By: Allison Ramirez
There are two primary pillars of teaching and truth in our Catholic faith. Last week, we talked about the first pillar, which is the importance of spending time in scripture, both the Old and the New Testament, in order to get to know who God is through his revealing himself to us through scripture. The second pillar of our faith is our church tradition, which is explained and emphasized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Catechism has grown within our 2,000-year church history, and the most recent version is coming up on its thirty year anniversary this year, having been published in 1992 by Pope John Paul II. Not many people talk about the Catholic Catechism, when in all actuality, this is the deposit of the teachings our faith! If you want to know what our Catholic Church teaches and professes to be true and holy, look no further than the Catechism.
The Catechism is divided into four parts. The first part is all about our profession of faith (the creed we say at Mass each week) with all the individual parts of that creed broken down into understandable ways including, but not limited to: Who is God? Why were we made? How do we relate to God? What is sin? The second part of the Catechism deals with the life of the church, including but not limited to, the sacraments and the liturgy of the church and mass. Part three of the Catechism looks at what it means to live as Christians within the life of Christ, including important social justice and issues of morality. Part four of the Catechism talks all about prayer including, why prayer is important and the different ways to pray, focusing especially on the Lord’s Prayer.
The Catechism is filled with footnotes that contain references to relevant church documents, scripture passages, and other resources that these teachings have been drawn from. Remember, the Catechism makes up our beliefs as Catholics as drawn from our Church councils over the ages, the writings or our Church fathers, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Church as it has grown over time. The Catechism also contains “in brief” summary sections of take-away points for each section and a condensed YouCat version for children and youth. If you have never heard of or picked up the Catechism before, I invite you to consider doing so!