VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2005 ( The work of evangelization requires that Catholics be united and consistent in proclaiming their faith, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed this conviction today from the window of his study, before praying the midday Angelus with tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims gathered on a warm day in St. Peter's Square.

Speaking with satisfaction about the publication of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Holy Father said: "At the beginning of the third millennium, how necessary it is that the whole Christian community proclaim, teach and witness integrally, unanimously and in agreement the truth of the Catholic faith, of the doctrine and of morality!"

On June 28, the Pope published the Compendium, a 200-page volume of 598 questions and answers, which summarizes the Catechism promulgated in 1992. The Compendium is currently available only in Italian. Translations into other languages are under way.

"For years the need was felt for a brief catechism, which would summarize in a simple but complete manner all the essential elements of the Catholic doctrine," said Benedict XVI.

The Holy Father also noted that the Compendium was presented on the same day that the cause for the beatification of Pope John Paul II was introduced, who gave the volume "a determinant boost."

Benedict XVI underlined "the importance of this useful and practical instrument for the proclamation of Christ and his Gospel of salvation."

Renewal of catechesis

The book enables one "to understand the extraordinary unity of the mystery of God, his plan of salvation for the whole of humanity, the central character of Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, made man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who died and rose for us," he said.

"Present and operating in his Church, in particular in the sacraments, Christ is the source of our faith, the model of every believer and the teacher of our prayer," noted the Bishop of Rome.

He said that he hoped that the volume will contribute "to the desired renewal of catechesis and evangelization so that all Christians -- children, youths and adults, families and communities -- [...] may become catechists and evangelizers in all environments, helping others to encounter Christ."

Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was given the responsibility by John Paul II for writing the Compendium. Benedict XVI presented the Compendium last Tuesday.