In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church ... I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.”Pope Benedict goes on to explain (the added emphasis is mine):
It is in this sense that that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here, in fact, we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith.The Year of Faith therefore has a clear import for the manner in which the Catholic faith is taught, be that in the preparation of new converts or in the catechesis of those who are already members of the Church. The Year of Faith represents a call to establish a clear role for doctrinal content in the teaching and living of the faith.
By the end of the Year of Faith, will every parish catechist have become familiar with, if not the content of the full Catechism, at least the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? And will parish catechetical programmes, particularly those for sacramental preparation, be specified in terms of the questions of the Compendium that they will cover?