Basic Sources of the Catholic Church Teaching and Belief

When talking to Christians or non-Christians you can often hear different nonsense about teachings and belief of the Catholic Church. Different negative stereotypes which are in the basis of those statements have their ground in the lack of information which says where you may find true official information about faith and teaching of the Catholic Church. What's more, even Catholics themselves often find themselves not sure where to look for such information.

So, let's try to answer this question.

At this time, we can get short complect teaching of the Church from the Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaimed on October 11, 1992 by John-Paul ІІ.
For those who are more interested, there is a collection of Apostle's creed, definitions and declarations about faith and morality «Enchiridium symbolorum definicionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum» by Heinrich Denzinger. The first edition of this book was in year 1854. Till year 1964, editions are marked with Denzinger (abbreviation D), from 1964 till 1967 this book had been edited by Adolf Schönmetzer and is marked as Denzinger- Schönmetzer (abbreviation DS). Posterior editions contain documents of the ІІ Vatican Council added by Peter Hünermann and are marked as Denzinger- Hünermann (abbreviation DH). In this collection there are all dogmatic formulations given by the Teacher's Government of the Church.

In the Church there has always been a rule: «The way you believe is the way you pray». I.e. official liturgical Church prayer is a reflection of Its faith. That's why official liturgical texts of the Church are the source of the Catholic faith knowledge. To such texts first of all belong Liturgies texts, texts from the Book of Hours and prayer-book.

One more group of texts contains the works of the Church Fathers. But in this case, they are a rule of faith only in the case when most of them agree on a certain issue. One of the fullest collections of the Church Fathers is Migne's Patrologia Graeca and Patrologia Latina. Abbreviations are PG and PL.

About the Catholic Church teachings, especially about moral issues, you can find out in papal encyclicals and bullas of non-administrative character.

So, this is a list of main sources from which you may find out what the Catholic Church really teaches and believes.