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4

Apostolic Constitution

Fidei Depositum

The project was the object of extensive consultation among

all Catholic Bishops, their Episcopal Conferences or Synods, and

of theological and catechetical institutes. As a whole, it received a

broadly favorable acceptance on the part of the Episcopate. It can

be said that this

Catechism

is the result of the collaboration of the

whole Episcopate of the Catholic Church, who generously ac­

ceptedmy invitation to share responsibility for an enterprise which

directly concerns the life of the Church. This response elicits in me

a deep feeling of joy, because the harmony of so many voices truly

expresses what could be called the “symphony” of the faith. The

achievement of this

Catechism

thus reflects the collegial nature of

the Episcopate; it testifies to the Church’s catholicity.

2.

Arrangement of the Material

A catechism should faithfully and systematically present

the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church

and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of

the Fathers, Doctors, and saints of the Church, to allow for a better

knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of

the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal state-

ments which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to

his Church. It should also help to illumine with the light of faith

the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in

the past.

This catechism will thus contain both the new and the old

(cf.

Mt

13:52), because the faith is always the same yet the source

of ever new light.

To respond to this twofold demand, the

Catechism of the

Catholic Church

on the one hand repeats the “old,” traditional order

already followed by the Catechism of St. Pius V, arranging the

material in four parts: the

Creed,

the

Sacred Liturgy,

with pride of

place given to the sacraments, the

Christian way of life,

explained

beginning with the Ten Commandments, and finally,

Christian

prayer.

At the same time, however, the contents are often presented

in a “new” way in order to respond to the questions of our age.

The four parts are related one to another: the Christian

mystery is the object of faith (first part); it is celebrated and com-

municated in liturgical actions (second part); it is present to en-

lighten and sustain the children of God in their actions (third part);

it is the basis for our prayer, the privileged expression of which is

the

Our Father,

and it represents the object of our supplication, our

praise and our intercession (fourth part).