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Apostolic Constitution

Fidei Depositum


On that occasion the Synod Fathers stated: “Very many

have expressed the desire that a catechism or compendium of all

catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed,

that it might be, as it were, a point of reference for the catechisms

or compendiums that are prepared in various regions. The presen­

tation of doctrine must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound

doctrine suited to the present life of Christians.”


After the Synod

ended, I made this desire my own, considering it as “fully respond-

ing to a real need of the universal Church and of the particular



For this reason we thank the Lord wholeheartedly on this

day when we can offer the entire Church this “reference text”

entitled the

Catechism of the Catholic Church

for a catechesis renewed

at the living sources of the faith!

Following the renewal of the Liturgy and the new codifi-

cation of the canon law of the Latin Church and that of the Oriental

Catholic Churches, this catechism will make a very important

contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church,

as desired and begun by the Second Vatican Council.


The Process and Spirit of Drafting the Text


Catechism of the Catholic Church

is the result of very

extensive collaboration; it was prepared over six years of intense

work done in a spirit of complete openness and fervent zeal.

In 1986, I entrusted a commission of twelve Cardinals and

Bishops, chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, with the task of

preparing a draft of the catechism requested by the Synod Fathers.

An editorial committee of seven diocesan Bishops, experts in the-

ology and catechesis, assisted the commission in its work.

The commission, charged with giving directives and with

overseeing the course of the work, attentively followed all the

stages in editing the nine subsequent drafts. The editorial commit-

tee, for its part, assumed responsibility for writing the text, making

the emendations requested by the commission and examining the

observations of numerous theologians, exegetes and catechists,

and, above all, of the Bishops of the whole world, in order to

produce a better text. In the committee various opinions were

compared with great profit, and thus a richer text has resulted

whose unity and coherence are assured.


Final Report

of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, December 7, 1985,

Enchiridion Vaticanum,

vol. 9, II, B, a, n. 4: p. 1758, n. 1797.

5 John Paul II, Discourse at the Closing of the Extraordinary Synod of

Bishops, December 7, 1985, n. 6: AAS 78 (1986) p. 435.