Should we be busting out the streamers and confetti cake? The Catechism recently celebrated its 20th birthday in October, which was recognized by the National Catholic Register on Sunday, January 13 as being “somewhat passed over during a month of anniversary celebrations in October.” Blessed Pope John Paul II’s promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was officially on Oct. 11, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t blow out the candles on this long-awaited cake.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church was prompted by former Pope John Paul II, serving as a landmark for the Catholic Church. It was also described by Pope JPII as “a sure norm for teaching the faith,” with the NCRegister describing it as “a great treasure for all Catholics and an invaluable resource for catechists, whether they are laypeople, bishops, priests or religious.”
So for all of you non-Catholics or perhaps Catholics who just don’t know, what exactly is the Catechism? It is widely summed up as “a summary of principles, often in question-and-answer format,” which in this case pertains to anything and everything Catholic. It includes documents of religious instruction and breaks up a lot of larger, more complex structures into smaller and hopefully more understandable ones regarding Catholicism and Catholic teachings and viewpoints.
Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa commented, saying, "The Catechism of the Catholic Church is shaping and molding youth, young adult and adult catechesis texts and resource. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a truly great gift to the universal Catholic Church. ... The obvious fruit of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the U.S. is that more of the faithful are beginning to have a deeper understanding of their faith and have a desire to pass it on."
While the text was approved on June 25, 1992 and promulgated by JPII on October 11, 1992, the initial decision was made to publish the catechism at the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in January of 1985 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. So there’s quite a few 20th anniversary influences going on in the Catholic Church!