This catechism is conceived as
an organic presentation
Catholic faith in its entirety. It should be seen therefore as a unified
whole. Numerous cross-references in the margin of the text (itali-
cized numbers referring to other paragraphs that deal with the
same theme), as well as the analytical index at the end of the
volume, allow the reader to view each theme in its relationship
with the entirety of the faith.
The texts of Sacred Scripture are often not quoted word for
word but are merely indicated by a reference (
.). For a deeper
understanding of such passages, the reader should refer to the
Scriptural texts themselves. Such Biblical references are a valuable
working-tool in catechesis.
The use of
in certain passages indicates observations
of an historical or apologetic nature, or supplementary doctrinal explana-
, also in small print, from patristic, liturgical,
magisterial or hagiographical sources, are intended to enrich
the doctrinal presentations. These texts have often been
chosen with a view to direct catechetical use.
At the end of each thematic unit, a series of brief texts
sum up the essentials of that unit’s teaching in con-
densed formulae. These
suggest to local catechists brief summary formulae
that could be memorized.
The Catechism emphasizes the exposition of doctrine. It
seeks to help deepen understanding of faith. In this way it is
oriented toward the maturing of that faith, its putting down roots
in personal life and its shining forth in personal conduct.
By design, this Catechism does not set out to provide the
adaptation of doctrinal presentations and catechetical methods
required by the differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity, and
social and ecclesial condition among all those to whom it is ad-
dressed. Such indispensable adaptations are the responsibility of
particular catechisms and, even more, of those who instruct the