I am LOVING the new Youth Catechism (or YouCat) and think every Catholic should have a copy. I’ve had my copy for a few weeks now and have been reading it on buses and tubes at every available moment. I even succeeded in getting my 14-year-old brother to sit down and have a read and chat about any topic he chose… unheard of. He was the one who discovered the little somersaulting cartoon characters in the page corners if you flick through – OK, so probably this was the highlight of the YouCat for him but at least he was looking through.
It is wonderfully readable, clear, simple, expressing what we believe in a way that is attractive and luminous and exciting… for those who want to know. What I love about it (and the Catechism for that matter, but it is more obvious in the YouCat) is the subjective, personalist approach: its starting point is human experience – just looking at ourselves, our desires, what makes us happy, what gives us joy – shows how we are made for God.
In fact, this was proved with my typically, only-slightly-interested teenage brother. We read the part about how a human being’s deepest desire is for God. I asked him, “what is it that makes you REALLY happy? When is it that you’re most happy?” My Dad shifted cynically in the corner expecting him to say the Wii and completely disprove the confidence the Church has in human desires. But what did he say? FRIENDS! Being with his friends. Why? Because with friends you’re accepted, you belong, you enjoy the same things (OK so I’m putting words into his mouth). But what he said is revealing… it shows that we are made for love, for communion with others… and therefore, ultimately, for the life of God.
I am really delighted at how the YouCat has presented the Faith and I hope that it will help many young people to understand that they were not created for something joyless and boring, but rather for something that fulfils every desire for love, enjoyment and relationship that is in their heart.