catechism

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catechism

(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.

Catechism

 

(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.

catechism

instruction by a series of questions and answers, esp a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian Church
References in classic literature ?
Thither came also the slender form of a veiled female, led between Goody Cloyse, that pious teacher of the catechism, and Martha Carrier, who had received the devil's promise to be queen of hell.
Yes, verily, my lords and gentlemen and honourable boards, adapting your Catechism to the occasion, and by God's help so you must.
said Maggie, with some pity; "Columbus was a very wonderful man, who found out half the world, and they put chains on him and treated him very badly, you know; it's in my Catechism of Geography, but perhaps it's rather too long to tell before tea--
In 1994, following the publication of the Catechisms English translation, the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) (2) formed the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism, chaired by Archbishop Daniel Buechlein of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Peters, who had taught at the University of Heidelberg, offers a magisterial study that interprets the catechisms in light of Luther's overall theology and helpfully places Luther's thought within its late medieval context.
Used until 1978, it inspired, as intended, the creation of many national catechisms.
This Catechism abandoned the Question and Answer memorization process of previous Catechisms, replacing it with well-written discursive topics for adults.
Approved and authorized for publication by the full body of The United States Conference of Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is an in-depth reference text written especially to aid in the instruction of Catholic doctrine in general, and the preparation of catechisms in particular.
After Trent, the teddy bear of all councils, there was a plethora of catechisms.
Each of the published catechisms were translated from one standard: the French working draft.
While remaining "a point of reference for national and diocesan catechisms," it still needs adaptation to local cultures.
Even the simplest of catechisms tells that there are six ways of sinning against the Holy Spirit: presumption, despair, resisting the known truth, envy of another's spiritual good, obstinacy in sin, final impenitence.