WASHINGTON (July 28, 2006)—Since its publication at the end of March, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has passed the 100,000 mark in total copies sold. At this rate, the Compendium will easily join the Catechism of the Catholic Church as one of the most successful books in the history of the USCCB.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summarized version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Following the International Catechetical Congress in 2002, the Holy Father instructed that a synthesis of the Catechism be prepared. The work was entrusted to a Commission of Cardinals presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
In the Motu Proprio announcing its publication, Pope Benedict described the Compendium as "a faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church." The Holy Father said the work "contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church's faith."
The Compendium consists of 598 questions and answers, echoing to some degree the format of the "Baltimore Catechism" which was a standard text in many Catholic parishes and schools from 1885 to the 1960s. Commenting on possible uses of the Compendium, Msgr. Daniel Kutys, USCCB Deputy Secretary for Catechesis, said that "since the Compendium was proposed and developed for the purpose of catechizing teens and young adults, the bishops on the Catechism Committee have recommended that the text be used as a standard reference to which teachers and catechists refer their students in much the same way they use Bibles for instruction. It is not meant to replace religion textbooks, but to augment and compliment them."
According to USCCB Publishing, over 125,000 copies were sold through July of the English and Spanish paperback and hardcover. Spanish hardcover and paperback accounted for almost 5,000; English paperback alone accounted for over 100,000. Some parishes and dioceses are ordering hundreds and even thousands of copies. The Compendium has been available through Amazon and other major retail outlets.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is available for order by visiting the internet site at www.usccbpublishing.org or calling USCCB Publishing at 800-235-8722. The Compendium is available in English and Spanish and in paperback (publication number: English--5-720; Spanish--5-920; list price of $14.95) and hardcover (publication number: English--5-725; Spanish--5-921; list price of $24.95).