Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (abbreviated KKK, unofficial name: Catechism, sometimes: Catechism of the Catholic Church ) is a manual of instruction in the basic questions of the Roman Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II has approved it on 25 June 1992 and ordered its publication on 11 October 1992 by Apostolic Constitution Fidei deposit. It provides a " statement of faith of the Church and of Catholic doctrine, attested to by the Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church or is enlightened " ( Fidei depositum, No. 4 ), above.

With continuous paragraph numbering, summarizing short texts at the end of each chapter and extensive references to similar paragraphs and texts of the Bible and the Catholic tradition of the KKK is next to a coherent presentation and a reference book of the Roman Catholic understanding of the Christian faith.

The Catechism has been translated into numerous languages ​​, but will be the official edition of the Latin.

  • 5.1 Dealing with Bible texts
  • 5.2 Dealing with texts of the Second Vatican Council


The first catechism was written in the 8th century by the English scholar Alcuin and it was followed by other advanced catechisms. During the Reformation, Martin Luther wrote in 1529 the small catechism, especially for theologians and pastors from 1528 the great catechism. This prompted Peter Canisius in 1555 to the publication of the Greater Catechism for students. 1566 finally the Roman Catechism was written due to a Decree of the Council of Trent and was intended primarily for pastors. This was translated into several languages ​​, including into German. Then appeared another adult and Small Catechisms, especially in the 20th century.


According to the company, Pope John Paul II with the Catechism to a request of the Synod of Bishops on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1985. He called 1986 a commission of twelve Cardinals and Bishops, chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who prepared a draft of the catechism in six years. It was supported by an editorial committee of seven diocesan Bishops, experts in theology and catechesis.

Secretary of the Catechism Commission was Christoph Schönborn, at the beginning professor of dogmatic theology in Fribourg, 1991 Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna. Members of the Commission were next to Joseph Ratzinger: Cardinal William Wakefield tree, Cardinal Simon D. Lourdusamy, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Cardinal Antonio Innocenti, Archbishop January Scot, Cardinal Bernard F. Law ( Boston), Archbishop Jerzy Stroba (Posen), Archbishop Henry Sebastian D' Souza ( Calcutta), Coadjutor Archbishop Isidore de Souza (Cotonou, Benin ), Bishop Felipe Santiago Benitez Avalos (Asunción, Paraguay ), the Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria Neophytos Edelby (later replaced by the Maronite Bishop Guy- Paul Noujeim ).

The editorial committee consisted of: José Maria Estepa Llaurens ( Spanish military bishop), Archbishop Jean -Marcel Honoré (Tours ), Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic ( Paraná, Argentina ), Bishop David Every constant (Leeds ), Archbishop Joseph Levada ( Portland, Oregon ) Bishop Alessandro Maggiolini ( Carpi, 1989 Como), Bishop Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez ( Rancagua, Chile ), the Maronite priest Jean Corbon (Lebanon).

At the beginning of work on the Catechism of the principles for the work were held:

  • The Catechism is intended to provide an organic and synthetic, concise as possible and complete representation of the essential and fundamental elements of the Catholic faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and in continuity with the tradition of the Church.
  • The addressees of the Catechism should be the bishops as teachers of the faith in the first place, in second place, the author of catechisms, catechists and all the faithful.
  • The structure should be tripartite: Creed, Sacraments, the Decalogue.

After a number of designs and inputs of bishops from around the world church of the final text and the title of the Catechism were (instead of " Catechism for the Universal Church " ) on February 14, 1991 set.

The KKK was founded in 1992, first published in the original French and then translated into different languages ​​. The authoritative Latin edition of 1997 contains changes that have been incorporated into the current issues.

Pope John Paul II commissioned in 2003, Joseph Ratzinger, to create from the KKK a short catechism. The 2005 published "people Catechism " ( Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ) answered - following on from old catechism traditions (see Martin Luther's Small Catechism ) - 256 pages 598 questions and in 2005 was first published in Italian, is now also in German available.


After the prologue (1-25 ) of the text of the KKK is divided into four parts:

The Creed (Faith )

  • Paragraphs 26-1065
  • First, basic statements (see Fundamental Theology ) on the audibility and dissemination ( Apostles, Bible ) are made of Revelation and reflects on faith.
  • The Apostles' Creed is in the second section of the guideline can be made ​​on the basis of those statements and explanations for beliefs.

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery ( Sacraments)

  • Paragraphs 1066-1690
  • Liturgy is explained as a basic implementation of church and community, the variety is identified as a unit.
  • Based on the Seven Sacraments Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, ordination and marriage are the basic statements deployed and demonstrated in detail.

Life in Christ ( Morality )

  • Paragraphs 1691-2557
  • "Life in the Holy Spirit " is identified as a vocation of man, in this case the fundamental issues of moral theology are treated (freedom, morality, conscience, virtue, sin ) represented the main aspects of Catholic social teaching and the question of grace and justification described.
  • Be deployed these statements along the Ten Commandments.

Christian prayer ( prayer life )

  • Paragraphs 2558-2865
  • First, meaning, sources and forms of prayer are explained and interpreted in Christian prayer.
  • The second section of the Lord's Prayer is presented as a summary of the whole Gospel, the title " father " explained spiritually and the seven petitions of the Lord 's Prayer unfolds in detail.


The KKK "is not intended to replace the [ ... ] local catechisms [ ... ] It is intended to encourage the writing of new local catechisms and to support those who wear into account the different situations and cultures, but at the same time carefully the unit true of faith and fidelity to Catholic doctrine. " ( Fidei depositum, No. 4 ) Following this line, the contents of the KKK is considered authentic doctrine of the whole Catholic Church and to the extent be regarded as binding.

The Catechism wants to appeal to a wide variety of users, and perform tasks:

  • As a guide and authoritative point of reference, it should serve the development of various catechisms for the different ages in the dioceses, countries and regions of the world church.
  • For priests, religion teachers and catechists should be: aids ( " sure and authentic reference text " ) in teaching the faith.
  • For Catholics who wish to orient themselves coherently and comprehensively about their faith, he intended to be a kind of reading and reference book.
  • For people of other religions or beliefs, it should serve as a source of information about the Catholic faith.


In addition to a broad assessment of the KKK as the overall presentation of the Christian faith according to Roman Catholic understanding was basically criticized the KKK that the unclear or divergent target group miss the meaning and purpose, a unity of the work obtains only superficial, the KKK show an unhistorical self-understanding and he was wearing too little account of the current understanding of faith or the present-day Christian lives.

The most serious objection is likely to be that the KKK theologically go back in some essential points behind the Second Vatican Council. This will be explained in specific cases:

Dealing with Bible texts

  • Neither successes, the historical- critical hedged back question of the earthly Jesus, nor am respected enough to independent theological statements of the biblical authors, " it dominated the theology of the Catechism of the author of the New Testament authors who again act only as suppliers of citations. "
  • The spiritual interpretation of Scripture was portrayed historicizing against the biblical text in some places (especially in the section " The mysteries of Christ's life " KKK 512-570 ).

Dealing with texts of the Second Vatican Council

  • The understanding of revelation, which since the Second Vatican Council ( Constitution Dei Verbum ) of the instruction- theoretical (belief = -for-true holding a doctrine ) and extrinsezistischen ( faith is based on miracles rather than on rational insight ) had solved access way and now more Christological and was taken holistically, will the KKK returned to the old model: the revelation show to be a treasure of true -held teachings which were not penetrated by the human reason and are legitimized by miracle.
  • Be in Dei Verbum, the ratio of Scripture ( Bible ) and tradition ( church tradition ) been understood as mutual priority, the KKK interpret again today on a preponderance of the tradition and ecclesiastical authority before the letter by the special emphasis on the spiritual interpretation and ecclesiastical authority.


  • Catéchisme de l' Eglise Catholique. Paris: Mame / Plon, 1992 ISBN 2-7289-0549-5.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church. Munich; Wien: Oldenbourg; Leipzig: Benno; Fribourg, Switzerland: Paul Verl, . Linz:. ISBN 3-486-55999-0 Veritas 1993 (born ) ISBN 3-486-56038-7 ( paperback )
  • Catechism Catholicae Ecclesiae. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Ed. Vaticana 1997. ISBN 88-209-2428-5
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church: recompilation due to the typical edition of Latina. With CD -ROM. München [ ua]: Oldenbourg [ua ], 2003 ISBN 3-486-56637-7.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church. Compendium. German. Munich: Pattloch 2005 ISBN 3-629-02140-9 ( PB. ) ISBN 3-629-02139-5 (b. ).