A few months ago a fresh catechism geared to teens and young adults became available. It's a catechism that has had a lot of hype around it. Unlike the big green Catechism of the Catholic Church, the YOUCAT
, is less intimidating and is formatted in such a way that it will appeal to the young spiritual seeker.
While the YOUCAT is certainly a truncated version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it does not water down what the Church teaches. This catechism, which is structured in a question and answer format, nicely presents church teaching in a way that is approachable to the youth. Each question and answer also provides a reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church so one who is wanting more information on a specific topic will know where to find it.
So you're probably thinking that it's not possible that a teen or young adult is going to want to actually read this YOUCAT, right? Maybe the whole book just sounds boring to you. I was skeptical when I first heard about YOUCAT. I didn't see how a catechism geared to them could be both fun and informative. Two months ago I hesitantly purchased a YouCat for a thirteen year old girl who was being confirmed. I wasn't sure if she'd actually read it, but I hoped that she would. My biggest worry was that the YOUCAT would be daunting or worse, boring. My fears were quickly calmed when the YOUCAT arrived at my house and I began to page through it. Instantly, I was amused by the stick figure drawings that are found at the bottom of each page. I figured, at the very least, she would like the stick figure who can be seen walking, jumping and flipping his way through the book. (Yes, I'm actually publicly stating that I think the flip book feature of this catechism is a selling point--it's a big reason why I wanted a copy for myself.) The catechism also has full color pictures, and the margins are loaded with relevant quotes, definitions and scripture citations that pertain to the catechism questions being discussed on the page.
This past Saturday the young lady who I gave the YOUCAT to back in May was visiting me. The first thing she told me was she had been reading the book, but she found parts of it a little confusing. I was thrilled to hear that she had even read it at all let alone was prompted to ask questions about it. Her mother told me the confusion was simply prompted by the fact that the YOUCAT presented what the church teaches in a manner that is unlike anything she had been taught in her religious education classes. While the catechism is geared to youth, I do think on some level it might be a little too advanced for younger teens. It's certainly a great jumping off point for a high school or college student who is looking to delve deeper into learning just what it is that the Church teaches. I'm in my early thirties and I think the YOUCAT is quite appropriate for people around my age, as well.
Overall, I'm pleased with the YOUCAT. Despite my skepticism, this catechism is actually appealing to a young audience. It's relevant and is written in a manner that is approachable for youth and young adults. I particularly like that it does not water down Church teaching. It's a catechism that I think every home with a teen should have sitting on a bookshelf. If you're still not sure about the YOUCAT, I'd suggest liking it on Facebook so you can see glimpses of what it has to offer. I think you'll be surprised.
For more information on YOUCAT
or to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.