Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines
with expanded Subject Index
Word & Life Publications
From the beginning of the Christianization
of the Philippines to the end of the 20th Century:
Four Centuries of Catechesis in our Country. One uninterrupted effort to remain faithful to God, to Man, to the Church. One continuous endeavor
to make the Catholic Faith relevant
to the culture and the lives
of our Filipino People.
Vatican City, 6 March 1997
Prot. N. 97000707
The Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, at the appropriate time, sent to this Dicastery the Catechism for Filipino Catholics developed by the same Episcopal Conference, requesting the approval of the Holy See.
The Congregation for the Clergy, after having examined the text and obtained on the first day of March, 1997 the positive opinion (Prot. N. 64/94-03884) rendered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, does hereby grant the requested approbation, according to the requirements of canon 775 § 2.
This Dicastery wishes to congratulate the Bishops of the Philippines for providing an instrument that is truly suitable for transmitting the faith among Catholic Filipinos and hopes that the Catechism will have the widest possible circulation.
I take this opportunity to express to Your Excellency and to the entire Episcopal Conference my sentiments of esteem and with every best wish, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend OSCAR V. CRUZ, D.D.
President of the CBCP
470 General Luna Street
Intramuros, Manila 1002
P.O. Box 3601 Manila, 1099
1. This is the official Vatican approved National Catholic Catechism for the Philippines, entitled Catechism for Filipino Catholics [CFC]. As a national catechism, one major function of the CFC has been to draw together two major current sources for our “renewed catechesis.” The first is the official Catholic teaching of the universal Church as proposed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], promulgated by the Holy Father in 1992. The second is the Acts and Decrees of the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines [PCP II], with its supplement, the National Pastoral Plan [NPP], which together present a comprehensive view of the national culture and specific catechetical situation of the Philippine Church.
2. This officially approved edition of the cfc is offered by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines [CBCP] as a major effort in implementing PCP II’s urgent call for a triple renewal: a renewed “Catechesis” which in turn will contribute substantially to a renewed “Worship” and “Social Apostolate.”
Why a New Catechism?
3. The most basic reason for this new Catechism is simply the mission which the Risen Christ entrusted to His apostles. “Make disciples of all the nations . . . . Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). The practical goal of this Catechism, then, is to provide an effective instrument for creatively handing on the Catholic Faith to Filipinos. It thus aims to contribute effectively “Toward a Renewed Integral Evangelization,” developed in PCP II’s National Pastoral Plan [NPP].
4. The CFC was actually developed according to the NPP’s flow chart. It was conceived in response to the call for catechetical renewal experienced in the Church of the Poor. It was formed by following NCDP’s orientational principles for Philippine catechesis. It presents the operational principles and content for an integral renewed catechesis. And it envisions the same goal of a Community of Disciples of the Lord.
5. Actually there are many catechisms in circulation throughout the Philippines today. In addition, various religion textbook series have been published for different levels of school religious instruction. Nevertheless, PCP II’s call for a renewed integral catechesis has intensified the widely-felt need for a new, up-to-date, officially approved, exposition of the Catholic Faith. We need a catechism that is specifically written for Filipinos, in our actual, concrete Philippine situation. In many parts of our country there are no easily available Catholic catechisms. Even where some do exist, they are frequently out-of-date, or partial, one-sided accounts, or foreign works, not written for Filipinos. Even the Vatican’s Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], “a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine,” needs to be translated into our Filipino context for a truly inculturated catechesis.
6. Thus there is an urgent demand, first of all, for a catechism that addresses itself to our Philippine context, with its particular needs, characteristics and crises. The NCDP places great stress on a truly inculturated catechesis which responds to the concrete situation and culture of Filipino Catholics and families today, in terms of our own Filipino culture and values. At the same time, the local and regional contexts must be seen in terms of the whole Philippine Church, and its catechetical content constantly related to the CCC’s authoritative presentation of the universal doctrine, morals, and worship of the Catholic Faith.
7. The nature and conditions of the Filipino family, and of Filipino value and belief systems, are undergoing radical changes, amidst our growing modernization with its economic and political upheavals. This radically affects the proclamation of Christ’s Good News to today’s Filipino. A national catechism, therefore, prepared by the CBCP and officially approved by the proper Vatican Congregations, represents a significant advance over the many partial, regionally-limited expositions of the Faith.
8. A second demand arises from the situation of wide diversity and pluralism in the post-Vatican II era. Bible study, liturgical changes, value education, the thrust for justice — all have shaped this new “climate.” The sheer number of different groups, often urging conflicting doctrines and actions, has confused many regarding even the essentials of the Faith. Some have retreated to a basically fundamentalist position, in fear of losing their Catholic Faith. Others have been enticed by new prayer or charismatic sects to abandon the Catholic Church for more “personable,” warmer socio-religious groups. Many others are simply disturbed, seeking how they should react to these new challenges (cf. PCP II 216-28).
9. In such a situation, shared by Catholics all over the world, this new, up-to-date Catechism for Filipino Catholics responds to three basic needs. The first is, that in the face of all the proselytizing and pressure propaganda, Filipino Catholics look for the reliable Catholic word, especially in family and youth catechesis. Second, to reject today’s common pursuit of self-centered freedom and ever richer life-styles, Catholics seek a clear sense of Christian moral values and responsibility. Today’s morality must be inspired by the Gospel priority of service, especially to the poor. Third, amidst the anxious search for new prayer forms and novel faith-experiences, Catholics seek their roots in the Catholic tradition of community worship (cf. NCDP 54).
Characteristics of This Catechism
10. Given these three basic needs, the mission of the Church to proclaim Christ’s Gospel calls today for a new type of catechism, adapted to our times. This new catechism stresses four characteristics.
Focus on the Essentials
11. The first is its focus on the Essentials of the Faith. The catechism can not possibly offer a complete, comprehensive account of all aspects and elements of the faith. Rather, it aims at presenting the basics of the Church’s faith in Christ by drawing directly on the Creed, the Commandments, and the Sacraments, not on any particular theological school or trend.
This faith is proposed in the CCC. Filipino Catholics professed this Faith in proclaiming the Creed at Sunday Mass. They live out this Catholic commitment to Christ by obeying the Commandments in their Christian moral service. And they celebrate it in Catholic sacramental worship. Thus they express in daily life the greatest of the Christian virtues __ Faith, Hope, and Love.
12. These essentials of Faith in Christ must be expressed in an organic and systematic manner, which is both concentrated yet attractive (cf. PCP II 163; CCC 5). This involves an integrated approach, which constitutes the first methodological principle of our catechesis (cf. NCDP 75, 414-25). Catholic Faith is a living integrated whole both in its objective content – Doctrine, Morals, and Worship, as well as in every subject, every believer. To respond to Christ’s personal call to discipleship means to believe, act, and worship with all the energies of one’s head, will, and heart, in Christ’s own community, the Church.
13. Second, believing in Christ must be related directly to the daily Filipino human experience of living as Christ’s disciple. Such human experience is found on every page of the Bible, in Church teaching, in the signs of the times. But it is especially the typical personal experience, culture, and values of today’s Filipino Catholic that must be evident in the Catechism. This follows the second catechetical principle of stressing experience and inculturation (cf. NCDP 401-4; 426-33).
14. Third, this is to be an explicitly Catholic catechism. This is meant not in any negative sense of questioning the sincerity or value of other faiths, but positively in terms of its sources, content and goal. Its sources are Sacred Scripture, Catholic tradition, especially as presented in The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the human experience of Filipinos in their Catholic community. Its content for a Renewed Integral Evangelization includes the doctrinal truths, moral principles and values, and liturgical life of that community. Its goal is to build up the Community of Disciples of the Lord. This constitutes the third basic methodological principle of our catechetical ministry (cf. NPP; NCDP 434-50).
15. Fourth, this catechism is a book to be used, a source to be consulted in practical questions about the Faith. Thus it consciously works at integrating doctrine (orthodoxy) with Catholic Moral conduct and attitudes, as well as with Catholic worship (orthopraxis). But beyond illuminating the Faith, this catechism aims at inspiring and motivating its readers to actual personal commitment to Jesus Christ, within our Catholic community. It invites and challenges the reader to “come and see” (Jn 1:39), and experience the life of faith, love, and hope to which Jesus calls every one who listens to his voice (cf. Lk 11:28).
For Whom the Catechism Is Intended
16. The CFC is expressly directed to all who are actively engaged in communicating or studying the Faith: priests, religious, catechists, religion teachers—and perhaps most of all, parents. It is an adult catechism in the sense that it provides a source book for those who address the typical Sunday Mass congregation of an ordinary Filipino parish. Therefore, this is not a parish or school religion textbook. It is intended to serve as a proximate source for parish catechesis, and for creating religion textbooks suited to the primary, secondary or college levels.
17. This catechism is addressed primarily to committed Filipino Catholics, rather than to winning new converts to the Catholic Faith. Nevertheless, it can be very useful for anyone desiring to know more about the Catholic Faith. Because of its Scripturally based exposition of the Faith, and its Creedal structure, the catechism can foster fruitful ecumenical dialogue with other Christians. Because of its stress on the living Tradition of the local Catholic Church, it highlights both the basics of the CCC, especially the teaching of Vatican II, and the pronouncements of the Catholic Philippine hierarchy [CBCP].
Thus the catechism provides Filipino Catholics with a sound apologetic by giving “the reason for the hope” that Faith instills in them (cf. 1 Pt 3:15). It encourages its readers to “hold fast to the authentic message, so that [they] will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it” (Ti 1:9).
Basic Structure of the Catechism
18. The CFC is structured according to a Trinitarian vision of the Faith that is at the same time truly Christ-centered. Moreover, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Savior and his perfect disciple, has served as its inspirational model, just as she has done for countless Filipino Catholics through the ages. Most important, however, is the need to understand CFC’s basic structure — both WHAT is its structure, and WHY this structure was chosen.
Like the Vatican’s CCC, the CFC is based on “four pillars”: the baptismal profession of Faith (the Creed), the Sacraments of faith, the life of Faith (the commandments), and the prayer of the believer (the Lord’s prayer). (cf. CCC 13)
Unlike the CCC, however, which simply arranges the four pillars one after another [1) Creed, 2) Sacraments, 3) Commandments, and 4) Prayer], the CFC structures the whole catechism on the Creed. It inserts Christian Moral Life (Commandments) following the Creedal section on Jesus Christ, and combines Prayer with Sacraments immediately after the Creedal truths on the Holy Spirit and the Church. The CFC’s exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, then, serves as the Epilogue integrating the whole catechism.
19. This arrangement offers two advantages:
• it directly links “keeping the Commandments” with the “following of Christ,” and
• it integrates Sacraments with Prayer, and both as flowing from the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church.
Thus this arrangement responds to the NCDP’s call to strengthen moral catechesis by linking it directly with Catholic doctrine and worship. It also takes up PCP II’s challenge for a renewed catechesis by pushing beyond mere “head knowledge” of doctrinal formulas on one side, or pious devotional ritualism on the other, to foster a truly integrated Faith of loving Christian service and worship.
20. The CFC, then, is structured in three main Parts, introduced by a Preface and Foundations, and concluding with an Epilogue that summarizes the whole Catechism.
1. The Filipino Catholic 3. Our Response: Faith
2. God’s Call: Revelation 4. Our Unbelief
Christ, Our Truth
5. Catholic Doctrine
6. God, Father Almighty
7. Creator of All
8. The Fall from Glory
9. God Promises a Savior
10. Jesus Christ: Mission/Person
11. Christ Has Died
12. Christ Is Risen and Will Come Again
Christ, Our Way
13. Living as Disciples of Christ
14. Following Christ
15. Christian Law
16. Love the Lord Your God
17. Love One Another
18. Respect Life
19. Respect Human Sexuality
20. Building Justice
21. Respecting Truth
Christ, Our Life
22. The Holy Spirit
23. The Catholic Church
24. Catholic Prayer and Worship
27. Healing Sacraments
28. Vocation Sacraments
29. Resurrection and Life Everlasting
30. Epilogue: The Lord’s Prayer
21. The three parts of Doctrine, Moral Life and Worship thus present the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit, while at the same time focussing on Christ as our Truth, our Way and our Life (cf. Jn 14:16). They call for our Spirit-inspired response of Faith, Love and Hope, as members of Christ’s Body, our Catholic community, the Church. Finally, the three Parts respond to the three most basic human questions: Doctrine answers “What can I know?”, Moral teaching illumines “What should I do?”, and the Sacrament/Worship celebrate “What may I hope for?”
Thus the CFC’s structure reproduces in an integrative manner the Catholic Faith’s threefold objective structure of Doctrine (Creed), Morals (Commandments) and Worship (Sacraments), and its holistic subjective structure in all believers of Head (believing), Hands (acting/doing), and Heart (prayerful trusting).
Using This Catechism
22. To find any particular topic of the Catholic Faith in this Catechism, first consult the Table of Contents which outlines the whole book. For more precise location, an Index of all the topics treated in the Catechism is provided in the back.
23. In order to facilitate consultation and use of this Catechism, the format of each chapter follows the same pattern. Each chapter begins with some quote from the Scriptures or the Magisterium and a brief Opening which identifies the topic to be treated and relates it to other pertinent topics in the Catechism. This is followed immediately by the Context which focuses the topic within our specific Filipino situation, with its particular problems, attitudes, values, and weaknesses. Thus contextualized, the topic is then developed in the Exposition which presents the essential content drawn from Scripture and Church teaching, and related directly to the concrete human experience of today’s Filipino Catholic.
24. The Exposition is the main part of each chapter and is followed by a brief section entitled Integration. This offers one explicit example of interrelating the doctrinal, moral and worship dimensions of the chapter’s topic. Thus, the Integration responds to a key directive of the NCDP which proposes the constant interrelating of doctrine, morals and worship to bring out Faith’s experiential reality more intensely and more vividly. But only one example is usually presented, precisely as an invitation to compose many other examples of basic interrelationships of the three dimensions.
25. Finally, each chapter concludes with a series of Questions and Answers summarizing the basic content of the chapter. The style of the Answers is simple, often arranging the context in schematic form, in order to facilitate its comprehension and retention.