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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Catechism in Brief (3 times)

In this year of faith, many people are being encouraged to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC. Let me encourage you as well. I am a kind of person though that likes to step back and see the big picture in things, especially our Faith. Now you probably know the 4 parts of the CCC: The Creed (that we say at Mass and during the Rosary) the 7 sacraments, the 10 commandments, and the Our Father. If you know those then rest of the CCC is just one big awesome commentary on those 4 sections. But each of the 4 parts has an introduction.So I went through the 4 parts of the Catechism and summarized those introductions to give you 3 birds eye views of the CCC.

If you would like a free copy of this in PDF form. Please write me at and I will send one to you to print.

I recommend memorizing the first two summaries before diving into the big Catechism. The underlined parts refer to specific subsections of the CCC.


I. We are designed for God, and God came to meet us and we should respond in faith to Him by believing  in what he has revealed as summarized by the articles of THE CREED.
II. In the Creed we confess the new Passover of Christ which is in hope communicated and celebrated by the Church in the liturgy; especially THE SACRAMENTS.
III. The Sacraments empower us by the Holy Spirit who calls man individually and in community to live by grace in the love of God and neighbor as summarized by THE 10 COMMANDMENTS.
IV. Prayer expresses that personal relationship with the living God that we are all called to, but we need to be taught what to pray and how to pray especially the greatest of prayers THE OUR FATHER.


I. We have a desire for God and we can know that he exists by reason.
The church warns that even naturally there are obstacles to clear reasoning.
We can really speak about God though we can’t exhaust the mystery.
God has revealed Himself to people especially in the person of Christ.
This revelation has been carefully handed on, especially in the words of Sacred Scripture.
We respond to God’s revelation by faith individually and as a community.

II. The Liturgy is the work of the Holy Trinity, especially the new Passover of Christ.
This is communicated to us in the Sacraments.
There are essential features to a liturgical celebration and yet there is diversity as well.

III. Man is made in God’s image for happiness. Man is made free to choose good and avoid evil. Feelings contribute to our actions. Conscience judges these actions. We are called to practice virtue and avoid sin.
Society resembles the Trinity and people need to participate in it on various levels in a just way.
God gives us laws to live by and gives us the grace to live by these laws. The Church is the mother and teacher that sustains us and instructs us concerning these laws.

IV. From the Old Testament through the New Testament into the Age of the Church we have all been called to prayer.
There are many sources of prayer to the Trinity and there are many schools of prayer.
There are 3 expressions of prayer and many struggles in prayer. Jesus’ high priestly prayer sums up the whole of salvation history.


I. We have a desire for God and we can know that he exists by reason.
The church warns that even naturally there are obstacles to clear reasoning.
We can really speak about God though we can’t exhaust the mystery.
God reveals himself and his plan of loving goodness where, in Christ, all people by the grace of the Holy Spirit are to share in the divine life as adopted “sons” in the only begotten Son of God.
God has revealed himself to man by gradually communicating his own mystery in deeds and in words; CCC 69 First to Adam, then Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.
Finally, God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. The Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him. CCC 73
Faith is a personal adherence to God which involves an assent of the intellect and will to God who has made himself known through his deeds and words. CCC 176
We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. CCC 178
The Church professes with a united voice the one faith that was received from the one Lord and that was passed on by the one Apostolic Tradition.

II. The Father is the source and goal of the liturgy. Christ’s work in the liturgy is sacramental. The Holy Spirit prepares the Church to meet Christ. He recalls, manifests, and makes Christ’s work present so as to bear fruit.
The New Passover of Christ is now made present in the sacraments which he gave to the Church to nourish, strengthen, and express The Faith. Through them the Holy Spirit applies to the faithful the New Passover of Christ and are necessary for salvation and are a foretaste of eternal life.
In general the liturgy is celebrated by Christ through the ordained and baptized. It involves signs and symbols, the reading of God’s word, songs and music, as well as sacred images. The Church commemorates Sunday’s and other liturgical seasons and days through the year. The liturgy is celebrated primarily in the hearts of believers as well as in church buildings.
The Liturgy is celebrated by the Church according to various liturgical traditions because the mystery of Christ cannot be exhausted by any single liturgical tradition. CP 247

III. Man is made in the image of God for happiness. This is reached through conforming ourselves to the beatitudes of Christ and fulfilled in heaven.
We are given the gift of freedom to choose the good and avoid evil. We are responsible for our own actions. Though our freedom is wounded by sin Christ set us free to make us coworkers with him in the world.
The sources of morality are the object, the intention, and circumstances that make an act good or evil. Only when these three are all good can an act be called good.
Our feelings are neither good nor bad but can contribute to our actions. If they contribute to good acts they are good, and if they contribute to bad acts they are bad.
The moral conscience drives a person to act or not. Our conscience must be formed according to the teachings of the Church and reason. When there is a moral choice we should follow our conscience. While erroneous judgments might be made, these might or might not excuse the person from guilt.
Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. CCC 1833. The four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The Three theological virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Christians are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. CCC 1845
"God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all" ( Rom 11:32).CCC 1870 Sin is “a word, an act, or a desire contrary to the eternal Law” (Saint Augustine). There are two kinds of sin, Mortal and Venial. The repetition of sins - even venial ones - engenders vices, among which are the capital sins. CCC 1876
We are designed to live in community which has some resemblance to the Holy Trinity. The destiny of the individual and the community is the same and that is heaven. When society has fallen into sin it is called to convert back toward God.
The authority of the community comes from God and must be exercised for the common good. The common good involves: (1) respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person, (2) the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of persons and society, (3) and the peace and security of all. Christians have a responsibility to promote the common good.
Justice in society requires that we have respect for the human person, even those that differ from us because we are all in this together.
God gave us the moral law to lead us to heaven and avoid hell. Natural law flows from man being created in God’s image and likeness. It expresses that original moral sense which enables one to discern by reason the good and the bad (CP 416). In the Old Testament many of the laws that God gave were accessible by reason and it prepared us for the New Law of Christ. The New Law of Christ fulfills the old law and is powered by grace from the sacraments.
The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man which has been merited for us by the New Passover of Christ. CCC 2017, 2019 Grace is the participation in the life of God that saves us and makes us holy. God in his goodness may reward our good deeds that we perform only by his grace, this is merit. All Christians are called to holiness.
The Christian moral life is nourished by the liturgy; especially the sacraments. The Church’s five precepts help conform the Christian to Christ. Once this conformity is fulfilled in the Christian, he now becomes another Christ drawing others to the Gospel of salvation.

IV. "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God"
God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious encounter with Himself. Prayer unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation as a reciprocal call between God and man.
Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament which he taught his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness.
The Holy Spirit instructs the Church in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic forms of prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. CCC 2590, 2591, 2620, 2621, 2644
By a living transmission -Tradition - the Holy Spirit in the Church teaches the children of God to pray using as wellsprings the Word of God, the liturgy of the Church, and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are sources of prayer. CCC 2661, 2662
Prayer is directed to God the Father in the name of Jesus as taught and aided by the Holy Spirit. The Church prays to Mary and with Mary who shows us the “Way” who is her Son.
The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year. CCC 2720
The three expressions of prayer are vocal, meditation, and contemplative prayer.
The struggles of prayer include not having time to pray or that it is useless and without success. Distraction, dryness, and acedia all call us to constant vigilance of Heart. As children of God we need to trust God and persevere in prayer at all times.
The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf  Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father. CCC 2758


rick shelstone said...

As a protestant addict to Catholic Radio, I happened to hear your presentation this morning. I couldn't wait to get to the office to find your work on the web. Thanks very much! I look forward to spending time with it.

Daniel Egan said...


If you are interested in a PDF version of this please let me know and I would be happy to send you one.


Anonymous said...

Daniel, I am a Catholic catechist as eager as Rick (above) to learn more about your work. This has been an incredible optimistic review for my work as a graduate student in Theology. Some of the topics have not come so easy and yet you make it so incredibly simple. With a limited budget there's no way I can afford all 3 volumes right now. I would really appreciate a pdf version. You are, in a word, amazing for those of us willing to stick our neck out there to take on some of the ills aimed at Catholicism, especially in our current culture. May God bless you abundantly with His guiding grace. Peace and thank you for sharing with us.
Belinda Harrett