WASHINGTON (August 31, 2005)— The English language version of the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a 200-page synthesis of the 1992 Catechism, will be published by USCCB Publishing, the publishing office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Two years in the making, the Compendium was prepared by a commission headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope presented the Compendium at the Vatican in late June. Containing 598 questions and brief answers, it makes the essential contents of the faith accessible to the broadest possible audience.
The Pope said he hoped the compendium would give Catholics and non-Catholics easy access to the basic and essential tenets of the Catholic faith.
The new compendium, he said, is "an authoritative, certain and complete text regarding the essential aspects of the faith of the Church" and it is "in harmony with the catechism approved by the Pope and destined for the whole church."
Hopefully the Compendium will "reopen an ideal dialogue between the teacher and the disciple, through an urgent series of questions, which involve the reader, encouraging him to continue in the discovery of ever new aspects of the truth of the faith," Pope Benedict said.
The Holy Father expressed the hope that abbreviating the text and reducing it to the essential "might favor the assimilation and possible memorization of the contents."
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church originated in 2002 when the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith held an International Catechetical Congress to mark the tenth anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the congress, a suggestion was made that a more concise version of the Catechism would be helpful for use with youth and young adults. Pope John Paul II accepted the suggestion and appointed the special commission headed by Cardinal Ratzinger. In 2004 a draft text was sent to Presidents of Episcopal Conferences for consultation.
Seen as a companion to the widely-used Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Compendium is structured in four parts like the Catechism. While the text does contain some direct quotes from the Catechism used in a sidebar fashion, the questions and answers themselves are original text.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is available for prepublication orders by calling USCCB Publishing at 800-235-8722 or visiting the Internet site at www.usccb.org/publishing. The Compendium will be available in paperback (publication number 5-720, list price of $14.95) and hardcover (publication number 5-725, list price of $24.95). A Spanish version is also expected. The Compendium is tentatively scheduled to be released in late 2005. Updated information on the release date is available at the USCCB website.