How to Cite the Catholic Catechism


The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summary of doctrine that outlines the principles and teachings of the Catholic Church. Its second edition, first published in 1997, is revised with changes from the original Latin text and was promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Individuals in religious studies often have occasion to cite the catechism in research papers. The catechism is treated like a book for bibliographic and in-text citations, but the paragraph number takes the place of a page number.

MLA Style

  • The Modern Language Association style, often used in the humanities, is one manual that might be used for citing references for religious studies papers. To cite the catechism, use “Catholic Church” without the quotation marks as the author. The title “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is written italicized and without quotation marks. Students will likely cite the second edition, and the date should reflect the publication of the copy that was referenced. The catechism is published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in Vatican City. A Works Cited listing in MLA style follows the format:
    Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012. Print.
    To cite only a specific section of the catechism, add the section title in quotation marks before the catechism title.

APA Style

  • The American Psychological Association style uses a similar citation to MLA format, but references are cited in a References page rather than a Works Cited. The same information is put into the bibliographic citation, but it is put in a slightly different order in APA than in MLA format:
    Catholic Church. (2012). Catechism of the Catholic Church (italicized). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
    When citing a section of the catechism, include the paragraph numbers and italicized section title, and the format changes marginally:
    Catholic Church. (2012). The Grace of Baptism. In 2nd ed., Catechism of the Catholic Church (1262). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Chicago Style

  • The Chicago Manual of Style is also used in the humanities and could be used for papers in religious studies. The bibliographic citation of the catechism in Chicago style is identical to the MLA style citation. When citing only a specific section of the catechism rather than the entire document, the format follows this example, with the catechism title in italics:
    Catholic Church. “The Effects of Confirmation,” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012.

In-Text Citations

  • Both MLA and APA styles use parenthetical citations, and Chicago style employs footnotes for citations within the text of a paper. The in-text citation in MLA format follows the example “(Catholic Church 1180)” without the quotation marks. To cite more than one paragraph, indicate the range, such as “1180-1186” without quotation marks. APA in-text citations are the same as MLA, except there is a comma in between “Catholic Church” and the paragraph numbers. The Chicago style footnote follows the example:
    Catechism of the Catholic Church (italicized), 2nd ed., 587-591.


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