The release of the Compendium of the Catechism on March 31, 2006, found some Catholics literally in the dark. Members of St. Benedict's parish of Nashville, TN, camped out in front of the local Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy the book at the stroke of midnight.
Some local kids came dressed for the line as favorite Church theologians. Some dressed as St. Thomas Aquinas ("I really hope he's in there a lot," said Brendan O'Connor, age 10), others as St. Teresa of Avila ("That castle mysticism is so radically cool," said Angelica Suarez, age 12), and others as John Paul II ("I want to be a pope when I grow up," said Mark Pellowski, age 7).
All parents and children were disappointed that there was no party at the store to celebrate the new Compendium. One parent, John Thompson, fumed, "If they can milk Harry Potter for all it's worth, I really think they can bend their capitalism greed in our direction for once. All we're asking for is to be allowed to buy a book and celebrate a little."
Any disappointment the parents expressed was lost on the kids present. "It's OK. I mean, we'll get it eventually, and we've got the big one at home. Besides, we're all standing around in cool characters, way after bedtime, having theological arguments with each other. It doesn't get better than this," said Matthew Tripoli, dressed as St. John of the Cross. As he spoke, two kids dressed as St. Anselm and Peter Abelard were having a vigorous debate about atonement theory, punctuated by jousting light sabers they had brought along from the the Star Wars trilogies. ("Hey-yah! Moral influence rules!" shouted little Abelard.)
Ginger Backtram, the public resource associate for B&N, said the store was caught off guard. "We know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a bestseller, but we thought that since everyone seemed to own it, there wouldn't be much demand for this mini-version. In any case, we apologize, and we're happy to sell the book to everyone who wants it when we get it. Unfortunately, it seems to be on backorder. Wow, people must really read this stuff."
Not everyone was enthusiastic, however. One of the kids waiting in line mentioned "I'll be happy to get the book, but to be honest, I'm still waiting for the movie."