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 sums up, in book form, the beliefs of the Catholic faithful.
A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals – often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorised – a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well. The term catechumen refers to the designated recipient of the catechetical work or instruction. In the Catholic Church, catechumens are those who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Traditionally, they would be placed separately during Holy Mass from those who had been baptized, and would be dismissed from the liturgical assembly before the Profession of Faith (Creed) and General Intercessions.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.
A catechism ( /ˈkætəˌkizəm/; from Greek: κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts.
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance.The Church of England prayer book describes a sacrament as 'an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace'. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.
The decision to publish a 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 for the 20th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, and in 1986, put a commission composed of 12 bishops and cardinals in charge of the project.The commission was assisted by a committee consisting of seven diocesan bishops, experts in theology and catechesis.
The SecondExtraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, was held in Vatican City from 24 November to 8 December 1985 on the topic of The Twentieth Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. The synod was a gathering of 165 bishops and other participants to celebrate, verify, and promote the council, also known as Vatican II. The participants evaluated the implementation of the changes heralded by Vatican II in the past, and discussed how best to apply them in the future. The bishops discussed topics including secularism, evangelization, the universal call to holiness, formation of seminarians, catechism, liturgy, communion, the role of the laity, ecumenism, the preferential option for the poor, and Catholic social teaching.
The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.
Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine, and more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.
The text was approved by John Paul II on 25 June 1992, and promulgated by him on 11 October 1992, the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, with his apostolic constitution, Fidei depositum.Cardinal Georges Cottier, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household and later cardinal deacon of Santi Domenico e Sisto , of the University Church of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum was influential in drafting the encyclical.
An apostolic constitution is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church received from Roman law.
Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., was a Swiss Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop, Dominican, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Theologian of the Pontifical Household is a Roman Curial office which has always been entrusted to a Friar Preacher of the Dominican Order and may be described as the pope's theologian. The title was formerly known as the Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace before the changes implemented in Pope Paul VI's 1968 apostolic letter Pontificalis Domus.
It was published in the French language in 1992.Later it was then translated into many other languages. In the United States, the English translation was published in 1994 and had been pre-ordered more than 250,000 copies before its release, with a note that it was "subject to revision according to the Latin typical edition (editio typica) when it is published."
On August 15, 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 Latin text, which became the official text of reference (editio typica), 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".
A solemnity is, in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Rite, a feast day of the highest rank celebrating a mystery of faith such as the Trinity, an event in the life of Jesus, his mother Mary, or another important saint. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast. Unlike feast days of the rank of feast or those of the rank of memorial, solemnities replace the celebration of Sundays outside Advent, Lent, and Easter.
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven is, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.
Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italian Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval and Early Modern upper class of Europe. It includes words from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin re-purposed with Christian meaning. It is less stylized and rigid in form than Classical Latin, sharing vocabulary, forms, and syntax, while at the same time incorporating informal elements which had always been with the language but which were excluded by the literary authors of classical Latin. Its pronunciation is based on Italian.
One of the changes to 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.
The paragraph dealing with the death penalty (2267) was revised again by Pope Francis in 2018.
The present recension of the catechism now 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 she works with determination for its abolition worldwide."
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".
A catechism has been defined as "a book that explains the beliefs of the Christian religion by using a list of questions and answers".Documents of religious instruction have been written since the beginning of Christianity and a catechism is typically an assemblage of these smaller documents into one large compilation of Church doctrine and teachings.
The Catechism itself is not in question-and-answer format. Rather, it is instead a source on which to base such catechisms (e.g. Youcat and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults) and other expositions of Catholic doctrine, called a "major catechism." 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:
This scheme is often referred to as the “Four Pillars” of the Faith. The contents are abundantly footnoted with references to sources of the teaching, in particular the Scriptures, the Church Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councilsand other authoritative Catholic statements, principally those issued by recent popes.
The section on Scripture in the Catechism recovers the Patristic tradition of "spiritual exegesis" as further developed through the scholastic doctrine of the "four senses."This return to spiritual exegesis is based on the Second Vatican Council's 1965 dogmatic constitution Dei verbum , which taught that Scripture should be "read and interpreted in light of the same Spirit by whom it was written". The Catechism amplifies Dei verbum by specifying that the necessary spiritual interpretation should be sought through the four senses of Scripture, which encompass the literal sense and the three spiritual senses (allegorical, moral, and anagogical).
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.
In 1992, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) noted:
It 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".
It was expected that the universal Catechism would serve as a source and template for inculturated national catechisms. In the United States, for example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, officially replacing their previous version, the Baltimore Catechism .
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 nine languages.
Youcat , a catechism for youth, based on the Catechism and its Compendium, was published in 2011. The Vatican has acknowledged that some translations of Youcat contain errors regarding Church teaching on the status of other religions, contraception and euthanasia, whether due to simple error or poor translations.
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the central organization for the Church to advance its objectives.
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding 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. The sins against the Holy Ghost and the sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance are considered especially serious. This type of sin should be 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 Catholic teaching was formalized at the 16th century Council of Trent.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
Baronius Press is a traditional Catholic book publisher. It was founded in London, in 2002 by former St Austin Press editor Ashley Paver and other young Catholics who had previously worked in publishing and printing. The press takes its name from the Venerable Cardinal Cesare Baronius, a Neapolitan ecclesiastical historian who lived from 1538 to 1607. Its logo is a biretta, which together with a cassock forms the traditional image of a Catholic priest.
Domnus apostolicus, contraction of dominus apostolicus, is an epithet or title historically applied to popes, especially from the 6th to the 11th centuries, and was sometimes applied to other bishops also.
The Pontifical Biblical Commission is a body established within the Roman Curia to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture.
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".
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 are able to evaluate whether specific actions meet these standards. Much of the Church's detailed doctrines derive from the principle that "sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive [between spouses] purposes". At the same time, the Bishops at Vatican II decreed that the essential procreative end of marriage does not make "the other purposes of matrimony of less account."
The Vatican Publishing House is a publisher established by the Holy See in 1926. It is responsible for publishing official documents of the Roman Catholic Church, including Papal bulls and encyclicals. On 27 June 2015, Pope Francis decreed that the Vatican Publishing House would eventually be incorporated into a newly established Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia.
The Dutch Catechism of 1966 was the first post-Vatican II Catholic catechism. It was commissioned and authorized by the Catholic hierarchy of the Netherlands. Its lead authors were Edward Schillebeeckx OP, the influential Dominican intellectual, and Piet Schoonenberg, S.J., a professor of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen.
Catholic theology is the understanding of Roman 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 Roman Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.
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 Pope John Paul II bibliography contains a list of works by Pope John Paul II, and works about his life and theology. Pope John Paul II reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City for 26 years and six months. Works written and published prior to his election to the papacy are attributed to Karol Wojtyła. Additional resources can be found on the Vatican website.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:
Lumen fidei is the first encyclical of Pope Francis, issued on 29 June 2013, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and published on 5 July 2013, less than four months after his election to the papacy. It was issued in conjunction with the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to be observed from October 2012 to November 2013. It was the first encyclical in the history of the Catholic Church written by two popes, being begun by Pope Benedict XVI and finished by Pope Francis.
Canon 844 is a Catholic Church canon law contained within the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which defines the licit administration and reception of certain sacraments of the Catholic Church in normative and in particular exceptional circumstances, known in canonical theory as communicatio in sacris.
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