A study of the direct ramifications of Vatican Council II on catechetics, including the impact of conciliar and post-conciliar catechetical Documents on the content and method of catechesis

Paruch, Mary Johanna (2008). A study of the direct ramifications of Vatican Council II on catechetics, including the impact of conciliar and post-conciliar catechetical Documents on the content and method of catechesis. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000fd75

Abstract

In June 1997, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein informed the Bishops of the United States of the findings of his Ad Hoc Committee of the Use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. After examining most of the religious education textbooks in use in the US, the committee determined that the following doctrinal points were inadequately or insufficiently treated: the Trinity, Christ especially his divinity, the ecclesial nature of catechesis, Christian anthropology, God’s initiative in the world with an overemphasis on man, grace, sacraments, original sin and sin in general, Christian moral life, and eschatology.

These deficiencies occurred as a direct ramification of the turbulence and disquiet in the Catholic Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. This had not been the desire of John XXIII when he opened the Council: “The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this, that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.”1 Pope Paul VI, whose pontificate implemented the Council, considered it to be the “great catechism of modem times.”2

The deficiencies resulted from what Benedict XVI calls a “hermeneutic of discontinuity” between the time before Vatican II and the time after Vatican II.3 Gabriel Moran, Thomas Groome and many of their contemporaries in American religious education failed to look to Jesus Christ, the apostles and the Fathers of the Church as the foundation for their catechetical renewal. Ultimately they rejected til Divine Revelation and adopted a low non-ascending Christology. They rejected 20th-century theologians such as Josef Jungmann and Johannes Hofmger who applied a hermeneutic of continuity to their renewal. Charles Curran helped to inculcate such a spirit by his public dissent from Humanae Vitae in 1968. The protagonists ignored or subjugated the post-conciliar magisterial catechetical documents. The American Bishops failed to stem such rejection of magisterial teaching and to mandate their own attempts at catechetical renewal.

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