The Basic Catholic Catechism is a textbook for the training of teachers of religion. It is adapted for this purpose from the author's Question and Answer Catechism. Major references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church follow the last chapter of each section.

This catechism is concise in the sense that it contains all the essentials of the Catholic faith. But it is more than a summary because it explains what the Catholic Church teaches and draws heavily on the Sacred Scriptures to explain this teaching. It is thoroughly up-to-date, relying on the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the new Code of Canon Law.

The Basic Catholic Catechism is to be used with the Workbook for Basic Catholic Catechism to provide the religion teacher with the necessary means of sharing the faith. It is also necessary to read the Modern Catholic Dictionary for definitions of key terms.

Pope John Paul II calls Mary "a living catechism" and "a mother and model of catechists." He closes Catechesi Tradendae with a plea: "May the presence of the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of Mary, grant the Church unprecendented enthusiasm in the catechetical work that is essential for her. Thus will she effectively carry out, at this moment of grace, her inalienable and universal mission, the mission given her by her Teacher: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations'."

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