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Unit 26/Podcast

Psychology, Morality, and Better Catechesis with Dr. Joseph White

In this episode, Edmund Mitchell interviews Dr. Joseph White about psychology and catechesis. Dr. White, with a background in psychology and experience in catechesis, shares insights on navigating the third pillar of the catechism and using what we can learn from the natural sciences to help in our efforts in catechesis. The conversation emphasizes the need to understand diverse age groups and developmental milestones for effective religious education.

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Show Notes

(00:00) In this podcast episode, co-host Edmund Mitchell interviews Dr. Joseph White, a licensed family and child psychologist with a focus on the intersection of psychology and catechesis. Dr. White, an associate publisher for Our Sunday Visitor, discusses his journey into this field, emphasizing the connection between his psychology background and a Catholic university’s influence. The conversation delves into the third pillar of the catechism, exploring challenges in moral teachings and authentic catechetical approaches. Dr. White emphasizes the need for faithfulness to both God and humanity, aligning the message with the audience’s developmental stages. 


(09:47) Edmund and Dr. Joseph discuss the potential resistance to incorporating modern psychology and human sciences into catechesis. Dr. White highlights the two-fold responsibility of using human sciences to enhance catechetical effectiveness and evaluating scientific discoveries through the lens of faith. The conversation explores the complementarity between divine revelation, Catholic anthropology, and insights from the human sciences. 


(19:42) The conversation turns to the relevance of psychology and childhood development in understanding and easing the natural pushback against moral teachings during adolescence. Dr. Joseph and Edmund emphasize that questioning and pushing back are integral parts of healthy development, crucial for forging independence.


(30:35) Edmund and Dr. Joseph discuss the example of St. John Bosco in building relationships, especially with students and those being catechized. They highlight how St. John Bosco’s trust in God was a cornerstone in his care for orphaned children, emphasizing the importance of forming close bonds and leading others into a relationship with God. The hosts reflect on a common mistake in catechesis—assuming that knowing facts is sufficient, stressing the need to connect faith with practical ways of living. 


(35:54) Edmund shares where people can find more of Dr. White’s work, mentioning his books on the OSV website and highlighting his YouTube channel, where he shares talks on catechesis, especially focusing on sharing the faith with young people. Edmund encourages listeners to find Dr. White on youtube by searching “Dr. Joseph White catechesis”. 


Continue this Unit


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