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The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summarized version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Following the International Catechetical Congress in 2002, the Holy Father instructed that a synthesis of the Catechism be prepared. The work was entrusted to a Commission of Cardinals presided over by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
In the Motu Proprio announcing its publication, Pope Benedict XVI described the Compendium as "a faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church." Benedict said the work "contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church's faith."
The Compendium consists of 598 questions and answers, echoing to some degree the format of the "Baltimore Catechism" which was a standard text in many Catholic parishes and schools from 1885 to the 1960s. It is structured in four parts, much like the widely-used Catechism of the Catholic Church. While the text does contain some direct quotes from the Catechism used in a sidebar fashion, the questions and answers themselves are original text.
In addition to the questions and answers, the Compendium also includes two appendices. The first is a list of Catholic Prayers including the Our Father and Hail Mary in English or Spanish, side-by-side with the Latin version of the prayers. The second appendix contains "Formulas of Catholic Doctrine" including the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, theological and cardinal virtues, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
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