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Introduction: Important caveats
Part One: Principles for Assessing the Conformity of Catechetical Materials to the Catechism
To guide this process and to provide as objective an instrument as possible, the Subcommittee on the Catechism has developed this Protocol. The Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops gave initial approval of this Protocol to be used ad experimentum for a year. After a survey consultation of publishers, bishop reviewers and their consultants, the Protocol was revised and submitted to the Administrative Committee.
In September, 1997, the Administrative Committee approved the Protocol for Assessing the Conformity of Catechetical Materials with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the standard review instrument for the Subcommittee on the Catechism.
The following points introduce some important caveats in the use of the Protocol in the review of catechetical materials:
In order for catechetical materials developed from the Catechism to be authentic, the following criteria should be observed:
In order for catechetical materials developed from the Catechism to be authentic, the theological structure as indicated below should be at least implicit in the catechetical materials:
The Catechism does not simply treat of the Holy Trinity when it treats of God or expounds the creed. The creative and saving initiative of God the Father, the salvific mission of God the Son and the sanctifying role of God the Holy Spirit permeate the Catechism's treatment of worship and liturgy, the life of grace underpinning the moral life and the life of prayer.
The Catechism breathes the person, life and mission of Jesus Christ. The entire Catechism is a breaking open of the mystery of the Word made flesh. Christ is presented as fully God and fully man.
The Catechism's treatment of the Church is not restricted to a commentary on the article of faith in the Creed that focuses on the Church. The entire Catechism presents the continuing presence and mission of Christ in and through the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Adherence to Christ through faith involves immersion in the life of the Church.
The Catechism presents as an underlying and unifying motif in its treatment of the sacraments the Christian's participation in the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ. Sacraments receive their origin and receive their efficacy in relationship to the paschal mission of the Savior and his presence in the sacramental encounter with his people.
The Catechism makes clear that the moral life is not a merely human endeavor nor is it simply a series of dos and don'ts. It is rooted in a real new life made possible by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the gift of grace within the human person.
The Church's teaching and commitment to life should be integrated into the treatment of moral life, and the nuances provided should show both the distinctiveness and the relationship of the various life issues to one another.
The Catechism treats human sexuality within the context of education in sexual morality. This arrangement now supersedes the development of separate segments on education in human sexuality apart from the moral teaching.
The Catechism offers a succinct presentation of the Church's teaching on social justice both in the introduction to the Commandments and in the treatment of the 7th and 10th Commandments. This presentation also preserves the relationship between teaching and social justice with the rest of the moral teaching of the Church.
The second principle for assessing the conformity of catechetical materials to the Catechism is "that the Christian message be complete" (Guidelines, p.7).
In order for catechetical materials developed from the Catechism to be considered complete, the doctrines of the Church should be presented as an integrated whole and there should be an intrinsic cohesiveness to the presentation of the faith:
These principles and criteria are the most fundamental ways in which catechetical materials should reflect the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They touch the underlying theological teaching and give spirit to the specific content which Part Two fleshes out in a more concrete way.
The Protocol is the standard instrument of review. It should be used in tandem with the publisher's own assessment of the materials, which is also based on the Protocol.
When an item of the Protocol is covered adequately, a "Yes" in the second column, marked Conformity, will suffice.
When an item is not covered or is only partially covered, please write either "No" or "Partial" in the Conformity column. In addition, please note in the third column, marked Required Changes, Recommendations, Suggestions, where in the material you believe the publisher could efficiently address the deficiency.
You can also note in the third column any recommendations or suggestions you believe would strengthen the presentation of the doctrine.
Even though the third column is titled Required Changes, Recommendations, Suggestions, you should use this column to cite the text and/or page reference where the specific Protocol item is treated in your materials.
If possible, mark the actual text and/or page of the materials where the specific Protocol items are correlated.
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