Bishop Paul Terrio,
As I always have an eye out for great catholic educational material for our children, I am curious as to what exactly is Baltimore Catechism and am wondering if it is pre-Vatican 2 as it seems to somewhat fit our beliefs yet a bit different on some points.  If it is pre-Vatican 2, do we avoid it?

Hello Rachel,
Our Catholic Faith is one and unchanging in its essence however, its presentation and explanation will adapt to the language and culture of the societies in which Catholics live.

The Baltimore Catechism  was produced and published by the American bishops in 1885 because of the need to present and explain the faith in the  fast growing and “young” immigrant  Catholic Church  in the USA. But the essentials of that Baltimore Catechism came from the Roman Catechism of 1566 which had been written at the request of the Council of Trent after the start of the Protestant Reformation.

The present Catechism of the Catholic Church was published after Vatican II in 1992 by Pope St John Paul II.  It is a complete and nuanced presentation of our Catholic Faith but its language is often challenging for anyone without a theology degree. Therefore two summaries of this catechism have been produced.

In 2005 the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. It is a summary in question and answer form of the whole catechism and is really much more accessible to the general public. It is a good book for adults.

Then in 2010 a new edition, also in question and answer form for young people, YOUCAT, was published.

I highly recommend the YOUCAT for both parents and their children.

The Baltimore Catechism, of course, does not teach errors but it was intended for a society and culture which were pretty different from that of today. So, I do not forbid it but I know that the YOUCAT speaks more deeply to this generation of youth. Also the YOUCAT is in sync with the wonderful new Alberta Bishop’s school religious education series “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ” of which the Grade One part started this past September.

Sorry for the long answer but it is a big subject!