So I dropped by my local catholic bookstore yesterday in search of confirmation gifts. (Got ’em, and they are NOT BOOKS. The nieces will suspect I am an imposter.) Shop owner says, “Look over there, we’ve got the new Youcat in.” Waves toward rack with all the neat items-to-be-promoted.
I smile. A pained smile. Um, okay. Thanks.
Because you do not know how many reviews of this book I have not read. Many. If there is someone on that sidebar who wrote a review of the YOUCAT, I saw it and skipped it. Not interested. Just not. Too perky. What a goofy name. And plus what’s wrong with the big catechism, ya know? Do I look fifteen? No, I do not look fifteen.
So then I wander over to the promo rack, and well, I’ll just take a look at the thing. Might as well see what it is. Someone might ask me about it. My DRE might try to make me use it or something.
Open it up to a random page. Read a sample. Told the shop owner, “You just sold a book.”
[She proceeded to sell me two CD’s by playing samples of these guys off her PC while she was at it. Smart lady. Crack for catechists.]
Anyway, the story with the Youcat is this:
It translates the Catechism for you. It’s a quick, easy way to look up the catholic teaching on something, and get answers in words kids can more or less understand. You still need to understand the teachings of the church yourself. Big Catechism isn’t going anywhere. But if you want the words to give to kids? Here it is. Plus, if you’re in a hurry, you don’t have to really think about the answers when you look something up.
Compare and contrast . . . In the big catechism, here’s 1755-1756:
II. GOOD ACTS AND EVIL ACTS
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.
1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
Here’s the Youcat. A simplified version of those paragraphs is given, and then this:
The end does not justify the means. It cannot be right to commit infidelity so as to stabilize one’s marriage. It is just as wrong to use embryos for stem cell research, even if one could thereby make medical breakthroughs. It is wrong to try to “help” a rape victim by aborting her child.
What you need to know. To the point. Answers the questions students actually ask in class.
You could leave it lying around for the kids at home to read, too. Or the adults. And I’ll admit, the sunny cover and all the photos and drawings do make you want to read the thing. It’s as if someone at the Vatican really really wants people to learn the Catholic faith. Maybe the guy who wrote the foreward, for example.
You can order yours directly from Ignatius, stop by your local catholic bookstore if you are a good, holy person who happens to have such a thing nearby, or support one of the blogger-friendly internet retailers such as The Catholic Company (coming soon) or Aquinas and More. Basically, no excuse not to have one. Well, okay, don’t go into debt for it. But aside from that.