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 ( /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.
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 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.[note 1]
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".[note 2]
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 Councils and 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.
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.
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.
Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to a Catholic "who, having reached the age of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age", except in the case of those who "persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin". Proximate danger of death, the occasion for the administration of Viaticum, is not required, but only the onset of a medical condition of serious illness or injury or simply old age: "It is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived."Anointing of the sick has often been postponed until someone is on the point of dying, so much so that, in spite of the fact that, in all celebrations of this sacrament, the liturgy prays for recovery of the health of the sick person if that would be conducive to his salvation, Anointing of the Sick has been thought to be exclusively for the dying and has been called Extreme Unction (Final Anointing).The sacrament is administered by a priest, who uses olive oil or another pure plant oil to anoint the patient's forehead and perhaps other parts of the body while reciting certain prayers. It is believed to give comfort, peace, courage and, if the sick person is unable to make a confession, even forgiveness of sins. Several other churches and ecclesial communities have similar ceremonies (see Anointing of the Sick for a more general discussion).Blessed Sacrament
The Blessed Sacrament, also Most Blessed Sacrament, is a devotional name used in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, as well as in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, and the Old Catholic Church, as well as in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, to refer to the body and blood of Christ in the form of consecrated sacramental bread and wine at a celebration of the Eucharist. In the Byzantine Rite, the terms Holy Gifts and Divine Mysteries are used to refer to the consecrated elements. Christians in these traditions believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic elements of the bread and wine and some of them, therefore, practice Eucharistic reservation and adoration. This belief is based on interpretations of both scripture and sacred tradition. The Catholic understanding has been defined by numerous ecumenical councils, including the Fourth Lateran Council and the Council of Trent, which is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which explains the meaning of transubstantiation).The largest Portuguese feast in the world is held in New Bedford, Massachusetts in honor of the Blessed Sacrament attracting over 100,000 visitors each year.Catechism
A catechism ( ; from Ancient 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. 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 (Prayers of the Faithful).Catechetisms are characteristic of Western Christianity but are also present in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In 1973, The Common Catechism, the first joint catechism of Catholics and Protestants, was published by theologians of the major Western Christian traditions, as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue.Charity (virtue)
In Christian theology, Charity (Latin Caritas) is considered as one of the seven virtues and is understood by Thomas Aquinas as "the friendship of man for God", which "unites us to God". He holds it as "the most excellent of the virtues". Further, Aquinas holds that "the habit of charity extends not only to the love of God, but also to the love of our neighbor".The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines "charity" as "the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God".Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic prayer for guidance. It is discussed in Catechism of the Catholic Church 2670–2672.Confirmation in the Catholic Church
Confirmation or Chrismation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is also one of the three sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church, the other two being Baptism and Holy Communion.Culture of life
A culture of life describes a way of life based upon the belief that human life at all stages from conception through natural death is sacred. As such, a culture of life opposes practices destructive to human life at any stage, including abortion, euthanasia, 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 gained popularity after it was used by Pope John Paul II.In the United States, secular politicians such as George W. Bush have also used the phrase. In 2004, the Republican Party included a plank in their platform that called for "Promoting a Culture of Life."Divine grace
Divine grace is a theological term present in many religions. It has been defined as the divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation; and as an individual virtue or excellence of divine origin.God in Catholicism
God in Catholicism is YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom the Catholic Church teaches Jesus Christ revealed to be the Trinity.Mortal sin
A mortal sin (Latin: peccatum mortale), 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.
According to Catholic teaching, perfect contrition (or imperfect contrition in the Sacrament of Penance), coupled with a firm resolution to sin no more, can restore a person's relationship with God, as well as God's saving grace. However, as God's mercy and forgiveness is not bound by the Sacrament of Penance, under extraordinary circumstances a mortal sin can be remitted through perfect contrition, which is a human act that arises from a person's love of God. When perfect contrition is the means by which one seeks to restore one's relationship with God, there must also be a resolution to confess all mortal sins (that have not been confessed and absolved previously) in the Sacrament of Penance. A resolution to confess these sins should be made with an act of perfect contrition, regardless of whether or not a person believes that they will have access to the Sacrament of Penance.The term "mortal sin" is thought to be derived from the New Testament of the Bible. Specifically, it has been suggested that the term comes from the 1 John 5:16–17. In this particular verse, the author of the Epistle writes "There is a sin that leads to death."Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It also plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven (in English see contrition). Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages.People of God
People of God is a description that in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible applies to the Israelites and that the New Testament applies to Christians. Within the Catholic Church, it has been given greater prominence because of its employment in documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).Private revelation
Private revelation is, in Christian theology, a message from God which can come in a variety of types.Sacraments of the Catholic Church
There are seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, which according to Catholic theology were instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rites seen as signs and efficacious channels of the grace of God to all those who receive them with the proper disposition. The sevenfold list of sacraments is often organized into three categories: the sacraments of initiation (into the Church, the body of Christ), consisting of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist; the sacraments of healing, consisting of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick; and the sacraments of service: Holy Orders and Matrimony.Ten Commandments in Catholic theology
The Ten Commandments are a series of religious and moral imperatives that are recognized as a moral foundation in several of the Abrahamic religions, including Catholicism. As described in the Old Testament books Exodus and Deuteronomy, the Commandments form part of a covenant offered by God to the Israelites to free them from the spiritual slavery of sin. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church—the official exposition of the Catholic Church's Christian beliefs—the Commandments are considered essential for spiritual good health and growth, and serve as the basis for Catholic social teaching. A review of the Commandments is one of the most common types of examination of conscience used by Catholics before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, previously known as the sacrament of Penance.The Commandments appear in the earliest Church writings; the Catechism states that they have "occupied a predominant place" in teaching the faith since the time of Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430). The Church had no official standards for religious instruction until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215; evidence suggests the Commandments were used in Christian education in the early Church and throughout the Middle Ages. The perceived lack of instruction in them by some dioceses was the basis of one of the criticisms launched against the Church by Protestant reformers. Afterward, the first Church-wide catechism in 1566 provided "thorough discussions of each commandment", but gave greater emphasis to the seven sacraments. The most recent Catechism devotes a large section to interpret each of the commandments.Church teaching of the Commandments is largely based on the Old and New Testaments and the writings of the early Church Fathers. In the New Testament, Jesus acknowledged their validity and instructed his disciples to go further, demanding a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. Summarized by Jesus into two "Great Commandments" that teach love of God and love of neighbor, they instruct individuals on their relationships with both. The first three commandments require reverence and respect for God's name, observation of the Lord's Day and prohibit the worship of other gods. The others deal with the relationships between individuals, such as that between parent and child; they include prohibitions against lying, stealing, murdering, adultery and covetousness.Thou shalt not commit adultery
"Thou shalt not commit adultery", one of the Ten Commandments, is found at Exodus 20:14 of the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament. What constitutes adultery is not plainly defined in this passage of the Bible, and has been the subject of debate within Judaism and Christianity.Thou shalt not covet
"Thou shalt not covet" is the most common translation of one (or two, depending on the numbering tradition) of the Ten Commandments or Decalogue, which are widely understood as moral imperatives by legal scholars, Jewish scholars, Catholic scholars, and Protestant scholars. The Book of Exodus and the Book of Deuteronomy both describe the Ten Commandments as having been spoken by God, inscribed on two stone tablets by the finger of God, and, after Moses broke the original tablets, rewritten by God on replacements.In traditions that consider the passage a single commandment, the full text reads:
You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Unlike the other commandments which focus on outward actions, this commandment focuses on thought. It is an imperative against setting one's desire on things that are forbidden. One commandment forbids the act of adultery. This commandment forbids the desire for adultery. One commandment forbids stealing. This commandment forbids the desire for acquisition of another's goods. The New Testament describes Jesus as interpreting the Ten Commandments as issues of the heart's desires rather than merely prohibiting certain outward actions.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not murder," and "anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment … You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church connects the command against coveting with the command to "love your neighbor as yourself." Ibn Ezra on the question of "how can a person not covet a beautiful thing in his heart?" wrote that the main purpose of all the commandments is to straighten the heart.Universalism
Universalism is a philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A community that calls itself universalist may emphasize the universal principles of most religions, and accept others in an inclusive manner. It is centered on the belief in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine.
Christian Universalism is focused on the idea of universal reconciliation. Also known as universal salvation, it is a doctrine stating that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy.A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in Universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching than the national, cultural, or religious boundaries or interpretations of that one truth. As the Rig Veda states, "Truth is one; sages call it by various names."Universalism has had an influence on modern day Hinduism, in turn influencing western modern spirituality.Unitarian Universalism emphasizes that religion is a universal human quality, and also focuses on the universal principles of most religions. It accepts all religions in an inclusive manner.Youcat
Youcat, short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, also styled as YOUCAT, is a 2011 publication that aims to be an aid for youth to better understand the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The book, drafted in the form of a conversation, is intended for use by Catholic youths around the world and is available in 25 languages, including Arabic and Chinese. Youcat is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997) and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2005). The catechism has 304 pages and consists of four chapters with 527 questions and answers.
The foreword was written by Pope Benedict XVI. Approximately 700,000 copies of Youcat were distributed in thirteen different languages on behalf of the Pope during World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.
|Order of Mass|
|Parts of the|
Sanctuary / Altar
of the faithful