Terminology guide

Catechism

The Catechism is divided into four movements that are distinct, self-contained units – Profession of Faith, Sacraments, Moral Life, Prayer but which are intrinsically connected to one another. Within these movements, various major and minor themes are developed. These are the different beliefs the Church has about God, Jesus Christ, Baptism, the Eucharist, human dignity, sin, contemplation, and the vision of God, to name just a few. Together these beliefs form a symphony of faith, a harmonious whole.

The thing to remember is that all four movements are intrinsically connected to one another, because in reality we experience them as intrinsically connected together in our lives. Believing the Creed [Profession of Faith] is inextricably bound up with our participation in the liturgy [Sacraments}, which means also learning to pray [Prayer], which to be authentic means learning to live like Christ [Moral Life].

Catechumen

One under instruction. In the Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults, one who is preparing for Baptism. Catechumens are entitled to some of the same rights as the Baptised, for example having the right to a Catholic funeral in the event of death.

Doctrine

The collection of teaching of a particular denomination or Church. The doctrines [teachings] of the Church presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church communicate the Church's understanding of the truths about the innermost being of God, chosen to share with us and teach us.

The doctrines of the Church are not abstract propositions or academic definitions, but privileged ways of encountering the personal reality of God which have been revealed through God’s glorious manifestations and teachings in salvation history.

Dogmas

Are divinely revealed truths, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the church and hence binding now and forever on all the faithful. Dogmas are not abstract, dry-as-dust, theological definitions but divinely revealed truths that put us in touch with the personal reality, truth, beauty and goodness of God.

‘There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas.  Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith. (CCC, 89).

The uniqueness of Christian spiritual experience, derives from three divinely revealed truths –the dogma of the Most Holy Trinity, the dogma of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the dogma of the Mission of the Holy Spirit.