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Q: Roman Catholic Catechism as used in the 1960's by children ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Roman Catholic Catechism as used in the 1960's by children
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: iago-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 19 Nov 2004 05:56 PST
Expires: 19 Dec 2004 05:56 PST
Question ID: 431049
I am working on a novel set in 1969. As part of the action a young boy
from a Roman Catholic family living in London, England has to recite
his catechism in response to questions from his parish priest. This is
an experience I recall from my own childhood but I have no recognition
of the actual wording. Can anyone find me the relevant texts?
Subject: Re: Roman Catholic Catechism as used in the 1960's by children
Answered By: leli-ga on 19 Nov 2004 08:13 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear iago

I'm pretty sure you're thinking of the Penny Catechism, which was
widely used in Catholic schools in England until about 1970.

Here's the text:

"In general, from 1850 to around 1970 children in [English] Catholic
schools received a well structured and comprehensive instruction in
the Faith . . . .
It was mainly oral instruction following a concise syllabus backed up
by the exact definitions in the ?penny catechism?, which were
carefully explained, the more important then being committed to

"The beauty of the Penny Catechism was that a child moving from one
area to the other would find the same book of religious instruction in
the new school, as used in the old."

". . . research on past and present approaches to catechesis, from the
early penny catechism to the new programme for Catholic schools called
Alive O."

The very earliest signs of change came in the mid-1960s. A critical
commentator says:

"When the bishops returned from Rome in 1965, most of them were
convinced that everything must change in what they believed to be the
spirit of the Council, and that any change must be a change for the
The catechetical bureaucracy set up by the English hierarchy threw out
the traditional catechism and replaced it with an endless series of
new texts."

"The two best-known catechisms that most Catholics have heard of, are
undoubtedly The Penny Catechism, which provided the elementary
structure of the Faith for generations of people until the 1960s, and
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, a wonderful gift inspired by the
Holy Father in the 1990s to counteract the catechetical malaise of the
preceding 30 years. "

I hope this helps, but don't hesitate to ask if you would like any clarification. 

Good luck with your novel - and best wishes - Leli

Searches on

"who made you god made me"

"penny catechism"

"penny catechism" child OR children

"penny catechism" school

catholic catechism school  1960s OR 1970s
iago-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This is a really helpful and detailed answer and gives me just what I
was looking for - plus some extra stuff which I can also use/research
further from the various links. Thank you.

Subject: Re: Roman Catholic Catechism as used in the 1960's by children
From: leli-ga on 19 Nov 2004 10:07 PST
Thank you very much!

I am so glad you found the answer helpful.


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