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Holy Father Approves Synthesis of Catechism; Cardinal Ratzinger to head Working Commission

VATICAN CITY) In a letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger , Pope John Paul II approved a request to prepare a compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church . He asked the cardinal to set up and chair a Special Commission to prepare this synthesis, and to establish an editorial committee.

The letter was the result of a request put forth by participants in an October 2002 meeting in Rome of an International Catechetical Congress . The principal participants were the presidents of the Catechetical Commissions of the various episcopal conferences and representatives of local churches committed to catechesis in their countries, in national institutes or in various international organisms.

During the meeting many participants agreed with the proposal to prepare a synthesis or compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, saying that "this new work should contain all and only the essential and basic elements of Catholic faith and morals, formulated in a brief and clear manner, using as its source the Catechism of the Catholic Church".

The aim of such a proposal is to create an authoritative, integral and complete text regarding the essential aspects of the Catholic faith, approved by the Holy Father, possibly translated into various languages and used as a reference point for preparing local compendiums.

In his February 2 letter, the Holy Father said "the broad circulation of the [Catechism] in the various regions of the world is evident proof of its usefulness and its timeliness". He noted that the many regional syntheses of the Catechism in various languages "demonstrate how widespread and heartfelt is the need for a brief compendium ... which contains all the basic elements of Catholic faith and morals formulated in a simple and clear manner".

He added that the Compendium should become a kind of "' vademecum ' [manual] that allows people, believers and non-believers, to embrace, in a glance together, the entire panorama of the Catholic faith".

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

Online Edition - Vol. IX, No. 2: April 2003

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