In the years that followed publication of the first General Catechetical Directory in 1971, important new realities emerged, and a wealth of new material was produced by the Magisterium, providing fresh insights and objectives for the Church’s catechetical ministry. This led to the current General Directory for Catechesis, first published in 1997, which takes into account all these developments including the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and incorporates all the developments which have contributed to catechetical praxis since 1971: the RCIA, Pope Paul VI’s teaching and, in particular, the key 1975 document Evangelii Nuntiandi, which placed catechesis as one of the enduring concerns of the Church in our time. Taking up this catechetical heritage in 1978, Pope John Paul II made a prodigious contribution in Catechesi Tradendae, and the major encyclicals he has written, most especially Redemptoris Missio which reaffirms the validity of the Church’s missionary mandate. In the service of the entire Church, The Holy See has now collated and organized this heritage systematically in this Directory, to make it available for catechetical purposes.
An essential companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) provides religious educators, teachers, and catechists with a single point of reference for all aspects of catechetical instruction, for content and pedagogy, as well as for methodology. Beginning with an introductory reflection of how contemporary human and ecclesial conditions have impacted the preaching of the Gospel, the Directory moves through a detailed presentation of the goals and essential elements of catechesis, from its role in the Church’s mission of evangelization, to norms and guidelines for its presentation, to adaptations for various groups and situations.