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The complete teachings, beliefs, and doctrines of the catholic church
on February 21, 2015
The complete teachings, beliefs, and doctrines of the catholic church all in one book. The OED defines “catechism” as “An elementary treatise for instruction in the principles of the Christian religion, in the form of question and answer; such a book accepted and issued by a church as an authoritative exposition of its teaching….” This is a useful definition for understanding what kind of information can be found in the catechism.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Obviously, the information contained in it was not new—it is based on the Bible, documents from church councils, encyclicals, previous versions of the catechism, and other Church documents that predate it by hundreds of years.
The Catechism is meant to be used as a reference work. It’s organized clearly with an extensive table of contents and a glossary. I wouldn’t recommend trying to read it from cover to cover, though you certainly can if you’re of such a mind to do so.
The Catechism is easy to find. It’s available for free on the Vatican website, though since I hate reading on the computer, I don’t find it more beneficial for anything save the search function. Printed copies are easily available used, new, paperback, hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, e-reader, and any form you could want. As long as it says “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” it’s the right book. Be aware that the
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is a study supplement and does not contain the full text of the Catechism.