Catechisms and Explanations of the Faith

I. Catechisms from the Holy See

  1. Catechism of St. Pope Pius X (ca. 1880). May be downloaded here on Catholic Primer (e-text copyright 2005 by Catholic Primer) and read online on the Catholic Information Network (copyright 1996 by James Akin. All Rights Reserved.)
  2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the 1997 editio typica. May be read on the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church website, with desktop and mobile formats and search engine; the Knights of Columbus website, with search engine; website of the Holy See; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
  3. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified. May be read on CatholiCity (1996-2011, the Mary Foundation).
  4. Catechism of the Council of Trent, or the Catechism for Parish Priests. May be downloaded here on Catholic Primer (e-text copyright 2005 by Catholic Primer); and may be read at Catechetics Online.
  5. Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Copyright 2005, Libreria Editrice Vaticana). May be read in multiple languages on the website of the Holy See.
  6. General Catechetical Directory, by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (11 April 1971). Available at the Holy See.
  7. General Directory for Catechesis, by the Congregation for the Clergy (11 August 1997). May be read online at the Holy See.

II. Catechisms from Local Councils and Particular Churches

  1. Baltimore Catechism, No. 1: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore Questions Numbered to Agree with “Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism” with Prayers and Hymns, No. 1 {For First Communion Classes}. With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index [This version of the Baltimore Catechism is abridged for younger students, according to Wikipedia.] Dogma, Morals.
  2. Baltimore Catechism, No. 2: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, Questions Numbered to Agree with “Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism” with Prayers and Hymns, No. 2 {For Confirmation Classes}. With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index, [NB: This is the main version of the Baltimore Catechism, according to Wikipedia.].
  3. Baltimore Catechism, No. 3: or A Catechism of Christian Doctrine Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (In Accordance with the New Canon Law), No. 3 (For Two Years’ Course for Post-Confirmation Classes), supplemented by Rev. Thomas L. Kinkead (New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco: Benziger Brothers). With Imprimatur (1885). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index [NB: This is the version of the Baltimore Catechism that is expanded for older students, according to Wikipedia]. Dogma, Morals.
  4. Baltimore Catechism, Nos. 1 to 3. Available in PDF format (here) at Catholic Primer (e-text copyright 2005 by Catholic Primer) and at the Boston Catholic Journal.
  5. Baltimore Catechism, No. 4: or An Explanation Of The Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine For The Use of Sunday-School Teachers and Advanced Classes, by Thomas L. Kinkead (1891). With Imprimatur (1891 and 1921). Available on Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks in multiple formats. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index, May also be read on Catholic Information Network. [NB: This is the version of the Baltimore Catechism that is annotated for teachers/catechists, according to Wikipedia and Catholic Information Network]
  6. A Catechism of the Catholic Religion, new edition, preceded by a short history of religion, translated from the German of the Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J., edited by the Right Rev. P. N. Lynch, D.D., Bishop of Charleston (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Faus, 1878). With approbation by the Archbishop of New York. Internet Archive and Open Library.
  7. A Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion, Preceded by a Short History of Revealed Religion, from the Creation to the Present Time, 6th American edition, with questions for examination, by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J., translated by Rev. John Fander, edited by Rev. James J. Fox, D.D. and Rev. Thomas McMillan, C.S.P. (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1912). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library. Another copy, conformed to the Codex Juris Canonici, is available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  8. Deharbe’s Large Catechism, by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J., translated by a Father of the Society of Jesus of the Province of Missouri, from the German edition prepared for the United States (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1921). With Imprimatur and approbation from various bishops. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  9. A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion, Preceded by a Short History of Revealed Religion, from the Creation to the Present Time, 6th American edition, with questions for examination, by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J., translated by Rev. John Fander, revised, enlarged, and edited by the Right Rev. P.N. Lynch, D.D. (New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1889). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive. The 11th American edition (1889) is available at Internet Archive.
  10. Abridged Catechism of Christian Doctrine, new edition, specially adapted for use in the parochial schools of the United States, by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J. (New York, Cincinnati, Ohio: F. Pustet & Co., 1901). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  11. Our Faith: A Byzantine Catechism for Adults, by Fr. Casimir Kucharek (Allendale, N.J.; Combermere, Ontario, Canada: Alleluia Press, 1983). Available in PDF, Full Text and Daisy formats at Internet Archive. (Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0. The index page states “This is a Ukrainian Catholic Catechism, bearing the imprimatur of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the Pope of Rome. Not to be confused with the new Ukrainian Catholic Catechism “Christ our Pascha” which is due to be released in Ukrainian in June 2011. Permission to share on Internet given February 12, 2010.”)

III. Other Catechisms and Explanations of the Faith

  1. The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church: Sermons from the German, adapted and edited, Volume II, by the Rev. Edward Jones, with an Introduction by the Most Rev. John Ireland (St. Louis, London: B. Herder, 1913). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive [N.B., This volume collects discourses on the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist.]
  2. The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church: Sermons from the German, adapted and edited, Volume III, by the Rev. Edward Jones, with an Introduction by the Most Rev. John Ireland (Freiburg (Baden); St. Louis, Mo.; London: B. Herder, 1913). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library  [N.B., This volume collects discourses on the sacraments of penance, matrimony, orders, and unction, and on education. The OL index age incorrectly provides the image of Volume II.]
  3. The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church: Sermons from the German, adapted and edited, Volume IV, by the Rev. Edward Jones, with an Introduction by the Most Rev. John Ireland (St. Louis, Mo.; London: B. Herder, 1916). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive [N.B., This volume collects discourses on God, Christ, and grace.]
  4. The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church: Sermons from the German, adapted and edited, Volume V, by the Rev. Edward Jones, with an Introduction by the Most Rev. John Ireland (St. Louis, Mo.; London: B. Herder, 1916). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive [N.B. This volume includes discourses on the moral law and the last things.]
  5. The Belief of Catholics, 2nd edition, by Ronald Knox. With Imprimatur. Available at EWTN Library.
  6. Catechism: doctrinal, moral, historical, and liturgical: with answers to the objections drawn from the sciences against religion, by Patrick Power (Dublin: J. Duffy; London: Burns and Oates, 1905). With episcopal approbation. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  7. Catechism made easy, a familiar explanation of the Catechism of Christian doctrine, Volume 1, by Henry Gibson (Liverpool: Rockliff Brothers, 1865). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive. The 2nd edition (Liverpool: Rockliff Brothers; London: Burns and Oates, 1882) with Imprimatur is available at Internet Archive. (Digitizing sponsor: Google, Book from the collections of: Oxford University.
  8. Catechism made easy, a familiar explanation of the Catechism of Christian doctrine, Volume 2, by Henry Gibson (Liverpool: Rockliff Brothers; London: R. Washbourne, 1874). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive.
  9. Catechism made easy, a familiar explanation of the Catechism of Christian doctrine, Volume 3, by Henry Gibson (Liverpool: Rockliff Brothers; London: R. Washbourne, 1877). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive. (Digitizing sponsor: Google, Book from the collections of: Oxford University).
  10. A Catechism of Christian Doctrine [or the “Penny Catechism”]. Available at Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (2nd copy). The text with a 1971 Imprimatur is available at Catholic Treasury, which notes here: “Developed and copied on software with permission of the CMD Apostolate for the purpose of sharing the Catholic Faith. January 6, 1993 NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE. Prepared by Rev. Walter M. Ciesla”.
  11. The catechism of Rodez explained in form of sermons; a work equally useful to the clergy, religious communities, and faithful, by Abbé Luche, curé of Montbazens, John Thein (St Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1898). With the episcopal recommendation of Bishop of Cleveland and the approbation of the Bishop of Rodez. Available on Open Library and  Internet Archive.
  12. Catholic Belief, by Joseph Faà Di Bruno (1878), Available at Internet Archive.
  13. Catholic Common Sense, by Albert Power (Dublin: Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, 1947). Available on Lux Occulta (copyright status uncertain).
  14. Catholic dogma: the fundamental truths of revealed religion (New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1892). Available at Internet Archive in multiple formats.
  15. Catholic religion ; a statement of Christian teaching and history Charles Alfred Martin (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1919). With imprimatur. Available at Open Library.and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Regis Library University of Toronto).
  16. Christ in the Church; a volume of religious essays, Robert Hugh Benson (St. Louis, Mo., B. Herder, 1911). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: University of Toronto, Book contributor: PIMS – University of Toronto)
  17. Christian Doctrine, by Laurence Vaux, B.D. (Reprinted from an edition of 1583). Available at Catholic Apologetics Information  [NB: Catholic Apologetics Information, while it contains much that is extremely valuable, has an extremely negative view of the Second Vatican Council. It is not sedevacantist, but its view must be corrected in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutics of continuity.]
  18. The Commandments Explained, according to the teaching and doctrine of the Catholic Church, by Arthur Devine (London: R. & T. Washbourne; New York: Benziger, 1906). With Imprimatur. Available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  19. The Creed Explained: or, An Exposition of Catholic Doctrine According to the Creeds of Faith and the Constitutions and Definitions of the Church, by Arthur Devine (London: R. T. Washbourne, 1903). With Imprimatur. Available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto)
  20. The Divinity of Christ, by Joseph Rickaby, S.J.  (London, Edinburgh: Sands & Company; St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1906). With Imprimatur. Part of the Westminster Lectures (Second Series), edited by the Rev. Francis Aveling. Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.). May be read in multiple languages on the website of the Holy See.
  21. Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching, by St. Irenaeus of Lyons. Available on Documenta Catholica Omnia.
  22. Doctrina Christiana: The First Book Printed in the Philippines. Manila, 1593. A Facsimile of the Copy in the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. Library of Congress, Washington, With an Introductory Essay by Edwin Wolf 2nd (1947). Available at ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg. [Original title: Doctrina Christiana, en lengua española y tagala, cor regida por los Religiosos de las ordenes Impressa con licencia, en S. gabriel. de la orden de. S. Domigo En Manila. 1593, translated by Wikipedia as Christian Doctrine in Spanish and Tagalog Language, with correct rules for the Religious Order. Printed with License in Saint Gabriel of the Holy Dominican Order. In Manila, 1593. Attributed to Juan De Plasencia, O.F.M.].
  23. Epiphany: a Theological Introduction to Catholicism, by Aidan Nichols O.P. (1996). May be read online at Christendom Awake. (The webpage states: “Copyright ©; 1996 by The Order of St. Benedict, Inc., Collegeville, Minnesota. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any retrieval system, without the written permission of The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota 56321”)
  24. The Essentials of Spiritual Unity, by Ronald Knox. Available at Catholic Answers (last visited December 8, 2009).
  25. Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine, by Rev. Michael Müller, C.SS.R. (Adapted for the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools and Colleges. with the Approbation of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) No. III. (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1876). With Imrimatur. May be read on Catholic Apologetics Information. [NB: Catholic Apologetics Information, while it contains much that is extremely valuable, has an extremely negative view of the Second Vatican Council. It is not sedevacantist, but its view must be corrected in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutics of continuity.]
  26. The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven, by Father Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C. ([New York]: Benziger Brothers, 1899). With Imprimatur. Available at Catholic Tradition. [NB: Please approach other materials on the website with caution, as some have an extremely negative view of the Second Vatican Council, which must be corrected in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic of continuity.]
  27. Guide to a Catholic Church: for non-Catholic visitors; in which the meaning of various objects of devotion is simply explained, and a short exposition given of the main points of Catholic belief, with the prayers of the chief services in Latin and English, by Fox, W. L., O’Gorman, R. A (London : R. & T. Washbourne ; New York : Benziger Bros, 1904). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Regis College Library, University of Toronto).
  28. I’m Glad You Asked: Questions from the parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, Mississippi [N.B. This 127-page booklet compiles a wide range of questions and answers on the Catholic Faith, which appears useful for religious teaching, evangelization and apologetics.] Available at the the website of the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
  29. The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ, or, The Mysteries of the Faith, by Saint Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori [St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori], ed. Eugene Grimm (New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1886). With Approbation from the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto). May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index,
  30. Man’s Call to Grace and Glory, by William Moran (Dublin: Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, 1946). Available on Lux Occulta.
  31. Moral Briefs: a Concise, Reasoned and Popular Exposition of Catholic Morals, by John H. Stapleton (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1904). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  32. My Catholic Faith: A Manual Of Religion, by the Most Reverend Louis Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D., Bishop of Krishnagar, with a brief Introduction by Bishop Fulton Sheen (Kenosha, Wisconsin: My Mission House, 1949). [Link deleted due to copyright concerns. Advice on the work’s copyright status would be most appreciated.]
  33. A Rule of Life: For Daily Christian Living, by Michael Woodgate. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Catholic Truth Society, which states that it provides “Suggestions on how to live a Christian life amidst the business of every day”.
  34. The Sight of Hell, by Rev. John Furniss, C.SS.R. (Dublin: James Duffy and Co., Limited, 1874). Books for Children and Young Persons, Book X. With the permission of superiors. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  35. Spirago’s Method of Christian Doctrine; a Manual for Priests, Teachers, and Parents, by Franz Spirago; ed. Archbishop Sebastian Gebhard Messmer (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1901). With Imprimatur. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Regis College Library, University of Toronto).
  36. The Spirit of Catholicism, by Karl Adam. Dogma, Grace, Salvation, Church. Available at EWTN Library. [NB: This book is highly recommended by Dave Armstrong and Scott Hahn. Having read it repeatedly myself, I heartily agree with their approbation.]
  37. Theotokos: or, The Divine Maternity, by John Stewart M’Corry, D.D.  (London: Burns and Oates, 1874). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  38. The threshold of the Catholic Church: a course of plain instructions for those entering her communion, by John B Bagshawe (New York : Catholic Publication Society, 1872). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly – University of Toronto (copyright status uncertain).
  39. What is the Catholic Church?, by Fr Stephen Wang. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Catholic Truth Society, which states that it provides “An introduction to the world’s oldest institution founded by Jesus Christ”.

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