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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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:
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.
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 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.