Catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals – often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorised – a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well.
In 1986, Pope John Paul II entrusted a commission of 12 Cardinals and Bishops, chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, with the task of preparing a draft of the catechism requested by the Synod Fathers. An editorial committee of seven diocesan Bishops, experts in theology and catechesis, assisted the commission in its work. it was finally and officially published in October 1992.
As there are existing local catechism, the Pope’s intention is not to replace but to make sure they are coherent and this serves as the authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine.
Some people mistakenly believe that Catholics elevate the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the status of the Bible. Others believe the Catechism is meant to explain the supposedly unbiblical teachings of the Church. Both views hold that the Catechism is essentially unnecessary “extra stuff.” In their view, all one needs is the Bible itself to know and understand the word of God.
Non Catholic asked why the Catholics are inventing another book when we already have the Bible? How can we respond to this?