The 200 page shorter Compendium to the longer, 803 page, Catechism of the Catholic Church is now available online at the Vatican website.
It would be better to have your own paper copy in which you can take notes and slip holy cards, newspaper clippings and pertinent articles into, but this will be nice to have too.
The soft cover edition should be available at your local Catholic book store for about $15. If you do not have one nearby, Leaflet Missal is all set up to help you out. Tip O' The Hat to Amy at Open Book!
Here's some interesting tidbits from the new catechism:
Who is God:
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent his Son as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind, fallen into sin, thus calling all into his Church and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, making them adopted children and heirs of his eternal happiness.
Why did God Make Me?
God in his goodness and wisdom reveals himself. With deeds and words, he reveals himself and his plan of loving goodness which he decreed from all eternity in Christ. According to this plan, all people by the grace of the Holy Spirit are to share in the divine life as adopted “sons” in the only begotten Son of God.
What must we do to get to Heaven?
Faith is the supernatural virtue which is necessary for salvation. It is a free gift of God and is accessible to all who humbly seek it. The act of faith is a human act, that is, an act of the intellect of a person - prompted by the will moved by God - who freely assents to divine truth. Faith is also certain because it is founded on the Word of God; it works “through charity” (Galatians 5:6); and it continually grows through listening to the Word of God and through prayer. It is, even now, a foretaste of the joys of heaven.
I can't believe they used the expression "free gift." When are gifts not free?
When have you ever seen less rules rather than more? It is now the "Five Precepts of the Church." One rarely hears about the "Ten Commandments" any more, but I'd bet that few under fifty recall the "Six Precepts of the Church." I won't question why they use the word "Precepts" in a book that was intended to simplify. You may, if you want.
The five precepts of the Church:
1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and remain free from work or activity that could impede the sanctification of such days.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.