.- At a special liturgy this morning for the debut of the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI praised the new teaching tool as “a new impulse to Evangelization” and expressed hope that it would lead many to a deeper understanding of the teaching and life of the Church. After receiving thanks from one of the members of the special commission assigned to compiling the new compendium, the Pope presented his homily, noting that since its publication in 1992, there had been a need to condense the dense Catechism of the Catholic Church into "a brief, concise catechism, containing all and only the essential and fundamental elements of Catholic faith and morals, formulated in a simple, universally-accessible, clear and succinct manner.
"Although throngs of cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, catechists and lay people were present in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall for the ceremony, Pope Benedict wished "ideally to consign this compendium to all people of good will who wish to know the unfathomable richness of the salvific mystery of Jesus Christ.
"He clarified that, "This is certainly not a new catechism, but a compendium that faithfully reflects the Catechism of the Catholic Church" which "maintains intact, then, all its authority and importance, and will find in this summary a valuable support to become better-known and more widely used as a fundamental tool of education in the faith.
"Calling the new compendium "a renewed announcement of the Gospel," the Holy Father explained that it presents the faith "in a dialogic format" and that "the brevity of the responses favors the essential concision and clarity of communication.
"Pope Benedict noted that the sacred images which appear at the beginning of each section are "an announcement of the Gospel and express the splendor of Catholic truth, showing the supreme harmony between the good and the beautiful, between the 'via veritatis' and the 'via pulchritudinis'.
"The Pope, who spearheaded the efforts to produce the compendium as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prior to being elected Pope, thanked all those who helped prepare the work, saying that he hoped it would serve as "a new impulse to evangelization and catechesis.
"After his homily, Pope Benedict distributed numerous copies of the compendium to a cardinal, a bishop, and various priests, religious and lay people gathered in the hall.