In reading the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” we can perceive the wonderful unity of the mystery of God…
— Pope Saint John Paul II
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the first complete systematic synthesis of the Faith since the Council of Trent in 1566. It contains articles on the classical topics of the official teaching of the Catholic Church on all matters of faith and morals. Since the official language of the Church is Latin, official teaching documents distributed in Latin are unlikely to change in perceived meaning over time. The Latin language version of the catechism, published September 8, 1997, is the Editio Typica– the normative and definitive text. The principal source materials for this work are the Sacred Scriptures, the Church Fathers, the liturgy and the Magisterium. This catechism is intended to serve “as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendia that are composed in the various countries.”–Extraordinary Synod of Bishops 1985, Final Report II B a, 4.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was originated at the request of Pope Saint John Paul II in February 2003 and was issued by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on June 28, 2005. Unlike the larger catechism, the Compendium is similar in format to the Baltimore Catechism with 598 questions and answers, providing an easier format with only the “essential” contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the title suggests.