Monday, August 15, 2011

World Youth Day and YouCat

World Youth Day starts tomorrow in Madrid and runs till August 21st.  Organizers of the event plan to pass out a "youth-oriented" catechism called YouCat.  My friend at Les Femmes put up an excellent piece today critiquing YouCat.  I needn't "reinvent the wheel".  Please pop over to Les Femmes to read her piece.

Another colleague of ours in the Catholic Media Coalition mentioned that the problems enumerated by the Kolbe Foundation have been corrected; he didn't have details, however.  Assuming that all problematic elements have been expunged from YouCat, questions abound.  To wit:
  1. How did the problematic material make its way into YouCat in the first place?
  2. At what stage were the problems identified?
  3. What was the final motivation for correction of the problems?
Finally, I believe that what Les Femmes wrote in her last two sentences needs to be pondered carefully.  The name "YouCat", a pitifully obvious knock-off of YouTube, points to dangerous attitudes towards young people.  The first attitude is "youth-worship".  There seems to be an unconscious desire to keep young people young.  How often do we hear that we need the young, for they are our future?  Well that may be true, but we also need the old to lend direction and wisdom to the energy of the young.  The impetus to celebrate the young while quietly ignoring the older actually stems from the Culture of Death - the same variety that has spawned the notion that perhaps the elderly should be set aside and even euthanized.  We better watch ourselves with that slippery slope.

The second dangerous attitude, mentioned by Les Femmes, is condescension.  While "keeping them young", we also keep them immature.  With "youcat" type of kiddie-talk (or, as they put it "language suitable for young people") instead of full use of adult language, we don't challenge them to grow up and act like adults.  Read a sample for yourselves; content aside, it reads like a child's fairy tale!  I know another feature in Madrid will be "Christian rock".  Many years ago, I was a musician, although not of the "rock" variety.  However, I was trained to manipulate music to produce mental/emotional effects in the audience.  I can tell you right now (although I'll be very unpopular) that "Christian rock" is an oxymoron.  Among other things, it excites emotions so that young people tend to be directed by emotions rather than by intellect.  Speaking of intellect, YouCat will probably not be what they need to grow properly in their faith.  The regular catechism should be encouraged.  Let's start treating them like adults, to encourage them to think of themselves as adults and to act accordingly.

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