Well, I have bought copies of YouCat – two for myself (one at home and one at the office) and one for each of my daughters.
I read the Pope’s forward together with one of my daughter’s last night. In it, I notice that he says (in regard to the process required to prepare the original Catechism of the Catholic Church on which YouCat is based):
“One can, of course, criticise some things or even many things in such a work: Everything that man makes is inadequate and can be improved. Still it is a marvelous book: a witness to unity in diversity. We were able to form a single choir from many voices because we had the same score, the faith that the Church has borne through the centuries from the apostles onward.”
Many have pointed out that, if that can be said of the CCC, it can certainly be said of YouCat. There have been criticisms, and some of them reasonable. However, as an overall work, this little book is surely a positive contribution. It isn’t just a catechism – there is a degree to which it is also a work of apologetics. That note is even sounded by the Pope himself in the foreword.
All that being as it may, I must say that one of the features I really like is the quotations from various people in the sidebars. These hold some real surprises! It isn’t only saints and doctors of the Church who have been included. Anyone who has said anything interesting seems to have been included. On the sacrament of penance, there are two “surprises” at least. The two quotations in question are:
“I would be sore afraid, if it were not for secret confession.” (p93)
“The closest thing to a father confessor is probably a bartender.” (p139)
The first is from a very surprising source – for a Catholic catechism. It is none other than Martin Luther himself! I do think the translation is probably unfortunate. I don’t have any sources in front of me, but I think Luther might have used the term “Privatbeichte”, or “private confession”, rather than “secret”. I don’t know the exact source for the quotation in YouCat, but found a comment similar to this in an article in the Lutheran Quarterly sent to me by Dr Tighe, in which Luther says:
“I will allow no one to take private confession from me and would not give it in exchange for all the wealth in the world. For I know what consolation and strength it has given me. No one knows what it can give unless he has struggled much and frequently with the devil. I would have been strangled by the devil long ago, if confession had not sustained me.” (WA 10:III:62,1-2, LW 51:98)
I rather think that last sentence a stronger statement than the one included in YouCat.
The source of the second quotation above?
None other than Peter Sellers!
As I said, surprising stuff.