I'm new here, I was just wondering of someone knows what books were used for English catechesis prior to the 1960's in English speaking countries. I'd like to teach my CCD kids a few prayers in Latin but am not well versed in the language. I've got Cassel's Latin Dictionary, but I find that to be a little Virgil heavy and Vatican lite, so there's a lot of words that I don't know how to properly pronounce and I'm not interested at mastering the language, just rote memorization for something fun to do on Wednesday nights.

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    Huh? You're new here? If you hacked @PeterTurner's account, you'll have some answering to do. We like him. Don't be messin' with out boy! ;-) Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:54
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    I was just kidding, needed some pretense for asking what I know is technically a list question.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:57

2 Answers 2


The standard book for catechesis before Vatican II in the United States was the Baltimore Catechism. It existed in several versions, some intended for younger children, some for older ones. The most complete version, intended for the teachers rather than the students, was a good reference for traditional Catholic doctrine in general. (I'm not sure whether it underwent modifications in the wake of Vatican II.)

I don't know how old your CCD kids are, but if you want to teach them some Latin prayers, I'd suggest starting with the most basic ones.

The sign of the cross: In nomine Patris et Filii et Spriritus Sancti.

The Our Father: Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.

The Hail Mary: Ave Maria, gratia plena. Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesu. Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

The Glory Be: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.

  • But the Baltimore Catechism wasn't a Latin primer was it?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 2:42
  • @PeterTurner No, the Baltimore Catechism is about the faith, not about Latin. As far as I can see, the question is really two --- one about what texts were used for English catechesis, and one about teaching Latin prayers --- so I answered the two separately. (As far as I know, "catechesis" means teaching the faith, not teaching a language.) Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 0:28
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    You should join the Latin Language group: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/75409/…
    – Adam
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 21:33
  • @Adam Thanks for the suggestion, but I am in no way qualified to discuss "the finer points of the Latin language" (as the proposed site says). My knowledge of Latin is based on very little study (about half of a first-year Latin textbook) plus paying attention in a traditional Catholic church. Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:11
  • @AndreasBlass Sounds good. I thought your Latin was pretty decent imo, which is why I extended the invitation :)
    – Adam
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:12

Latin Prayers?

Most basic Latin prayers prior to the Second Vatican Council have not changed before, during or after the Council. The propers of the Mass are different because the Mass has undergone a substantial change. The same is true in the Roman Ritual.

This stated, you could teach CCD students to pray in Latin in a variety of ways. The traditional prayers in Latin are the Credo, the Our Father, the Gloria amongst the most common. These prayers have not changed in Latin and are still taught in traditionally minded circles.

Nevertheless, I would like to recommend a way to teach your CCD pupils which may be somewhat fun given the the possibility of right circumstances.

CDs Feature Pope Praying Rosary in Latin

This could be a great way to learn how to pray the rosary with Pope Benedict XVI. To help the learn each person should be encouraged to be able to write out these prayers.

As a side note, this is a great way to say the rosary in a car while driving as the driver does not have to worry about counting the beads or using his fingers. It is a hands free way to pray the traditional rosary in Latin with the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Each student could take the CD home to learn on a rotation basis, if you liked.

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