I. Catechumenate or discipleship? – II. Catechumenatediscipleship in its historical development: 1st c. – III. Catechumenatediscipleship is situated in the heart of the church’s pastoral efforts: 2nd-3rd c. before 313 – IV. Later evolution and changes: a catechumenatediscipleship of recovery: 4th-5th c. – V. In the national churches and in the barbarian kingdoms: 6th-7th c. – VI. Concluding summary. I. Catechumenate or discipleship? Anachronism of the term catechumenate. It is generally thought that the term catechumenate goes back to the church’s origins. It can be demonstrated historically, however, that in the first centuries the reality of an intense preparation of adults for baptism was not referred to as the catechumenate, even if the terms catechesis and catechumen are frequent see A. Hamman, Catecumeno catecumenato, in DPAC I 1983, 627-629. Only from the Renaissance was catechumenate used in works on initiation to baptism in the early church. This emphasis on terminology is not insignificant; rather, it reflects a profound reality, very well expressed by a specialist on the subject, M. Dujarier: the formation of converts was never perceived as coming from a particular institution, and even less from a marginal organization. It was in fact in her very womb that the Church-Mother had always exercised her maternity. Growth in faith does not come about in vitro. It is the work of the whole community, which proposes the Good News, forms new believers and receives them into her own life Devenir disciple du Christ. Catchumnat et discipulat: Historiam Perscrutari. Misc. O. Pasquato, Rome 2002, 521-537; here 521.





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