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Always Column. Theo and Catechesis

Always Column. Theo and Catechesis

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Published by: Erwin Joey E. Cabilan on Oct 06, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Column: ALWAYS (September 14-20, 2008 issue)
Catechesis and Theology
by Erwin Joey E. Cabilan
Before I left for Belgium last mid September of 2004,
 Miss Felciemarie Razo
of 
 Salesiana Publishers, Inc.
(Davao Office) invited me to have a dinner with
Fr. Renato deGuzman, SDB
. Fr. Degs, as he is popularly known, is one of the gurus of Catechetics here in thePhilippines. When I told him that I would be attending the One-Year Joint Program of LumenVitae and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, he told me one thing which, I think, was veryimportant in our conversation:
to remain a catechist when I come back 
.Catechesis has been the “
 spirit 
” that I breathe since my formal study on this field way back 1995. Even if I have been in this ministry for almost 10 years, but I still feel the need tolearn many things. I am humbled by those rich experiences of my students, my colleagues atJCC, fellow JCCians, fellow catechists (volunteer and professional), Church workers and even people from other Christian denominations and religions. Most of all, I am humbled as I stand inawe and wonder to a profound reality as to who a catechist is before God and His People:
aminister of the Word.
One time, a fellow catechist who is studying Theology shared to me about how some of her professors gave a comment on Catechesis. She felt that they underestimated this ministry tothe extent that they “
belittled 
” it when they compared Theology as a science that is higher compared to Catechetics. I don’t want to give further comments on what I heard from acolleague. But personally, anybody who wants to say something either 
 for 
or 
against 
must havea
clear, substantial and exact knowledge
about the things that he/she wants to comment. Just behumble to learn and even to unlearn, if necessary.I don’t want to use this column as if I am reprimanding those who are “anti” Catechesis.It’s good to know that there are people “in the Church” who still need to understand therelationship between
Theology
and
Catechesis
. Let me highlight some salient points asexpressed by the
 New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines
(NNCDP).1.
NATURE
.
Catechesis and Theology are at the service of the Word of God 
. Sincecatechesis habitually acts through the “
light of instruction
”, one can see how closely itrelates to the theological form which is concerned with “
the systematic treatment and  scientific investigation of the truths of the faith
”.(NNCDP 110) This means that a goodcatechesis is dependent on a good theology and vice-versa.2.
AIM
. If 
the aim of Theology
is
to present a scientific, critical understanding of theGospel in the world today
,
Catechesis
, while using many of the same sacred and humansciences,
aims for an effective proclamation and instruction in the faith, leading theChristian community toward a fuller, more mature and proper commitment to and life in Jesus Christ 
. (NNCDP 111) What does this mean? If a
theologian
is concerned with the
latest theories and hypotheses that touch all aspects of the Word of God 
, the
catechist 
hasto focus
on handing on the essentials of the Christian message and effectivelycommunicating it to those being catechized today
.3.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION
. In terms of the criteria used for evaluation,
Theology
 
has to respond to the test of rigorous scientific study of the Word of God 
while
Catechesis
is evaluated based on
the triple fidelity
:
to God’s Word, to the Christiancommunity and concrete experience of the catechized 
. (NNCDP 112) This implies that inCatechesis, the triple fidelity must be integrated in order to allow the faith of the personand the community to mature as shown in the life of integrity day by day (Head-Heart-Hands).With these insights, there are some areas that these two sacred sciences differ. But those points in which they are unique do not highlight each other’s limitations. However, they

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