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‘Youcat’ presented to Benedict XVI

· Youth Catechism discussed in the Holy See Press Office ·

Youcat , a manual of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for young people, was presented to Benedict XVI — who wrote the Preface — at the General Audience on Wednesday, 13 April.

Young people wearing yellow t-shirts, the same colour as the book cover, representing the published work — under the supervision of the Archbishop of Vienna, Dominican Cardinal Christoph Schönborn — posed for a traditional souvenir photo with the Pontiff, before he got back into the white “Popemobile” for his farewell. The Pope was also shown the Youcat application for mobile phones and for the web which will be available on 1 May.

After the Audience, a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present this “youth catechism”, with interventions by Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Schönborn and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. Also speaking were Mr Bernhard Meuser, the main publisher of Youcat , Nikolaus Magnis, a seminarian of the Diocese of Limburg, Germany, and Isabel Meuser, 21, a student of the violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London, all collaborators of the project from the outset.

The 300-page book, which condenses the main themes of Christianity using language intended for youth in the form of 527 questions and answers, has been published in 13 languages. At least 700,000 copies will be distributed in the red and yellow mochila , or backpack, given to participants in the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid from 16 to 21 August.

Born from an initiative of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference joined by the German and Swiss Conferences, the book also contains illustrations and artistic representations supported by Scripture passages and citations from the lives of the saints. The catechism has been published in the six official languages of the World Youth Day and in seven other languages including an Indian language, Chinese and Arabic.

Youcat comes as something new, a gift, a precious contribution aimed at making the faith of youth firmer, more loyal to the Church’s teachings and more determined in sharing with others the reasons for their hope,” said the President of the Diastery for the Laity. He added, “It is a providential instrument for the evangelization of the young generations”. “Today teaching youth to carefully study the Youcat is a fundamental step,” Cardinal Ryłko said, “in helping them understand that faith is neither a subjective spiritual inspiration nor a simple religious feeling or ideology; rather, it is a method of understanding the truth, an encounter with an event, with the living Person of Jesus”.

At the end of the conference, Archbishop Fisichella spoke about the perspective of the new evangelization of the book, stating: “Even if not everyone likes the idea of a catechism, given the urgent situation in which we find ourselves, an instrument such as the Youcat corresponds to the expectations of many formation teachers who are aware of and have an awareness and direct experience of the cultural weakness regarding the content of faith”, the Prelate said.

And he added: “The illusions of those who think, as regards Christianity, that everything boils down to only the emotion of a few beautiful experiences has not yet been dispelled. They are not followed up in continuing formation which must inevitably involve the commitment of the mind”.

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