Catechism of the Catholic Church
A catechism is the name given to a written work that contains a summary
of all the beliefs of the faith that is used as a teaching tool.
Catechism of the Catholic Church online
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is arranged in four parts:
The Profession of Faith: What we believe
The Celebration of the Christian Mystery: How we celebrate
Life in Christ: How we live
Christian Prayer: How we pray
Until the second half of the twentieth century, for millions of Catholics in the United States the word catechism meant the Baltimore Catechism which originated in 1884 when the U.S. bishops published a national catechism. The Baltimore Catechism gave unity to the teaching and understanding of the faith for millions of American Catholics. Its impact was felt right up to the dawn of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.
At that time, Blessed John XXIII articulated a vision for the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council that charged them to guard and present more effectively the deposit of Christian doctrine making it more accessible to the Christian faithful. It became clear that the development of a new universal catechism would be beneficial since the Church has grown and the world has changed significantly since the last one published in 1566.
In 1985, at a synod of bishops in Rome, a proposal to develop a universal catechism for the Catholic Church was made and accepted. The outcome was the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 1992.