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Katehetsko djelovanje svećenika u Hrvatskoj na temelju udžbenika pastoralne teologije od polovice 19. stoljeća do Drugog vatikanskog sabora

Catholic Faculty of Theology, J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Hrvatski Pastoralni Udžbenici
  • Pretkoncilski Svećenik-Kateheta
  • Deharbovski Neoskolastički Katekizmi
  • Pastirsko Bogoslovlje.
  • Croatian Pastoral Textbooks
  • Pre-Council Priest-Catechist
  • Deharbe’S Neo-Scholastic Catechisms
  • Pastoral Theology.
  • Education
  • Religious Science


Pastoral textbooks used by pre-Vatican II priests show, beyond any doubt, that, in their pastoral work, priests had a great appreciation for catechetic teaching. In accordance with the pre-Council theological individualism of salvation, a priest defines catechetic teaching as a clever way of giving students the opportunity to adopt, through their catechist, what is necessary for their salvation. Teaching in faith was imprinted in the habitus of a pre-Council priest as his principal task, which he sees as a lasting continuation of Jesus’ ministry of teaching in the Church, in the form of his mediating role of the ‘alter Christus’. Jesus Christ was the foremost subject of catechetic teaching for children and adults, the complete content of the Revelation as it had been published in the Holy Scripture and the tradition, and believed according to the doctrine of the Church. Orthodoxy was to be preserved in the process by all means. Priest-catechist was aware of the fact that the future generation of the faithful and the fruitful receiving of the sacraments depended on the quality, systematic and methodological catechetisation. Education was not the only purpose of catechization, but also the promptness of the catechized to do good. This is exactly why priests felt they were not only catechists but also educators in faith. In order to achieve this, priests endeavored to improve their pedagogical, didactical and methodological skills, having in mind the individual experience of the learners. They had to know the particulars of the local language, as well as the language used by children, introducing them gradually into religious terminology. As far as methodology is concerned, priests used both achromatic and heuristic methodology and often combined the two, to interpret the truths of the faith preaching with the biblical underlying concept, formulating the content into teaching units which ended with the catechist getting feedback from the catechized. Catechists proved to be irreplaceable in the process of teaching catechism, trying to refresh mostly arid, tedious units of Neo-Scholastic religious catechisms. In their choice of material catechists followed the approved Neo-Scholastic, later Deharbe’s catechisms, which based the lesson plans on biblical stories to make the catechetic morals interesting to children, because the stories gave concrete form to the abstract, dogmatic-moral catechist formulations. The curriculum of school catechism was complementary to parish catechesis; both components of religious teaching used the same tools – catechism. Priest-catechist would lecture both children and adults on the book of rites (liturgy), instructing them in liturgical year and rites, emphasizing the sacramental catechesis which was still strongly influenced by Neo-Scholastic intellectualism. A pre-Council priest developed Eucharistic catechesis and premarital catechesis for the couples engaged to be married, whereas the very sacrament of reconciliation was kept within the frame of the confessor’s advices to penitents. Individual spiritual guidance also contained some strong catechetic features within the individual guidance of families, children and young adults of various social classes. The intention was to combine catechization with preaching, with Sunday and holiday evangelical pericopes. Using this, at the time complementary catechization, priests strived to integrate them into parish communities.

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