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Congregation for the Clergy
General catechetical directory

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    • Chapter IV Catechetical Aids
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119 The greatest importance must be attached in catechisms published by ecclesiastical authority. Their purpose is to provide, under a form that is condensed and practical, the witnesses of revelation and of Christian tradition as well as the chief principles which ought to be useful for catechefical activity, that is, for personal education in faith. The witnesses of tradition should be held in due esteem, and very great care must be taken to avoid presenting as doctrines of the faith special interpretations which are only private opinions or the views of some theological school. The doctrine of the Church must be presented faithfully. Here the norms set forth in Chapter I of Part Three are to be followed.


In view of the great difficulties in putting these works together and the great importance of these witnesses, if is most expedient that:


a) there be collaboration by a number of experts in catechetics and in theology;


b) there be consultation with specialists in other religious and human disciplines, and also with the other pastoral organisations;


c) individual local Ordinaries be consulted and their opinions be carefully considered;


d) limited experiments be tried before definitive publication; and


e) these texts be duly reviewed after a certain period of time. Before promulgation, these catechisms must be submitted to the Apostolic See for review and approval (cf. n. 134).



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