A catechism is a text which contains the fundamental Christian truths formulated in a way that facilitates their understanding. There are two categories of catechism: major and minor. A major catechism is a resource or a point of reference for the development of minor catechisms. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an example of a major catechism. The Baltimore Catechism is an example of a minor catechism.
The Catechism serves several important functions:
- It conveys the essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a complete and summary way.
- It is a point of reference for national and diocesan catechisms.
- It is a positive, objective and declarative exposition of Catholic doctrine.
- It is intended to assist those who have the duty to catechize, namely promoters and teachers of catechesis.
The Catechism is intended, first of all, for bishops as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. They have the first responsibility in catechesis. Through the bishops, the Catechism is addressed to editors of catechisms, priests, catechists and all others responsible for catechesis. It will also be useful reading for all the faithful.