The term catechism comes from late Latin catechismus, which in turn derives from the Byzantine Greek katēchismós, from katēcheîn (which translates as “instruct”). The concept It is used in different ways, especially in the field of Christianity.

One of the meanings mentioned by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) in its dictionary refers to book detailing Christian doctrine and that works as basic instruction for the faithful.


The catechism contributes to Christian instruction.

Origins of the catechism

The first catechism was written in Latin by Saint Peter Canisius on 1555. This construction site, which was soon translated into the German language and then into other languages, is considered a presentation of catholicism.

Divided into two sections (the Doctrine of Sanity and the Doctrine of Justice), this catechism includes quotations from the Bible. Its contents are organized in five chapters (Faith, Hope, Charity, Sacraments and Justice), which in total add up to more than two hundred “Issues” (simple questions that are answered in about two pages each).

With the weather Many other catechisms emerged, generally developed in a question-answer format. One of the best known is the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church (known as CIC, or CEC by the latin title Catechismus Catholicæ Ecclesiæ), which exposes the doctrine, faith and morals of Catholicism based on the Bible, the magisterium and the Sacred tradition.

The books of Protestantism

The branches protestants Christianity also have their own catechisms. Martin Luther is the author of Greater Catechism, featured in 1529. East job is divided into five sections: the baptism, the communion, the Ten Commandments, the Our father and the Apostles Creed.


The teachings of Jesus Christ appear in the catechism.

Just as he created the Greater Catechism, Luther is also responsible for Small catechism. His intention was to support the heads of family and to pastors in Christian instruction.

The Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Catechism are other catechisms protestants that reached a great repercussion.

Catechism as a synonym for catechesis

The RAE accepts the use of catechism as equivalent to catechesis. In this sense, the concept is used to refer to the place or meeting where the doctrine of Christianity is taught.

The catechism, in this way, includes the practices that aim to transmit Christian traditions and values, helping the new faithful to integrate into the community and to follow the mandates of the Catholic Church.

The catechism can be associated with evangelism, since it allows to propagate the teachings of Jesus Christ. In any case, the notion is more linked to the formation of believers.

Use of the term beyond religion

It is important to indicate that the RAE also accepts the idea of ​​catechism as a work that exposes an art or a science. These texts are usually written as questions and answers to facilitate the summary of the contents.

The concept is even used to refer to abstract, real or symbolic, of the main precepts of a dogma, an ideology or a movement: the revolutionary catechism, the feminist catechism, the film catechism, etc.