Catechism is central to Anglican life.
There are several catechisms that might be counted as Anglican. If there is any catechism that might be considered authentically Anglican it would be Nowell's Catechism which we present here. It was used for teaching purposes for at least the first 200 years of Anglicanism's existence, and is so thoroughly respected that it might be considered almost on a par with the Homilies for determining how Anglicanism is defined.
A second Anglican catechism that is not quite so well known, because officially it is not Anglican, is the Heidelberg Catechism of 1564 . Notwithstanding the handicap of its foreign origin, because the Church of England has considered herself to be Reformed, Anglicans have used it as if it were their own. It is loved for its personal and devotional warmth, its theme of “comfort” and its emphasis on how the person and work of Jesus Christ benefits the believer. Its pattern of questions and answers make the catechism accessible, while the conspicuous use of “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine” make the theology warm and practical.
In the last few years, there has also appeared a third catechism, To Be A Christian, an Anglican Catechism. Its chief advantage is that it appropriates somewhat more modern language. Nevertheless, it also departs in several respects from traditional Anglican doctrine.
Although the Book of Common Prayer may not tell us that there is only one Anglican catechism, it is prescriptive on how a catechism should be used. We read that a person enters the Church via Baptism, then is catechized, and then if that person has "come to the years of discretion", he or she is tested and "Confirmed" by the laying on of hands.
This specific process is prescribed to be consistent with what Jesus taught in Mark 16:15-16, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that shall believe and be baptized, shall be saved: but he that will not believe, shall be damned." Besides heartfelt repentance, belief and spiritual joy, which only God can truly know, the mark of a Christian is that he identifies with the visible Church and affirms her teaching. Again, catechism is central to Anglican life.