Pope presents new Compendium of Catholic doctrine

Pope Benedict yesterday presented a new summary of the Catholic Catechism, which incorporates a question-and-answer format aimed at making the doctrine accessible to all.

The 205-page Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church lays down Church teaching on everything from the creation of man to the protection of embryos in a book that Reuters says has already caused some controversy in Italy.

"The demand has been growing for a catechism in summary, in brief, that contained all of and only the essential and fundamental elements of the Catholic faith and morality," the pope said at a ceremony in the Vatican's Clementina room.

He said it was formatted "in a simple manner, accessible to all".

The book, which comes in a pocket-size version and a slightly larger edition, is not a new Catechism but a synthesis that "faithfully mirrors" the Catechism published in 1992.

It has been published just in time for World Youth Day, to be held in Germany in August.

Most questions review the Ten Commandments and traditional Biblical teachings, such as "What is heaven?" but they also address more contemporary concerns on issues such as marriage.

The sections on the protection of embryos and artificial insemination have already made headlines in the Italian media.

The late Pope John Paul set up a commission in 2003 charged with drawing up a Compendium. That commission was overseen by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict.

The Compendium also includes an appendix with common prayers in Latin, an attempt to encourage its use as a kind of common religious language that all can share.

Pope presents new summary of Catholic doctrine (Reuters 28/6/05)

Ratzinger preparing concise version of Catechism (CathNews 28/4/04)

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29 Jun 2005