A Glimpse Inside YouCat

I have just GOT to get me a bundle of these. One each for the kids, a couple for me (one at the office, one at home) and a whole bunch for give-aways.

Yes, it’s the new YouCat, or the Catholic Cathechism for young people, and I’m hooked!

Click here for some sample pages to see for yourself.

Ignatius Press is offering them for a really great price, but I am a bit confused by their advertising. Their online catalogue entry tells us that

To purchase English language YOUCAT copies in the following countries, please contact:

United Kingdom/Ireland: The Catholic Truth Society
Africa: Paulines Publications
Australia: Freedom Publishing
Asia: Asia Trading Corporation

Well, I went to Freedom Publishing’s website and searched for “YouCat” and came up with nothing. Zilch. Diddleysquat. I have emailed Ignatius to ask them if there is any reason I can’t order my half dozen copies from them. I will let you know what I hear.

For the moment, check out these quotations from the preview pages:

5 Why do people deny that God exists, if they can know him by reason?

To know the invisible God is a great challenge for the human mind. Many are scared off by it. Another reason why some do not want to know God is because they would then have to change their life. Anyone who says that the question about God is meaningless because it cannot be answered is making things too easy for himself.

Or this:

“So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.” Pope Pius XII encyclical, Humani generis

Both references effectively answer Catherine’s comment on the previous post about “docility” to the Church’s doctrine. In a comment to that post, she wrote:

“I have some familiarity with the Church’s teaching on contraception and although I can see some merit in it, I certainly would not adhere to the Church’s teaching if I was sexually active as I do not consider it is practical for many people… The Church’s teaching on contraception may be a nice ideal for those who feel they can adhere to it to follow.”

Mmm.

Or, in reference to my even earlier post regarding the apophatic method in theology, how about this:

6 Can we grasp God at all in concepts? Is it possible to speak about him meaningfully?

Although we men are limited and the infinite greatness of God never fits into finite human concepts, we can nevertheless speak rightly about God.

In order to express something about god, we use imperfect images and limited notions. And so everything we say about god is subject to the reservation that our language is not equal to God’s greatness. Therefore we must constantly purify and improve our speech about God.

Or this:

“We cannot talk about God, but woe to the one who remains silent about him.” St Augustine
(354–430, Doctor of the Church, the most important writer and theologian of the early Church)

And this:

“All that is said about God presupposes something said by God.” St Edith Stein (1891–1942, Jewish Christian, philosopher, and Carmelite nun, concentration camp victim)

From this brief glimpse, I can see that this book will be a valuable teaching tool, in families, in schools, in youth groups – in fact, for anyone and everywhere!

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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5 Responses to A Glimpse Inside YouCat

  1. Peter says:

    David I am surprised that you did not do the first thing smart people should always do when looking for a book,go to bookdepository.com.
    They are selling YouCats published by the Catholic Truth Society from April 15 at a
    discounted price of $12.09.I have ordered 4.Yes they will take a couple of weeks to get here but that will be quicker than waiting for them to hit the shelves of our catholic
    bookshops.My understanding is that YouCats will retail for around $30 here.It is little wonder that bookshops in Australia are struggling when we are being asked to pay way over the odds for books and new releases takes forever to arrive.

  2. Stephen K says:

    I’ll reserve final assessment when I’ve read the whole thing, David, but your enthusiasm may be misplaced. At first glance, though your extracts from the YouCat certainly come across as easy, straightforward English, they’re also patronising. To reduce those who deny the existence of God to those who are “scared” or simply self-indulgent is not worthy of the seriousness with which many people conclude there isn’t one. And question 5 is leading: “Why…if they can know him (sic) by reason”. There’s a whole lot of premises in theodicy and epistemology packed into and concealed in those few words that I’d have thought needed more open engagement with. Likewise the logical chasm between admitting that the infinite greatness of God never fits into finite human concepts” and “we can…..speak rightly about God”.

    I appreciate that this is a Catechism, that is, an instruction reference, and not a philosophical presentation but it could be fairer and more honest. Here are two alternative versions of the questions, one representing bluntly what the effect is of the current questions cited, the second representing a fairer (in my opinion) take:

    Blunt version
    “Why do people deny that God exists if they can know him by reason?”
    To know the invisible God is a great challenge for the human mind and only those who believe in God (the way we do) have met the challenge. The others are either lazy, stupid or wilfully self-indulgent.
    “Can we grasp God at all in concepts? Is it possible to speak about him meaningfully?”
    Although we men(sic) are limited and the infinite greatness of God never fits into finite human concepts, nevertheless we Catholics are not so constrained and do speak rightly about God because Jesus gave authority to the Popes to define things about God and you have to believe everything they define whether you’ve ever thought it through or not or whether it makes sense or not.”

    Here is the fairer version:
    5. “Why do people deny that God exists, if God can be known by reason?”
    People deny God’s existence for many reasons. Some believe, for example, that the very notion of God or Creator implies something impersonal and thus may only be denying the idea of a personal supreme being, that is, different from the traditional concept of a personal God; others do not believe experience and the observed universe are best explained by a personal God or even any notion of supreme being at all; still others do not believe that even if God exists, that God can be known by reason because of the imperfection of human intelligence (see question 6). There may be also some who publically deny the existence of God but who privately accept the notion. The reasons are various and the only way to understand why is to dialogue with people of divergent viewpoints and philosophies.
    6. “Can we grasp God at all in concepts? Is it possible to speak about God meaningfully?”
    Although we humans are limited and the infinite greatness implied in God can never fit into finite human concepts, we believe we can nevertheless speak meaningfully about God.
    After all, the notion of God is itself a human concept and we think and trust that creation, the universe, mirrors in some mysterious but analogous way its origins which we say is God. Thus what we can say about God can be meaningful to us, and we believe we can be confident that though we use imperfect images and limited notions, what we can say can be right, subject to the reservation that our language is not equal to God’s greatness, and that many people may reasonably not agree or understand what it is we say. Therefore we must constantly strive and improve our speech about God.”

    Just a couple of suggestions, in the cause of avoiding such things as presumption, condescension or inaccuracy.

    • Schütz says:

      Wow. Thanks for this, Terra. That is a bit of a worry. Both the question and the answer. Gives me some pause too in my enthusiasm for the YouCat.

      • Peter says:

        I agree David.I am now wondering whether ordering 4 YouCats was such a good idea.
        Also,the news section of the Melbourne Archdiocese website carried an article on Mar 1 which said that all officially registered participants at this years WYD in Madrid would receive a free YouCat courtesy of Pope Benedict.
        Hopefully there are no more errors to be found.

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