Catechism of the Catholic Church goes online with browser-based e-book
CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec
The Catechism of the Catholic Church now has more of a presence in the increasingly popular world of e-books.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made the catechism available as a browser-based e-book.
The catechism is a compendium of Catholic beliefs structured around the four pillars of faith: creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer.
The USCCB announcement about the latest e-book format comes at a time when more active readers are moving to e-books from traditional formats. A Pew study conducted in February shows 21 percent of adults say they read an e-book in the past year, compared with 17 percent in December 2011 who said they had done so.
Additional research shows that overall e-book owners are more likely to read than those who read via print formats.
In late 2011, the USCCB accommodated that trend by releasing the e-book edition of the catechism through Amazon, iTunes and the USCCB online bookstore. Why make it available through browsers?
“Providing the catechism in this particular electronic format will make this foundational resource even more accessible to people,” explained Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City. “It is free to anyone who has access to the Internet.”
The bishop, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications, made the comments in a statement.
The Pew study reports 42 percent of e-book users read their e-books on a computer. Therefore, not only is the catechism now more available but, statistically, readers may be more inclined to access it.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church is proving to be as compelling if not more, of an influence on the faithful,” said Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
“Our ability to use the new technologies means that many more millions will be able to find the Catholic Church’s teachings on their tablets, their smartphones and their laptops,” he said in a statement.
The catechism was approved by Pope John Paul II and issued in French in 1992. The Vatican completed final revisions of English translation in 1994, and it was published June 22 of that year in the United States and Canada. A revised second edition was published in 2000.
Since its release, it has become a best-seller for the Catholic Church. The USCCB said it has sold more than 988,000 print copies. Since 2011, the e-book version on Amazon, iTunes and the USCCB online bookstore has sold more than 7,100 copies.