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Why We Are Discontinuing the Youcat

by Ian on August 17, 2011

Youcat - The Theologically Muddy Un-Catechism

Youcat - The Theologically Muddy Un-Catechism

After writing to Ignatius Press and getting a response to our concerns about theological issues with the Youcat, we have decided to stop carrying it. I have given some serious thought to the reply I received and here are the reasons why we won't be carrying it anymore.

  1. The purpose of a catechism is to provide clear answers about the Faith in a question and answer format. The Youcat may appear to be a catechism but the answers, especially in the concerns we raised, are as clear as mud. The language used is in many cases what you would have expected in one of Blessed John Paul II's encyclicals, not in a basic catechism directed at teenagers.
  2. The clarity that should be found within a section is sometimes divided into sections in very different parts of the book and even so provides very little to solidify an answer. See particularly the issues on the topic of homosexuality.
  3. Some of the clarity to answers is provided by references to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church. How many teenagers, let alone others, are going to read an answer in the Youcat and go dig out the cross-referenced paragraph in the CCC to find the full answer to the question?
  4. While I'm not going to say that some of the answers in the book, especially concerning creation and biblical accuracy, are contrary to Catholic teaching, there is enough documentation of what previous popes have written on the topic to make the answers in the Youcat seem very tenuous and a disservice to the teens that the Youcat is aimed at.

I believe that the idea of creating a modern catechism for teens was a commendable idea but that the execution of the idea was done extremely poorly and in too much haste to force it on World Youth Day 11 in Madrid.

Instead of the Youcat, we recommend sticking with catechisms that are clearly written even if they aren't as "hip" and exciting as the Youcat. Hopefully future editions of the Youcat will address these concerns so that we will change our position and be able to recommend it without reservation. Some catechisms we recommend instead:

Fr. McBride's Teen Catechism

Fr. McBride's Teen Catechism

Father McBride's Teen Catechism is a solid presentation of the Faith for teens. The only issue is a lack of a good index for quickly finding topics.

United States Catholic Catechism for Adults

United States Catholic Catechism for Adults

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, despite its name, is actually a very good distillation of the official CCC that a teen, who has had some decent catechises would be very comfortable using.

 

Baltimore Catechism 2

Baltimore Catechism 2

Baltimore Catechism 3 and the revised Baltimore Catechism 2 are both extremely clear explanations of the Faith that after providing the "quick" answer to each question go on to explain the answer in more depth. These have been used as Confirmation prep books for decades.

Baltimore Catechism 3

Baltimore Catechism 3

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita Gomes August 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Just read your “Why WE ARE DISCONTINUING THE YOUCAT” and am very impressed and pleased with your position and action. Although I am not familiar with the particulars, I do appreciate your position as stated and fully support it.

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Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

Ian,

So should we look to you now, instead of the Pope, for guidance on what to read? It got his endorsement, but not that of Aquinas and More. What to do, what to do.

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Ian August 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

I didn’t say not to read it. We just aren’t carrying it because it is a poorly written mess (in parts) that doesn’t give a clear presentation of the Faith.

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John August 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm

What a decision !
“Catholic bookstore” decides to stop carrying “Catholic book”!

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ChrisB August 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I think there’s a presumption here that YouCat was written for teens, but remember, “youth” in the european usage means something much more like “young adult” for Americans (consider the ages for World *Youth* Day: 16-35!).

Second, I’m sympathetic to some concerns about imperfections in formulation in the YouCat, but I don’t think there’s anything at all which is doctrinally problematic, and hence I do hope that you’ll reconsider your decision.

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Duga September 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Despite appearances Youcat is not a document of the Catholic Church. The same publishers have said. See my website.

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michelle berghout September 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Thank you for the review of youcat. If youcat is meant to lead to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, why then does youcat advertise on its website – ” The only book you really need. Maybe besides the Bible. Buy it now and know it all.” Youcat on its own gives a deficient understanding of the Faith. And why does the youcat website continue to feature Catholic Coke amidst complaints. It is inappropriate and offensive.

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Mary Couldron October 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I was excited when I initially looked at it. It was only after looking at specific questions that red flags were raised. I applaud your decision. I hope your action will cause a rewrite. Besides the things you have mentioned it raised question on prayers. It confused me when is states that “Basically prayer means that from the depths of my heart, God speaks to God” How would youth understand such a statement? Will they be confused as I am with the statement “Eucharist the hungry become bread for others:” in explaining why we need the sacraments?
I am sorry they they rushed so it really has potential but now the potential is the falling into heresy.

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Martha October 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Thank you! Love the Baltimore Catechism! We need to get drivel like this away from our poor teens. Thinking that everything needs to be dumbed down is what’s wrong with so much of society today.

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Mary July 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for the article. I initially loved YOUCAT when I read it, but I would never give it to any teen poorly formed in his faith, especially for moral direction. Thought I was being Jansenistic till I saw your article, but it just didn’t read like the catechisms I had been brought up on.
Anyone who has ever tried to look up a moral question in the Catechism knows that every single word has weight. Loved the pictures and most of the quotes, but I would hope that people use it as a supplement to another catechism. Totally respect your decision not to sell it under that name.

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