The Catholic University of America

Final Examination
Brian J. Pedraza
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy 
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
10:00a.m., Caldwell Hall, Room 125
truth and love: the christocentric anthropology of karol wojtyla/Pope john paul ii and catechesis for the new evangelization
Director: John Grabowski, Ph.D.
Popes Francis, Benedict XVI, and John Paul II have called the present a time of New Evangelization for the Church in its mission to the world and have stressed the importance of catechesis for this mission. As the initiator of the New Evangelization, John Paul II claimed that this renewal of the Church’s mission is grounded in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
                Nevertheless, approaches to catechesis in the conciliar and postconciliar era have varied greatly, as evidenced by the shifts in catechetical practice effected by the modern catechetical movement. Just as the dominant forms of theology changed from neo-scholastic to anthropological approaches so, too, did catechesis move from catechism-based approaches to more anthropological models based upon human experience.
                In light of this context, this dissertation examines the theological foundations of catechesis in the Church’s understanding of divine revelation and its reception by the human person, especially as found in the conciliar constitutions, Dei Verbum and Gaudium et Spes. After drawing norms on divine revelation from these documents, it then traces the history of the modern catechetical movement in order to compare this history with the conciliar norms, highlighting the renewal’s strengths and weaknesses.
                The remainder of the dissertation then examines the anthropology of Karol Wojty?a/Pope John Paul II as a way forward for the ministry of the Word. His Christocentric understanding of the human person stands at the center of all of his teaching and scholarship and is the key to his magisterial interpretation of Vatican II. Ultimately, I posit that his anthropology provides an understanding of the person that can unite divine revelation and human experience in a way that takes what is best from the modern catechetical movement, while developing the ministry in a way that can be fruitful for the mission of the New Evangelization.