The Teaching Function of the Church
» The Ministry of the Divine Word
» Catechetical instruction
It is pastors of souls especially who have the serious duty of attending to the catechesis of the christian people, so that, through doctrinal formation and the experience of the christian life, the living faith of the people may be manifest and active.
§1 The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role.
[NB see m.p. Antiquum ministerium, 10.V.2021]
§2 Before all others, parents are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in christian living. The same obligation binds godparents and those who take the place of parents.
§1 While observing provisions made by the Apostolic See it is the responsibility of diocesan Bishops to issue norms concerning catechetical matters; to ensure that appropriate means of catechesis are available, even by preparing a catechism, if this seems opportune; to foster and to coordinate catechetical initiatives.
§2 If it seems useful, it is for the conference of bishops to take care that catechisms are issued for its territory, with the previous confirmation of the Apostolic See.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
§3 The Episcopal Conference may establish a catechetical office, whose principal purpose is to assist individual dioceses in catechetical matters.
By virtue of his office, the parish priest is bound to ensure the catechetical formation of adults, young people and children. To this end, he is to avail himself of the help of clerics attached to the parish, as well as of members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, being mindful of the character of each institute; and the assistance of lay members of Christ’s faithful, especially catechists. All of these, unless they are lawfully impeded, are not to refuse to give their labours willingly. The parish priest is also to promote and to foster the role of parents in the family catechesis mentioned in can. 774,
In a special way, the parish priest is to ensure, in accordance with the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, that:
1° an adequate catechesis is given for the celebration of the sacraments;
2° children are properly prepared for first confession and first holy communion, and for the sacrament of confirmation, by means of catechetical formation over an appropriate period of time;
3° children, after they have made their first holy communion, are given a richer and deeper catechetical formation;
4° as far as their condition allows, catechetical formation is given to the mentally and physically handicapped;
5° the faith of young people and of adults is strengthened, enlightened and developed by various catechetical methods and initiatives .
Religious Superiors and Superiors of societies of apostolic life are to ensure that catechetical formation is diligently given in their churches and schools, and in other works in any way entrusted to their care.
Catechetical formation is to be given by employing all those aids, educational resources and means of communication which seem the more effective in securing that the faithful, according to their character capability, age and circumstances of life, may be more fully steeped in catholic teaching and prepared to put it into practice.
Local Ordinaries are to ensure that catechists are duly trained to carry out their office properly, namely, that continuing formation is available to them, that they have an appropriate knowledge of the teaching of the Church, and that they learn both the theory and the practice of the principles of pedagogy.
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