A turning away from the teaching of Catholic doctrine in favor of experimental liturgical activity and social protest prepared the way for the application to catechesis of the malevolent concept of “ongoing revelation” under the leadership of Gabriel Moran. For disciples of Moran, God was to be sought in the modern world, from which it follows that catechesis should be centered on finding meaning in one’s lived experience, an approach which was said to be authoritative following Vatican II. The following characteristics give indication of neomodernist inspiration in catechesis after the Council:
· The prioritization of inquiry over the handing on of the Deposit of the Faith, wherein students under the catechists’ direction explore the meaning of their own experience; the net result of this method was to downgrade the bishop from the role traditionally assigned him as chief catechist in his diocese in deference to the “professional” expert more versed in the “new catechesis.”
· The derision of Church Tradition and authority, which was viewed as “indoctrination” because it offered absolutes and authoritative answers. The truth of these answers was now styled as relative to the age in which they appeared and did not necessarily speak to the modern age. That Jesus came to set men free was interpreted to mean that one was then free to decide for himself the meaning of Christ’s teaching, and under no obligation to follow magisterial teaching. The immediate fruits of this approach were dramatic declines in attendance at Confession and at
· The priority given to subjectivity over objective reality in the “new catechesis;” one’s religion now being understood as personal, it was argued that the believing Catholic could decide for himself the meaning of Jesus’ teaching.
In the face of parental objection to the new approach to teaching the Faith, which made the interpretation of one’s life experience the norm for catechesis, the religious education professionals disingenuously professed that what the parents were demanding was a return to the “pre-Vatican II” method of indoctrination, of memorizing the Baltimore Catechism. The diabolic element in the new catechesis was in the reception it received….