I ordered a Catechism last night. The Deacon last week told us during our RCIA class, that every house hold needed to have one in our house. It should be studied just as much as our Bible.
I would like to know if anyone knows of some study that would help me with getting started with understanding the Catechism?

There is the **‘Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’ **by Pope Benedict, which has 62 reviewers and has five stars. I have not read it myself, but at $8.03 (on Amazon) you can’t go wrong!

I recommend you this one:

This is the one I bought back then. It’s easy to read and understandable.

Check out the customer reviews below :slight_smile:

“…This should be MANDATORY reading for all Catholic High School and College students. Fantastic, easy to read, q and a format and written in a style and language that the youth today will likely identify with. This makes the faith even more accesible and is faithful to the Catholic Church teaching and faith…”

This is a pretty good Catechism study. I have done a couple of the lessons. Pretty reasonably priced. Scroll to the bottom and you will see lessons specifically for RCIA. There is also a sample lesson to check it out.

I think the best thing is to just dive in and start reading it. If questions arise, I’m sure your Deacon will be happy to try to answer them for you. You can always ask questions here at CAF, too.

CalCatholic recommended the Compendium. That is a good book, too. It’s basically intended to be a summary of the Catechism in Question & Answer format. The full text is available on the Vatican website, but it’s all on a single webpage, which can make it difficult to navigate.

Ascension Press has a new video series on the Catechism: Pillars. That’s a little pricey for individual study, but maybe you can talk your Deacon into having the parish get a copy and do the study. :slight_smile:

I also came across this series on Unlocking the Beauty of the Catechism. It’s meant to be a small-group parish study, but it seems like a good primer on the Catechism.

The first thing to know about the Catechism is that it is divided into 4 main sections (called “pillars”): Creed, Sacraments, Life in Christ (Morality), and Prayer. That is how the Catechism and Compendium (and the US Catholic Catechism for Adults and the YOUCAT youth catechism) are all structured. Knowing that makes it easier to find stuff. :slight_smile:

The Catechism is also organized by paragraph numbers. If you see someone mention CCC ###, that number refers to the paragraph number, not the page number. In the margins, you’ll see other numbers, too. Those numbers refer to other paragraph numbers within the Catechism that are related to the paragraph you are reading. Often, the same theme weaves its way through the 4 pillars of the Catechism.

Hopefully this will sound less confusing when you have the book in fromt of you. :o Pope John Paul II’s introductory letter Fidei Depositum and the first 25 paragraphs of the Catechism really explain the purpose and layout of the book. So I would read those first.

The Catechism is online as well as available in print. See

One way to use it is to look up the answers to questions you have. Anytime you start to wonder “What does the Church say about _____?” you can get the answer.

In terms of reading, I find the US Catholic Catechism for Adults to be much more readable. This is what we give to our catechumens and candidates. In addition to encouraging them to read it or browse through it to see what catches their eye, we give reading assignments tied to our RCIA sessions. There’s a sample chapter at and purchasing information at

Well, this is just a suggestion from another person attending RCIA and it is what I’m currently doing. I decided I wanted to have mine read before baptism. So I decided I would read 50 paragraphs a day, that works out to about 57 days of reading. It’s not that bad, takes about an hour or so a day, but I feel like I’m making a lot of progress. Today I started my fifty at paragraph 1700, so I’m already over half way there.

I’m planning on reading it once like this then after Easter and the end of RCIA I plan on reading it again more slowly.

Um, from what I’ve read and understand, unlike the bible the Catechism is designed to be read cover to cover. So it might not be a terrible idea to start on page one. You can choose your level of intensity, but one good practice is to look at the footnotes and trace back where the teachings come from. It really opens up a wealth of information you might otherwise miss.

The Catechism is a summary of the Sacred Tradition (which, indeed, is as valuable as the Scriptures, for the two are one). And thanks be to God, we have been provided a Compendium of the Catechism in a very friendly format which is truly a great place to begin :thumbsup:

There are a few good RCIA-oriented books, though. :wink:

Hi Matthew,
I think as one poster mentioned here you should just dive in and start reading the catechism itself and not hurriedly but prayerfully. If you have any questions, you can ask your deacon or post them here.

God bless, Rich

Practical Instructions…

read paragraphs 18-22 under the heading of “Practical Directions for Using This Catechism”.

get a reasonable sense of what is contained in the book’s Glossary page 864, Abbreviations page 861,[regular] Index page 753, and Index of Citations page 689.

read the two documents at the beginning of the book, pages xiii through page 6.

use the Contents pages to find the topics which are either interesting and/or connected with your classes.

follow up the cross-references in the margins and take a look at the footnotes.


I certainly mean no disrespect to 504Katrin, but I would not suggest reading the Youcat. While it’s true that it is very easy to read, this is largely due to the fact that it has been watered down greatly.

Just read the Catechism (if you want to). It’s really not a hard read even if you have no theological background. At the same time, the Catechism is, as one person stated, a mere summary of our faith.

While it certainly has its advantages, you shouldn’t take everything it says as if it were from Scripture itself. Since it is a summary, many of the concepts, dogmas and doctrines are greatly simplified. After you’ve finished the Catechism I would highly recommend moving to the real good stuff, like the encyclicals and letters of our current and previous Popes.

A fast, direct route to the encyclicals and letters of our previous Popes is the Catechism’s “Index of Citations” page 689 :smiley:

Don’t be dissin’ the YOUCAT. :stuck_out_tongue:

I always encourage people to go to the Catechism first, but I don’t see a problem with recommending the YOUCAT. It is written in more basic language and does not go into as great a depth (because it’s a fraction of the size), but that’s not the same thing as being “watered down.” If you go through question by question, it covers all the same content. They don’t skip over anything.

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