Catholic Encyclopedia 


Taken in the sense of "the act of teaching" and "the knowledge imparted 
by teaching", this term is synonymous with CATECHESIS and CATECHISM. 
Didaskalia, didache, in the Vulgate, doctrina, are often used in the 
New Testament, especially in the Pastoral Epistles. As we might expect, 
the Apostle insists upon "doctrine" as one of the most important duties 
of a bishop (I Tim., iv, 13, 16; v, 17; II Tim., iv, 2, etc.).
The word katechesis means instruction by word of mouth, especially by 
questioning and answering. Though it may apply to any subject-matter, 
it is commonly used for instruction in the elements of religion, 
especially preparation for initiation into Christianity. The word and 
others of the same origin occur in St. Luke's Gospel: "That thou mayest 
know the verity of those things in which thou hast been instructed" 
(katechethes, in quibus eruditus es -- i, 4). In the Acts, xviii, 25, 
Apollo is described as "instructed [katechemenos, edoctus] in the way 
of the Lord". St. Paul uses the word twice: "I had rather speak five 
words with my understanding, that I may instruct [katecheso, instruam] 
others also" (I Cor., xiv, 19); and "Let him that is instructed [ho 
katechoumenos, is qui catechizatur] in the word, communicate to him 
that instructeth [to katechounti, ei qui catechizat] him, in all good 
things" (Gal., vi, 6). Hence the word, with its technical meaning of 
oral religious instruction, passed into ecclesiastical use, and is 
applied both to the act of instructing and the subject-matter of the 
instruction. The word catechism was also formerly used for the act of 
instructing ("To say ay, and no, to these particulars, is more than to 
answer in a catechism" -- As You Like It, act iii, sc. 2), as 
catéchisme is still used in French; but it is now more properly applied 
to the little printed book in which the questions and answers are 
contained. The subject will be treated in this article under the three 
(1)    Oral instruction by means of questions and answers has occupied 
a prominent place in the scholastic methods of the moral and religious 
teachers of all countries and of all ages. The Socratic dialogues will 
occur to every one as brilliant examples. But many centuries before 
Socrates' day this method was practised among the Hebrews (Exod., xii, 
26; Deut., vi, 7, 20, etc.). They had three forms of catechizing: 
domestic, conducted by the head of the family for the benefit of his 
children and servants; scholastic, by teachers in schools; and 
ecclesiastical by priests and Levites in the Temple and the synagogues. 
Proselytes were carefully instructed before being admitted to become 
members of the Jewish faith. The regular instruction of children began 
when they were twelve years old. Thus we read of Christ "in the temple, 
sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them 
questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his 
answers" (Luke, ii, 46, 47). During His public life He frequently made 
use of the catechetical method to impart instruction: "What think ye of 
Christ? Whose son is he?" "Whom do men say that the son of man is? . . 
. Whom do you say that I am?" etc. In His final charge to His Apostles 
He said: "Teach ye [matheteusate, "make disciples, or scholars"] all 
nations; . . . . Teaching [didaskontes, "instructing"] them to observe 
all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt., xxviii, 19). And 
after this instruction they were to initiate them into the Church, 
"baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost" (ibid.).
(2)    In obedience to Christ's command, St. Peter, "standing up with 
the eleven", declared to the Jews on Pentecost day, and proved to them 
from the Scriptures that Jesus, whom they had crucified, was "Lord and 
Christ". When they had been convinced of this truth, and had 
compunction in their heart for their crime, they asked, "What shall we 
do?" And Peter answered, "Do penance, and be baptized . . . . in the 
name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins." "And with very 
many other words did he testify and exhort them" (Acts, ii). We have 
here an abridgment of the first catechetical instruction given by the 
Apostles. It is both doctrinal and moral -- the hearers are to believe 
and to repent. This twofold element is also contained in St. Peter's 
second discourse after healing the lame man in the Temple (Acts, iii). 
St. Stephen goes further, and brings out that belief in Jesus as the 
Christ (Messias) meant the ending of the Old Covenant and the coming in 
of a New (Acts, vi, vii). St. Philip the Deacon preached "of the 
kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus Christ"; and the Samaritans "were 
baptized, both men and women" (Acts, viii). Furthermore, St. Peter and 
St. John came from Jerusalem and "prayed for them, that they might 
receive the Holy Ghost"; and doubtless declared to them the doctrine of 
that Holy Spirit (ibid.). The same deacon's discourse to the eunuch 
deals with the proof from Scripture, and notably Isaias (liii, 7), that 
"Jesus Christ is the Son of God", and the necessity of baptism. No 
mention is made of penance or repentance, as the eunuch was a just man 
anxious to do God's will. So, too, Cornelius, "a religious man, and 
fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people, and 
always praying to God", did not need much moral instruction; 
accordingly St. Peter speaks to him of Jesus Christ who "is lord of all 
. . . Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and 
with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were 
oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of 
all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom 
they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, 
and gave him to be made manifest . . . even to us who did eat and drink 
with him after he arose again from the dead; and he commanded us to 
preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by 
God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets 
give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who 
believe in him" (Acts, x). In this discourse we have the chief articles 
of the Creed: the Trinity (God, Jesus Christ "Lord of all things", the 
Holy Ghost), the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord; His 
coming to judge the living and the dead, and the remission of sins. 
These are also the subjects of St. Paul's discourses, though, of 
course, in addressing the pagans, whether peasants at Lystra or 
philosophers at Athens, he deals with the fundamental truths of the 
existence and attributes of God (Acts, xiii, xiv, xvii). As he himself 
summed up the matter, he taught "publicly, and from house to house, 
testifying both to Jews and Gentiles penance towards God, and faith in 
[eis] our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts, xx). We find also that though 
Apollo was "instructed [katechemenos] in the way of the Lord", 
Priscilla and Aquila "expounded to him the way Of the Lord more 
diligently" (akribesteron -- Acts, xviii. -- See APOSTLES' CREED).
(3)    The materials for describing the catechetical teaching of the 
ages immediately succeeding the Apostles are scanty. The books of the 
New Testament were available, and all that would be needed would be to 
supplement these. Thus, in the Didache we find little but moral 
instruction; but it is clear that those to whom it is addressed must 
have already received some knowledge of what they were to believe. 
Later on we find more explicit dogmatic teaching, for instance, in St. 
Justin's Apologies and in the writings of Clement of Alexandria. Still, 
even this is not much more advanced than what we have seen above as 
taught by St. Peter, except that Justin dwells on the Creation and 
proves the Divinity of Christ, the Logos and only-begotten Son of the 
(4)    In the ages of persecution it became necessary to exercise great 
caution in admitting persons to membership in the Church. The danger of 
falling away, or even of betrayal, must be guarded against by a careful 
doctrinal and moral training. Hence the institution of the 
catechumenate and the Discipline of the Secret. The work of the 
Apologists had been to remove prejudices against Christianity, and to 
set forth its doctrines and practices in such a way as to appeal to the 
fair-minded pagan. If anyone was moved to embrace the true religion, he 
was not at once admitted, as in the days of the Apostles. At first he 
was treated as an inquirer, and only the fundamental doctrines were 
communicated to him. As soon as he had given proof of his knowledge and 
fitness he was admitted to the catechumenate proper, and was further 
instructed. After some years spent in this stage he was promoted to the 
ranks of the Competentes, i. e. those ready for baptism. As might be 
expected, he was now instructed more especially in the rites for this 
purpose. Even when he had been initiated, his instruction was not yet 
at an end. During the week after Easter, while the grace of first 
fervour was still upon him, the various rites and mysteries in which he 
had just participated were more fully explained to him.
In considering the catechetical writings of the Fathers we must bear in 
mind the distinction of these different grades. When addressing a mere 
inquirer they would naturally be more guarded and less explicit than if 
they had to do with one who had passed through the catechumenate. 
Sometimes, indeed, the language was so chosen that it conveyed only 
half the truth to the catechumen, while the initiated could understand 
the whole. The distinction between the elementary and advanced 
instruction is noted by St. Paul: "As unto little ones in Christ. I 
gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet" (I 
Cor., iii, 2). For our present purpose it will be best to take as 
typical examples of catechesis in the patristic times the works of St. 
Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) and St. Augustine (354-430), merely noting 
by the way the work done by St. Ambrose (the instructor of St. 
Augustine) and St. Gregory of Nyssa ("The Catechetical Oration", ed. J. 
II. Strawley, 1903). We have from St. Cyril twenty-four catechetical 
discourses, forming together a complete course of moral and doctrinal 
instruction. In the first of these, called the "Procatechesis", he sets 
forth the greatness and efficacy of the grace of initiation into the 
Church. The "Catecheses" proper (numbered i to xviii) are divided into 
two groups: i-v, repeating the leading ideas of the "Procatechesis", 
and treating of sin and repentance, baptism, the principal doctrines of 
the Christian religion, and the nature and origin of faith; vi-xviii, 
setting forth, article by article, the baptisimal Creed of the Church 
of Jerusalem. The "Procatechesis" and the eighteen discourses were 
intended for the competentes during Lent, in immediate preparation for 
reception into the Church. The remaining discourses (xix-xxiv), called 
the "Catecheses Mystagogic ", were delivered during Easter week to 
those who had been baptized at Easter; and these, though much shorter 
than the others, treat clearly and openly of baptism, confirmation, and 
the Holy Eucharist, the veil of secrecy being now removed. This is not 
the place to point out how completely in accord with Catholic teaching 
are the doctrines of St. Cyril (see CYRIL OF JERUSALEM; 
TRANSUBSTANTIATION), and what valuable information he gives of the 
details of the Liturgy in his day. In studying these "Catecheses" we 
should bear in mind that they were intended for grown-up persons; hence 
they are not couched in the simple language which we have to use in our 
instructions to our children. They resemble, rather, the instruction 
given to converts, for which purpose they are still of great use. The 
same remark applies to all the catechetical writings of the Fathers.
St. Augustine's treatise "De Catechizandis Rudibus" deals with both the 
theory and the practice of catechizing. It is divided into twenty-seven 
chapters: i-xiv theory, xv-xxvii practice. This short work, written 
about the year 400, shows that the great Doctor did not disdain to 
devote most careful attention to the work of instructing those who 
wished to learn the rudiments of the Faith. It could be written only by 
one who had much experience of the difficulties and tediousness of the 
task, and who had also pondered deeply on the best method of dealing 
with the different classes of converts. The Deogratias, who had 
consulted Augustine on the subject, complained (as so many of us still 
do) of the weariness of going over the same old ground, and of his 
inability to put any fresh life into his instructions. St. Augustine 
begins by words of encouragement, pointing out that we must judge of 
our discourses not by their effect upon ourselves, but by their effect 
upon our healers. The story may be familiar enough to us, who go on 
repeating it over and over again, but it is not so to those who are 
listening to it for the first time. Bearing this in mind, the catechist 
should put himself in the position of the hearer, and speak as though 
he were telling something new. Hilaritas, a bright and cheerful manner, 
must be one of the chief qualifications of an instructor; "God loveth a 
cheerful giver" applies to the giving of the word as well as to the 
giving of wealth. He should so speak that the hearer hearing should 
believe, believing should hope, and hoping should love (Quidquid narras 
ita narra, ut ille cui loqueris audiendo credat, credendo speret, 
sperando amet -- iv, 11). But the foundation of all is the fear of God, 
"for if seldom, or rather never, happens that anyone wishes to become a 
Christian without being moved thereto by some fear of God". If he comes 
from some worldly motive he may be only pretending, though indeed a 
mere pretender may sometimes be turned into a genuine convert by our 
efforts. Hence, continues the holy Doctor, it is of great importance to 
ascertain the state of mind and the motives of those who come to us. If 
we are satisfied that they have received a Divine call, we have a good 
opening for instruction on the care of God for us. We should go briefly 
through the story of God's dealings with men, from the time when He 
made all things even to our own days; showing especially that the Old 
Testament was a preparation for the New, and the New a fulfillment of 
the Old (in veteri testamento est occultatio novi, in novo testamento 
est manifestatio veteris). This is a theme developed at greater length 
in the "De Civitate Dei". After we have finished our story we should go 
on to excite hope in the resurrection of the body -- a doctrine as much 
ridiculed in St. Augustine's day as it was in St. Paul's day, and as it 
is in ours. Then should come the account to be rendered at the last 
judgment, and the reward of the just, and the punishment of the wicked. 
The convert should be put on his guard against the dangers and 
difficulties in trying to lead a good life, especially those arising 
from scandals within as well as without the Church. Finally, he should 
be reminded that the grace of his conversion is not due either to his 
merits or to ours, but to the goodness of God. So far the saint has 
been speaking of persons of little or no education. In chap. viii he 
goes on to deal with those who are well educated, and are already 
acquainted with the Scriptures and other Christian writings. Such 
persons require briefer instruction, and this should be imparted in 
such a way as to let them see that we are aware of their knowledge of 
the Faith. Doubtless St. Augustine had in mind his own case, when he 
presented himself to be received into the Church by St. Ambrose. We 
note, too, the wisdom of this piece of advice, especially when we have 
to deal with Anglican converts. But though less instruction is needed 
in such cases, continues the holy Doctor, we may rightly inquire into 
the causes which have induced these persons to wish to become 
Christians; and in particular as to the books which have influenced 
them. If these are the Scriptures or other Catholic books we should 
praise and recommend them; but if these are heretical we should point 
out wherein they have distorted the true faith. Throughout our 
instruction we should speak with modesty, but also with authority, that 
he who hears us may have no scope for presumption but rather for 
humility. Humility is also the principal virtue to be urged upon that 
intermediate class of converts who have received some education but not 
of the higher sort. These are disposed to scoff at Christian writings, 
and even at the Scriptures for their want of correctness of language. 
They should be made to see that it is the matter rather than the 
language which is of importance; it is more profitable to listen to a 
true discourse than to one which is eloquent. The whole of this chapter 
should be taken to heart by many who join the Church nowadays. After 
dealing with these different classes of inquirers, the saint devotes no 
less than five lengthy chapters (x to xiv) to the causes of weariness 
(the opposite of hilaritas) and the remedies for it. This portion is 
perhaps the most valuable of the whole treatise, at least from a 
practical point of view. Only the merest outline of St. Augustine's 
advice as to the remedies can be given here. We must bring ourselves 
down to the level of the lowest of our hearers, even as Christ humbled 
Himself and took upon Himself "the form of a servant". We must vary the 
subjects, and we must increase in earnestness of manner so as to move 
even the most sluggish. If it seems to us that the fault is ours, we 
should reflect, as already pointed out, that the instruction, though 
not up to our ideal, may be exactly suited to our hearer and entirely 
fresh and new to him; in any case the experience may be useful as a 
trial to our humility. Other occupations may be pleasanter, but we 
cannot say that they are certainly more profitable; for duty should 
come first, and we should submit to God's will and not try to make Him 
submit to ours. After laying down these precepts, St. Augustine goes on 
to give a short catechetical instruction as an example of what he has 
been inculcating. It is supposed to be addressed to an ordinary type of 
inquirer, neither grossly ignorant nor highly educated (xvi to xxv), 
and might well be used at the present day. What specially strikes one 
in reading it is the admirable way in which the saint brings out the 
prophetical and typical character of the Old-Testament narrative, and 
insinuates gradually all the articles of the Creed without seeming to 
reveal them. The sketch of Christ's life and passion, and the doctrine 
of the Church and the sacraments are also noteworthy. The discourse 
ends with an earnest exhortation to perseverance. This short work has 
exercised the greatest influence on catechetics. In all ages of the 
Church it has been adopted as a textbook.
(5)    When all fear of persecution had passed away, and the empire had 
become almost entirely Christian, the necessity for a prolonged period 
of trial and instruction no longer existed. About the same time the 
fuller teaching on the subject of original sin, occasioned by the 
Pelagian heresy, gradually led to the administration of baptism to 
infants. In such cases instruction was, of course, impossible, though 
traces of it are still to be seen in the rite of infant baptism, where 
the godparents are put through a sort of catechesis in the name of the 
child. As the child grew, it was taught its religion both at home and 
at the services in church. This instruction was necessarily more simple 
than that formerly given to grown-up catechumens, and gradually came to 
be what we now understand by catechetical instruction. Meantime, 
however, the barbarian invaders were being brought into the Church, and 
in their case the instruction had to be of an elementary character. The 
missionaries had to go back to the methods of the Apostles and content 
themselves with exacting a renunciation of idolatry and a profession of 
belief in the great truths of Christianity. Such was the practice of 
St. Patrick in Ireland, St. Remigius among the Franks, St. Augustine in 
England, St. Boniface in Germany. We should bear in mind that in those 
ages religious instruction did not cease with baptism. Set sermons were 
rarer than in our time; the priest spoke rather as a catechist than as 
a preacher. We may take the practice among the Anglo-Saxons as typical 
of what was done in other countries. "Among the duties incumbent on the 
parish priest the first was to instruct his flock in the doctrines and 
duties of Christianity, and to extirpate from among them the lurking 
remains of paganism . . . He was ordered to explain to his parishioners 
the ten commandments; to take care that all could repeat and understand 
the Lord's Prayer and the Creed; to expound in English on Sundays the 
portion of Scripture proper to the Mass of the day, and to preach, or, 
if he were unable to preach, to read at least from a book some lesson 
of instruction" (Lingard, "Anglo-Saxon Church", c. iv). The laws 
enacting these duties will be found in Thorpe, "Ecclesiastical 
Institutes", i, 378; ii, 33, 34, 84, 191.
(6)    It is the custom with non-Catholic writers to assert that during 
the Middle Ages, "the Ages of Faith", religious instruction was 
entirely neglected, and that the Protestant Reformers were the first to 
restore the practice of the Early Church. In the "Dict. de théol. 
cath.", s.v. "Catéchisme", and in Bareille, "Le Catéchisme Romain", 
Introd., pp. 36 sqq., will be found long lists of authorities showing 
how false are these assertions. We must here content ourselves with 
stating what was done in England. Abbot Gasquet has thoroughly gone 
into the subject, and declares that "in pre-Reformation days the people 
were well instructed in their faith by priests who faithfully 
discharged their plain duty In their regard" (Old English Bible and 
other Essays, p. 186). In proof of this he quotes the constitutions of 
John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury (1281), in which it is enjoined 
that every priest shall explain to his people in English, and without 
any elaborate subtleties (vulgariter absque cujuslibet subtilitatis 
texturâ fantastic ), four times a year, the Creed, the Ten 
Commandments, the two precepts of the Gospel (viz. love of God and 
man), the seven deadly sins, the seven chief virtues (theological and 
cardinal), and the seven sacraments. In these constitutions is 
contained a brief instruction on all these heads, "lest anyone should 
excuse himself on the ground of ignorance of these things which all the 
ministers of the Church are bound to know". This legislation, after 
all, was nothing but an insisting on a practice dating from Saxon days, 
as we have already seen. Moreover, it is constantly referred to in 
subsequent synods and in countless catechetical writings. One of 
Peckham's predecessors, St. Edmund Rich (1234-1240), was not only a man 
of great learning, but also a zealous teacher of Christian doctrine 
among the people. He wrote familiar instructions on prayer, the seven 
deadly sins, the Commandments, and the sacraments. Cardinal Thoresby, 
Archbishop of York, published in 1357 a catechism in Latin and English, 
the "Lay Folks Catechism", for the purpose of carrying out Peckham's 
Constitutions, and it is based on Peckham's instruction. The two, with 
the English translation in rude verse, have been reprinted by the Early 
English Text Society, No. 118. In the episcopal Registers and 
Visitations we read how the people were asked whether their pastor 
fulfilled his duties, and they constantly answer that they are taught 
bene et optime. Chaucer's Poor Parson may be taken as a type:
But riche he was of holy thought and work.
He was also a learned man, a clerk,
That Christes Gospel trewly wolde preche,
His parischens devoutly wolde he teche.
His tale is practically a treatise on the Sacrament of Penance. As 
regards catechetical manuals we need only mention the "Pars Oculi 
Sacerdotis" (about the middle of the fourteenth century) which was very 
popular; "Pupilla Oculi", by John de Burgo (1385); "Speculum 
Christiani", by John Wotton, containing simple English rhymes as well 
as the Latin text. "One of the earliest books ever issued from an 
English press by Caxton . . . . was a set of four lengthy discourses, 
published, as they expressly declare, to enable priests to fulfill the 
obligation imposed on them by the Constitutions of Peckham" (Gasquet, 
op. cit., p. 191). The part which pictures, statues, reliefs, pageants, 
and especially miracle plays took in the religious instruction of the 
people must not be forgotten. All of these give proof of an extensive 
knowledge of sacred history and an astonishing skill in conveying 
doctrinal and moral lessons. If is enough to refer to Ruskin's "Bible 
of Amiens", and to the Townley, Chester, and Coventry miracle plays. 
(Cf. Bareille, op. cit., pp. 42 sqq.)
(7)    The invention of printing and the revival of learning naturally 
had great influence on catechetical instruction. The first great name 
to be mentioned, though indeed it belongs to a slightly earlier period, 
is that of John Gerson (1363-1429). He realized that the much-needed 
reform of the Church should begin by the instruction of the young; and 
though he was chancellor of the University of Paris he devoted himself 
to this work. He composed a sort of little catechism entitled "The A B 
C of Simple Folk". To enable the clergy to catechize he also composed 
the "Opus Tripartitum de Pr eceptis Decalogi, de Confessione, et de 
Arte bene Moriendi", in which he briefly explained the Creed, the 
Commandments of God, the sins to be mentioned in confession, and the 
art of dying well. This was printed many times and was translated into 
French. It was the forerunner of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. 
In the year 1470, before Luther was born, a German catechism, 
"Christenspiegel" (the Christian's Mirror), written by Dederich, was 
printed, and at once became very popular. Two other catechisms, "The 
Soul's Guide" and "The Consolation of the Soul", were printed a little 
later and issued in many editions. TN Janssen's great "History of the 
German People at the Close of the Middle Ages" will be found a complete 
refutation of the popular notion that the Protestant Reformers, and 
especially Luther, were the first to revive catechetical instruction 
and to print catechisms. It is, however, proper to acknowledge their 
activity in this matter, and to note that this activity stirred up the 
zeal of the Catholics to counteract their influence. Luther's famous 
"Enchiridion", which was really the third edition of his smaller 
catechism, was published in 1529, and speedily ran through a number of 
editions; it is still used in Germany and in other Protestant 
countries. In 1536 Calvin composed a catechism in French: "Le 
formulaire d'instruire les enfans en la chrestienté, fait en manière de 
dialogue oú le ministre interroge et l'enfant répond". He candidly 
admits that it was always the custom in the Church to instruct children 
in this way. Of course he takes care to introduce the chief points of 
his heresy: the certainty of salvation, the impossibility of losing 
justice (righteousness), and the justification of children 
independently of baptism. It is noteworthy that as regards the 
Eucharist he teaches that we receive not merely a sign, but Jesus 
Christ Himself, "really and effectually by a true and substantial 
union". In England the first Book of Common Prayer (1549) contained a 
catechism with a brief explanation of the Commandments and the Lord's 
Prayer. The explanation of the sacraments was not added until the year 
1604. If this catechism be compared with that of Cardinal Thoresby, 
mentioned above, it will be seen that the instruction given to 
Protestant children in the middle of the sixteenth century was far 
inferior to that given in pre-Reformation days. In 1647 the Westminster 
Assembly of Divines drew up the Presbyterian "Larger" and "Smaller" 
On the Catholic side Blessed Peter Canisius published three catechisms, 
or rather one catechism in three forms: major (1555), minor (1558), and 
minimus (1556). Taking as his foundation Ecclus., i, 33, he divides his 
treatment into two great parts: wisdom and justice. In the first he 
deals with Faith (the Creed), Hope (the Lord's Prayer and the Hail 
Mary), Charity (the Commandments). In the second he deals with avoiding 
evil (sin and the remission of sin) and doing good (prayer, fasting and 
almsdeeds, the cardinal virtues, the gifts and fruits of the Holy 
Ghost, the beatitudes, the evangelical counsels, and the Four Last 
Things). To obtain and to preserve both wisdom and justice the 
sacraments are necessary, and hence he places the treatment of the 
sacraments between the two parts. After the Council of Trent (1563) 
Canisius added a chapter on the Fall and Justification. The form of the 
three books is that of questions and answers, some of the latter being 
as long as four or five pages. In striking contrast to the Protestant 
catechisms, the tone throughout is calm, and there is an absence of 
controversial bitterness. The success of Canisius' catechisms was 
enormous. They were translated into every language in Europe, and were 
reprinted in many hundreds of editions, so that the name Canisius came 
to be synonymous with Catechism (Bareille, op. cit., p. 61).
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (Catechismus Romanus) is not a 
catechism in the ordinary sense of the word. It is rather a manual of 
instruction for the clergy (Catechismus ad Parochos) to enable them to 
catechize those entrusted to their spiritual care. The fathers of the 
council "deemed it of the utmost importance that a work should appear, 
sanctioned by the authority of the Holy Synod, from which perish 
priests and all others on whom the duty of imparting instruction 
devolves may be able to seek and derive certain precepts for the 
edification of the faithful; that as there is 'one Lord one Faith' so 
also there may be one common rule and prescribed form of delivering the 
faith, and instructing the Christian people unto all the duties of 
piety" (Pr f., viii). The composition of the work was entrusted to four 
distinguished theologians (two of them archbishops and one a bishop), 
under the supervision of three cardinals. St. Charles Borromeo was the 
presiding spirit. The original draft was turned into elegant Latin by 
Pogianus and Manutius, and this version was translated by command of 
the pope (St. Plus V) into Italian, French, German, and Polish. Brought 
out under such conditions (1566), the authority of this catechism is 
higher than that of any other, but is, of course, not on a level with 
that of the canons and decrees of a council, As to its value Cardinal 
Newman's estimate may be gathered from these words: "I rarely preach a 
sermon, but I go to this beautiful and complete Catechism to get both 
my matter and my doctrine" (Apologia, p. 425). (See ROMAN CATECHISM.)
Cardinal Bellarmine's Catechism was ordered by Clement VIII to be used 
in the Papal States, and was recommended for use throughout the world. 
It appeared in two forms: "Dottrina Cristiana Breve" (1597) and 
"Dichiarazione più Copiosa della Dottrina Cristiana" (1598). The first 
is for scholars, the second for teachers; in the first the teacher asks 
the questions and the scholar replies, whereas in the second this 
process is reversed. The first, which is meant to be learnt by heart, 
contains eleven chapters and ninety-five questions, and is arranged in 
the following order: the Calling of the Christian and the Sign of the 
Cross; the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Hail Mary; the 
Commandments of God, the Commandments of the Church, and the Counsels; 
the Sacraments, the Theological and Cardinal Virtues, the Gifts of the 
Holy Ghost, the Works Of Mercy, Sins, the Last Things, and the Rosary. 
It is an improvement on Canisius' catechisms, and hence it was 
recommended at the Vatican Council to serve as a model for the 
projected universal catechism.
The first catechism in English after the Reformation was "A Catechisme 
or Christian Doctrine necessarie for Children and Ignorante People, 
briefly compiled by Laurence Vaux, Bacheler of Divinitie"; 1st ed., 
1567; reprinted 1574, 1583 (twice), 1599, 1605; 18mo. This has been 
reprinted for the Chetham Society, new series, vol. IV, Manchester, 
1883. Next came a small volume, "A Briefe Instruction by way of 
Dialogue concerning the principall poyntes of Christian religion 
gathered out of the Holy Scriptures, Fathers and Councels. By the 
Reverend M. George Doulye, Priest. Imprinted at Louvaine by Laurence 
Kellam, anno 1604": "A Shorte Catechisme of Cardinal Bellarmine 
illustrated with Images. In Augusta, 1614; A briefe Christian Doctrine 
to be learned by heart"; "A Summe of Christian Doctrine composed in 
Latin by Father Petrus Canisius of the Society of Jesus with an 
Appendix of the Fall of Man and Justification. Translated into English 
[by Fr. Garnet?) at St. Omers for John Heigham. With permission of 
Superiors: 1622"; "A Catechisme of Christian Doctrine in fifteen 
Conferences. Paris: 1637", 2nd ed., 1659. The author was Thomas White, 
alias Blacklow, of Lisbon and Douai. The most important, however, was 
the book which came to be known as "The Doway Catechism", "An 
Abridgement of Christian Doctrine with proofs of Scripture for points 
controverted. Catechistically explained by way of question and answer", 
printed at Douai, 1st ed., 1649; again 1661, and so constantly. The 
last editions mentioned by Gillow are London, 1793, and Dublin, 1828; 
the author was Henry Turberville, a Douai priest. There was also a 
smaller edition, "An Abstract of the Douay Catechism. For the use of 
children and ignorant people. London, printed in the year 1688"; it was 
reprinted many times, and continued in use until the Douai students 
came to England. In 1625, the Franciscan Florence O'Conry published an 
Irish catechism at Louvain, entitled "Mirror of a Christian Life". 
This, like the catechisms of O'Hussey (Louvain, 1608) and Stapleton 
(Brussels, 1639), was written for the benefit of the Irish troops 
serving in the Netherlands. In the same century another member of the 
Franciscan order, Father Francis Molloy, a native of the County Meath, 
Ireland, and at the time professor of theology in St. Isidore's 
College, Rome, published a catechism in Irish under the title "Lucerna 
Fidelium" (Rome, Propaganda Press, 1676). We should also mention Andrew 
Donlevy's "The Catechism or Christian Doctrine by way of question and 
answer. Paris, 1742". This was in English and Irish on opposite pages. 
"The Poor Man's Catechism or the Christian Doctrine explained with 
short admonitions", 1st ed., 1752; it was edited by the Rev. George 
Bishop. The author's name does not appear, but a later work tells who 
he was: "The Poor Man's Controversy, By J. Mannock, O. S. B., the 
author of the Poor Man's Catechism, 1769." Dr. James Butler Archbishop 
of Cashel, published his catechism in 1775, and it was soon adopted by 
many Irish bishops for their dioceses. An account of it was given by 
Archbishop Walsh in the "Irish Eccl. Record", Jan., 1892. In 1737 
Bishop Challoner published "The Catholic Christian instructed in the 
Sacraments, Sacrifice, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church by way 
of question and answer. By R. C. London 1737." There is also "An 
Abridgement of Christian Doctrine with a Short Daily Exercise", 
"corrected by the late Bishop Challoner", 1783. Bishop Hay's admirable 
works: "The Sincere Christian instructed in the Faith of Christ from 
the Written Word" (1781); "The Devout Christian instructed in the Faith 
of Christ" (1783); and "The Pious Christian" are catechisms on a large 
scale in the form of question and answer.
During the eighteenth century catechetical instruction received a fresh 
impulse from Pope Benedict XIII, who issued (1725) three ordinances 
prescribing in detail the methods: division into small classes and 
special preparation for confession and Communion. Against the 
rationalistic tendencies in the pedagogical movement of the century, 
Clement XIII uttered a protest in 1761. Pius VI wrote (1787) to the 
Orientals, proposing for their use a catechism in Arabic prepared by 
the Propaganda. In Germany the "Pastoral Instruction" issued by Raymond 
Anton, Bishop of Eichst dt (1768; new ed., Freiburg, 1902) emphasized 
the need and indicated the method of instruction (Tit. XIV, Cap. V). 
Prominent among the writers on the subject were Franz Neumayr, S. J. in 
his "Rhetorica catechetica" (1766); M.I. Schmidt, "Katechisten", and 
J.I. von Felbiger, "Vorlesungen über die Kunst zu katechisieren" 
(Vienna, 1774). In France, during the same century, great activity was 
shown, especially by the bishops, in publishing catechisms. Each 
diocese had its own textbook, but though occasional attempts were made 
at uniformity, they were not successful. Several catechisms composed by 
individual writers other than the bishops were put on the Index (see 
Migne, "Catéchismes", Paris, 1842). The French original of "An 
Abridgment of the Quebec Catechism" (Quebec, 1817) appeared in Paris 
(1702) and Quebec (1782).
The pedagogical activity of the nineteenth century naturally exerted an 
influence upon religious instruction. German writers of the first rank 
were Overberg (d. 1826), Sailer (d. 1832), Gruber (d. 1835), and 
Hirscher (d. 1865), all of whom advocated the psychological method and 
the careful preparation of teachers. Deharbe's "Catechism" (1847) was 
translated between 1853 and 1860 into thirteen languages, and his "Erkl 
rungen des Katechismus" (1857-61) has passed through numerous editions. 
In France, Napoleon (1806) imposed upon all the churches of the empire 
uniformity in the matter of catechisms and, in spite of the opposition 
of Plus VII, published the "Imperial Catechism", containing a chapter 
on duties towards the emperor. This was replaced after the fall of the 
empire by a large number of diocesan catechisms which again led to 
various plans for securing uniformity. Dupanloup, one of the foremost 
writers on education, published his Catéchisme chrétien" in 1865. At 
the time of the Vatican Council (1869-1870) the question of having a 
single universal catechism was discussed. There was great diversity of 
opinion among the Fathers, and consequently the discussion led to no 
result (see Martin, "Les travaux du concile du Vatican", pp. 113-115). 
The arguments for and against the project will be examined when we come 
to speak of catechisms in the third part of this article. The most 
important event in the recent history of catechetics has been the 
publication of the Encyclical "Acerbo nimis" on the teaching of 
Christian doctrine (15 April, 1905). In this document Plus X attributes 
the present religious crisis to the widespread ignorance of Divine 
truth, and lays down strict regulations concerning the duty of 
catechizing (see below). For the purpose of discussing the best methods 
of carrying out these orders a number of catechetical congresses have 
been held: e. g., at Munich, 1905 and 1907; Vienna, 1905 and 1908; 
Salzburg, 1906; Lucerne, 1907; Paris, 1908, etc. At these gatherings 
scientific, yet practical, lectures were delivered, demonstrations were 
given of actual catechizing in school, and an interesting feature was 
the exhibition of the best literature and appliances. Two periodicals 
have likewise appeared: "Katechetische Blätter" (Munich) and 
"Christlich-pädagogische Blätter" (Vienna).
In the United States, the few priests who in the early days toiled in 
this vast field were so overburdened with work that they could not 
produce original textbooks for religious instruction; they caused to be 
re-printed, with slight alterations, books commonly used in Europe. 
Others were composed in the manner described by Dr. England, first 
Bishop of Charleston, who, in 1821, published a catechism which, he 
writes, "I had much labor in compiling from various others, and adding 
several parts which I considered necessary to be explicitly dwelt upon 
under the peculiar circumstances of my diocese." The first to edit a 
catechism, so far as is known, was the Jesuit Father Robert Molyneux, 
an Englishman by birth and a man of extensive learning, who, till 1809, 
laboured among the Catholics in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Copies of 
this work are not known to exist now, but, in letters to Bishop 
Carroll, Father Molyneux mentions two catechisms which he issued -- one 
in 1785, "a spelling primer for children with a Catholic catechism 
annexed". In 1788 a catechism was published in New York which in all 
likelihood was a reprint of "Butler's Catechism" mentioned above. 
Bishop Hay's " Abridgement of Christian Doctrine" (152 pp ) appeared in 
Philadelphia in 1800; another edition (143 pp.) in 1803, and one with 
some alterations in the language in Baltimore in 1809 (108 pp.). Many 
editions were published of the catechism entitled "A Short Abridgement 
of Christian Doctrine, Newly Revised for the Use of the Catholic Church 
in the United States of America". The size of these small catechisms is 
from 36 to 48 pages. One edition, with title page torn, bears on the 
last page the record: "Bought September 14, 1794". The Philadelphia 
edition of 1796 is styled the thirteenth edition; that of Baltimore, 
1798, the fourteenth. Whether all these editions were printed in 
America, or some of the earlier ones in Europe, cannot be ascertained.
This "Short Abridgement of Christian Doctrine", approved by Archbishop 
Carroll, was generally used throughout the United States until about 
1821. In that year Bishop England published his catechism for his own 
diocese, and in 1825 appeared the "Catechism of the Diocese of 
Bardstown", recommended as a class-book by Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, 
Kentucky. The author of the latter catechism was Jean-Baptiste David, 
coadjutor of Bishop Flaget. It comprised the "First or Smail Catechism 
for Little Children" (13 pp.), and the "Second Catechism" (149 pp.). 
The English were criticized by Archbishop Mar chal and others. Still 
more defective and inexact in language was the catechism of Bishop 
Conwell of Philadelphia, and, at the request of the archbishop, the 
author suppressed the book. An old English catechism, the "Abridgement 
of Christian Doctrine", by Henry Turberville, first published at Douai 
in 1649, was reprinted in New York in 1833. Whereas this edition 
preserved the quaint old language of the original, another edition of 
the same book appeared in Philadelphia, as "revised by the Right Rev. 
James Doyle and prescribed by him for the united dioceses of Kildare 
and Leighlin" (Ireland). In the New England States the "Boston 
Catechism" was used for a long time, the "Short Abridgement of 
Christian Doctrine", newly revised and augmented and authorized by 
Bishop Fenwick of Boston. But the catechisms which were used most 
exclusively during several decades were Butler's "Larger Catechism" and 
"Abridged Catechism". In 1788 Samuel Campbell, New York, published "A 
Catechism for the Instruction of Children. The Seventh Edition with 
Additions, Revised and Corrected by the Author". This seems to be the 
first American edition of Butler's Catechism; for Dr. Troy, Bishop of 
Ossory, wrote, soon after Butler's Catechism had appeared: "It has been 
printed here under the title: 'A Catechism for the Instruction of 
Children', without any mention of Dr. Butler". Butler's Catechism 
became very popular in the United States, and the First Provincial 
Council of Canada (1851) prescribed it for the English-speaking 
Catholics of the Dominion. Some other American catechisms may be 
briefly mentioned: the so-called "Dubuque Catechism" by Father 
Hattenberger; the Small and the Larger Catechism of the Jesuit 
missionary, Father Weninger (1865); and the three graded catechisms of 
the Redemptorist Father Müller (1874). Far more extensively used than 
these was the English translation of Deharbe. From 1869 numerous 
editions of the small, medium, and large catechisms, with various 
modifications, were published in the United States. An entirely new and 
much improved edition was issued in New York in 1901.
Repeated efforts have been made in the United States towards an 
arrangement by which a uniform textbook of Christian Doctrine might be 
used by all Catholics. As early as 1829, the bishops assembled in the 
First Provincial Council of Baltimore decreed: "A catechism shall be 
written which is better adapted to the circumstances of this Province; 
it shall give the Christian Doctrine as explained in Cardinal 
Bellarmine's Catechism, and when approved by the Holy See, it shall be 
published for the common use of Catholics" (Decr. xxxiii). The clause 
recommending Bellarmine's Catechism as a model was added at the special 
request of the Congregation of Propaganda. It may be mentioned here 
that Bellarmine's "Small Catechism", Italian text with English 
translation, was published at Boston, in 1853. The wish of the bishops 
was not carried out, and the First and Second Plenary Councils of 
Baltimore (1852 and 1866) repeated the decree of 1829. In the Third 
Plenary Council (1884) many bishops were in favour of a "revised" 
edition of Butler's Catechism, but finally the matter was given into 
the hands of a committee of six bishops. At last, in 1885, was issued 
"A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of 
the Third Council of Baltimore". Although the council had desired a 
catechism "perfect in every respect" (Acta et Decr., p. 219), 
theologians and teachers criticized several points (Nilles, 
"Commentaria", II, 265, 188). Soon various editions came forth with 
additions of word-meanings, explanatory notes, some even with different 
arrangements, so that there is now a considerable diversity in the 
books that go by the name of Catechism of the Council of Baltimore. 
Besides, in recent years several new catechisms have been published, 
"one or two a decided improvement over the Council Catechism" (Messmer, 
"Spirago's Method", p. 558). Among the recent catechisms are the two of 
Father Faerber, the large and small catechisms of Father Groenings, S. 
J., and the "Holy Family Series of Catholic Catechisms", by Francis H. 
Butler, of the Diocese of Boston (1902). The three graded catechisms of 
this series give on the left page the questions and answers, on the 
right a "Reading Lesson)", dealing in fuller, and connected, form with 
the matter contained in the questions and answers. Some very practical 
features (reading part, followed by questions and answers, appropriate 
hymns, and pictorial illustrations) mark the "Text-books of Religion 
for Parochial and Sunday Schools", edited since 1898 by Father Yorke. 
These last two series to some extent depart from the traditional method 
and indicate a new movement in catechetical teaching. A more radical 
change in the style of the catechism, namely the complete abandonment 
of the question-and-answer method, has recently been proposed (see 
below, under II and III of this article, and "Am. Eccl. Rev.", 1907; 
Jan., and Feb., 1908). The First Plenary Council of Baltimore (1852) 
appointed Bishop Neumann to write, or revise, a German catechism the 
use of which, after its approbation by the archbishop and all the 
German-speaking bishops, should be obligatory. This decree shared the 
fate of the council's demand for a uniform English catechism. The Third 
Plenary Council (1884) decreed that the catechism to be issued by its 
order should be translated into the languages of those parishes in 
which religious instruction is given in any other than the English 
tongue. But the translation of the council catechism met with little 
favour. Another regulation, however, contained in the same decree of 
the council (ccxix), was gradually carried into effect. The bishops 
assembled expressed an earnest desire that in schools where English was 
not used the Christian Doctrine should be taught not only in the 
foreign tongue there used, but also in English. Undoubtedly this was a 
wise provision. For the young people of the second or third generation 
find it difficult to understand the native language of their parents; 
hearing discussions or attacks on their religion, they are hardly able 
to answer if they have not learnt the catechism in English. Moreover, 
after leaving school many young people have to live among English-
speaking people, in places where there is no congregation of their own 
nationality; if they have not been taught religion in English they are 
tempted not to attend sermons, they feel embarrassed in going to 
confession, and thus may gradually drift away from the Church. In order 
to obviate these dangers, various catechisms (Deharbe, Faerber, 
Groenings, etc.) have been published with German and English texts on 
opposite pages. Similarly, there are Polish-English, Bohemian-English, 
and other editions with double text. In most Italian schools catechism 
is taught chiefly in English, and only the prayers in Italian. Unwise 
as it would be to force a change of languages in catechetical teaching, 
it would be equally injudicious to artificially retard the natural 
development. The slow but steady tendency is towards the gradual 
adoption of the English language in preaching and teaching catechism, 
and it seems but reasonable to think that some day there will be among 
the Catholics in the United States not only unity in faith in the 
substance of the catechism, but also in its external form and language.
A number of German immigrants entered Pennsylvania about 1700, a 
considerable portion of them being Catholics. In 1759 the German 
Catholics in Philadelphia outnumbered those of the English tongue, and 
in 1789 they opened the church of the Holy Trinity, the first, 
exclusively national church in the United States. Since 1741 German 
Jesuits have ministered to the spiritual needs of their countrymen, and 
Catholic schools have been established in the Pennsylvania settlements. 
It was natural that the German Jesuits should introduce the Catechism 
of Canisius, which for centuries had been universally used throughout 
Germany. The best Known American edition of this famous catechism is 
that printed in Philadelphia, in 1810: "Catholischer Catechismus, worin 
die Catholische Lehre nach den f nf Hauptst cken V. P. Petri Canisii, 
aus der Gesellschaft Jesu, erkl rt wird". The author or editor of this 
book was Adam Britt, pastor of the Holy Trinity Church, Philadelphia, 
who died at Conewaga (1822) as a member of the Society of Jesus. During 
several decades the Catechism of Canisius was generally used by the 
German Catholics in the United States. The Redemptorists came to this 
country in 1833 and soon had charge of flourishing German parishes in 
nearly all the more important cities. The Venerable John N. Neumann, 
afterwards Bishop of Philadelphia, wrote, while rector of the 
Redemtorist house at Pittsburgh, about the year 1845, a small and a 
large catechism. These texts, also known as the "Redemptorist 
Catechisms", had a wide circulation, whereas those written later by 
Father Weninger, S. J., and Father Müller, C. SS. R., never became 
popular. The second half of the nineteenth century may be called the 
era of Deharbe's Catechism. In 1850 the "Katholischer Katechismus der 
Lehrbegriffe" was issued in Cincinnati, which by this time had become a 
centre of German Catholic population with flourishing parochial 
schools. Bishop Purcell declares in the approbation that the German 
catechisms previously published were not to be reprinted, but that this 
"Regensburg [Ratisbon] Catechism, long in use in Germany", was to be 
the only one in his diocese. Although the name of the author was not 
given, it was in reality Father Deharbe's "Large Catechism". Since that 
time numerous editions of the different catechisms of Deharbe appeared 
with various adaptations and modifications, and for nearly fifty years 
Deharbe reigned supreme. This supremacy has been challenged within the 
last two decades. Father Müller, C. SS. R., in the preface to his 
catechism, severely criticized Deharbe's as a book "which it is 
difficult for children to learn and to understand". Father Faerber, who 
devoted forty years to catechetical instruction, produced in 1895 a 
textbook which commends itself by its simplicity and clearness, 
although the critics, who charged it with incompleteness and a certain 
lack of accuracy, were not altogether wrong. Almost simultaneously with 
Father Faerber's book appeared an excellent, thoroughly revised, 
edition of Deharbe's texts, from which many defects had been expunged. 
Finally, in 1900, Father Groenings, S. J., published two catechisms, a 
small and a large one.
Development of Catechizing after the Council of Trent -- Mindful that 
the work of catechizing was more important than the issue of 
catechisms, the Council of Trent decreed that "the bishops shall take 
care that at least on the Lord's day and other festivals the children 
in every parish be carefully taught the rudiments of the faith and 
obedience to God and their parents" (Sess. IV, De Ref., c. iv). In 1560 
the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine was founded in Rome by a 
Milanese, and was approved by St. Pius V in 1571. St. Charles Borromeo 
in his provincial synods laid down excellent rules on catechizing; 
every Christian was to know the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the 
Creed, and the Ten Commandments; confessors were ordered to examine 
their penitents as to their knowledge of these formularies (V Prov. 
Concil., 1579). He also established schools in the villages, in 
addition to increasing the number in the towns. Besides the renewed 
activity of the older orders, the Jesuits the Barnabites, and the 
Clerks Regular of Pious Schools (Piarists), who devoted themselves to 
the education of the young, took special care of the religious 
instruction of those entrusted to them. In this connection three names 
are especially worthy of mention: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Francis de 
Sales, and M. Olier. One of St. Francis's first acts as a bishop was to 
organize catechetical instruction throughout his diocese, and he 
himself took his turn with his canons in this holy work. St. Vincent 
founded his congregation of Priests of the Mission for the purpose of 
instructing the poor, especially in the villages. The missionaries were 
to teach the catechism twice a day during each mission. In his own 
parish of Ch tillon he established the Confraternity for the Assistance 
of the Poor, and one of the duties of the members was to instruct as 
well as to give material aid. So, too, the Sisters of Charity not only 
took care of the sick and the poor but also taught the children. M. 
Olier, both in the seminary and in the parish of Saint-Sulpice, laid 
special stress on the work of catechizing. The method which he 
introduced will be described in the second part of this article. The 
Brothers of the Christian Schools, founded by St. Jean-Baptiste de la 
Salle, devoted themselves especially to religious as well as secular 
instruction. Finding that the very poor were unable to attend school on 
weekdays, the saintly founder introduced secular lessons on Sundays. 
This was in 1699, nearly a century before such teaching was given in 
Protestant England.
Catechizing (catechesis), as we have seen, is instruction which is at 
once religious, elementary, and oral.
Catechizing is a religious work not simply because it treats of 
religious subjects, but because its end or object is religious. The 
teacher should endeavour to influence the child's heart and will, and 
not be content with putting a certain amount of religious knowledge 
into its head; for, as Aristotle would say, the end of catechizing is 
not knowledge, but practice. Knowledge, indeed, there must be, and the 
more of it the better in this age of widespread secular education; but 
the knowledge must lead to action. Both teacher and child must realize 
that they are engaged in a religious work, and not in one of the 
ordinary lessons of the day. It is the neglect to realize this that is 
responsible for the little effect produced by long and elaborate 
teaching. Religious knowledge comes to be looked upon by the child 
merely as a branch of other knowledge, and having as little to do with 
conduct as the study of vulgar fractions. "When the child is fighting 
its way through the temptations of the world, it will have to draw far 
more largely on its stock of piety than on its stock of knowledge" 
(Furniss, "Sunday School or Catechism?). The work of a teacher in the 
Church will be directed chiefly to this, that the faithful earnestly 
desire 'to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified', and that they be 
firmly convinced and with the innermost piety and devotion of heart 
believe, that 'there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby 
we must be saved', for 'He is the propitiation for our sins'. But as in 
this we do know that we have known Him, if 'we keep His commandments', 
the next consideration and one intimately connected with the foregoing, 
is to show that life is not to be spent in ease and sloth, but that we 
'ought to walk even as He walked', and with all earnestness 'pursue 
justice, godliness, faith, charity, mildness'; for He 'gave Himself for 
us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a 
people acceptable, pursuing good works'; which things the Apostle 
commands pastors to 'speak and exhort'. But as our Lord and Saviour has 
not only declared, hut has also shown by His own example, that the Law 
and the Prophets depend on love, and as also, according to the 
confirmation of the Apostle, 'the end of the commandments and the 
fulfillment of the Law is charity, no one can doubt that this, as a 
paramount duty, should be attended to with the utmost assiduity, that 
the faithful people be excited to a love of the infinite goodness of 
God towards us; that, inflamed with a sort of divine ardour, they may 
be powerfully attracted to the supreme and all-perfect good, to adhere 
to which is solid happiness" (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Pref., 
The persons concerned in catechizing (teachers and taught) and the 
times and places for catechizing can hardly be treated apart. But it 
will be best to begin with the persons. The duty of providing suitable 
religious instruction for children is primarily incumbent on their 
parents. This they may fulfill either by teaching them themselves or by 
entrusting them to others. Next to the natural parents the godparents 
have this duty. The parish priest should remind both the parents and 
godparents of their obligation; and he, too, as the spiritual father of 
those entrusted to his care, is bound to instruct them. In Pius X's 
Encyclical Letter on the teaching of Christian doctrine it is enacted;
"(1)   that all parish priests, and in general, all those entrusted 
with the care of souls, shall on every Sunday and feast day throughout 
the year, without exception, give boys and girls an hour's instruction 
from the catechism on those things which every one must believe and do 
in order to be saved; (2)   at stated times during the year they shall 
prepare boys and girls by continued instruction, lasting several days, 
to receive the sacraments of penance and confirmation; (3)   they shall 
likewise and with special care on all the weekdays in Lent, and if 
necessary on other days after the feast of Easter, prepare boys and 
girls by suitable instruction and exhortations to make their first 
Communion in a holy manner; (4)   in each and every parish the society, 
commonly called the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, shall be 
canonically erected; through this the parish priests, especially in the 
places where there is a scarcity of priests, will have lay helpers for 
the catechetical instruction in pious lay persons who will devote 
themselves to the office of teaching."
In countries where there are Catholic schools religious instruction is 
given on weekdays either before or after the secular instruction. As is 
well known, for the sake of this privilege the faithful have 
contributed enormous sums of money to build and support schools. Where 
this is the case the difficulty is only a financial one. Nevertheless, 
the First Provincial Council of Westminster warns the pastor not to 
make over this duty of catechizing "so far to others, however good or 
religious they may be, as not to visit the schools frequently and 
instill into the tender minds of youth the principles of true faith and 
piety". We see, then, that the work of giving religious instruction 
belongs to the parents, to priests with the care of souls, to the 
teachers in Catholic schools, and to other lay helpers.
Turning now to those who are to be taught, we may consider first the 
young and then those who are grown up. The young may be divided into 
those who are receiving elementary education (primary scholars) and 
those who are more advanced (secondary scholars). Although in many 
dioceses the scholars are arranged in classes corresponding to the 
secular classes, we may consider them for our present purpose as 
divided into three groups: those who have not been to confession; those 
who have been to confession but have not made their first Communion; 
and those who have made their first Communion. In the case of the first 
group the instruction must be of the most rudimentary kind; but, as 
already pointed out, this does not mean that the little ones should be 
taught nothing except the first part of some catechism; they should 
have the Creed and the Commandments, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, 
explained to them, together with the forgiveness of sin by the 
Sacraments of Baptism and Penance. The principal events in the life of 
Christ will be found to be an ever-interesting subject for them. How 
far it is wise to talk to them about Creation and the Fall, the Deluge 
and the stories of the early patriarchs, may be a matter of discussion 
among teachers. In any case great care should be taken not to give them 
any notions which they may afterwards have to discard. If is of 
importance at this stage to tell the children in the simplest language 
something about the services of the Church, for they are now beginning 
to be present at these. Any one who has charge of them there, or, 
better still, who will recall his own early memories, will understand 
what a hardship it is to a child to have to sit through a high Mass 
with a sermon. The second group (those preparing for first Communion) 
will of course be able to receive more advanced instruction in each of 
the four branches mentioned above, with special reference to the Holy 
Eucharist. In instructing both groups the subjects should be taught 
dogmatically, that is, authoritatively, appealing rather to the 
children's faith than to their reasoning powers. The after-Communion 
instruction of elementary scholars will be almost similar to the 
instruction given to younger secondary scholars, and will consist in 
imparting wider and deeper knowledge and insisting more upon proofs. 
When they grow up their difficulty will be not only the observance of 
the law, but the reason of it. They will ask not only, What must I 
believe and do? but also, Why must I believe it or do it? Hence the 
importance of thorough instruction in the authority of the Church, 
Scripture texts, and also appeals to right reason. This brings us to 
the subject of catechizing grown-up persons. Pius X goes on to speak of 
this matter, after laying down the regulations for the young: "In these 
days adults not less than the young stand in need of religious 
instruction. All perish priests, and others having the care of souls, 
in addition to the homily on the Gospel delivered at the parochial Mass 
on all days of obligation, shall explain the catechism for the faithful 
in an easy style, suited to the intelligence of their hearers, at such 
time of the day as they may deem most convenient for the people, but 
not during the hour in which the children are taught. In this 
instruction they shall make use of the Catechism of the Council of 
Trent; and they shall so order if that the whole matter of the Creed, 
the Sacraments, the Decalogue, the Lord's Prayer, and the Precepts of 
the Church shall be treated in the space of four or five years."
The subjects to be treated of are laid down by Plus X: "As the things 
divinely revealed are so many and so various that it is no easy task 
either to acquire a knowledge of them, or, having acquired that 
knowledge, to retain them in the memory, . . . our predecessors have 
very wisely reduced this whole force and scheme of saving doctrine to 
these four distinct heads: the Apostles' Creed; the Sacraments; the Ten 
Commandments; and the Lord's Prayer. In the doctrine of the Creed are 
contained all things which are to be held according to the discipline 
of the Christian Faith, whether they regard the knowledge of God, or 
the creation and government of the world, or the redemption of the 
human race, or the rewards of the good and the punishments of the 
wicked. The doctrine of the Seven Sacraments comprehends the signs and 
as it were the instruments for obtaining divine grace. In the Decalogue 
is laid down whatever has reference to the Law, 'the end' whereof 'is 
charity'. Finally, in the Lord's Prayer is contained whatever can be 
desired, hoped, or salutarily prayed for by men. It follows that these 
four commonplaces, as it were, of Sacred Scripture being explained, 
there can scarcely be wanting anything to be learned by a Christian 
man" (ib., xii). It must be borne in mind that catechetical instruction 
should be elementary; but this of course is a relative term, according 
as the pupil is an adult or a child. This difference has been dealt 
with above in speaking of the persons concerned in catechizing. It may 
be pointed out here, however, that elementary knowledge is not the same 
as partial knowledge. Even young children should he taught something of 
each of the four divisions mentioned above, viz., that they have to 
believe in God and to do God's will, and to obtain His grace by means 
of prayer and the sacraments. Further instruction will consist in 
developing each of these heads. Besides what is ordinarily understood 
by Christian doctrine, catechizing should treat of Christian history 
and Christian worship. Christian history will include the story of the 
Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Church. Christian worship 
will include the Church's calendar (the feasts and fasts) and her 
services and devotions. These three -- doctrine, history, and worship –
- are not altogether distinct, and may often be best taught together. 
For example, the second article of the Creed should be taught in such a 
way as to bring out the doctrine of the Incarnation, the beautiful 
story of Christ's birth and childhood, and the meaning and the services 
of Advent and Christmas. The Bible history and the history of the 
Church will afford countless instances bearing on the various doctrines 
and heresies of the doctrinal part of the catechism, and the virtues 
and contrary vices of the practical part.
The question of catechetical methods is difficult and has given rise to 
much controversy. Father Furniss long ago, in his "Sunday School or 
Catechism?" and Bishop Bellord later on, in his "Religious Education 
and its Failures", passed a wholesale condemnation on our present 
method, and attributed to it the falling away of so many Catholics from 
the Faith. "The chief cause of the 'leakage' is the imperfection of our 
systems of religious instruction. Those methods seem to be antiquated, 
injudicious, wasteful, sometimes positively injurious to the cause" 
(Bp. Bellord, op. cit., p. 7). Part of the blame is laid upon 
catechizing, and part upon the catechisms. Of the latter we shall speak 
presently. Again, the blame is twofold and is not altogether 
consistent. The children are declared not to know their religion, or, 
knowing it quite well, not to put it into practice. In either case they 
are of course lost to the Church when they grow up. Both the bishop and 
the redemptorist complain that religious instruction is made a task, 
and so fails either to be learnt at all, or, if it is learnt, it is 
learnt in such a way as to become hateful to the child and to have no 
bearing on his conduct in after-life. Both are especially severe on the 
attempt to make the children learn by heart. The bishop quotes a number 
of experienced missionary priests who share his views. It seems to us 
that, in considering the methods of catechizing, we have to bear in 
mind two very different sets of conditions. In some countries religious 
instruction forms part of the daily curriculum, and is mainly given on 
weekdays by trained teachers. Where this is the case it is not 
difficult to secure that the children shall learn by heart some 
official textbook. With this as a foundation the priest (who will by no 
means restrict his labours to Sunday work) will be able to explain and 
illustrate and enforce what they have learnt by heart. The teachers' 
business will be chiefly to put the catechism into the child's head; 
the priest must get it into his heart. Very different are the 
conditions which Father Furniss and Bishop Bellord are dealing with. 
Where the priest has to get together on a Sunday, or one day in the 
week, a number of children of all ages, who are not obliged to be 
present; and when he has to depend upon the assistance of lay persons 
who have no training in teaching; it is obvious that he should do his 
best to make the instruction as simple, as interesting, and as 
devotional as possible. As in other branches of instruction we may 
follow either the analytical or the synthetical method. In the former 
we take a textbook, a catechism, and explain it word for word to the 
scholar and make him commit it to memory. The book is of prime 
importance; the teacher occupies quite a secondary place. Though it 
might convey a wrong impression to call this the Protestant method, yet 
it is exactly in accordance with the Protestant system of religious 
teaching generally. The written, printed word (Bible or Catechism) is 
to them all in all. The synthetical method, on the other hand, puts the 
teacher in the forefront. The scholars are bidden to look up to him and 
listen to his voice, and receive his words on his authority. "Faith 
cometh by hearing." After they have thoroughly learnt their lesson in 
this way, a book may be then set before them, and be explained to them 
and committed to memory, as containing in a fixed form the substance of 
what they have received by word of mouth. Whatever may be said of the 
relative advantages of the two methods in the teaching of secular 
subjects, there can be no doubt that the synthetical method is the 
proper one for catechetical instruction. The office of catechizing 
belongs to the Church's magisterium (teaching authority), and so is 
best exercised by the living voice. "The lips of the priest shall keep 
knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth" (Mal., ii, 7).
A. The Sulpician Method
The Sulpician Method of catechizing is celebrated throughout the world, 
and hits produced wonderful fruits wherever it has been employed. We 
cannot, therefore, do better than give a short account of it here.
The whole catechism consists of three principal exercises and three 
secondary ones. The principal are:
the recitation of the letter of the catechism, with an easy explanation 
of it by way of question and answer;
the instruction;
the reading of the Gospel and the homily.
The secondary exercises are:
the admonitions from the head catechist; 
the hymns; 
These should be interspersed with the former. The duration fixed by St. 
Francis de Sales for a complete catechism is two hours. The place 
should be the church, but in a separate chapel rather than in the body 
of the church, Great importance is attached to the "game of the 
goodmark" (le jeu du bon point) and the analyses. The former consists 
in selecting the child who has answered best in the first part (the 
questioning on the catechism), and putting to him a series of short, 
clear, and definite questions upon the matter in hand and doing this as 
a sort of challenge to the child. The other children are roused to 
interest at the notion of a contest between the catechist and one of 
themselves, and this gives occasion for a better understanding of the 
subject under treatment. If the child is considered to have won, he 
receives a small card of reward (le bon point). "For the success of the 
game of the bon point it is important to prepare beforehand and to 
write down the questions which are to be put to the children, even the 
commonest ones." The children should be made to write out a short 
account of the instruction given after the questioning. These analyses 
should be corrected by the teacher, and a mark ("fair", "good", "very 
good") should be attached to each. In order to secure regular 
attendance, registers should be carefully kept, and rewards (pictures, 
medals, etc.) should be given to those who have not missed a catechism. 
Treats and feasts should also be given. The spirit of emulation should 
be encouraged both for attendance and good answering and analyses. 
Various minor offices should be conferred upon the best children. 
Punishment should very seldom be resorted to.
Though the Sulpician method insists upon a thorough knowledge of the 
letter of the catechism, it is clear that the teacher is of prime 
importance rather than the book. Indeed, the success or failure of the 
catechism may be said to depend entirely upon him, If is he who has to 
do the questioning and give the instruction and the homily on the 
Gospel. Unless he can keep the attention of the children fixed upon 
him, he is bound to fail. Hence, the greatest care should be taken in 
selecting and training the catechists. These are sometimes seminarists 
or nuns, but lay persons must often be taken. By far the larger portion 
of "The Method of Saint Sulpice" is devoted to the instruction of the 
catechists (cap. iv, "Of the instruction of the children"; cap v, "Of 
the sanctification of the children"; cap. vi, "Of the necessity of 
making the catechism pleasant to the children, and some means for 
attaining this object"; cap. vii, "How to turn the catechism into 
exercises of emulation"; cap. viii, "How to maintain good order and 
ensure the success of the catechisms").
So far the "Method" has dealt with the catechisms generally. Next comes 
the division of the catechisms. These are four in number: the Little 
Catechism, the First-Communion Catechism, the Weekday Catechism, and 
the Catechism of Perseverance. The Weekday Catechism is the only one 
which requires any explanation here. A certain time before the period 
of first Communion a list is made out of such children as are to be 
admitted to the Holy Table, and these are prepared by more frequent 
exercises, held on weekdays as well as on Sundays. As a rule, only 
children who have attended for twelve months are admitted to the 
weekday catechisms, and the usual age is twelve years. The weekday 
catechism is held on two days of the week and for about three months. 
The order is much the same as that of the Sunday catechism, except that 
the Gospel and the homily are omitted. The children are examined twice 
during the weekday catechisms: the first time about the middle of the 
course; the second, a week before the retreat. Those who have often 
been absent without cause or who have answered badly, or whose conduct 
has been unsatisfactory, are rejected.
A complete account of the method will be found in "The Method of Saint 
Sulpice" (Tr.), and also in "The Ministry of Catechising" (Tr.) by Mgr. 
B. The Munich Method
In 1898 Dr. A. Weber, editor of the "Katechetische Blätter" of Munich, 
urged the adaptation of the Herbart-Ziller system in teaching Christian 
doctrine. This system requires, "first, a division of the catechetical 
matter into strict methodical units, so that those questions are 
coordinated which are essentially one. Secondly, it insists on a 
methodical following of the three essential steps, viz., Presentation, 
Explanation, and Application -- with a short Preparation before 
Presentation, then Combination after Explanation, as more or less 
nonessential points. It therefore never begins with the catechetical 
questions, but always with an objective Presentation -- in the form of 
a story from life or the Bible, a catechetical, Biblical or historical 
picture, a point of liturgy, church history, or the lives of the 
saints, or some such objective lesson. Out of this objective lesson 
only will the catechetical concepts be evolved and abstracted, then 
combined into the catechism answer and formally applied to life. These 
catechists aim at capturing the child's interest from the start and 
preserving his good-will and attention throughout" (Amer. Eccl. Rev., 
March, 1908, p. 342). "Preparation turns the attention of the pupil in 
a definite direction. The pupil hears the lesson-aim in a few well-
chosen words. At this stage of the process the pupil's ideas are also 
corrected and made clearer. Presentation gives an object-lesson. If at 
all possible, use one such object only. There are sound psychological 
reasons for this, although it becomes occasionally useful to employ 
several. Explanation might also be called concept-formation, Out of the 
objective lesson are here construed, or evolved, the catechetical 
concepts. From the concrete objective presentation we here pass to the 
general concept. Combination gathers all the ideas derived from the 
lesson into the text of the catechism. Application finally strengthens 
and deepens the truths we have gathered and variously widens them for 
purposes of life. We can here insert further examples, give additional 
motives, apply the lessons to the actual life of the child, train the 
child in judging his own moral conduct, and end with some particular 
resolution, or an appropriate prayer, song, hymn, or quotation" (Amer. 
Eccl. Rev., Apr., 1908, p. 465). In the same number of the Review (p. 
460) will be found an excellent lesson on "Sin", drawn up on the lines 
of the Munich Method. Further information will be found in Weber's "Die 
Münchener katechetische Methode", and Göttler's "Der Münchener 
katechetische Kurs, 1905".
Instruction of Converts
The careful instruction of those who apply for admission into the 
Church, or who wish information about her doctrines and practices, is a 
sacred duty incumbent at times on almost every priest. No one may 
prudently embrace the Christian religion unless he sees clearly that it 
is credible. Hence the motives of credibility, the sure arguments that 
convince the understanding and move the will to command the assent of 
faith, must be clearly set forth. The higher the social or intellectual 
position of inquirers, the more thorough and diligent should be the 
instruction. Each one is to be guided not merely to understand the 
Church's dogmas, as far as he can, but to practise the exercises of 
Christian perfection. Before the usual profession of faith, converts 
ought to be examined on their knowledge of all matters that must be 
known in order to be saved. This should be done with great care, for at 
this time they are docile. After their admission to the sacraments some 
may easily fancy themselves fully instructed, and for want of further 
study remain ignorant until death, unable to train properly their 
children or dependents. In the case of uneducated persons who are drawn 
to the Church, the prudent director will avoid such controversy as 
might lead his pupil to defend errors hitherto unknown. Better educated 
inquirers are to be fully satisfied on all points that they have held 
against Catholic doctrine and must be provided with the means of 
resisting both internal and external temptations. The length of time 
and the character of the instruction will vary with each individual.
It follows from what has been said that the times and places will vary 
according to the different sorts of persons to be instructed and the 
habits of the different countries. Speaking generally, however, at 
least some instruction should be given on Sundays and in the church, so 
as to bring out the religious character of catechizing.
When speaking of the history of catechetics we saw that, though the 
method was originally and properly oral, the custom soon arose of 
composing catechisms -- i.e. short manuals of elementary religious 
instruction, usually by means of questions and answers.
A catechism is of the greatest use both to the teacher and the scholar. 
To the teacher it is a guide as to the subjects to be taught, the order 
of dealing with them, and the choice of words in which the instruction 
should be conveyed; above all, it is the best means of securing 
uniformity and correctness of doctrinal and moral teaching. The use 
which the teacher should make of if must be understood in connection 
with what has been said above about the methods of catechizing. To the 
scholar a catechism gives in a brief form a summary of what the teacher 
has been imparting to him; and by committing it to memory he can be 
sure that he has grasped the substance of his lesson. As already 
observed, this is not a difficult matter where there are Catholic 
schools under trained expert teachers accustomed to making the children 
learn by heart; but where the teaching has to be done in evening or 
Sunday schools by inexperienced persons, and the scholars are not under 
the same control as in the day schools, the portions to be committed to 
memory must be reduced to a minimum.
A good catechism should conform strictly to the definition given above. 
That is to say, it should be elementary, not a learned treatise of 
dogmatic, moral, and ascetical theology; and it should be simple in 
language, avoiding technical expressions as far as consistent with 
accuracy. Should the form of question and answer be maintained? No 
doubt it is not an interesting form for grown-up persons; but children 
prefer it because it lets them know exactly what they are likely to be 
asked. Moreover, this form keeps up the idea of a teacher and a 
disciple, and so is most in conformity with the fundamental notion of 
catechizing. What form the answers should take -- Yes or No, or a 
categorical statement -- is a matter of disagreement among the best 
teachers. It would seem that the decision depends on the character of 
the different languages and nations; some of them making extensive use 
of the affirmative and negative particles, while others reply by making 
statements. Archbishop Walsh of Dublin, in his instructions for the 
revision of the catechism, recommended "the introduction of short 
rending lessons, one to be appended to each chapter of the catechism. 
These reading lessons should deal, in somewhat fuller form, with the 
matter dealt with in the questions and answers of the catechism. The 
insertion of such lessons would make if possible to omit without loss 
many questions the answers to which now impose a heavy burden on the 
memory of the children. . . . If these lessons are written with care 
and skill, and in a style attractive as well as simple, the children 
will soon have them learned by heart, from the mere fact of repeatedly 
reading them, and without any formal effort at committing them to 
memory" (Irish Eccl. Record, Jan., 1892). An excellent means of 
assisting the memory is the use of pictures. These should be selected 
with the greatest care; they should be accurate as well as artistic. 
The catechism used in Venice when Pius X was patriarch was illustrated.
As there are three stages of catechetical instruction, so there should 
be three catechisms corresponding with these. The first should be very 
short and simple, but should give the little child some information 
about all four parts of religious knowledge. The second catechism, for 
those preparing for first Communion, should embody, word for word, 
without the slightest change, all the questions and answers of the 
first catechism. Further questions and answers, dealing with a more 
extensive knowledge, should be added in their proper places, after the 
earlier matter; and these will have special reference to the 
sacraments, more particularly the Holy Eucharist. The third catechism, 
for those who have made their first Communion, should in like manner 
embody the contents of the first and second catechisms, and add 
instruction belonging to the third stage mentioned above. For scholars 
beyond the elementary stages this third catechism may be used, with 
additions not in the form of question and answer and not necessarily to 
be learnt by heart. The great idea running through all the catechisms 
should be that the later ones should grow out of the earlier ones, and 
that the children should not be confused by differently worded answers 
to the same questions. Thus, the answer to the questions: What is 
charity? What is a sacrament? should be exactly the same in all the 
catechisms. Further information can be introduced by fresh questions. 
In some rare cases additions may be made at the end of the earlier 
answers, but never in the middle.
It was mentioned in the historical portion of this article that at the 
time of the Vatican Council, a proposal was made for the introduction 
of a uniform catechism for use throughout the Church. As the proposal 
was not carried out, we may here discuss the advantages and 
disadvantages a universal catechism. There can be no doubt that the 
present system of allowing each bishop to draw up a catechism for use 
in his diocese is open to strong objection. Happily, in these days 
there is no difficulty on the head of diversity of doctrine. The 
difficulty arises rather from the importance attached to learning the 
catechism by heart. People do not nowadays remain stationary in the 
neighbourhood in which they were born. Their children, in passing from 
one diocese to another, are obliged to unlearn the wording of one 
catechism (a most difficult process) and learn the different wording of 
another. Even where all the dioceses of a province or country have the 
same catechism the difficulty arises in passing into a new province or 
country. A single catechism for universal use would prevent all this 
waste of time and confusion, besides being a strong bond of union 
between the nations. At the same time it must be recognized that the 
conditions of the Church vary considerably in the different countries. 
In a Catholic country, for instance, it is not necessary to touch upon 
controversial questions, whereas in non-Catholic countries these must 
be thoroughly gone into. This will notably be the case with regard to 
the introduction of texts in the actual words of the Holy Scriptures. 
Thus, in the Valladolid Catechism there is not a single quotation from 
the Old or New Testament except the Our Father and the first part of 
the Hail Mary -- and even of these the source is not mentioned. The 
Commandments are not given in the words of Scripture. There is no 
attempt to prove any doctrine; everything is stated dogmatically on the 
authority of the Church. A catechism on these lines is clearly unsuited 
for children living among Protestants. As already pointed out, the 
instruction of those who have made their first Communion should embrace 
proof as well as statement. The Fathers of the Vatican Council 
recognized the difficulty, and endeavoured to meet it by a compromise. 
A new catechism, based upon Bellarmine's Catechism and other catechisms 
of approved value, was to be drawn up in Latin, and was to be 
translated into the different vernaculars with the authority of the 
bishops, who were empowered to make such additions as they might think 
fit; but these additions were to be kept quite distinct from the text. 
The unhappy events of the latter part of the year 1870 prevented this 
proposal from being carried out.
(a)    The present pontiff, Plus X, has prescribed a catechism for use 
in the Diocese of Rome and in its ecclesiastical province, and has 
expressed a desire that it should be adopted throughout Italy. It has 
been translated into English, French, Spanish, and German, and a 
movement has begun with a view to extending its use to other countries 
besides Italy, especially to Spain, where the conditions are similar. 
(See "Irish Eccl. Record", March, 1906, p. 221; "Amer. Eccl. Rev.", 
Nov., 1906.) This catechism consists of two parts, or rather two 
distinct books: one for "lower classes" and one for "higher classes". 
The first, or "Shorter Catechism", is meant for those who have not made 
their first Communion; the second, or "Longer Catechism", for those who 
have already been through the other. Both are constructed on the same 
lines: an introductory portion, and then five sections treating in turn 
of the Creed, Prayer, the Commandments, the Sacraments, the Virtues, 
etc. The "Longer Catechism" contains, in addition, in catechetical 
form, an instruction on the feasts of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and 
the Saints, and a short "History of Religion" (the Old Testament, the 
New Testament, and the Church) in the form of a narrative. But though 
the two catechisms are on the same main lines, they have very little 
connection with each other. Hardly any of the questions and answers are 
the same; so that a knowledge of the wording of the first is of little 
use, but rather an obstacle, in learning the second. It is worthy of 
note that, though texts of Scripture are not quoted, the second 
catechism contains a large number of questions and answers relating to 
the Holy Scriptures, among others the following: "Is the reading of the 
Bible necessary to all Christians? -- The reading of the Bible is not 
necessary to all Christians, because they are taught by the Church; 
still, the reading of it is very useful and recommended to all." Many 
of the answers in the second catechism are much longer than those in 
other catechisms. The catechism itself, without counting the lengthy 
instruction on the feasts and the "History of Religion", fills more 
than 200 pages 12mo in Bishop Byrne's translation.
(b)    Throughout Great Britain only one catechism is officially in 
use. It was drawn up by a committee appointed by the Second Provincial 
Council of Westminster (1855), and is based upon the Douai Catechism. 
It has undergone several revisions, the last of these being for the 
purpose of eliminating the particles Yes and No, and making all the 
answers distinct categorical statements. If is remarkable for its 
frequent appeal to proofs from Holy Scripture. Though it has been 
subject to many attacks, it is justly considered to be a clear and 
logical statement of Catholic belief and practice, fitted to the needs 
of both children and grown-up persons seeking instruction. Perhaps it 
has this latter class too much in view, and hence it is sometimes 
wanting in simplicity. The omission of Yes and No and the avoidance of 
pronouns in the answers have been carried to a pedantic excess. Besides 
this ordinary catechism there is a smaller catechism, for younger 
children, which goes over the whole ground in a more elementary form; 
it is to some extent free from the objection just mentioned; but this 
advantage involves some verbal differences between the answers of the 
two catechisms. There is no official advanced catechism. For the more 
advanced classes a number of excellent "Manuals" are in use, e. g. 
"Instructions in Christian Doctrine"; Wenham's "Catechumen"; Carr's 
"Lamp of the Word"; Cafferata's "The Catechism, Simply Explained"; 
Fander's (Deharbe's) "Catechism". Howe's "Catechist" and Spirago's 
"Method of Christian Doctrine" (ed. Messmer) are used by those who are 
being trained to be teachers. Short Bible Histories, none of them 
official, are used in the more elementary classes, especially Formby's 
volumes; in the higher classes, Wenham's "New Testament Narrative", 
Richards' "Scripture History", and Knecht's "Practical Commentary". 
There are also separate books of the New Testament, edited by Mgr. Ward 
and by Father Sydney Smith, etc. It should be added that the elementary 
schools and the training colleges, besides many of the secondary 
schools and colleges, are examined in religious knowledge by inspectors 
appointed by the bishops.
(c)    In Ireland the catechism most commonly used at the present time 
is the "Catechism ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth. . . . for 
General Use throughout the Irish Church". After a short Introduction on 
God and the creation of the world and on man and the end of his 
creation, it treats in turn of the Creed, the Commandments, Prayer, and 
the Sacraments. The answers are short and clear, and, though Yes and No 
are excluded, the form of the answers is not always a rigid repetition 
of the words of the question. Various important improvements have been 
suggested by Archbishop Walsh (see "Irish Eccl. Record", Jan., 1892, 
and following numbers). There is also a smaller edition of the Maynooth 
Catechism. The manuals used in the advanced classes are much the same 
as those used in Great Britain, together with the "Companion to the 
Catechism" (Gill). Religious inspection is general.
(For the United States, see above under HISTORY OF CATECHETICS.)
(d)    The First Provincial Council of Quebec (1852) ordered two 
catechisms for use in Canada: Butler's Catechism for those speaking 
English, and a new French catechism for those speaking French. The 
latter is called "The Quebec Catechism", and is also issued in an 
abridged form.
(e)    In Australia the Maynooth Catechism is generally used. But the 
bishops in the Plenary Council of 1885 decreed that a new catechism 
should be drawn up for use throughout Australia.
From this enumeration it will be seen how far we are from having any 
uniform catechism for the English-speaking peoples. If we consider the 
Continent of Europe, we find that in France, Germany, and Spain 
different catechisms are in use in the different dioceses. In the 
German-speaking provinces of Austria there is one single catechism for 
all the dioceses, approved by the whole episcopate in 1894. It is 
issued in three forms: small, middle, and large. All of these are 
arranged on exactly the same lines: a short introduction, Faith and the 
Apostles' Creed, Hope and Prayer, Charity and the Commandments, Grace 
and the Sacraments, Justification and the Last Things. The middle 
catechism contains all the questions and answers of the small, in 
exactly the same words, and adds a considerable number of fresh ones. 
In like manner, the large catechism makes further additions. The small 
catechism has no texts from Scripture; the other two contain many 
texts, usually placed in notes at the foot of the page. The chief 
difference between the middle and large catechisms is that the latter 
deals more with reasons and proofs, and consequently gives a greater 
number of Scripture texts. Austria is, therefore, better off than most 
countries in the matter of the catechism. She has none of the 
difficulties arising from a multiplicity of manuals, and her single 
textbook is in the three forms described above as the ideal for all 
countries. Schuster's excellent Bible History is also in universal use, 
and is arranged by means of different type and signs so as to be 
accommodated to the three stages of the catechism. Religious training 
in Austria has, however, been severely criticized by Dr. Pichler, a 
high authority in that country. He considers the catechism as 
cumbersome, the work of a good theologian but a poor catechist; he 
advocates the compilation of a new Bible History on the lines of 
Knecht's manual; and he advocates the adoption of inductive methods. 
See "Unser Religionsunterricht, seine Mängel und deren Ursachen".
One of the best of the German catechisms is that of the Diocese of 
Augsburg, mainly the work of Kinsel and Hauser, and published in 1904. 
It is on the lines of Deharbe, but much simplified, and copiously 
illustrated. So, too, is the new Hungarian catechism (1907), which is 
issued in three editions: one for the first and second grade of 
elementary schools, one for the remaining four grades, and one for the 
high schools. Bishop Mailath of Transylvania has had the direction of 
the work. Poland has not been behindhand in reforming her catechetical 
teaching. A catechism has just been drawn up for the fourth, fifth, and 
sixth grades by Bishop Likowski and Valentine Gadowski. The answers to 
be learnt by heart are limited to forty in each year, and are short and 
simple. Each is followed by a fairly long explanation. This catechism 
contains 215 illustrations.
It should be noted that all Continental reformers have dropped the idea 
of making the answers theologically complete. The subsequent 
explanations supply what may be wanting. The answers are complete 
sentences, Yes and No being seldom used by themselves, and the order of 
the words in the answers follows that in the questions.
On the History of Catechetics: BAREILLE, Le Catéchisme Romain, 
Introduction (Montr jeau, 1906); HÉZARD, Histoire du catéchisme depuis 
la naissance de l'Eglise jusqu'a nos jours; THALHOFER, Entwicklung des 
katholischen Katechismus in Deutschland von Canisius bis Deharbe; 
PROBST, Geschichte der katholischen Katechese (Paderborn, 1887); 
(SPIRAGO, Method of Christian Doctrine, tr. MESSMER (New York, 1901), 
vi; BAREILLE in Dict. de théol. cath., s.v. Cat ch se; MANGENOT, ibid., 
s.v. Catéchisme; KNECHT in Kirchenlex., s. vv. Katechese, katechetik, 
On Catechizing, Methods, etc.: DUPANLOUP, Method of Catechising (tr.); 
The Method of S. Sulpice (tr.); SPIRAGO ut supra; WALSH, Irish Eccl. 
Record, Jan., 1892; LAMBING, The Sunday School Teacher's Manual (1873); 
FURNISS, How to Teach at Catechism; Sunday School or Catechism; 
BELLORD, Religious Education and its Failures (Notre Dame, 1901); 
Bible Commentary for Schools (Freiburg, 1894); GIBSON, The Catechism 
made Easy (London, 1882); CARR, A Lamp of the Word and Instructor's 
Guide (Liverpool, 1892); Howe, The Catechist: or Headings and 
Suggestions for the Explanation of the Catechism (Newcastle-on-Tyne, 
1895); SLOAN, The Sunday School Teacher's Guide to Success (New York, 
1907); Amer. Eccl. Rev., Jan.-May, 1908; WEBER, Die Münchener 
katechetische Methode; G TTLER, Der Münchener katechetische Kurs, 1905 
Catechisms, Manuals, etc.
It would not be possible to give anything like a complete list of 
these. We shall content ourselves with mentioning a few of the best-
known in use in English-speaking countries. Some have already been 
mentioned in the article. -- A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, 
prepared and enjoined by order of the Third Council of Baltimore 
(1885); The Catechism ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth and 
approved of by the Cardinal, the Archbishops, and the Bishops of 
Ireland for General Use throughout the Irish Church (Dublin, s. d.); A 
Short Catechism extracted from the Catechism ordered, etc. (Dublin, s. 
d.); A Catechism of Christian Doctrine approved by Cardinal Vaughan and 
the Bishops of England (London, 1902); The Explanatory Catechism of 
Christian Doctrine (the same with notes); The Little Catechism; an 
Abridgement of the Catechism of Christian Doctrine (London, s. d.); 
BUTLER, Catechism (Dublin, 1845); DEHARBE, Catechism of the Christian 
Religion (also known as Fander's Catechism)(New York, 1887); Companion 
to The Catechism (Dublin); SPIRAGO, The Catechism Explained, ed. 
CLARKE; GERARD, Course of Religious Instruction for Catholic Youth 
(London, 1901); De ZULUETA, Letters on Christian Doctrine; CAFFERATA, 
The Catechism Simply Explained (London, 1897); A Manual of Instruction 
in Christian Doctrine -- approved by Cardinal Wiseman and Cardinal 
Manning, much used in the higher schools and training colleges in the 
British Isles (London, 1861, 1871); WENHAM, The Catechumen, an Aid to 
the intelligent knowledge of the Catechism (London, 1881); POWER, 
Catechism: Doctrinal, Moral, Historical, and Liturgical (5th ed., 
Dublin, 1880).
Anglican: MACLEAR, A Class Book of the Catechism of the Church of 
England (London 1886).
There are many Bible Histories in use, but none of them officially 
recommended, though published with episcopal approval. The best-known 
are: The Children's Bible History for Home and School Use (a small 
elementary work of which nearly a million and a half have been printed; 
it is capable of improvement) (London, 1872); FORMBY, Pictorial Bible 
and Church History Stories, including Old Testament History, the Life 
of Christ, and Church History (London, 1871); KNECHT, Bible Commentary 
for Schools, ed. GLANCY (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1894); WENHAM, Readings 
from the Old Testament, New Testament Narrative (London, 1907); 
RICHARDS, Manual of Scripture History (London, 1885); COSTELLO, The 
Gospel Story (London, 1900); Scripture Manuals for Catholic Schools, 
ed. SMITH (London, 1899); St. Edmund's College Series of Scripture 
Manuals, WARD ed. (London, 1897).
Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter

From the Catholic Encyclopedia 
Copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. 

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