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Pope promotes ‘gripping’ new Youth Catechism

9 febbraio 2011

By Alan Holdren

The Pope has great expectations for the “Youcat,” a text designed to teach young people the ABC’s of Catholicism using a language tailored to their generation.

The 300-page volume is the new and official Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. A team has produced the volume and enlisted its translations under the guidance of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, Austria, who also served as the editor of the universal 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church.

According to its American publisher Ignatius Press, the new text was produced with adolescents and young adults in mind as “an accessible, contemporary expression of the Catholic faith.”

It covers questions of doctrine, the sacraments, moral life and prayer and spirituality in a format friendly to young readers. According to the publisher, it uses a straightforward question-answer format, commentary, a variety of images and a glossary of terms along with Bible passages and the words of great Catholic saints and teachers.

In a presentation during meetings last month, organizers for World Youth Day 2011 said that Youcat “is expected to become the ‘go-to’ catechetical resource for young people with questions about the faith.”

Organizers of the international youth gathering have ordered 700,000 copies for the backpack kits to be given out to registered young pilgrims next August along with a sleeping bag, map and other accessories.

In the book’s preface, published in the Jan. 3 edition of the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI himself calls it “extraordinary.”

He hopes that young people across the world will “allow themselves to be fascinated” by the adaptation designed for them.

The read is a “gripping” one, he writes, because “it speaks to us of our very destiny and because it looks at each one of us closely.”

He invites youth to approach the book with passion and perseverance, to “remain in dialogue” with the faith by speaking with friends, forming study networks and exchanging ideas on the Internet.

Youth must know their beliefs and faith with the same precision as “a computer specialist knows an operating system” or “a musician knows a piece of music,” he says.

“Yes, you must be more deeply rooted in the faith than your parents’ generation, to be able to endure the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and decision.”

He tells them not to let the evil and sin of the world, even that within the Church, keep them from learning their faith. “You carry intact the fire of your love in this Church every time that men have darkened her face,” he tells them.

To read the Pope’s Preface to the YouCat:     Benedict XVI’s Preface to YouCat

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