.- The first official catechism produced by the United States Catholic Bishops since the creation of the Baltimore Catechism, will be available this week.
The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, available from USCCB Publishing, is an adaptation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992.
At that time, the Pope urged that local catechisms be developed to better address specific situations and cultural realities in different countries. This catechism reports to do just that.
Unlike the Baltimore Catechism with its 421 questions and answers, the new catechism is aimed specifically at adults and is said to promote a command of Catholic faith, prayer life, and morals through a more accessible writing style and numerous features.
The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults was six years in the making. It was authorized by the U.S. bishops in June 2000 and, prior to publication, went through three national consultations and drafts. The adult catechism was approved overwhelmingly by the bishops at their November 2004 general meeting and received the necessary recognitio from the Holy See in November of 2005.
Each chapter includes a story or lesson of faith. It draws a relationship between Catholic teaching and culture, offers questions for discussion and suggestions for meditation and prayer. It also includes related doctrinal statements.
The Preface and each of the 36 chapters opens with a story about a saint, a biblical figure, or other exemplary Catholic - most of them American - including Archbishop John Carroll, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, John Boyle O’Reilly, Sr. Thea Bowman, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez; St. Katherine Drexel, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.