The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" is a text that explains the beliefs and doctrine of the Catholic faith. The Catechism is intended for direct use by bishops, priests, preachers and other catechists. It also serves as a point of reference for the development of national and local catechisms and catechetical texts studied by children and teens before confirmation, and for use by anyone of Christian faith. The Catechism is built upon and organised by the "four pillars" of the Catholic faith.
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The first pillar of the Catechism is the Creed, or the profession of faith, which is what the Catholic Church and those of Catholic faith believe. The Creed, which summarises and is spoken in response to the gifts that God has given, is believers' profession of their faith in God as their Father and Creator, in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and in the Holy Spirit as their Sanctifier. This section of the Catechism provides and explains the Nicene Creed, which you would speak aloud at Catholic Mass or a Christian church service on Sunday to confess your baptismal faith.
The second pillar is the Sacraments, or the sacraments of faith, which is what the Catholic Church celebrates. In the lives of Catholics and Christians of other denominations, the seven sacraments of faith are significant ceremonies and occasions for experiencing and celebrating God's salvation. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Communion, Penance and Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination and Anointing of the Sick, or Last Rites. This section of the Catechism explains these seven sacraments of faith.
The third pillar is the Commandments, or the life of faith. People of Catholic faith are called upon to live a life of faith and in the image of God, with the help of His law and grace, by following and living by his Ten Commandments. This section of the Catechism explains the Ten Commandments.
The Lord's Prayer
The fourth pillar is the Lord's Prayer, or the prayer of the believer. The Lord's Prayer is the model of prayer that Jesus taught to his followers and contains seven petitions, which are the most essential things believers should ask of God daily and which God wants to grant. This section of the Catechism explains the meaning and importance of prayer in the lives of believers and provides and explains the Lord's Prayer.
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- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Questions and Answers on the Catechism of the Catholic Church; John Pollard; April 2007
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Catechism of the Catholic Church - Prologue
- The Compass: Four Pillars Form Foundation of Teaching; Patricia Kasten; November 2010
- Americancatholic.org: The Seven Catholic Sacraments