Those Little Margin Numbers


I first fell in love with the Catechism of the Catholic Church when one of my theology teachers asked me and a study partner to try writing a Bible study on “family”.

The simple method she suggested was for the two of us to open the Catechism, and find an early spot that referred to Christian family life.

We were then to look up Scriptures that were footnoted from that spot, and especially any of those little “side numbers” that popped up occasionally in the right or left margins alongside this or that paragraph.

Since all the paragraphs in the book were numbered, I was helped to see that those little margin numbers
pointed us to other paragraphs in the Catechism that related things together.  In this case, related articles on the family together.

father-656734_1920Venturing through the Catechism (or perhaps adventuring, as fits my experience) to see all that it had to say on “family”, and how the Catechism itself did the leading, from one discovery to the next, was one of the most gratifying experiences in my entire joyful experience of studying theology.

It also grounded me.

I was a husband then, but now I’m also a dad.

We were a family (my mum living with us) trying to be a good example to other families and younger couples around us, collecting a few godchildren along the way, etc.

Never have I needed more what the Catechism said about family at that time, and will continue to need!

And that Catechism made me think family.

The Church is a family, fashioned by GodThe Father.  And made crazy by its unparalleled collection of sinners… I mean siblings.  They fight.books-1168303_1920

We fight.  I find it’s usually my brothers and sisters who are at fault, but that’s just because they don’t see that I’m easier to get along with than they realise.

But in those few times when I’m not spot on…  Well, family forgiveness is the hardest and best learning ground.

The Catechism introduced me to a spiritual mother. Jesus’ own. That, in itself, is priceless.

The Catechism helped me in all this, as God intended it to.


Catechism covers (no background)
CTS are honoured to be publishing a new, definitive and complete edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can pre-order at



William Keimig is a Guest Blogger. Read his articles for CTS Catholic Compass here.

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