Holy Family Apostolate

for families… by families…

YOUCAT MUST BE RECALLED

Posted by Joseph on 31 August, 2013

Why YOUCAT Should Be Recalled and Amended

 

All Catholics can rejoice over efforts to properly catechize Catholic youth, for they are the future of the Church and they deserve to be taught full, historical Catholic doctrine. Unfortunately, the recently published YOUCAT (Youth Catechism) for World Youth Day (August 16-21, 2011) contains several defects and ambiguities that depart from sound Catholic doctrine and that even contradict the Catechism of the Catholic Church—the very document that YOUCAT supposedly summarizes. Consequently, YOUCAT will introduce much confusion and uncertainty, and could cause young Catholics to lose their zeal or even to abandon their faith completely.

 

This summary critique has been written to help pastors, parents and young people identify YOUCAT’s doctrinal errors and other defects, so that they can inform those who have obtained YOUCAT of its problems. This document also provides readers with a link to a petition that respectfully asks the Holy Father to recall YOUCAT so that the defects can be corrected and an addendum issued for copies already distributed or, as an alternative, so that YOUCAT can be replaced with the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or with a comparable document that does not contain defects. Large companies are often forced to recall products when dangerous defects are discovered; given that YOUCAT contains several dangerous defects that make it unacceptable for use by any Catholic, we similarly ask for its recall.

 

Six objections to YOUCAT are described below.

 

Objection #1: YOUCAT insinuates that The Holy Bible contains errors.
The most serious error in YOUCAT can be found in Question 15 which addresses the question:

 

How can Sacred Scripture be “truth” if not everything in it is right?

 

Here, YOUCAT makes a problematic statement in question form, avoiding the appearance that it is the authors who are questioning the truth and accuracy of Sacred Scripture. The question also uses the phrase that “not everything in it is right” to avoid the obvious heresy that Sacred Scripture contains errors or that inspiration extends only to matters of faith and morals.

 

Rather than countering this misguided question with the explanation that all of Scripture is God-breathed and immune from error, the YOUCAT authors provide the following answer:

 

The Bible is not meant to convey precise historical information or scientific findings to us. Moreover, the authors were children of their time. They shared the cultural ideas of the world around them and often were also dominated by its errors.Nevertheless, everything that man must know about God and the way of his salvation is found with infallible certainty in Sacred Scripture (emphasis and underline added).

 

By stating that the Bible does not seek to convey “precise historical information” and that the Scriptural authors were often “dominated” by the “errors” of their time, YOUCAT creates the impression that the Sacred authors were simpletons whose writings contain errors, or that only those things needed for salvation are presented in Scripture without error. Yet such a position is a repudiation of the constant and never-interrupted teaching of the Church on Scriptural inerrancy and contradicts YOUCAT’s own teaching in another section where the Bible is called the “Word of the living God.”

 

How should YOUCAT have responded to the question? Recognizing that “the Word of the living God” cannot possibly contain errors of any kind, the Catholic Church has always taught that the whole of Scripture was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that, since God is the principal Author of Scripture, the books of the Bible cannot contain any errors at all. This teaching on complete inerrancy, affirmed by Sacred Scripture, the Church Fathers and Doctors, plus the councils of Florence (1431-1443), Trent (1545-1563) and Vatican I (1869-1870), was also reiterated by Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus (1893):

 

By supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write—He so assisted them in writing—that the things which He ordered, and those only, they first rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.

 

This great Pope also stated in the same encyclical:

 

it is absolutely wrong and forbidden…to [state] that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it—this system cannot be tolerated…For all the books which the Church receives as sacred an canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost…it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church.

 

Likewise, the Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum, (1965) states:

 

Those things revealed by God which are contained and presented in the text of sacred scripture have been written under the inspiration of the holy Spirit. For holy mother church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the holy Spirit (see Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21; 3:15-16), they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the church itself.

 

Despite this teaching, it has been widely taught since the Second Vatican Council that Dei Verbum restricted the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture to matters directly pertaining to faith and morals. But that is far from being the case. The Council Fathers took pains to cite references to statements by the Council of Trent, Vatican Council I, and the encyclical letters of previous Popes, which emphatically upheld the absolute truth of the Scriptures on all subjects, including those not directly related to faith and morals, such as history and geography. In his encyclical Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII wrote:

 

For some go so far as to pervert the sense of the [First] Vatican Council’s definition that God is the author of Holy Scriptures, and they put forward again the opinion, already often condemned, which asserts that immunity from error extends only to those parts of the Bible that treat of God or of moral and religious matters..

 

So fundamental, historical, and vital is the Church teaching on inerrancy that in 1907, Pope St. Pius X issued the decreeLamentabili Sane, which was the “Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists.” In this document, he specifically condemned the Modernist position that “Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scripture so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.”

 

Thus, any claim (or insinuation) that the original autographs of Holy Scripture contain error contradicts the constant teaching of the Church and is (or reflects) a condemned, heretical, Modernist position. This error alone should have stopped YOUCAT from being published in its current form and is more than sufficient reason to urgently recall and correct YOUCAT, or to replace it with a document containing sound doctrine. If the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture is questioned, the authority of the Church Fathers and Sacred Tradition will also be questioned—for the Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils believed in inerrancy—and the door for confusion on moral issues will be opened. In fact, such moral confusion is contained in YOUCAT, as summarized in the second objection.

 

Objection #2: YOUCAT gives confusing catechesis on human sexuality and end of life issues.

Confused catechesis characterizes YOUCAT’s attempts to deal with the delicate topic of human sexuality. Question 65 of YOUCAT explains:

 

There is no man on earth who is not descended from a union of a mother and father. Therefore it is a painful experience for many homosexually oriented people that they do not feel erotically attracted to the opposite sex and necessarily miss out on the physical fruitfulness of the union between man and woman according to human nature and the divine order of creation. Nevertheless, God often leads souls to himself along unusual paths: A lack, a loss, or a wound—if accepted and affirmed—can become a springboard for throwing oneself into the arms of God…

 

The ambiguities in this paragraph will create enormous uncertainty as the text does not differentiate between same sex attraction and sinful homosexual acts of behavior. YOUCAT states that: “A lack, a loss, or a wound—if accepted and affirmed—can become a springboard for throwing oneself into the arms of God”—as if the young person with same sex attraction ought to “accept and affirm” his or her condition as “a springboard for throwing himself into the arms of God”! But no clear indication is given of exactly what it means to accept and affirm same sex attraction, and this terminology can obviously be used in an attempt to excuse immoral behavior. But God does not wish for anyone to sin and He does not wish for evil to be done so that good may come of it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states of homosexuality:

 

Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved… Homosexual persons are called to chastity.

 

Given that extensive research by courageous Catholic doctors and psychologists has demonstrated that same sex attraction is not genetically determined and can be healed, YOUCAT ought to give hope to those experiencing this condition and it should provide links to appropriate Catholic sources of information on the causes and healing of same sex attraction.

 

YOUCAT’s treatments of Onanism and contraception are equally confusing. In Question 409, it tells young Catholics that “The Church does not demonize masturbation, but she warns against trivializing it.” Here again, vague terminology is apparent and many readers are bound to interpret the statement about not “demonizing” certain sexual behaviors as meaning that they are not a serious sin. The bitter irony of this statement is that by NOT calling masturbation a grave sin, YOUCAT DOES trivialize it!YOUCAT’s treatment of this topic contrasts starkly with the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which lists masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual acts as “grave sins against chastity.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”

 

On page 229, accompanying YOUCAT’s discussion of contraception, a side note appropriately quotes Pope John Paul II as characterizing contraception as immoral. In Question 421, the authors also recommend Natural Family Planning (NFP). But in the next sentence, rather than stating that the Church rejects all means of contraception, the text adds that “the Church rejects allartificial means of contraception” (emphasis added). With this confusing phrase, the text could be read to mean that there arenon-artificial (i.e., natural) means of contraception, and that NFP is a form of non-artificial contraception! Young people could mistakenly infer that contraception is acceptable, as long as it is “non-artificial” contraception—and their whole attitude towards NFP will be distorted.

 

In reality, as Pope Paul VI explained in Humanae vitae, the Church condemns contraception for separating the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital union—not for being “artificial.” Natural Family Planning ought to be a way of insuring the healthy conception of children by parents who want to be generous in welcoming God’s gift of life. YOUCAT’s implicit presentation of NFP as “non-artificial contraception” recasts it as primarily a method of avoiding conception rather than as a way of insuring healthy conception in a spirit of generosity. This all the more regrettable in a catechism for young people many of whom will imbibe the contraceptive attitude without even realizing it. This treatment differs markedly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.”

 

In its teaching on holy marriage, YOUCAT does acknowledge the complementary roles of man and woman, but it says nothing about the special role of the man as spiritual leader of his family or of the special role of woman as the heart and nurturer of the family. Yet all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church—and more than nineteen hundred years of magisterial teaching—have emphasized the spiritual headship of the husband and father in the Christian family. At a time when male moral leadership in the Church and in society is desperately needed, the failure of YOUCAT’s authors to even mention the traditional teaching of the Church on the spiritual leadership of husbands and fathers is a lost opportunity.

 

Although not directly related to human sexuality, YOUCAT’s teaching on organ transplantation also dangerously oversimplifies a matter of life and death. Question 391 supports organ transplantation after “a certain determination of death.” This sounds reasonable, but the sad reality is that many organ transplants take place only after “a certain determination” of “brain death”—which is not the same as true death. Indeed, there are certain organs that can only be “harvested” while the patient is still alive. Many patients declared “brain dead” still have a heartbeat, pulse, and exchange of gas through their lungs! Why are young people not given this vital information?

 

Objection #3: YOUCAT alleges that Genesis does not give a true account of creation.
The underlying reason for YOUCAT’s rejection of Scriptural inerrancy comes to the forefront in the book’s discussion of evolution theory and the historicity of the creation account in Genesis. Thus, although the fathers of the Council of Trent referred to this foundational text as “the sacred history of Genesis” and Pope Pius XII confirmed in the 1950 encyclical Humani Generis that the first eleven chapters of Genesis ”are truly a kind of history” one sees the authors of YOUCAT taking the destructive path that the Modernists first forged more than a century ago.

 

In Question 42, YOUCAT asks: “Can someone accept the theory of evolution and still believe in the Creator?” It answers:

 

Yes. Although it is a different kind of knowledge, faith is open to the findings and hypotheses of the sciences…A Christian can accept the theory of evolution as a helpful explanatory model, provided he does not fall into the heresy of evolutionism, which views man as the random product of biological processes.

 

The answer states that it is acceptable to believe in evolution theory without stating any restrictions whatsoever, even with regard to human evolution. This is a serious error refuted by more than 19 centuries of consistent Church teaching. The response displays a complete ignorance of the flaws with evolution theory, including claims of human evolution, as well as a complete disregard for historical Church teachings on the doctrine of creation.

 

Most young people reading YOUCAT will immediately understand “the theory of evolution” to mean biological evolution through mutation and natural selection. A fundamental and essential part of that hypothesis is that the first human beings were conceived in the womb of a sub-human creature. Thus, according to YOUCAT, Catholics can “accept” that Adam was conceived in the womb of a non-human entity.

 

In reality, however, the Catholic Church rejected this view long before Charles Darwin, as all Church Fathers and Doctors, including St. Thomas Aquinas, unanimously taught that Adam was created immediately (directly and all at once) by God, from the dust of the earth, and Eve was supernaturally created by God from Adam’s side. This teaching is found throughout the writings of the Fathers and in 561, Pope Pelagius I affirmed it in a profession of faith:

 

For I confess that…Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other…from the rib of man…

 

In 1215, the Lateran Council IV infallibly decreed (and this was repeated in Vatican I almost word for word) that God:

 

at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human… . . .

 

Even more explicitly, Pope Leo XIII wrote in his encyclical on holy marriage (1880):

 

Though revilers of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never-interrupted doctrine of the Church on this subject, and have long striven to destroy the testimony of all nations and of all times, they have nevertheless failed not only to quench the powerful light of truth, but even to lessen it. We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. [emphasis added]

 

Given that this and other encyclicals are part of the ordinary teaching Magisterium and demand religious assent according to theCatechism of the Catholic Church, one wonders on what authority the writers of YOUCAT call “evolutionism” a “heresy” as distinguished from the “theory of evolution” that Catholics may “accept”? The only magisterial statement cited in YOUCAT on “evolutionism” as defined in the text is a sentence in the margin of page 38, taken from a homily by Pope Benedict XVI:

 

We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.

 

If, as seems to be the case, the writers of YOUCAT received their warrant to condemn evolutionism as “a heresy” from the low-level authority of a papal homily, how much more ought they to have condemned the broader “theory of evolution,” based on the much more authoritative conciliar and magisterial decrees that are completely incompatible with the origin of all biological species through mutation and natural selection!

 

Moreover, the idea that one can accept evolution as a helpful model of earth history and at the same time affirm the historical information recorded in the early chapters of Genesis is problematic and establishes a false tension between evolutionary speculation and the history in the Bible. This very approach was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis when he observed that the Modernists argued for a separation of faith from natural science when, in fact:

 

there can never be any dissension between faith and science, for if each keeps on its own ground they can never meet and therefore never can be in contradiction.

 

The YOUCAT explanation also fails to make the essential distinction—which all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church made without exception—between the order of creation in which God established the universe by His divine power and the order of providence which began when God had finished creating all of the different kinds of creatures and they began to interact within the framework of the natural laws that God had established. St. Thomas Aquinas, the great synthesizer of the patristic legacy, summed up the creation/providence distinction in the Summa Theologica by stating that: “In the works of nature, creation does not enter, but is presupposed to the work of nature.” In other words, natural processes and operations are not themselves instances of God’s creative activity; rather, they show his Providence at work in maintaining his prior work of creation, which is presupposed by the way these processes and operations now take place.

 

YOUCAT’s denial of this fundamental distinction between creation and providence echoes the thought of Teilhard de Chardin who wrote that Creation and development are “constantly fused, combined, together,” even denying any distinction between the pre-Fall and post-Fall world. In 1962, the then-head of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani, issued a monitum against the works of Teilhard de Chardin, warning bishops and superiors that Teilhard’s writings were filled with “serious errors which offend Catholic doctrine” and ordering them to “protect, especially the minds of the young, against the dangers of the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and his followers.” Now, fifty years later, Teilhard’s errors are to be presented to millions of Catholic youth as the official teaching of the Catholic Church!

 

Objection #4: YOUCAT Places greater weight on modern scientific speculation than on the Church Fathers’ unanimous interpretations of the first chapters of Genesis.

 

The Modernist bent continues in YOUCAT when it accepts Big Bang speculation as indubitable dogma, yet the authors scoff at “creationists” who:

 

naively take biblical data literally (for example, to calculate the earth’s age, they cite the six days of work in Genesis 1)

 

In so doing, the authors of YOUCAT neglect to mention that all of the Fathers of the Church quoted in YOUCAT’s margins taught that God created the heavens and the earth and all they contain by divine fiat and that St. Augustine, the only Father who interpreted the days of Genesis 1 metaphorically, believed in an instantaneous creation of all of the different kinds of creatures—not in any kind of evolutionary development over long ages of time. Moreover, YOUCAT’s editors misrepresent the overwhelming majority of the Fathers who interpreted the days of Genesis 1 as natural days by implying that they arrived at this interpretation “to calculate the earth’s age.” To anyone familiar with the patristic writings, this implication is absurd, since the Fathers interpreted “yom” or “day” in Genesis 1 according to its literary context—not for the sake of calculating the age of the earth.

 

Finally, a note in the margin of page 37 defines “creationism” as “the idea that God himself by his direct action created the world all at once, as if the book of Genesis were an eyewitness account.” But the authors of YOUCAT do not tell their young readers that virtually all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church took this “naïve” view, including the greatest Doctors of the Church, men like St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Ambrose. St. John Chrysostom expressed the common view of all of the Fathers and Doctors when he wrote that:

 

All the other prophets spoke either of what was to occur after a long time or of what was about to happen then; but he, the blessed (Moses), who lived many generations after (the creation of the world), was vouchsafed by the guidance of the right hand of the Most High to utter what had been done by the Lord before his own birth. It is for this reason that he begins to speak thus: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” as if calling out to us all with a loud voice: it is not by the instruction of men that I say this; He Who called them (heaven and earth) out of non-being into being—it is He Who has roused my tongue to relate of them. And therefore I entreat you, let us pay heed to these words as if we heard not Moses but the very Lord of the universe Who speaks through the tongue of Moses, and let us take leave for good of our own opinions.

 

YOUCAT’s editors’ misplaced faith in scientific speculation is further exposed in the margin of page 38 where the editors have placed a quotation from physicist Walter Thirring:

 

And that [the unheard-of precision of the processes associated with the “Big Bang”] is supposed to have happened by chance?! What an absurd idea!

 

The obvious implication of this quotation is that the Big Bang is a “fact” and that young Catholics should welcome this “fact” as a “scientific” confirmation of their belief in a Creator, and in a creation. According to the theistic version of the Big Bang hypothesis, God created the initial matter and energy at the moment of the Big Bang and then allowed them to develop naturally within the framework of the natural laws that He established at the beginning of creation. But, while this hypothesis allows God to create the matter and energy necessary for the universe to develop naturally, it denies the special creation of all of the different living things, including plants, animals, and man—in contradiction to all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Moreover, in recent years numerous experts in astronomy and other relevant disciplines have rejected the Big Bang and biological evolution as hypotheses without evidence and against the facts.

 

Objection #5: YOUCAT teaches that God made an incomplete world filled with defects and deformities.

 

YOUCAT’s misrepresentation of the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation continues in its summary of questions 47 and 51 where the authors show the consequences of their blind acceptance of Teilhardian uniformitarianism. In reply to Question 47:“Why did God rest on the seventh day?” YOUCAT answers:

 

God’s rest from his work points toward the completion of creation, which is beyond all human efforts.

 

In the whole history of the Church, no Father, Doctor, Pope or Council has ever taught that God’s rest from the work of creation “pointed towards its completeness,” in the sense that the original creation was unfinished or incomplete. On the contrary, the correct explanation of the “rest of the Lord” was well articulated by the Catechism of Trent which taught that:

 

the seventh day was called the “Sabbath.” because [God], having finished and completed the creation of the world, rested from all his work which he had done (emphasis added).

 

This statement was a reflection of all the Church Fathers and of the Doctors including St. Augustine who wrote: “… God rested from all the works that He made in the sense that from then on He did not produce any other new nature…” Similarly, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa: “…the completion of the universe as to the completeness of its parts belongs to the sixth day, but its completion as regards their operation, to the seventh…Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God, but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before, in the work of the six days…“

 

The essential truth that God created a world that was finished and complete has been withheld from YOUCAT’s young readers who are told that “evolution takes place as God’s continuous creation in natural processes.” The YOUCAT view further rings of the Teilhardian vision of a monstrous god who deliberately created an incomplete world filled with physical evils like birth defects and natural catastrophes when it states:

 

God created the world to be good, but it is not yet complete. In violent upheavals and painful processes it is being shaped and moved toward its final perfection. That may be a better way to classify what the Church calls physical evil, for example, a birth defect, or a natural catastrophe. Moral evils, in contrast, come about through the misuse of freedom in the world.

 

From the time of the Apostles until now, no Father, Doctor, Pope or Council in an authoritative teaching has ever taught or tolerated YOUCAT’s distorted implication that God created a world with birth defects before Original Sin. On the contrary, the unanimous teaching of all of the Fathers and Doctors is that God created all of the different kinds of creatures perfect according to their natures, in a state of harmony with man and with each other, and that all deformity and disease was a consequence of the Original Sin.

 

To summarize the very serious previous three objections, the authors’ ignorance of the fatal flaws with evolution theory and with the severe problems of Big Bang cosmology appear to have led to the false conclusion that Scripture contains errors. This is nothing more than a re-emergence of Modernism that has been repeatedly condemned. For example, in 1907, St. Pius X condemned the proposition that “scientific progress demands that the concept of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word and Redemption be re-adjusted.” This view also ignores the mandates of Humani Generis not to treat evolution theory as a certain proven fact, and to consider the evidence both for and against the theory.

 

Are the errors concerning creation really so important to correct given that so many good things are contained in YOUCAT? Let us not forget that the most sorrowful tragedies and developments of the 20th century had their basis in evolutionary thought; these include eugenics, birth control, abortion, Nazism, Communism, two world wars, and the rise of Modernism, post-modernism, humanism and New Age thought now dominating the West. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, “an error in the beginning is an error indeed.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that:

 

Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves: “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?”…The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.”

 

Since the age of the Apostles and the early Fathers, the Catholic Church has never failed to defend the doctrines of creation or inerrancy…that is, until so many fell under the spell of Darwinism and its false scientific claims which strongly contributed to the rise of the Modernist heresy. It is the duty of all Catholics to defend the doctrine of inerrancy and the full doctrine of creation against any sort of compromise. If we now fail to do so, the problematic statements in YOUCAT will soon become “official Church doctrine” in the eyes of millions.

 

Objection #6: YOUCAT can give the impression that modern Catholic and non-Catholic authors are more important for young people to read than the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

 

While not as serious as previous objections, it is nevertheless observed that in its choice of sources, YOUCAT cannot be compared to any other catechism in the history of the Catholic Church. Many non-Catholic and some anti-Catholic authors are quoted, sometimes giving the impression that they are on par with the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, or are somehow more in tune with the Catholic youth than the great Saints and Doctors of the past. Yet the quotations from modern authors are often vague.

 

YOUCAT’s seemingly indiscriminate preference for modern authors jars most when the statements of quoted authors are confusing. For example, on page 151, Michel Quoist is quoted as saying that “someone who loves a neighbor allows him to be as he is, as he was, and as he will be.” On reflection, this statement is completely unacceptable from a Catholic point of view. If my neighbor is a long-time drug dealer or a human trafficker, I do not love him by allowing him to be “as he is, as he was, and as he will be.” No doubt the author had some profound meaning in mind, but the quotation does not give any clue as to what that profound meaning—compatible with Catholic teaching—might be. In another place, on page 252, YOUCAT reflects on the quality of “shame,” and the authors quote the anti-Christian philosopher Nietzche’s statement: “Shame exists wherever there is a mystery.” Like Quoist’s statement quoted above, the statement has an alluring air of incomprehensibility, but it does nothing to reinforce or clarify Catholic doctrine on modesty and shame. As a third example, on page 111, the Protestant theologian Kierkegaard is quoted as having written: “Either we are contemporaries of Jesus, or we can have nothing at all to do with it.” This leaves one with only a vague notion of what Kierkegaard was trying to say, but Catholic youth are not well-served through imprecise or vague writings that are put on par with quotes from Church Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Saints.

 

Like so many things in YOUCAT, the selected quotations give the impression that the document was created to produce a certain off-beat touch to make the Catechism “cool” for young people. But this is ultimately insulting to the many Catholic young people who want to know and understand the Truth and who resent being offered gimmicks in place of solid teaching.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

The authors of this document make no judgment as to the motives or character of the authors of YOUCAT but appeal to the faithful of all of the twenty-three Churches of the Catholic Church to carefully examine this catechism so as to protect the youth entrusted to them from its errors and ambiguities. It is apparent that the YOUCAT fails to present an accurate view of Church teaching in several key areas. If you would like to join us in asking (and praying) that YOUCAT be recalled and amended, with an addendum issued for copies already distributed, or that YOUCAT be replaced with the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, please sign the Recall Petition below.

 

Please also urge pastors, teachers, youth ministers, and World Youth Day chaperones to return their copies of YOUCAT to the publisher for a refund and order the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its place.

 

Feast of the Holy Transfiguration,

 

Maximos and Anastasios, Servants of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Theotokos

* To sign the petition for recalling YOUCAT go to: http://www.faithfulanswers.com/youcat-must-be-recalled/

 

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