While I have major reservations about the actual catechism itself, my biggest concern at present is the complete lack of review on the part of catechists, youth ministers, priests, etc. who promote this catechism to the youth of the Church while they haven't even read it yet! Have we become so lazy and undiscerning that we simply look at a thing by it's cover and say, "hey, this is appropriate for kids"!? I have a small network of youth and/or catechetical related programs/people, so I am constantly bombarded by the praises of YOUCAT-- but when I dig a little deeper I discover that they are promoting it even though they've only given it a "quick skim" and that suffices because "the Pope said everyone should read it!"
...because, you know, what we really want the youth of our Church to study about the sacrament of Confession is this absolute gem of a quote from some (to them) obscure British actor who says (p. 139) "the closest thing to a father confessor is probably a bartender"; and what we really want the youth of our Church to know about Sunday as a holy day is that (p. 201) "that is the difference between animals and man: the latter has a Sunday outfit, too." (courtesy of Martin Luther, heretic.). Oh, and just for the heck of it, lets quote some Chinese politician in support of the family-- the kids won't know who the heck he is, but if they Google him they'll find out he led a very scandalous life that ended in suicide-- so we know he must've been the best to quote in support of the family!
Don't get me wrong. I actually think YOUCAT is a great idea. This first draft, however, was a rough one and is in desperate need of a serious revision!
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If the answers on contraception are so muddled, what can one expect to find in other topics?
I'm looking at the preview available for the book at Amazon.com ...
Number 15 from YOUCAT asks (and answers):
How can sacred scripture be "truth" if not everything in it is right?
The Bible is not meant to convey precise historical information or scientific findings to us. Moreover, the authors were children of their time. They shared the cultural ideas of their time and 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 Scriptures
First of all, that's a loaded question, along the lines of asking an innocent man if he's still beating his wife.
Compare it to this selection from Pope Leo XIII's Providentissimus Deus; I decided against highlighting any standout points since that would have meant highlighting nearly the entire quote:
20. The principles here laid down will apply to cognate sciences, and especially to History. It is a lamentable fact that there are many who with great labor carry out and publish investigations on the monuments of antiquity, the manners and institutions of nations and other illustrative subjects, and whose chief purpose in all this is too often to find mistakes in the sacred writings and so to shake and weaken their authority. Some of these writers display not only extreme hostility, but the greatest unfairness; in their eyes a profane book or ancient document is accepted without hesitation, whilst the Scripture, if they only find in it a suspicion of error, is set down with the slightest possible discussion as quite untrustworthy. It is true, no doubt, that copyists have made mistakes in the text of the Bible; this question, when it arises, should be carefully considered on its merits, and the fact not too easily admitted, but only in those passages where the proof is clear. It may also happen that the sense of a passage remains ambiguous, and in this case good hermeneutical methods will greatly assist in clearing up the obscurity. But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it -- this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican. These are the words of the last: "The Books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts, as enumerated in the decree of the same Council (Trent) and in the ancient Latin Vulgate, are to be received as sacred and canonical. And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author."57 Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write -- He was so present to them -- that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. Such has always been the persuasion of the Fathers. "Therefore," says St. Augustine, "since they wrote the things which He showed and uttered to them, it cannot be pretended that He is not the writer; for His members executed what their Head dictated."58 And St. Gregory the Great thus pronounces: "Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things -- we loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution."59
21. It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error. And so emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error, that they labored earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance -- the very passages which in great measure have been taken up by the "higher criticism;" for they were unanimous in laying it down, that those writings, in their entirety and in all their parts were equally from the afflatus of Almighty God, and that God, speaking by the sacred writers, could not set down anything but what was true. The words of St. Augustine to St. Jerome may sum up what they taught: "On my part I confess to your charity that it is only to those Books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these Books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand."60
57. Sess. iii., c. ii., de Rev.
58. De consensu Evangel. 1. 1, c. 35.
59. Praef in Job, n. 2.
60. Ep. Ixxxii., i. et crebrius alibi.
One small thing I want to point out is that the "errors" the YOUCAT in question 15 implies are not the errors of copyists; of whom Leo XIII writes that, "It is true, no doubt, that copyists have made mistakes in the text of the Bible; this question, when it arises, should be carefully considered on its merits, and the fact not too easily admitted, but only in those passages where the proof is clear." Note that he emphasizes that even the alleged mistakes of copyists "should be carefully considered ... and the fact not too easily admitted."
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