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(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 ?
But one catechist who initially quit over the changes not only returned but also reports that her second graders are better prepared to receive the sacraments of Eucharist and reconciliation than in the old model.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s State conferences were held for members of the Motor Mission, Catechist coordinators and regional secretaries (local leaders).
Easily deployable, close to the people, the catechists were able to apply the gospel to the needs of the people in a way that stressed its compatibility with the values of traditional indigenous life.
Already in another part of the diocese, a local catechist, Gabriel Damor, who was also a poet and a musician, under the inspiration of another dynamic missionary, Fr.
In 1907, Black Elk was appointed a catechist or teacher of Christian faith in recognition of his enthusiasm and excellent memory for reading Scripture in Lakota.
Pastors, religious educators, liturgists and catechists have much to learn from a scholar who is an eloquent spokesman for Augustine.
Eighty-five years old Younis served as Catechist for more than 57 years at Lahore Cathedral.
A street urchin, Lariosa was recently introduced to the basic teachings of the Catholic Church by catechists.
Nerina Frisone, a catechist for 25 years; Harry Stephens, a local architect closely involved with building and renovation over twenty years; and John Phillips who first appears in the history in Catholic Youth concerts of the 1940s and in later years as chair of the parish council and parish treasurer (well qualified considering his earlier career as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia).
Saint John Paul II regarded Pope Paul VI as the great catechist of modern times: "Through the whole of his work, my venerable predecessor Paul VI served the Church's catechesis in a particularly exemplary fashion.
As there are no historical documents to prove that Pedro was indeed a catechist, he could have been a soldier in the Armada Naval Mariana formed by Blessed San Vitores to enforce peace and order, or a lay companion with manual tasks.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, I volunteered at our local parish in Arlington, Virginia as the lead catechist in my daughter's Sunday religious education class.