A Youcat in every WYD backpack
Youcat , the catechism specially written for young people, was officially released by the Vatican in April in more than a dozen languages. With a preface by Pope Benedict, Youcat offers a contemporary explanation of the Catholic Faith and contains questions and answers, comments, quotes, illustrations as well as explanations of key terms and instructions for use. The pocket sized book will be placed inside the back-pack of every young person heading to the World Youth Day gathering in Madrid, Spain this August.
On the eve of the presentation, church officials confirmed that the Italian publisher of Youcat had withdrawn the Italian copies to fix a translation error which concerned a question over whether married couples could plan the size of their families. The erroneous passage, which appeared to imply that the Church approved of artificial contraception, was crossed out and included a paper insert with the correct translation that says the Church promotes Natural Family Planning.
In his preface to the book, Pope Benedict invites all young people to study the Youcat, but he also reminds them that it will not offer them easy solutions. The Gospel, he says, is a precious pearl for which we must give something in return. The Pope acknowledges that the Church has recently suffered from the attacks of evil, referring to the cases of paedophile priests, but urges the young people not to take this as an excuse to distance themselves from God.
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, commented that this catechism for young people has been translated into six languages, and 700,000 copies have been distributed. "It is a gift from the Holy Father to the young participants in World Youth Day".
Referring to the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain this August, the Cardinal continued "It is not enough to make young people 'dream'; it is necessary also to help them grow well-rooted in the rich earth of Christian tradition. ... A real education in the faith of the young, therefore, must begin by freely proposing Christ to them. He is the solid rock upon which they may build their lives!"
He explained that "'Youcat' translates the content of the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' rigorously and faithfully, and using language adapted to the young. It does not replace the Catechism, but rather, leads toward it, paving the way to the 'Catechism' and its 'Compendium'. It aims to guide the young toward a deeper knowledge of their faith".
Archbishop Rhino Fisichella, President of the Council for the New Evangelisation emphasised that "'Youcat' answers a current need to present the content of the faith, professed by throughout time by Christians everywhere, in language that is simple, complete and above all accessible to the young".
So how did the Youcat project come about? A question Emer McCarthy put to Father Joseph Fessio, Director of Ignatius Press that is publishing the English language version of the Youcat in the U.S. and Roxanne Lum the young Art director at Ignatius Press. “We based it on a guide book”, says Fr. Fessio, “because what else is a catechism except a guide to our faith?”. Listen