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The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Latin : Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the Catechism or the CCC) is a catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It aims to summarize, in book form, the main beliefs of the Catholic Church.
The decision to publish an official catechism was taken at the Second Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that was convened by Pope John Paul II on 25 January 1985, to evaluate the progress of implementing the Vatican II council's goals on the 20th anniversary of its closure. The assembly participants expressed the desire that "a catechism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed, that it might be, as it were, a point of reference for the catechisms or compendiums that are prepared in various regions. The presentation of doctrine must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians."
John Paul II says that in 1986 he formed a commission composed of 12 cardinals and bishops chaired by cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) to prepare the first draft of the Catechism.The commission was assisted by a committee consisting of seven diocesan bishops, experts in theology and catechesis.
Reminiscing those days, Ratzinger said in 2011: "I must confess that even today it seems a miracle to me that this project [the Catechism of the Catholic Church] was ultimately successful."
Cardinal Georges Cottier claims he worked on the Catechism.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.— John Paul II, Fidei depositum, part IV
The Catechism was promulgated by John Paul II on 11 October 1992, the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, with his apostolic constitution Fidei depositum (in English, The Deposit of Faith).
On 15 August 1997—the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—John Paul II promulgated the Latin typical edition, with his apostolic letter, Laetamur magnopere.
The CCC was published in the French language in 1992.In the United States, the English translation was published in 1994 and more than 250,000 copies had been pre-ordered before its release, with a note that it was "subject to revision according to the Latin typical edition (editio typica) when it is published."
The Latin typical edition, the official text of reference promulgated on 15 August 1997,amended the contents of the provisional French text at a few points. As a result, the earlier translations from the French into other languages (including English) had to be amended and re-published as "second editions".
In the apostolic constitution Fidei depositum, John Paul II declared that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is "a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith", and stressed that it "is not intended to replace the local catechisms duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, the diocesan Bishops and the Episcopal Conferences".
The Catechism states:
11 This catechism aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church's Tradition. Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church's Magisterium. It is intended to serve "as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendia that are composed in the various countries".
12 This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.
The Catechism is a source on which to base other Catholic catechisms (e.g., YOUCAT or the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults) and other expositions of Catholic doctrine. As stated in the apostolic constitution Fidei depositum, with which its publication was ordered, it was given so "that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms."
The Catechism is arranged in four principal parts:
The section on Scripture in the Catechism covers the Patristic tradition of "spiritual exegesis" as further developed through the scholastic doctrine of the "four senses."The Catechism amplifies Dei verbum by specifying that the necessary spiritual interpretation should be sought through the four senses of Scripture.
The literal sense pertains to the meaning of the words themselves, including any figurative meanings.The spiritual senses pertain to the significance of the things (persons, places, objects or events) denoted by the words. Of the three spiritual senses, the allegorical sense is foundational. It relates persons, events, and institutions of earlier covenants to those of later covenants, and especially to the New Covenant. Building on the allegorical sense, the moral sense instructs in regard to action, and the anagogical sense points to man's final destiny. The teaching of the Catechism on Scripture has encouraged the pursuit of covenantal theology, an approach that employs the four senses to structure salvation history via the biblical covenants.
One of the changes in the 1997 update consisted of the inclusion of the position on the death penalty that is defended in John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium vitae of 1995. [ better source needed ]
The paragraph dealing with the death penalty (2267) was revised again by Pope Francis in 2018.
The text previously stated (1997):
Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
The 2018 change to the Catechism reads:
Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person", and the Catholic Church works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2022)
In 1992, cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) stated:
[The Catechism of the Catholic Church] clearly show[s] that the problem of what we must do as human beings, of how we should live our lives so that we and the world may become just, is the essential problem of our day, and basically of all ages. After the fall of ideologies, the problem of man—the moral problem—is presented to today's context in a totally new way: What should we do? How does life become just? What can give us and the whole world a future which is worth living? Since the catechism treats these questions, it is a book which interests many people, far beyond purely theological or ecclesial circles.
Ulf Ekman, former Charismatic pastor and the founder of Livets Ord, says that the Catechism is "the best book he has ever read".
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published in 2005, and the first edition in English in 2006. It is a more concise and dialogic version of the Catechism. The text of the Compendium is available in fourteen languages on the Vatican website, which also gives the text of the Catechism itself in eleven languages.
Youcat is a 2011 publication aimed at helping youth understand the Catechism.
The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) is the oldest among the departments of the Roman Curia. Its seat is the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the Catholic Church from heresy and is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Roman Catholic doctrine.
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full agreement among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
A mortal sin, in Catholic theology, is a gravely sinful act which can lead to damnation if a person does not repent of the sin before death. A sin is considered to be "mortal" when its quality is such that it leads to a separation of that person from God's saving grace. Three conditions must together be met for a sin to be mortal: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." The sin against the Holy Ghost and the sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance are considered especially serious. This type of sin is distinguished from a venial sin that simply leads to a weakening of a person's relationship with God. Despite its gravity, a person can repent of having committed a mortal sin. Such repentance is the primary requisite for forgiveness and absolution. Teaching on absolution from serious sins has varied somewhat throughout history. The current teaching for Catholics was formalized at the 16th-century Council of Trent.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of 24 sui iuris churches, including the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, which comprise almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies located around the world. The pope, who is the bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the church. The bishopric of Rome, known as the Holy See, is the central governing authority of the church. The administrative body of the Holy See, the Roman Curia, has its principal offices in Vatican City, a small enclave of the Italian city of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.
Evangelium vitae translated in English to "The Gospel of Life", is a papal encyclical promulgated on 25 March 1995 by Pope John Paul II. It deals with issues pertaining to the sanctity of human life, including murder, abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment, reaffirming the Church's stances on said issues in a way generally considered consistent with previous Church teachings.
A culture of life describes a way of life based on the belief that human life at all stages from conception through natural death is sacred. It opposes the destruction of human life at any stage, including abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, studies and medicines involving embryonic stem cells, and contraception. It also promotes policies that "lift up the human spirit with compassion and love." The term originated in moral theology, especially that of the Catholic Church, and was popularly championed by Pope John Paul II; it has been widely used by religious leaders in evangelical Christianity as well. The philosophy of such a culture is a consistent life ethic.
Eucharist here refers to Holy Communion or the Body and Blood of Christ, which is consumed during the Catholic Mass or Eucharistic Celebration. "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood, … a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" As such, Eucharist is "an action of thanksgiving to God" derived from "the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification."
In Christian theology, a private revelation is an instance of revelation, in a broader sense of the term, of divine reality to a person or persons that follows the events of Revelation, i.e. divine revelation, which is contrastingly termed public revelation. Any such revelation is deemed not to add to or amend the divine revelation, but as a heavenly message that helps its recipients and other faithful live by Revelation.
Joseph Ratzinger (1927–2022) was named by Pope John Paul II on 25 November 1981 as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office and, especially around the 16th century, as the Roman Inquisition.
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism and office by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism and office has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.
Catholic theology of sexuality, like Catholic theology in general, is drawn from natural law, canonical scripture, divine revelation, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Sexual morality evaluates sexual behavior according to standards laid out by Catholic moral theology, and often provides general principles by which Catholics can evaluate whether specific actions meet these standards.
Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.
Sensus fidei, also called sensus fidelium is, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals." Quoting the document Lumen gentium of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism adds: "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority,... receives... the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. ...The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life." The foundation of this can be found in Jesus' saying in Mt 16:18 that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it," where "it" refers to the "Church", that is, the Lord's people that carries forward the living tradition of essential beliefs throughout history, with the Bishops overseeing that this tradition does not pursue the way of error.
Mariological papal documents have been a major force that has shaped Roman Catholic Mariology over the centuries. Mariology is developed by theologians on the basis not only of Scripture and Tradition but also of the sensus fidei of the faithful as a whole, "from the bishops to the last of the faithful", and papal documents have recorded those developments, defining Marian dogmas, spreading doctrines and encouraging devotions within the Catholic Church.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law which had been promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.
Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman Curia was accomplished through a series of decrees beginning in 1964, principally through the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae issued on 15 August 1967.
The deposit of faith is the body of revealed truth in the scriptures and sacred tradition proposed by the Roman Catholic Church for the belief of the faithful. The phrase has a similar use in the US Episcopal Church.
In the Catholic Church, the Synod of Bishops, considered as an advisory body for the pope, is one of the ways in which the bishops render cooperative assistance to him in exercising his office. It is described in the 1983 Code of Canon Law as "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."
Catholic ecclesiology is the theological study of the Catholic Church, its nature and organization, as described in revelation or in philosophy. Such study shows a progressive development over time. Here the focus is on the time leading into and since the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).
Christus vivit is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, written in response to the Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on young people, faith and vocational discernment, held from 3 to 28 October 2018.
Going back to the early years, the first 'big' text I worked on was the social encyclical Centesimus annus. And then the Ut unum sint on ecumenicalism, the moral encyclical Veritatis splendor, and the Fides et ratio… also the Catechism of the Catholic Church