UPDATE TO ALL: I understand that there are issues with the YOUCAT. (1) It is not the actual Catechism nor should it be treated as such. (2) Some of the ambiguities can stimulate conversation and some of which are just in the Italian translation. (3) In an age where millions of young Catholics are terribly under-Catechized (many nominal at best), I don’t see how this resource will be damaging if it inspires many to engage their faith for the first time. The books are being handed out whether we want them to or not. Instead of bringing a scandal that is unnecessary, let’s in the words of Blessed JPII say, “Be Not Afraid!”
If you are reading this, maybe you just received your YOUCAT at World Youth Day in Madrid. Maybe you are not in Madrid (sigh), but already have one (like me–sigh again). Likely, you are someone who may have heard about the YOUCAT but don’t have one yet. once you get one, why should you use it?
#1- Because Papa Says So
When your daddy tells you to do something, you probably ought to do it. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI commissioned this project in an effort to unlock the kingdom of God for generations that have been told there is no hope. As the one who holds those keys of the kingdom received from St. Peter through his successors in the Petrine office, the Pope reminded us that “in hope we are saved”, even that our faith is grounded in a certain and confident hope (Spe Salvi). The YOUCAT is your opportunity to study your faith, so that your faith may not fail you (Lk 22:32).
#2- Because It’s YOUR Faith
“You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer.”-PBXVI foreword to the
The Catholic faith has been, is and will always be about an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ (PBXVI, Deus Caritas Est). We encounter the Risen Christ in the Sacraments of His Church, especially the Eucharist, precisely because we are humans and not angels. We touch, we taste, we smell, hear and see that God is good and his mercy endures forever (Ps 34:8). Learning your faith–with tools like the YOUCAT–empowers you to “know in him you have believed” (2 Tim 1:12).
#3- Because We Got One
The YOUCAT is not the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s aredacted, representation of the teachings of the Church (CCC) in a format conducive to our image driven, too-little-time-for-much culture. Some religions don’t know what they believe. Some pretend they don’t believe anything. As Catholics, our Church is led by the Holy Spirit to infallibly proclaim the Truth (Magisterium). As such, we–as church–are people who believe.
Using the YOUCAT makes a lot of sense. If you had a debit card with a million dollars in an account, you would use it. YOUCAT=Ditto.
#4- Because Your Friends Deserve It
Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Heck, friends don’t let friends get drunk. Great friends will not only keep you out of trouble but will place you on the path to life. As young Catholics, our friendships must include a dynamic engagement of our faith. Faith should not be compartmentalized but should pervade every area of our lives. Knowing your faith is a service to your friends–a service to heaven.
#5- The Truth is the Truth
Remember, the YOUCAT is not the Catechism of the Church. it’s kind of like an official sermon meant for young Catholics. An über faithful sermon.
Some criticize the YOUCAT‘s copious quotations from non-Catholics, but I like them. St. Paul was always apt at redeeming truth wherever he found it, and in a world where the Church has been painted as outmoded and irrelevant, the YOUCAT does a good job of putting the Church right back into the heart of the cultural conversation. I cannot see how it hurts that a catholic might, in the course of sharing his or her faith, make a reference to a more popularly known figure (there are a ton of saint quotes too). In fact, that is precisely the kind of evangelism we need to foster amongst young Catholics who find themselves living everyday in a more and more secular world.
For a full review written by another contributor for this site, Brandon Vogt, check it out here.
You can buy the YOUCAT here.
Like what I had to say? Hate it? Check me out at my blog where I discuss why I’m Catholic and other things about that @ www.almostnotcatholic.com