A study in the history of liberation catechesis : the contribution of the Catholic Church in South Africa to the catechetical renewal from 1965 to 1991.
This research is a study of the history of liberation catechesis with a special emphasis on the contribution of the Catholic Church in South Africa to the catechetical renewal from 1965 to 1991. It is fundamentally an exercise in contextual catechesis and starts from the pre-supposition that it is the particular situation under which people live, in this case the South African context, which gives catechesis its existence and its specifity. Exploring the catechetical productions of the Catholic Church in South Africa from 1965 to 1991, this study shows how the clergy of the Catholic Church remained in constant turmoil searching for ways and means of meeting the demands of the catechetical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council. In this quest for renewal it was imperative for catechetical experts to engage with the South African Context. In this enterprise there was a preoccupation with linking the Christian message and the people's life despite all the tensions, conflicts and divisions within the Catholic Church and the society as a whole. It is this need of linking the Christian faith and people's life situation in South Africa which is understood as a liberation catechesls or a liberating catechesls. It is an all-embracing catechesis because it takes into account all aspects of human life and aims at a better life. It was not an easy task as one could see through the South African situation. However it was necessary if the Catholic Church wanted to proclaim a Christian message which is relevant to the people of South Africa. Initiating a liberation catechesis demands a lot of courage and commitment because it is a question of life and death. The people who embarked on this road in South Africa were bound to call for change including the political system which affected the life of the people at the time. It is in this sense that their life was at risk. Despite this risk, progressive bishops, priests and catechists held that liberation catechesis is the way out for the Catholic Church in South Africa to be relevant to the people. This is where the South African context offers a way out for other local Churches in South Africa trapped in social and ethnic conflict today, namely the Church in Rwanda.