American Initiative in the Modern Catechetical Movement: From the Release of the Baltimore Catechism in 1885 to the Publication of the General Catechetical Directory in 1971
Ingold, Matt D
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The twentieth century has been a dynamic era for Catholic catechesis in the United States. Since the Protestant Reformation, catechesis had revolved around the Catechism as the primary text and memorization as the fundamental method for imparting Christian doctrine. In the late nineteenth century, progressive American catechists, both lay and religious, endeavored to introduce modern pedagogical standards to the realm of Catholic religious education. Traditional historiography credits this transition to European initiatives. Assessing the evolution of American catechesis through modern catechetical programs and textbooks developed between 1885 and 1971, however, demonstrates that American initiative in modernizing catechesis was ongoing during the twentieth century in the United States. Pedagogical advances in religious education were taking place mainly at the classroom level by the ingenuity of progressive catechists. This thesis endeavors to illustrate the American contribution to the modernization of Catholic religious education in the United States.