John Paul II Commissions Publication of a Brief Catechism

Will Be Written by a Panel Headed by Cardinal Ratzinger

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2003 ( John Paul II has commissioned the publication of a compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Pope sent a letter to this effect to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican press office announced today.

A special commission will be constituted in agreement with the Secretariat of State, which will also see to the establishment of an editorial committee to prepare the synthesis of the catechism.

The Pope made this decision in response to a request of the participants in the Oct. 8-11 meeting in Rome of an International Catechetical Congress.

The 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 organizations.

The first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published, in French, on Dec. 7, 1992. The Latin edition, or «editio typica» for purposes of reference, was published five years ago.

According to the participants in the congress, the synthesis «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 Pope added that the compendium will be «a kind of ‘vademecum’ that allows people, believers and nonbelievers, to embrace, in a glance together, the entire panoramas of the Catholic faith.»

«Before it is approved, the compendium will be submitted for the evaluation of all the cardinals and the presidents of episcopal conferences,» the Holy Father indicated.

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