Social Doctrine & Catechism
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Social Doctrine & Catechism

The Compendium shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel.

Social Doctrine

As food for human and spiritual growth, the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel.

Vatican's text of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summarized version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Following the International Catechetical Congress in 2002, the Holy Father instructed that a synthesis of the Catechism be prepared. The work was entrusted to a Commission of Cardinals presided over by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

In the Motu Proprio announcing its publication, Pope Benedict XVI described the Compendium as "a faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church." Benedict said the work "contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church's faith."

The Compendium consists of 598 questions and answers, echoing to some degree the format of the "Baltimore Catechism" which was a standard text in many Catholic parishes and schools from 1885 to the 1960s.  It is structured in four parts, much like the widely-used Catechism of the Catholic Church. While the text does contain some direct quotes from the Catechism used in a sidebar fashion, the questions and answers themselves are original text.

In addition to the questions and answers, the Compendium also includes two appendices. The first is a list of Catholic Prayers including the Our Father and Hail Maryin English or Spanish, side-by-side with the Latin version of the prayers. The second appendix contains "Formulas of Catholic Doctrine" including the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, theological and cardinal virtues, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Our Catholic Catechism

Our Catholic catechism is is built on four pillars: the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed), the sacraments of faith, the life of faith (the Commandments), and the prayer of the believer (the Lord's Prayer).

Part One: the Profession of Faith

Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men. First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God. The profession of faith summarizes the gifts that God gives man: as the Author of all that is good; as Redeemer; and as Sanctifier. It develops these in the three chapters on our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, in the Holy Church.

Part Two: the Sacraments of Faith

The second part of the Catechism explains how God's salvation, accomplished once for all through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is made present in the sacred actions of the Church’s liturgy, especially in the seven sacraments.

Part Three: the Life of Faith

The third part of the Catechism deals with the final end of man created in the image of God: beatitude, and the ways of reaching it - through right conduct freely chosen, with the help of God’s law and grace, and through conduct that fulfils the twofold commandment of charity, specified in God’s Ten Commandments.

Part Four: Prayer in the Life of Faith

The last part of the Catechism deals with the meaning and importance of prayer in the life of believers. It concludes with a brief commentary on the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer, for indeed we find in these the sum of all the good things which we must hope for, and which our heavenly Father wants to grant us.

Vatican's text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Contact Us

Susan L. McNeil
Director of Catholic Social Responsibility


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