Catholic schools and Public school religious education programs have their various textbooks and audio-visual programs. Even with adult programs, there’s lots of grasping at straws when it comes to which series is going to win everyone, or win them back, for Jesus and His Church. It’s tiring.
2010 witnessed the publication of the official Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, YOUCAT. It was originally written in German, which is especially noticeable in spinoff texts that have made YOUCAT a series: a Study Guide, an adaptation for younger children, special texts for Confession and Confirmation, an excerpted Bible, a prayer book, and DOCAT, which presents Catholic Social Teachings. The series has two apps: one for daily meditations and another for DOCAT.
Now I’m not making the pitch for the YOUCAT series as the silver bullet, the golden ticket, or the bronze bonanza, but it makes a good start for being ecclesiastically authorized, well-balanced between holy pictures and stock photos, rife with quotes from saints recent and ancient. There’s even an exercise for the bored reader; you’ll have to pick one up to learn what I mean.
Like the standard Catechism, there are no quizzes, reflection questions or conversation starters; the Study Guide provides those, albeit for an older teenage audience. Adaptation becomes the task of the competent catechist. Mileage varies.
I am tempted to make the YOUCAT series our series for public school religious education and maybe even use it for my weekly middle school religion class. Perhaps it will become a text for other age groups—certainly our few high school students who express interest in meeting, but also adults, whose intelligence I don’t think would be insulted by taking this work in hand.