What’s the world’s best-selling Catholic book?

You might be surprised.  Check out this release:

In his foreword to YOUCAT – the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church – Pope Benedict XVI urges readers to “study this Catechism with passion and perseverance.” The book’s amazing, global popularity suggests that millions of Catholics have embraced the Holy Father’s call.

YOUCAT now ranks as the best-selling Catholic book in the world, with more than 1.7 million copies already sold around the globe. Not surprisingly, the Youth Catechism is at the top of Catholic-book sales rankings in America, Germany and Spain. Ignatius Press published the English-language edition of YOUCAT for the U.S.

“1.7 million copies sold worldwide – but that’s just the beginning,” said Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press. “Young people are evangelizing their peers as well as deepening their own faith.”

“It’s been challenging at times to keep YOUCAT in stock,” said Ignatius President Mark Brumley. “YOUCAT is quickly becoming the go-to book for young people to deepen their faith. Pastors, school teachers, and catechists are using it in their religious education classes and Confirmation programs. Parents, grandparents, and godparents are buying it as a gift for young people. YOUCAT is an outstanding gift to the Church.”

And work is continuing to expand the reach and impact of this landmark book. “A special institute in Germany, staffed by young Catholics, is organizing international study groups and preparing new YOUCAT-centered activities and publications,” Fr. Fessio said. “Like its big brother, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, YOUCAT isn’t a one-time publication. It’s a point of reference for young people around the world and a cornerstone of the New Evangelization.”

YOUCAT adapts the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to a format intended to engage young people and young adults. It is an accessible and contemporary expression of the Catholic Faith, and served as the official Youth Catechism of 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid.


  1. Kudos to the developers of YOUCAT doing with the Catechism of the Catholic Church exactly what was intended: developing an accessible, authoritative catechetical tool rooted in the Catechism’s authentic teaching. I wish we could do the same for adults, because the Catechism was never intended to be used as a catechetical tool, but as a sourcebook for professionals, as the Prologue acknowledges.
    The Catechism “is not intended to replace the local catechism (duly approved)” but “to encourage and assist in the writing of new local catechisms which take into account various situations and cultures, while carefully preserving the unity of faith and fidelity to Catholic doctrine.”
    The Vatican suggestions for the Year of Faith, which center strongly on acquainting or re-acquainting ourselves with the Catechism, should be an additional impetus to develop a catechism that takes into account the situation and culture of adults. ADULTCAT, anyone?

  2. I stand corrected. There is an adult catechism from the USCCB, which I am told sells well and is available as an e-book. Myself, I’m fine with large uninterrupted blocks of complicated text (as you might be able to guess from my comments :) ) but I don’t find the sample chapter I can see of the USCCB adult catechism very engaging. Have others had success using this?

  3. The great irony here is that the editor/author of this important book is Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna. Schonborn is famous for lending support to the events known as Medjugorje.
    He has in fact invited the “seers” to his Cathedral in Vienna to give testimony to the congregation.

    Deacon Kandra has voiced concerns about Medjugorje. An interesting dynamic for sure.

    Cardinal Schonborn is a great and fearless man – The Catholic Church needs his boldness.

  4. Joanne McPortland,

    When the Catechism was published in the 1990′s, there was a lot of discussion about the audience to whom it was directed, especially on EWTN. I remember that Mother Angelica was quite adamant that it should be in the hands of everyone, not just clerics and professionals.

    Since I was between jobs, I read the entire book cover to cover. I found it to be informative, enlightening, and readable. It was interesting to me to see the way the Trinity was woven into EVERY aspect of the Catechism, as the editor, now Cardinal Schönborn pointed out in an interview. I found the section on Prayer to be a masterpiece.

    I would not like to see an adult version that would the put the content into the question/answer format as was done with YOUCAT. The USCCB Catechism merely paraphrases and simplifies the content original. It’s a textbook, not an official Church document. So, it loses the Trinitarian focus, but also the beautiful harmony of the four parts which Pope John Paul II called the “symphony of faith.”

    We, adult laity, can certainly be inspired by the original source.

  5. I completely agree about the CCC’s rich completeness, but still think there could be a friendlier read for many adults. Q & A doesn’t carry the Baltimore Cathechism baggage for most in the under-50 age group that it does for some of us older folks, and the familiarity with the form as found in web FAQ pages, magazine/web interviews, etc, might make people more willing to take it—or some other less dense format—up. I don’t in any way mean to suggest dumbing content down, or to imply that adults aren’t literate—I’m just intrigued about mediating that content in less text-block-bound ways.

  6. A few years before his death, Pope John Paul asked then Cardinal Ratzinger to oversee a shorter form of the CCC and it was issued in 2005. you can check it out on amazon:


    hopefully it wont be that long till there are real online versions for youth and adults that use all the new tools and options of the digital/online world and not just an ebook version.

  7. Mark Greta says:

    Catholic youth going back to the start of the Youth Conferences under Pope JPII ignited the youth and they thirst for actual teaching of the Catholic Church. We see this is the explosion of youth at the pro life rallies and their starting to really zero in on the issue of celebacy until marriage and NFP locally. As I mentioned on another post, a recent program at the parish on NFP and the issues around the use of birth control filled the entire gym and it was mainly young couples and the youth who wanted to hear what they are not being told on the connection between birth control and cancer and other problems and the amazing beauty of NFP. If the Catholic Church teaches boldly, it really brings a very positive reaction to the young. YOUCAT sales therefore do not surprise me.

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