #4: Promotes the Sacramental Life – (John 6:56-57)

Catechesis always has reference to the sacraments. Sacramental life is impoverished and very soon turns to hollow ritualism if it is not based on serious knowledge of the meaning of the sacraments, and catechesis becomes intellectualized if it fails to come alive in the sacramental practice. (Pope John Paul II, On Catechesis in Our Time, #23)

Key #5: Driven by Scripture – (2 Tim 3:16-17)

“The Ministry of the Word – pastoral preaching, catechetics, and all form of Christian instruction… is healtlhily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture.” 

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, #132)

“The Church desires that in the Ministry of the Word, sacred Scripture should have a pre-eminent position.”

(General Directory for Catechesis, #127)

Key #6: Fosters the Moral Life – (1 Tim 6:18-19)

“Conversion to Jesus Christ implies walking in his footsteps. Catechesis must, therefore, transmit to the disciples the attitudes of the Master himself… This moral testimony, which is prepared for by catechesis, must always demonstrate the social consequences of the demands of the Gospel.”

(General Directory for Catechesis, #85)

Key #7: Connected to the Ecclesial Community – (Phil 2:1-4)

“Catechesis runs the risk of becoming barren if no community of faith and Christian life takes the catechumen in at a certain stage of his catechesis.  That is why the ecclesial community at all levels has a twofold responsibility with regard to catechesis: it has the responsibility of providing for the training of its members, but it also has the responsibility of welcoming them into an environment where they can live as fully as possible what they have learned.”

(Pope John Paul II, On Catechesis in Our Time, #24)

Key #8: Directed to the Life of Prayer – (1 Tim 2:1-4)

“When catechesis is permeated by a climate of prayer, the assimilation of the entire Christian life reaches its summit.  This climate is especially necessary when the catechumen and those to be catechized are confronted with the more demanding aspects of the Gospel and when they feel weak or when they discover the mysterious action of God in their lives.”

(General Directory for Catechesis, #85)

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