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Compendium : Catechism of the Catholic Church 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1574557206
ISBN-10: 1574557203
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Here's a perspective from a teenager: The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a HUGE book and is therefore harder for me to approach and read. Yes, when I have a question about the faith I try and consult it, but sometimes topics are hard to find. The language used is very beautiful, but also very hard to understand. Now take this Compendium: The set up involving the question - answer format is very user friendly. It covers all the basics and important information. The language used is closer to the vernacular and therefore much easier for the every day person to read and understand. There are pictures, quotes, and prayer references. I was a bit wary when I bought it, but for the first time I have voluntarily approached the catechism just for the sake of reading it. I have been able to clearly understand things presented. Now, I understand that it doesn't replace the actual Catechism, but here's another plus: There are side notes that link the text to paragraphs in the Catechism. So when you feel ready to move on to further study you can do so. Overall it is an amazing resource for Catholics and for people interested in the faith but who are a bit wary of picking up a ten pound book.

Crux of the News : "It will be an essential tool for youths and young adults, and the perfect companion to a youth or young adult's Bible, spiritual reading, or textbook. Catechetical leaders in high schools, colleges, and parishes will appreciate its versatility as a reference book, discussion starter, or core resource for RCIA programs." --Anna Sproull

About the Author

Now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time worked on the writing commission of the Compendium he was Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith. Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. He was elected pope in 2005.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; 1 edition (March 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574557203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574557206
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bishop Donald Wuerl, past chairman and current member of the American bishops' Committee on Catechesis, had this to say about the Compendium, "[It] offers a concise yet complete presentation of the faith. It presents an overview of the whole Cathechism [of the Catholic Church] without going into all of the details that enrich the Catechism. Its primary focus is to provide ready access in a concise manner to the content of the faith."

To the delight of seekers everywhere, the Compendium reintroduces new generations of Catholics to the reliable Q&A format. Twenty five years ago, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, the Prefect for the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy, defended this time-tested format from the attacks of members of supposedly "progressive" catechetical schools. He wisely observed that "specialists in internal medicine, engineering, and chemistry arm themselves with question and answer manuals to check themselves on recent developments in their respective fields." The good cardinal then addressed the progressive complaint directly:

"Captious critics have objected that the Faith is not a series of answers to contrived questions but a way of life. The answer to this objection might well be another question: How can we live a Christian life until we first 'know the truth' (John 8:32)?"

To that end, the Q&A format enables readers to commit the truths of the faith to memory. Indeed, "memorization" is one of the reasons Pope Benedict cites for issuing the Compendium. And thanks to its beautiful, crisp language, doing so can be a labor of love. Read the following excerpt from the section explaining the "Our Father":

"596. What does 'Lead us not into temptation' mean?

We ask God our Father not to leave us alone and in the power of temptation.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
What makes the Compendium so compelling is the format. I pick it up and read a few pages of Questions and Answers and usually find some nugget that stays with me for the rest of the day. For example, Question #43 is: "What does it mean to believe in only one God?" Part of the answer is that it means that we are "living in thanksgiving and trusting in him {God} always even in adversity." That is an awesome and practical answer. It can immediately be used in examining how we are living our lives. Do I live my life like I believe in only one God? Am I giving thanks to God when I'm stuck in traffic or when even worst things happen? How about when good things happen?

The Compendium is not a long book, so one can get an overview of the Catholic faith in 204 pages including a survey of Catholic art, Latin prayers to memorize (most will need a pronounciation guide for these)and prayers in English--even a "Coptic Incense Prayer."

Even those who have the Catechism of the Catholic Church will find the Compendium new and very informative.

I am the author of The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You
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As a catechist I was overjoyed to see the new Compendium of the Catechism. It is an excellent tool for adult catechesis. Although the big "Catechism of the Catholic Church" is indespensable for the catechist, this new smaller Compendium is less intimidating to those who are new to the Catholic faith and it contains all of the teachings of the larger Catechism in a way that is much more accesible. The Catholic Prayers section is excellent, too.
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The question and answer format has always been useful. Thomas Aquinas used it his Summa and people have found it helpful ever since.

This is an outstanding condensation of the Catechism.

The book is a much slimmer than the brick-sized catechism. The style is easy to read and will not turn off anyone.

This is NOT a replacement for the Catechism book, but a rather wonderful companion.

Speaking of companions, please do not forget to look at these two.

# "Companion to Catechism of the Catholic Church". That book has ALL of the text referred to by all the footnotes in the Catechism. A resource two-millennia in the making!

# "Introduction to the Catechism" by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
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The only possible "criticism" which could be leveled at the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that it is not an easy read. By contrast, the Compendium reads beautifully, easily, and magnificently. In addition to print versions, the Compendium (& the Catechism, itself) can be found in its entirety at the Vatican web site.
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Pope John Paul II oversaw the issue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992, which was directed primarily to bishops and priests, to provide a sure norm of Catholic doctrine, and to aid in the development of regional/diocesan catechesis.

Sadly, 14 years after the release of the CCC, we in the U.S. can see, in general, just how "well" our previous Holy Father's exhortation was heeded. In my home diocese of Albany, NY, for example, catechetical materials from Bishop Hubbard's office--a bureaucracy openly hostile to Catholic orthodoxy--are just about uniformly heretical. The adjoining diocese (of Syracuse, NY) isn't much better, either, I'm afraid. So much for the U.S. Bishops' response to the Pope's call to orthodoxy . . .

Happily, in June 2005 (its English edition released to the U.S. in March 2006), Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Compendium as "a faithful and sure synthesis of the [CCC]," aimed primarily at the rank-and-file Catholic laity. Thank God that the Pope has done for us what our bishops, by-and-large, have miserably failed to do: made the dense volume of the CCC digestable in the 175-page Compendium, an accessible and completely trustworthy summary of the CCC!

The question-and-answer format of the Compendium, with marginal cross references to corresponding sections of the CCC parent text, offer brief, but powerful statements of our precious Catholic faith: bite-sized, but full of nutritionally ample Catholic teaching. One paragraph will keep you going for a whole day--usually more!

The critical teaching office that our regional (U.S.) bishops have pretty much abandoned still functions--Praise be to God!--at the level of our universal Bishop. Thanks again, Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. It's comforting indeed to know that at least one bishop, i.e., the Supreme Pontiff, still cares deeply--with the love of the Chief Shepherd of our souls, Jesus Christ--for his sheep!

Viva Papa!!
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