The teaching body of the Church, which consists of the Pope and the bishops, is usually referred to as the Magisterium.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.) contains a summary of the teaching of the Magisterium and is divided into four parts:
Part 1. Profession of the Faith.
This part deals with all articles of faith i.e. doctrine. The Creed is discussed in detail.
Part 2. Celebration of the Christian Mystery.
This deals with Liturgy and includes teaching on the Eucharist and on all the Sacraments.
Part 3. Life in Christ.
This part deals with our lives as Christians and includes teaching on morals, virtues, social issues, the church and the Commandments.
Part 4. Christian Prayer.
Different types e.g. Petition, Praise, Thanksgiving. The Lord’s Prayer is discussed in detail.
All Christian doctrine is based on the Scriptures, references to which are at the bottom of each page of the Catechism together with the references to church documents which may be papal encyclicals (circular letters written by the Popes) or documents promulgated by the various Church Councils.
At the beginning of the C.C.C. there is a useful list of abbreviations which is needed if you are to understand the references in the footnotes on each page.
The most recent Church Council was the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s (Vatican II). This Council issued sixteen documents, each one dealing with various aspects of our life as Catholics such as liturgy, the religious life, Revelation, ecumenism, social communication, Christian education and missionary activity. Their titles are taken from the first words of the documents in Latin. e.g. Lumen Gentium Light of the world (Abbreviation: L.G.) for more information on Vatican II go to the article ‘Second Vatican Council’ in Session 14.
documents are available for everyone to read either in book form or on various websites. The
There are literally hundreds of religious websites but not all are helpful to the Catholic faith. Some spread false ideas so be discerning in the sites you visit.