Catherine has definitely shipped (and maybe sold) 500,000 copies globally, according to financial results published by Atlus parent company Index. Andriasang also points out strong brand performance by Atlus' Persona series during its latest fiscal year, ended August 31, 2011.
Atlus had a slight communications snafu in early August when its cake (above) reported the game sold 200,000 copies -- given our experience with the truthfulness of cake, this should have been immediately suspect. Turns out, Catherine shipped 200K copies, but still sold a respectable 78K during July in North America.
We've followed up with Atlus to confirm the shipped vs. sold conundrum and will update when we hear back. Either way, not bad for a niche Japanese game -- and it should teach Shadows of the Damned to put a tantalizing picture of a woman undressing on the cover next time.
(Oh, who are we kidding? There won't be a next time.)