A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals - often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized - a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well.
Examples of Catholic catechisms have included:
- The Roman Catechism, first published in 1566 under the authority of the Council of Trent. It was not intended for common use by the laity, but as a general use reference book for priests and bishops.
- The Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore, or simply the Baltimore Catechism, was the official national catechism for children in the United States of America. The first such catechism written for Catholics in North America, it was the standard Catholic school text in the country from 1885 to the late 1960s.