The decision to publish an official catechism was taken at the Second Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that was convened by Pope John Paul II on 25 January 1985, to evaluate the progress of implementing the Vatican II council‘s goals on the 20th anniversary of its closure. The assembly participants expressed the desire that “a catechism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed, that it might be, as it were, a point of reference for the catechisms or compendiums that are prepared in various regions. The presentation of doctrine must be biblical and liturgical. It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians.”
In 1986, John Paul II formed a commission composed of 12 cardinals and bishops chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to prepare the first draft of the Catechism. The commission was assisted by a committee consisting of seven diocesan bishops, experts in theology and catechesis.
Reminiscing those days, Ratzinger said in 2011: “I must confess that even today it seems a miracle to me that this project [the Catechism of the Catholic Church] was ultimately successful.”
Cardinal Georges Cottier claims he worked on the Catechism.