Questions about Catechism

Hi Fathers,

We have discussions from time to time to explore our faith and are often lack proper guidance. Any reference especially to the Catechism would be appreciated.

Questions discussed:

1 Can the teachings; disciplines/doctrines/dogmas of the Church ever change? What would be the definitions of the above terms?

2 Were/are the following doctrines or disciplines? abstaining of Meat on Fridays. capital punishment justified war

3 Is the Catechism a doctrinal or merely administrative presentation of the Church that may be changed in time?

4 Are the 'Catechisms' (Baltimore, present and other local ones) of the Catholic church common/standard in all their teachings; despite time and place?

Thank you for your responses.


1. Dogmas (doctrines) are unchangeable. Disciplines can change.

2. Meatless Fridays was a discipline. However, even when the requirement was removed, the practice was still encouraged. If not, some other form of penance is to be substituted.

Capital Punishment is permitted. However, as Pope John Paul II has pointed out - and as can be seen in the Catechism - there are contemporary factors which make its moral use rare. "The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the DEATH PENALTY, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor." (Catechism 2267)

Just War theory was developed in some detail by St. Augustine. There are a series of criteria which would determine whether a specific war is justified.

3. The Catechism is "a sure norm for teaching the faith." see:

4. You will find essentially the same teachings in the Baltimore Catechism as in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church. The 1992 Catechism relied on the Catechism of the Council of Trent. It sums up two millenia of Christian teaching and applies those doctrines to some new challenges - e.g. in vitro fertilization.

Good luck in your discussions - and God bless.

Fr. Bloom

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