Quick question about The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The CCC isn’t equal to the Bible, but it is, in my opinion, the very best resource for interpreting and applying the messages of the Bible to our daily lives.
And if you use it, or even just look at it, you will see that everything in there is based on a scriptural foundation.


Open it and you will see table of contents.

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The Catechism is a document that tells you what Catholics believe. It draws from the Bible and from Sacred Tradition. The Bible and Tradition are infallible. The Catechism is not. When something that is in the Catechism is not in the Bible, we can still be reasonably sure that it is correct. This is because it draws from Sacred Tradition, which is equal to the Bible. However, when something from the Catechism isn’t in either the Bible or Sacred Tradition, we have no guarantee that it is correct. The Catechism is only guaranteed to be correct when it draws directly from the Bible or Sacred Tradition. The catechism is a fallible work that can be revised and edited, unlike the Bible or the dogmatic decrees of the Ecumenical Councils.


Thank you. See that wasn’t so hard, I knew it was a quick question. Thank you.

okay maybe I should have added all my questions to the original post and not just the one question, then maybe I would have gotten better answers from jump. ((my bad))

Thank you again, now understanding what exactly is the Catechism is now I’ll know how to understand it when its used to answer a question. Thank you again.


Catechisms are like a syllabus, laying out how the Christian faith is to be taught.

Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.
John Paul II. Catechesi Tradendae 18

Luther used a question and answer format, with two versions, the Small Catechism for younger and the Large Catechism for older. The Baltimore Catechism from the 19th century US bishops used a similar q&a written on 3 or 4 levels.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a post Vatican II effort to explain the faith. It does not use a q&a format. But it is still divided up as explanations of the Ten Commandments (morality), the Creed (faith), the Our Father (prayer), and Sacraments (sacraments).

If I have a question, I think about where it falls into those divisions, find out that is not where it is addressed, so I check the index to figure out where to look. It can be hard to find just what you want. But it is easier than trying to find where in Scripture a topic is addressed.

The Catechism contains Scripture, Tradition, Quotes from Saints, prayers, etc. to explain what we believe in a coherent fashion. It probably has some mistakes, not that I would recognize them. But it is a reliable reference for learning what the Church teaches.

What the Catholics believe what the Church teaches?

Just like the Lutheran Catechism would be what the Lutherans believe what the Church teaches.


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The Bible is a text inspired by God. It is not “the word of God” in a way that the Koran claims to be the word of God.
The Cathechism is a commentary on the Bible with explanations based on the traditions handed down by the fathers of the church.

Much of the Catechism is devoted to the explanation of the Credo, which is profession of faith held by the Catholics.
The Credo begins with the phrase “I believe in one God”, so the Cathechism explains how that is to be understood in light of the old and new Testaments as well as how this was interpreted over the centuries by the early apostles and saints.

I guess I am one of the “ones”
Mine has a spine separating and is plagued with dog eared pages on certain points I felt were very important, or were an answer to regularly asked questions…or just passages that stuck in my heart and head.

To the OP…you say:

I have a hard enough time reading the Bible ;), but yes I have tried reading it the few times someone uses it to answer a question… now my question is how am I suppose to use that information.

When I read something from the Bible, I understand it as The Word of God. I understand what it is and how I should use The Word of God… so if the Catechism is not equal to the Bible, how am I suppose to use what I read it, if it is not the Word of God?

God’s Word tells me about who God is, what God did for me, what God wants from me… its a guide for my life… its God speaking directly to me. If the Catechism is not equal to that then like I said how am I suppose to use it?

III. The Aim and Intended Readership of the Catechism

11 This catechism aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church’s Tradition. Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium. It is intended to serve “as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendia that are composed in the various countries”.15

12 This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.

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Oh, I should add…

V. Practical Directions for Using this Catechism

18 This catechism is conceived as an organic presentation of the Catholic faith in its entirety. It should be seen therefore as a unified whole. Numerous cross-references in the margin of the text (numbers found at the end of a sentence referring to other paragraphs that deal with the same theme), as well as the analytical index at the end of the volume, allow the reader to view each theme in its relationship with the entirety of the faith.

19 The texts of Sacred Scripture are often not quoted word for word but are merely indicated by a reference (cf.). For a deeper understanding of such passages, the reader should refer to the Scriptural texts themselves. Such Biblical references are a valuable working-tool in catechesis.

Again OP…do not be scared by it…I started reading it during my hour of weekly Adoratoin and it became more and more clear as time went on…

I had left the church at an early age, then God called me back.
After being in a Lutheran/Reformed church setting for so long the Catechism was a wonderful tool to dispel the errors I had been led to believe.
It really clears things up and answers a lot of misinformation about Catholics.

Start with milk before you move on to meat…the most basic tenets of our faith can be easily understood by a reading of Jesus Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.


7 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

@annad347, it’s not easy to give clear answers to all your questions in just a few lines on a comments thread. I don’t think you will find any contradiction between the Bible and the CCC. The Bible contains a vast amount of information that is not in the CCC, such as the history of the kings of Judah and Israel, and the CCC also contains a great deal of information that is not in the Bible, because it draws on the work of theologians who explained and interpreted the teachings of the Christian religion, long after all the books in the Bible had been written. But I don’t think you’ll ever find anything you could point to and say they contradict one another.

My suggestion is this. After the lockdown is over, go to a library or to a Catholic bookstore and take a look at the CCC for yourself. Handle it, glance through it, look something up in the index at the back then turn to the numbered paragraphs to see what they say about it. That’ll give you a feel for what kind of book it is and what it’s useful for.

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You do not even have to wait for the quarantine to be over, you can start right now…take small bites and soon it will become clear…it is all free at the Vatican documents archive…


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The online catechism is by no means as easy to use as a print edition, at least in my experience. For someone who is wholly unfamiliar with it – which seems to be @annad347’s case – handling a print copy would give her a much more rounded idea of what it’s all about.


The regular paperback edition is better for me, however if I wasn’t such a knuckle dragging curmudgeon luddite of all things technology I can see where a Kindle or iBook edition would be nice so you can easily book mark or go to another application to look something up.
Especially with all the footnotes…I am a geek and always want to stop and reference the footnote and end up down a rabbit hole.

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The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is a guide for all Christians and everything necessary for salvation that is contained in the Bible is free from error. The Bible itself is a collection of many different texts over a period of many centuries.

The Catechism on the other hand is a compendium of the Catholic Church. It, unlike the Bible, is prone to error and does not carry the same weight as Scripture. It’s a tertiary source. It is a helpful tool to teach and educate Catholics on some points regarding our faith, which attempts to make reference to Scripture.

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Can you please point out some errors in the catechism?

You can look in the Catechism, find the passage, and see from the footnotes exactly what it is based on, which might be the Bible, or a document from the Vatican (that may have other footnotes inside it), or something else.

Here it is for your quick reference.

I am not an expert on how Sacred Tradition relates to Sacred Scripture, but I do know that Sacred Tradition is considered reliable by the Vatican in many cases when something is not fully covered in Scripture.

I’m not sure if I can. I know some people criticize the usage of Scripture as proof-texting. But as for explicit errors? I’m not sure if the Catechism contains any of those errors. But that doesn’t make it infallible. It can and has been edited and changed, in reference to the section on the death penalty. Theologically speaking, it is different from Scripture in that respect.


Which can changes from time to time based on how other theologians, who restudy, reanalyze then reinterpreted the Catechism, because their understanding of Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition?

I know its not as simple as a “Nope that’s not what yadda, yadda, means and should be understood… it really means yadda yadda yadda, should be understood as yadda yadda”.

I’m sure they analyze, research, study scripture and traditions for days, upon days… years, upon years… and if they have a question, I’m sure a group of theologians gather together to analyze the scripture again to determine if the person who is questioning the original writing before its changed… but its possible right?


Try this - Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium
The teaching of the Catholic Church derives not from Sola Scriptura. rather it stands on the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and the recorded decisions of the Magisterium which we preserve and summarise in the Catechism. Scripture is indeed central to understanding the core of our faith, as one leg of the stool. To Catholics the sacraments are efficacious vehicles, through which God pours His grace into our souls, and the Church Magisterium preserves tradition and tells us which sacraments were used by the Apostles, and how they were used because the New Testament itself is not a sacramental manual.

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Yes, certainly it can be changed, and has been changed. The first edition was published in the early nineties, and a revised edition a few years later. I never attempted to compare the two editions to make a detailed list of the changes that were made, but I think they had more to do with organizing the material to communicate the ideas more clearly, than with correcting factual errors. Nevertheless, that shows that changes can be made if the Church decides they are needed.

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