Pope Francis is offering the brand new book on the social teachings of the Catholic Church as a free gift (digital download) until the end of World Youth Day (July 31, 2016). After that, it becomes an in-app purchase. The English paperback version of DOCAT for the United States is $16.96. ALERT – You must download the book AFTER you download the app. The book is not automatically a part of the app. You must open the app and then go through the process of downloading the book through an in-app purchase which is $0.00 now through July 31, 2016.
As we noted earlier this month, this new app contains a follow-up digital book to the popular youth catechism book and app, YouCat (introduced by Pope Benedict at World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011). This is “Do”Cat with an emphasis on putting our faith in action, particularly in light of the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
The point of the fresh-approach catechism written for a young audience –and introducing it as a free download during World Youth Day–is to jump-start a global movement to engage young people in the social doctrine of the Church. Think of this app as a package containing the DoCat book. And along with the book you get a comprehensive quiz to help reinforce the material. It is beautifully laid out with an elegant, easy-to-read font laced with photographs and line art illustrating the important content.
As you open the app, you will be asked to take a pledge to Pope Francis to live out what you learn and pass it on to others –an active engagement for a more just world. After you agree, the app opens to the home screen which offers a portal to the DoCat book (which you purchase for the next couple of days at $0.00).
This video (in English) helps to explain the book’s premise:
DoCat is a catechism on the Church’s social teachings enriched and developed particularly since Pope Leo XII’s forceful expression of the doctrine in the 19th century. The book walks readers through a basic catechesis covering love, the Church’s social mission, the human person, the principles of the church’s social teaching, the family, human work, economic life, the political community, the international community, the environment, peace, and love in action.
Each chapter is broken up into relatively short chunks of text beginning with a question and then proceeding with an answer (think Baltimore Catechism). These short question-answer pieces are given proper citations followed by a little blue “share” symbol–an invitation to post the segment on social media. Great idea.
While this particular catechism, like its YouCat predecessor, is written in a lighter, breezier style than our monster Catechism of the Catholic Church book, it attempts to be comprehensive in the midst of being comprehendible. It still tackles weighty subjects head-on making the teachings understandable without dumbing down content. We appreciate how it respects the intelligence of its readers. Still, some lengthy sentences leave us reeling:
Catholic social teaching is only the systematic development of what is already present in its fullness in Jesus Christ; the man who is rediscovered in his original dignity (personhood), who is freed from greed and sin and seeks to serve his neighbor (solidarity), who keeps the “welfare of the city” (Jer. 29:7) in mind (common good), as well as a society in which groups and communities can develop freely in peace and justice (subsidiarity)–that is the grand vision.
As Pope Francis explains in his introduction to DoCat, “…it is like a user’s manual that helps us to change ourselves with the Gospel first, and then our closest surroundings, and finally the whole world. For with the power of the Gospel, we can truly change the world.”
To that we say, “Amen!”
Thank you for the gift of this free book, Pope Francis.
World Youth Day ends Sunday, July 31.