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In Spring of 1971, the General Catechetical Directory mandated by Vatican II was
Rome. The English edition was published by the United States Catholic Conference by
November of the following year, 1972, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops [NCCB]
released a message titled, To Teach as Jesus Did: A Pastoral Message on Catholic
This was the first pastoral in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States to be devoted
religious education. The document builds mainly on Vatican II's Gravissimum
Declaration on Christian Education, but it also draws on the General Catechetical
Directory. This document is mentioned here because it was considered a landmark in
catechetical methodology and was meant to be a partner to a document on catechetical content
less than two months later. That document, Basic Teachings for Catholic Religious
includes Marian teaching. It was meant as an implementation in the United States of the
Catechetical Directory, and was prepared in consultation with the Catechetical Office of the
Basic Teachings was essentially an interim document. The United States had begun preparation of its own National Catechetical Directory as a consequence of the universal General Catechetical Directory in 1971, but this would not be forthcoming until 1979.
Three themes prayer, liturgy, and scripture are in Basic Teachings the framework with which to study all catechetical themes, including the person and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first mention of Mary is in the introductory section on prayer and the second is in article 24, which gives the basic catechetical teaching on Mary that was to be included in official teachings about her.
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This document can be found through interlibrary loan.
The National Council of Catholic Bishops|
January 11, 1973
Return to the list of Marian themes.
Return to the list of Magisterial documents.