A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
by Peter Kreeft
(Ignatius Press, 2001, 421pp, $34.95. Available from Freedom Publishing)
Perhaps one of the greatest fruits of John Paul II's papacy was the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For the first time in 400 years, the Church had compiled and issued a compendium outlining the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church which all Catholics and those interested in the faith could consult to find out what the Church really taught.
It was John Paul's intention that the Catechism of the Catholic Church be used to formulate catechisms and catechetical texts and in the wake of its publication, a number of excellent guides were produced, including this one by Peter Kreeft, well known author and apologist. Although published almost a decade ago, it remains one of the best digests of Catholic beliefs based on the Catechism.
Kreeft organises his material in a manner similar to that of the Catechism, the major difference being that he places the section on Catholic morality prior to the section on the liturgy and he places his discussion of prayer after the section on the liturgy. The material is presented in a logical order with clear explanations.
Subject matter that is more difficult to comprehend in the Catechism has been adapted to make it more accessible for the average reader and Kreeft also explains doctrinal and other teaching points by making references to literature, films and other documents such as the American Declaration of Independence with which his readers would be familiar.
Kreeft also quotes extensively from the Catechism and provides the paragraph references, so that a reader may easily refer back to the Catechism.
Although it is designed primarily as a reference book, rather than one that a reader would read from cover to cover, Catholic Christianity would be an excellent resource for those involved in Catholic education, parents who wish to supplement their children's religious education, or anyone who simply wants to clarify what the Catholic Church actually teaches on a particular doctrinal matter.
Michael Daniel teaches at a Melbourne independent secondary school.