DOCAT, a catechism for young people of Catholic social doctrine, presented during World Youth Day – Catholic World Report


DOCAT, the follow-up and companion volume to the popular YOUCAT (Catechism of Youth), was officially released yesterday during World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland.

DOCAT (pronounced “do-cat”) is a popular adaptation of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church that draws on the Scriptures, YOUCAT, the Catechism and the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching, and features a preface by the pope Francis (see below). As part of the publication, a DOCAT application was made available to all World Youth Day participants. The app helps readers create groups, participate in discussions and do acts of justice as a gift to the Pope who, while writing the foreword to DOCAT, shared his dream with young people on the way to change the world.

DOCAT is published and available in North America by Ignatius Press, which offers this description of the volume accessible in Q&A format:

DOCAT is written with the help of church and business leaders, social activists and young people in a popular question-and-answer style, YOUCAT, which guides young people in conscience formation and Catholic action on social and political issues. It shows Catholics how to apply Gospel values ​​to poverty, wealth imbalance, employment and unemployment, natural resource use and environmental concerns, terrorism, immigration and abortion. , among other topics.

DOCAT features inspirational and insightful quotes from Catholic leaders and saints, including Holy Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, and Pope Benedict; excerpts from François’ lectures; and important statements by his immediate predecessor concerning the four principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity.

“DOCAT answers the question: ‘What should we do [as Catholics]?’; it is like a manual that helps us to change ourselves with the Gospel first, then our closest environment, and finally the whole world,” Pope Francis says in the preface to DOCAT. “For with the power of the Gospel, we can truly change the world.”

Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, says in a recent interview with Fathers For Good that DOCAT “shows young people how to use Catholic social teaching – which is really the gospel lived in society consistently – in their daily lives. and in their life”. life ambitions. He explains that the volume will help young people become what they are called to be: “enthusiastic, well-trained, well-informed disciples of Jesus, acting in the power of the Spirit.”

Ignatius Press has also co-published, with the Augustine Institute, The DOCAT Study Guide, which is an aid to using DOCAT in the classroom, at home, or in small groups.

An 8-page full-color flyer offering details about DOCAT and the study guide is available in PDF format on the Ignatius Press website.

Below is the full introduction to DOCAT, authored by the Holy Father, Pope Francis:

Dear young people!

My predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, placed a Catechism for Young People, YOUCAT, in your hands. Today I would like to recommend to you another book, DOCAT, which contains the social doctrine of the Church.

The English verb “to do” is part of the title. DOCAT answers the question: “What should we do?” » ; it is like a manual that helps us to change ourselves with the Gospel first, then our closest surroundings, and finally the whole world. Because with the power of the Gospel, we can truly change the world.

Jesus said, “As you did to one of these least of my brothers, you did to me. Many saints have been shaken by this Bible passage. Because of this, Saint Francis of Assisi changed his whole life. Mother Teresa was converted because of this saying. And Charles de Foucauld recognizes it: “In all the Gospels, there is no saying that has had more influence on me and changed my life more profoundly than this: ‘All that you have done for one of my younger brothers, you did it for me”. ‘ When I reflect that these words come from the mouth of Jesus, the Eternal Word of God, and that it is the same mouth that says: “This is my Body,…this is my Blood…”, then I see that I I am called to seek and love Jesus above all in these little ones, in the least.

Dear young friends! Only conversion of heart can make our world filled with terror and violence more human. And that means patience, justice, prudence, dialogue, integrity, solidarity with the victims, the needy and the poorest, boundless devotion, love unto death for the good of the other. When you understand this deeply enough, then you can change the world as committed Christians. The world cannot continue on the path it is currently on. If a Christian today turns his eyes away from the needs of the poorest of the poor, then in reality he is not a Christian!

Can’t we do more to make this revolution of love and justice a reality in many parts of this tormented planet? The social doctrine of the Church can help so many people! Under the experienced leadership of Cardinals Christoph Schönborn and Reinhard Marx, a team set to work bringing the liberating message of Catholic social teaching to the attention of the youth of the world. They collaborated with famous academics and also with young people on this project. Young Catholic women and men from all over the world sent in their best photos. Other young people discussed the text, offered their questions and suggestions and ensured that the text was easily understandable. Social doctrine calls this “participation”! The team itself applied an important principle of social doctrine from the start. Thus DOCAT has become a magnificent introduction to Christian action.

What we now call Catholic social teaching was born in the 19th century. With industrialization came a brutal form of capitalism: a kind of economy that destroyed human beings. Unscrupulous industrialists have reduced the impoverished rural population to the point of working in mines or in rusty factories for starvation wages. The children no longer saw the light of day. They were sent underground as slaves to pull coal carts. With great commitment, the Christians offered help to those who needed it, but they noticed that it was not enough. So they developed ideas to counter injustice socially and politically. In fact, the fundamental proclamation of Catholic social doctrine was and is Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical letter, Rerum novarum, “Of Capital and Labor”. The Pope wrote clearly and unequivocally: “To defraud anyone of the wages due to him is a great crime which cries out to the vengeful wrath of Heaven. With all the weight of her authority, the Church fought for the rights of workers.

Because the needs of the time demanded it, Catholic social teaching was enriched and refined over the years. Many people discussed community, justice, peace and the common good. They found the principles of personality, solidarity and subsidiarity, which DOCAT also explains. But in reality this social doctrine does not come from any particular pope or from any particular scholar. It comes from the heart of the Gospel. It comes from Jesus himself. Jesus is the social teaching of God.

“This economy kills”, I wrote in my apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, because today this economy of exclusion and income disparity still exists. There are countries where 40 or 50% of young people are unemployed. In many societies, older people are marginalized because they apparently have no ‘value’ and are no longer ‘productive’. Large tracts of land are depopulated because the poor of the land flee to the slums of the big cities in the hope of finding something to survive there. The production methods of a globalized economy have destroyed the modest economic and agricultural structures of their regions of origin. Currently, about 1% of the world’s population owns 40% of the world’s total wealth, and 10% of the world’s population owns 85% of the wealth. On the other hand, barely about 1% of this world “belongs” to half of the world’s population. About 1.4 billion people live on less than one euro [approximately $1.10]per day.

When I invite you all now to really get to know the social doctrine of the Church, I am not just dreaming of groups sitting under the trees and discussing it. That’s good! Do that! My dream is of something greater: I would like to have a million young Christians or, better still, a whole generation who are for their contemporaries “walking, talking about social doctrine”. Nothing else will change the world except the people who with Jesus dedicate themselves to it, who with him go to the margins and in the midst of dirt. Enter politics too and fight for justice and human dignity, especially for the poorest of the poor. You are all the Church. So make sure that this Church is transformed, that she is alive, because she allows herself to be challenged by the cries of the dispossessed, by the pleas of the destitute, and by those whom no one cares about.

Become active too. When many do it together, then there will be improvements in this world and people will feel that the Spirit of God is working through you. And maybe then you will be like torches that will light the way to God for these people.

So I give you this wonderful little book, hoping that it can light a fire in you. I pray for you every day. Pray for me too!

Yours sincerely,


November 6, 2015

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