February 18, 2015

The Four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Knowing the basic structure of the Catechism helps us understand the context of what we are reading. Like the Bible, it helps to know the context, and so I like to post this from time to time.

The Catechism is divided into four sections or "Pillars" of our faith.

Pillar 1: The Profession of Faith
  • What we believe
  • Paragraphs 26 through 1065
  • Covers the Nicene Creed line-by-line
  • St. Augustine said that the creed is God’s plan of salvation in “Tightly wound form”.
  • The Nicene Creed is at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-tea...at-we-believe/
  • The first pillar is based on Scripture. The other three pillars depend on knowing the plan for our salvation as laid out in scripture. Scripture tells us God's plan for our salvation, and the Profession of Faith (creed) is a highly condensed summary of God's plan for our salvation.
Pillar 2: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
  • How we worship
  • Paragraphs 1066 through 1698
  • Covers sacraments and liturgy
  • How we get into the story of salvation.
  • How we take part in God’s plan through the sacraments
  • How we fit into God's Kingdom on Earth, his Church.
Pillar 3: Our Life in Christ
  • How we live our lives as Christians
  • Paragraphs 1691 through 2550
  • Moral theology
  • How we interact with Christians, non-Christians and all of God’s creation.
  • How we live out God's plan for our salvation and advance his Kingdom on Earth for the salvation of others.
Pillar 4: Christian Prayer
  • How we pray
  • Paragraphs 2558 through 2865
  • Covers the most sublime and most perfect prayer, the "Our Father" line by line.
  • Prayer is intimate communication with our Creator and the Lover of our Souls.
  • Prayer ensures the first three pillars.

Try to be conscious of which of the four pillars you are reading so that you know the context. The four contexts are belief, worship, behavior and prayer. The Catechism references scripture more than any other work so remember to read the Catechism with Scripture. It helps to have a Bible nearby to reference back the footnotes.


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