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Apparently the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) has only existed since 1992.

Was Catholic doctrine clearly defined in a specific set of sources before CCC? What would a priest have referred to in earlier times, if he had needed to check the stance of the Church on a specific detail?

Is it possible/practical/easy to find out what Catholic Church taught of a specific subject at a specific time in history?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, the history of the catechism is substantially longer than just 19 years! The catholic catechism dates for hundreds of years - one of the earlier "official" ones was promulgated in 1566.

Catechizing has been a long-standing practice (arguably, God told the Israelites to do that when He told them to write His law on the door posts and tell it to their children).

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Oh, my bad. I somehow thought it was always called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. –  dancek Nov 15 '11 at 10:08

Dogmas and doctrines were written down from very early on. Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma is an excellent collection of important dogmas, ordered chronologically.

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I asked this to a presenter in our diocese's catechist training program. She said that the writings of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) were primarily used. I guess that just helps Warren's answer.

Before that, I'd imagine we just looked at stained glass and/or frescoes...

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