3 The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, made the Synod’s wish his own, acknowledging that ‘this desire wholly corresponds to a real need of the universal Church and of the particular Churches.”4 He set in motion everything needed to carry out the Synod Fathers’ wish.

III. The Aim and Intended Readership of the Catechism i i This catechism aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church’s Tradition. Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium. It is intended to serve ‘as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendia that are composed in the various countries’.’5 12 This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.

IV. Structure of This Catechism 13 The plan of this catechism is inspired by the great tradition of catechisms which build catechesis on four pillars: the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed), the sacraments of faith, the life of faith (the Commandments), and the prayer of the believer (the Lord’s Prayer).

Part One: The Profession of Faith

14 Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men.’6 First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God (Section One). The profession of faith summarizes the gifts that

“Extraordinary Synod of Bishops 1985, 7 December 1985: AAS 78 (1986).