The Catholic Catechism


Sorting thru old books I ran across a copy of The Catholic Catechism by John Hardon, SJ. It came out in the 70s & has a nihil obstat & imprimatur but the introduction doesn’t really make it clear if it was created at the Vatican’s behest or if it’s a “national” catechism for the US.

Anybody familiar with it? Should I even bother w/it? Has it been superseded by The Catechism of the Catholic Church?



Fr. Hardon was a Jesuit and one of the best at explaining the Catholic faith. Certainly the current Catechism of the Catholic Church supersedes it, but if you let that get away from you you will have lost a very handy and valuable source, as well as one that is very orthodox and accurate. I have a copy of his pocket edition of that and his Catholic dictionary and wouldn’t part with 'em.

Keep it or PM me to get my address and I’ll take it off your hands. :slight_smile:


I have a few copies of it. It was not created at anyone’s request. It’s a very good reference book. The CCC does not “supersede” the other approved catechisms, in the sense that they are no longer valid or useful. Anything by Fr. Hardon is well worth keeping.


Fr Hardon wrote this book in 1981 summarizing Catholic teaching post V2, and based on the early work and mss for the CCC, before the English translation was published, for catechetical use and general readership. A number of other publishers in the 80s also came out with catechisms for use in instruction for adults and children but his is a more comprehensive reference book, and IMO the best that was available before the CCC was published in English (1996?). With few exceptions, his exposition is in line with doctrine subsequently summarized in the CCC, and in general follows the format of the CCC, with the exception that prayer and spirituality is discussed in the middle section on morality, rather than in its own section as in the CCC.

it remains a valuable work in that some sections go into more detail (rather academic, but worthwhile for the serious student) than the CCC, and the references are excellent. I should add that he is at his best describing the development through history of the various doctrines, and how they were defined in the response to heresies and other challenges.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit