What follows is a reflection on the impact of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on adult Catholic lay people—lay in both senses of the word: both as the People of God, and as those who are not ‘professional’ in religious matters.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church was published in 1992 (revised in 1997), more than twenty-five years after the close of Vatican II and at a time when many ‘ordinary’ Catholics of good will were experiencing anxiety, uncertainty and a lack of clarity in catechesis. Catechetical practices varied from diocese to diocese and parish to parish. Courses, programs and syllabuses multiplied for use in schools and parishes (some having a shorter working life than the time it took to prepare them). Diocesan centres, religious advisers and theologians (both clerical and lay) increased in numbers, and there was a corresponding increase of workgroups and conferences. Many new initiatives were designed to renew the participation of the laity in mission and to reintroduce the catechumenate of adults, not least RCIA.