(redirected from Catechetics)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Catechetics: catechist, catechesis


(kăt`əkĭzəm) [Gr.,=oral instruction], originally oral instruction in religion, later written instruction. Catechisms are usually written in the form of questions and answers. Almost as old as Christianity, they were used especially for the instruction of converts and children. Catechisms were popular in the later Middle Ages and assumed even greater significance in the Reformation through Martin Luther's emphasis on the religious education of children. His Small Catechism (1529) is still the standard book of the Lutheran church. The greatest Calvinist catechism was the Heidelberg Catechism (1563). It was revised at Dort (1619) and was used in Dutch and German Reformed churches; other catechisms are the Longer and Shorter Catechisms of 1647 and 1648, drawn up to supplement the Westminster Confession; they are used in Presbyterian churches. The catechism for the Anglican Communion is included in the Book of Common Prayer.

A catechism long in use in the Roman Catholic church was that prepared by the Jesuit Peter Canisius, which appeared in 1555. The catechism of the Council of Trent, a document of high authority issued in 1566, was essentially a manual of instruction for use by the clergy in combating the Protestant Reformation; nonetheless it remained influential for over four centuries. The best-known Catholic catechism in England for many years was the Penny Catechism, adopted by the bishops of England and Wales; that in the United States was the Baltimore Catechism. The first new universal catechism of the Catholic church since that of the Council of Trent was released in French in 1992 and in English in 1994. The book forgoes the traditional question-and-answer format, instead providing a compendium of Roman Catholic teaching and belief. A summary of the catechism that employs a question-and-answer formate was released in 2005.



(1) A handbook containing the basic principles of Christian doctrine. During the first centuries of Christianity, the catechism was the oral instruction of those about to be baptized as Christians. Beginning with the 16th century the catechism became a book, a manual of instruction, which popularly set forth (usually in the form of questions and answers) the teachings of the Christian church. The Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches each have their own catechism.

(2) In the figurative sense, a catechism is a work written in theform of questions and answers.


instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church
References in periodicals archive ?
Grasso taught catechetics in a way that made me realize for the first time what it means to say "I believe" and to appreciate the fact that faith is a gift of God.
The oratorio here refers to the after-school and weekend clubs that became the focal point of the social life of many Italian Catholic children, and the locus of their catechetics.
Its instructional program included basic academics and catechetics along with devotional piety and liturgical worship.
9) As Peter Walker suggests, Cyril's catechetics indicate that he may have been "slightly aggrieved" by the Eusebian slight as well as by Constantine's choice of architectural focus and decoration.
JIM DINN, a freelance writer who assists parishes in the Diocese of Portland, Maine with catechetics and initiation programs.
FAITH is almost exclusively feature-oriented--profiles, columns, lots of nice photos and graphics, and a bit of catechetics thrown in.
In response to the needs of the Church, the Sisters have as their apostolates the education of youth, particularly in the field of catechetics, and the care of the elderly and the deprived.
6) The General Conferences of Latin American Bishops are fascinating gatherings of the pope, members of the Roman Curia, bishops, clergy, religious, laity, and experts from various fields in theology, catechetics, economics, sociology, etc.
Four final presentations examine catechetics for young people, the human development dimension, youth as missionaries in Laos, and the role and possibilities of youth days.
A second moment in the history of religious education came with the kerygmatic renewal in catechetics, with its emphasis on a more expanded content for religious education, and the belief that the learner could feel as well as think through the clarity and beauty of the message of salvation.
Dr Drennan, who was ordained in 1968, is a member of the Irish Bishops Conference's Department of Catholic Education and chairman of the Commission on Catechetics.
Since the 1977 Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Catechetics, the term has been part of the official vocabulary of the Catholic Church.