Over the last few days, a few comments about catechists have come from the Vatican. I have to admit to finding neither of them particularly inspiring.
First, the Prefect for the Congregation for Clergy said that catechists are an “asset to parishes and a promising sign for the Church today.” He went on to express gratitude to catechists and to exhort them to a deeper relationship with God. That’s all well and good, but I think it is underwhelming to call catechists “an asset to parishes.” An asset is something that is useful. Catechists are not just useful, they are inexpendable!
Now, Pope Benedict has spoken about catechists as well, saying that being a teacher of faith is more than just a job but is something inseparable from living a Christian life. I couldn’t agree more. But then he went on to say this:
“Educators of the faith,” said the Pope, “cannot run the risk of looking like some sort of clown, who is simply playing a role.”
I’m sorry, but I don’t know any catechists who are clowns. Catechists are extremely dedicated people seeking to live a life of discipleship and impart it to others. I know what the Pope is trying to say – we do not act a part – we live it. But I don’t think his choice of the word clown is very wise. In fact, I find the suggestion that some catechists may simply be acting a part to be insulting to catechists in general.
Let me know what you think.