What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

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On January 25, 1995 Pope Saint John Paul II convoked an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod Fathers expressed the desire that a catechism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine be composed. They stressed it had to be biblical and liturgical and contain sound doctrine.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the result of extensive collaboration:

    • It was prepared over 6 years;
    • Involved a commission of 12 cardinals and bishops chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger;
    • Drafts examined the observations by numerous theologians, exegetes and catechists and the Bishops of the whole world.

The Catechism contains both old and new and is arranged in four parts that are related to each other, but presented in a new way:

    • Creed – the Catholic profession of faith,
    • Sacred Liturgy – the celebration of the Christian Mystery,
    • Christian way of life – Life in Christ, and
    • Christian prayer.

It is also a statement of the Church’s faith, illuminated by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s magisterium and a ‘reference text for a catechesis renewed at the living source of faith!’[1] It includes and is supported by an extensive index of citations on Scripture and the other documents of the Church and writing of holy men and women.

Bibliography

The Holy See; Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997.

[1] Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositium on the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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