and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The
Catechism of the
lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us
to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf.
3:15) and who
wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.
This catechism is not intended to replace the local cate-
chisms duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, the dioce-
san Bishops and the Episcopal Conferences, especially if they have
been approved by the Apostolic See. It is meant to encourage and
assist in the writing of new local catechisms, which take into
account various situations and cultures, while carefully preserving
the unity of faith and fidelity to catholic doctrine.
At the conclusion of this document presenting the
chism of the Catholic Church,
I beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to sup-
port with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the
entire Church on every level, at this time when she is called to a
new effort of evangelization. May the light of the true faith free
humanity from the ignorance and slavery of sin in order to lead it
to the only freedom worthy of the name (cf.
8:32): that of life in
Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, here below and
in the Kingdom of heaven, in the fullness of the blessed vision of
God face to face (cf.
Given October 11, 1992, the thirtieth anniversary of the
opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the four-
teenth year of my Pontificate.