Pope Presents Compendium of Catechism

As Cardinal Ratzinger He Helped Oversee Its Writing

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI presented the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document prepared by a commission he headed as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.



During today's presentation in the Vatican, the Pope expressed the desire to give the Compendium "to every person of good will, who would like to know the unfathomable riches of the salvific mystery of Jesus Christ."

It is not a new catechism, but a compendium that summarizes faithfully the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which appeared in 1992.

Benedict XVI handed the Compendium to several persons representing various categories of the People of God: a cardinal, Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and editor of the Catechism; a bishop, Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; a priest; a deacon; a man and a woman religious; a family -- father, mother and daughter; two children; two adolescents; three catechists; and a pastoral worker.

In his address, the Pope explained that, after the publication of the Catechism, there was "an ever greater and insistent need for a catechism in synthesis, brief, which presents all and only the essential elements of the Catholic faith and Catholic morality, formulated in a simple manner, accessible to all, clear and synthetic."

This need was made evident in the International Catechetical Congress of 2002, whose participants asked John Paul II to publish a Compendium.

2 years of work

In February 2003 John Paul II entrusted the writing of the Compendium to a commission headed by the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger.

Preparation of the Compendium entailed "two years of intense and fruitful work, which also involved all the cardinals and presidents of the conferences of bishops," Benedict XVI said. Asked about one of the last drafts of the Compendium, the "vast majority ... evaluated the text favorably," he added.

In presenting the question-and-answer formula of the Compendium, the Pontiff hopes "to reopen an ideal dialogue between the teacher and the disciple, through an urgent series of questions, which involve the reader, encouraging him to continue in the discovery of ever new aspects of the truth of his faith."

"The genre of dialogue, moreover, helps to abbreviate the text notably, reducing it to the essential," the Holy Father said. "This might favor the assimilation and possible memorization of the contents."

The Bishop of Rome said he hoped that the Compendium would give "a new impetus to evangelization and catechesis."