Friday, July 23, 2010

Quis docebit doctores?

“The best method for instructing ignorant men in Christian doctrine, one that will bear much fruit is to ask questions in a friendly fashion after the explanation; from this questioning one can learn whether each one understood what he heard or whether the explanation needs repeating. In order that the learner grasp the matter, we must ascertain by questioning whether the one being catechized has understood, and in accordance with his response, we must either explain more clearly and fully or not dwell further on what is known to them etc.”
These are the words of St. Augustine on how best to catechize a man. It sounds like he's advocating examinations, perish the thought!

I read these words in an article by Marlon de la Torre on CatholicExchange.com.  Marlon writes about the problems facing catechesis today, including the fact that many catechists in parishes are not well-catechized themselves, and some even have an aversion to the Catechism itself, seeing it as unfit for use in the classroom!

The title of this post — Quis docebit doctores? — is a play on a Latin phrase penned by Juvenal, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" ("Who will guard the guards themselves?")  The title here means, "Who will teach the teachers?"

How can we move from a scissors-and-crayons mode of "faith formation" to a genuine formation of faith which teaches and instructs?

3 comments:

jdonliturgy said...

Good catechist formation begins with them understanding their role and the responsibility to engage in lifelong learning. As a diocesan catechetical leader, I am concerned that in our diocese, we have no way to "mandate" that all volunteer catechists take part in formation in "Being", "Knowing" and "Savoire Faire" as described by the GDC and the NDC. Good things are offered, but participation is low. Sadly, until Catholic adults are evangelized to the degree needed to experience their own personal conversion, adult catechists will continue to assume they know everything they need to know... most of which they learned in 8th grade a long time ago.

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