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what is a catechism

WHAT IS A CATECHISM?

A concise, written summary of Christian doctrine.

The history of the Catholic Church across the last millennium is filled with the publication of numerous catechisms, issued by bishops in every major language on earth. For centuries, these concise “guidebooks” to Catholic doctrine have served countless men and women seeking a clear and direct presentation of the True Faith.

This manuscript record evokes the very meaning of the word "traditional," from the Latin tradere, "to hand on." For, when taken together, the many catechisms issued with episcopal approval offer a window on to the universal ordinary magisterium: a glimpse of those truths which have been held and taught in the Church everywhere, always, and by all. For, as St. Paul reminds us, the tenets of this Faith do not change from age to age: “Jesus Christ yesterday and today and the same for ever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines” (Heb 13:8-9).


As similar maintained by the Successors of the Apostles across the ages, a catechism will either be "traditional"—i.e., it will present the received and approved doctrine of the Church—or it is unworthy of the name "Catholic."

Only those ideas should be communicated [in catechesis] which are definitely marked as Catholic truth by their universality, antiquity, and harmony. (Pope Clement XIII, In Dominico Agro).

The catechisms referenced throughout the Tradivox initiative—particularly those in our 20-volume collection—are therefore selected especially for their orthodoxy and historical significance, in the interest of demonstrating to contemporary readers the remarkable continuity of Catholic doctrine across time and space.

 

Long regarded as reliable summaries of Church teaching on matters of faith and morals, we are proud to reproduce these invaluable works of centuries past; composed and endorsed by countless priests, bishops, and popes devoted to “giving voice to Tradition.”

Learn more about the catechisms in our collection at the FAQ page here.

what is tradivox

WHAT IS TRADIVOX?

A resource company dedicated to clear,

reliable, faithfully Catholic catechesis.

ORIGIN

After years of coordinating our archival research and scholars of various institutes, master catechist and project leader Aaron Seng officially launched Tradivox, Inc. in 2019 under the episcopal advisement of His Excellency, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of St. Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan.
 

Our team's initial intention was to compile Catholic catechisms for academic institutional use; however, we soon discovered tremendous interest in our research among the faithful, along with growing demand for classical catechisms in newly typeset, hardback editions. This led to our partnership with Sophia Institute Press for the production of our monumental, twenty-volume collection of traditional catechisms.

Today, our team comprises a network of dozens of professional researchers, writers, editors, and publishers in several countries, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. We have successfully republished over thirty different classical catechisms, assisted with the editing of one contemporary catechism, and are excited for the future ahead!

MISSION

Our mission is to bring reliably Catholic catechesis to every person on the planet: not teaching on our own authority, but simply by lending a platform to the Church's greatest teachers of the past: saints, scholars, and catechists of renown. Therefore, our motto is: "Giving Voice to Tradition."

Like the traditional catechism itself, the aim of Tradivox is simple: to echo the perennial Catholic and Apostolic doctrine; "the Faith delivered once for all to the saints." (Jude 1:3)

It is our hope that by offering an accessible, indexed collection of traditional catechisms, the beautiful continuity of doctrine found in such works will stand as a remedy for the confusion and error of our time, and as an enduring testimony to the divine mission of the Catholic Church, forever entrusted to her by Christ:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt 28:19-20).

With thousands of hours of international research complete, the Tradivox team is already painstakingly restoring the dozens of historic catechisms we have unearthed; freshly reformatted for publication in our twenty-volume, cross-indexed, legacy hardback collection. For some of these texts, long buried in European archives or extant only in microfilm, this will serve as their first reprint in several centuries.

VISION

Our vision is a day when anyone, anywhere can reach for a simple, concise, and reliable presentation of the Faith of our Fathers, and have it ready to hand in both digital and analog form. We are pursuing this vision through three main goals:

1) Publish a hardback collection of the best historical catechisms.

2) Offer a digital search apparatus curating these timeless texts.

3) Deploy faith study courses derived from the same.


LOGO AND PATRONAGE

The letter "T" is evocative of both our company title, Tradivox, and of the One who called Himself the Truth—offering his greatest sermon on the gibbet of the "Tau," the Cross of Calvary.

 

Bright crimson is used to signify the Passion of Our Lord and the suffering of His martyrs, especially those of 16th century England, when the mass publication of catechisms first began. We seek their intercession in a particular way, invoke them in the front pages of every volume we publish, and use the old English "T" in their honor.

 

Omnes sancti Mártyres et Confessóres, oráte pro nobis.

CURRENT ENDORSEMENTS

Cardinals and Bishops of the Church around the world have praised our catechism collection:

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Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Prefect Emeritus, Apostolic Signatura

How are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard?” (Rom 10:14). At the heart of the profound crisis of Faith, which we are witnessing in the Church today, is the lack of sound catechesis. In the same way, sound and faithful catechesis will be at the heart of the renewal of Our Holy Mother the Church. The Catholic Catechism Index does much to hasten that renewal by making readily accessible to all Catholics the many faithful catechisms which have provided an irreplaceable service to Our Lord’s Spotless Bride, the Church, throughout the Christian centuries. May God bless the work of Tradivox and make it redound to His glory and to the salvation of countless souls.

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Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Prefect Emeritus, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Catholic Catechism Index makes crucial sources of the sacred tradition accessible to the contemporary reader and scholar. Intelligently and in a resourceful way, Tradivox presents ancient truths easily and in a user-friendly manner, especially to our young Catholic faithful who are often desirous of knowing the depths of the faith yet do not know where to start. Projects like this are invaluable for those studying, or otherwise interested in, Catholic theology, particularly today, at a time in which we often lack a good understanding of the continuity and stability of Catholic teaching. Without such understanding, our efforts of evangelization are shallow. I am very pleased to endorse this wonderful effort and wish it worldwide success.

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George Cardinal Pell

Prefect Emeritus, Secretariat for the Economy

This collection of catechisms across the centuries known as Tradivox demonstrates the fidelity of the Catholic leadership as their bishops faithfully teach what Christ taught, preserved for us in the apostolic tradition, developing and representing this deposit of doctrine to answer new challenges and exploit new opportunities.

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Full Endorsement

Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Auxiliary Bishop, St. Mary's in Astana

This project will convincingly show the essentially unchanging nature of the apostolic doctrine across time and space, and so I invite the faithful of the entire world to support this historic effort, as we seek to restore the perennial Catechism of the Church. The project of a Catechism restoration on behalf of Tradivox will surely be of great benefit not only to many confused and disoriented Catholic faithful, but also to all people who are sincerely seeking the ultimate and authentic truth about God and man, which one can find only in the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, and which is the only religion and Faith willed by God and to which God calls all men.

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Bishop Joseph Strickland

Bishop Emeritus of Tyler, Texas

Tradivox promises to be a treasury of truth and tradition that is desperately needed in the world today. We need to return to the basic sources of our beautiful traditions of Catholic Faith and make them accessible to this generation. Too much has been lost, diminished or ignored in the haze of modernity that is nearing a crescendo of darkness in these days. The documents that Tradivox will bring to light and re-introduce to the world give clear and steady answers to the questions of today. May many read and learn the Truth of God that guides us.

HISTORIC ENDORSEMENTS

Our catechisms have been hailed across hundreds of years, and thousands of miles:

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Pope Leo XIII

Vicar of Christ

"[The Catechism of Trent] is remarkable at once for the richness and exactness of its doctrine, and for the elegance of its style; it is a precious summary of all theology, both dogmatic and moral. He who understands it well, will have always at his service those aids by which a priest is enabled to preach with fruit, to acquit himself worthily of the important ministry of the confessional and of the direction of souls, and will be in a position to refute the objections of unbelievers."

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Abp. John Henni

Archbishop of Milwaukee

"Deharbe's Catechisms, both the larger and the smaller, have for a long time been in use in many schools of my diocese... It is, therefore, scarcely necessary for me to declare that the Catholic Catechism of Father Jos. Deharbe, S.J., has my fullest approval, and that I specially recommend the same in its newly revised form[.]"

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Henry Cardinal Manning

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

"The Catechism of Frassinetti is a good example of what a Catechist may do... I therefore very heartily recommend the use of this Catechism to the Clergy and Faithful."

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Abp. Thomas Grace

Titular Archbishop of Siunia

"An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism supplies a want which is generally felt by the clergy and others engaged in teaching Catechism. Apart from the very satisfactory development of the answers to the questions and apt illustrations of the subjects treated, the additional questions inserted in your book give it a special value."

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Bp. James Bayley

Bishop of Newark

"I am glad to hear that you intend to republish Perry's Instructions on the Catechism. It is an excellent little book. As a manual for catechists, or as a book of instruction, developing and explaining the Catechism, it is the best work of the sort I am acquainted with."

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Francis Cardinal Bourne

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

"We cordially bless the second edition of this work [The Catechism Simply Explained], and trust that it will continue to do the good which has so largely resulted from it in the past."

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Vicar of Christ

Pope Benedict XVI

"Because of its simple, clear, precise language and effective explanations, this Pius X Catechism, as it was called, was a reliable guide to many in learning the truths of the faith."

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Archbishop of Toronto

Abp. John Lynch

"Let Butler's English Catechism, approved by the Bishops of Ireland and long in use in this Country, be the only one taught to the faithful speaking the English language... [and] the only one authorized in the Archdiocese of Toronto."

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Bishop of Fort Wayne

Bp. John Luers

"I have read and examined the Manual of the Catholic Doctrine by Rev. F. X. Weninger, S.J., with a great deal of pleasure and delight. I know of no work more clear and explicit, or that better meets the exigencies of the times than this; hence, I would exceedingly like to see it translated into English, and freely circulated within the diocese."

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Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin

Paul Cardinal Cullen

"I am happy to learn that a new edition of Bishop Hay's [Catechism]... is about to be given to the world. [...] I wish every success to this new and meritorious enterprise, which I trust will receive encouragement, not only in Great Britain and Ireland, but in all the vast regions where the English language is spoken."

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Bishop of New Orleans

Bp. Antoine Blanc

"We cheerfully recommend to the patronage of the Catholic community the Catechism of Perseverance... a work well calculated to impart solid historical, liturgical, moral, and doctrinal instruction in an agreeable format, and being particularly well suited for the purpose of higher religious instruction in Catholic schools and academies."

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Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin

Bp. James Doyle

"Nearly two centuries have elapsed since The Abridgment was first published, but the doctrines contained in it have not waxed old. They continue the same, like Christ who revealed them[.]"

Endorsements
Historic Endorsements
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