Sunday, June 9, 2013

Concerned About the YOUCAT?

"Hold on Shane, I've heard strong concerns expressed regarding the YOUCAT - that it waters down the Church's teaching on sexuality."  Yes, I heard those too; but I do not believe that to be the fact.  Look at this excerpt:
403 How is sexuality related to love?
Sexuality is inseparable from love; they go together. The sexual encounter requires the framework of a true, dependable love. (CCC 2337)
When sexuality is separated from love and is sought only for the sake of satisfaction, one destroys the meaning of the sexual union of man and woman. Sexual union is the most beautiful bodily, sensual expression of love. People who look for sex without love are lying, because the closeness of their bodies does not correspond to the closeness of their hearts. Someone who does not take his own body language at its word does lasting damage to body and soul. Sex then becomes inhuman; it is degraded to a means of obtaining pleasure and degenerates into a commodity. Only committed, enduring love creates a space for sexuality that is experienced in a human way and brings lasting happiness.
{SIDEBARS} “One cannot live a trial life or die a trial death. One cannot love on a trial basis or accept a person on trial and for a limited time.” —Pope John Paul II (1920–2005), November 15, 1980
“Everything that makes a sexual encounter easy hastens at the same time its plunge into irrelevance.” —Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005, French philosopher)
The YOUCAT then goes on to talk about chastity, the Sacrament of Marriage, homosexual acts, contraception, etc.  When looking at the YOUCAT it is important to keep a couple of points in mind:
  • It is a 300 page presentation of the Faith, in contrast to the 800 page Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Written for youth, it does not claim to present the Faith with the same fullness of the CCC
YOUCAT is meant to be a reliable introduction to the Faith that will familiarize youth and equip them to make use of the CCC.
The only passage I have come across thus far that I personally had a concern with had to do with Scripture. Mind you, the passage does not actually say anything that is incorrect.  I am simply concerned that, given the current climate in which it is common to limit our belief in Scripture's freedom from error, the passage could be misconstrued:
15  How can Sacred Scripture be "truth" if not everything in it is right?
The Bible is not meant to convey precise historical information on 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. [106-107, 137]
The passage does not say anything technically false, but it would definitely benefit from further explanation.  But again, this is an introductory work ... granted approval by Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - and they're no theological slouches! (For the curious, I have written a lengthy post on the question of whether or not there are mistakes in the Bible.)

Ignatius Press, the publisher of the English translation of the YOUCAT has written a thorough response to concerns here.  What I have focused on thus far is Section Four of the YOUCAT - Prayer.  And let me tell you; it is beautiful!  Good, youth-oriented, practical catechesis - and you can even learn the Our Father and Hail Mary in Latin (something you don't find in the CCC).

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