Catechism of the Catholic Church Themes


Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

The catechism, as envisioned by Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtya), was to make Catholic doctrine easy to understand by those individuals interested in studying Catholicism and the Catholic Church. It was intended to draw the reader into the study of God and God’s mysteries. One of the purposes of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is to be an instruction manual for the faithful, furthering their love of God and increasing their understanding of the practice of their faith. In particular, the question-and-answer format of the compendium seems intended to directly address issues and questions commonly held by the laity. However, other purposes, such as providing an official statement of Church doctrine for the perusal of non-Catholic readers, should not be regarded as absolutely secondary to the instruction of the faithful. Dominant themes expressed by the writers of the catechism revolve around the nature of the Trinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; the interpretation of the Bible as a sacred text; the role of the clergy; and, most important, the function of the Eucharist. The catechism clearly delineates the role of the Eucharist within the structure of the Mass both as a theological concept that connects the physical presence of Jesus Christ with his followers and as a metaphysical concept that establishes certain roles within the Church for the celebrant, the priest, and the congregation. The Eucharist, the literalized “body of Christ,” draws together the three persons of the Trinity along with the assembled congregation of laity in both a remembrance of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and a celebration of Jesus Christ’s ultimate triumph over sin and death by his acceptance of God’s Will.