DOCAT, the follow-up and companion volume to the popular YOUCAT
(Youth Catechism), was officially released yesterday at World Youth Day
2016 in Kraków, Poland.
DOCAT (pronounced "do-cat") is a popular
adaptation of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church that draws on
Scripture, YOUCAT, the Catechism and the Compendium of Catholic Social
Teaching, and features a foreword by Pope Francis (see below). As part
of the release, a DOCAT app has been made available to all World Youth
Day participants. The app helps readers to start groups, participate in
discussions, and do acts of justice as a present to the pope, who, in
writing the foreword to DOCAT, shared his dream with youth on how to
change the world.
DOCAT is published and available in North America through Ignatius Press, which offers this description of the accessible, Q&A-formatted volume:
is written with help from church and business leaders, social activists
and young people in a popular Q-and-A, YOUCAT style that guides young
people in conscience formation and Catholic action on social and
political issues. It shows Catholics how to apply Gospel values to
poverty, imbalance of wealth, employment and unemployment, the use of
natural resources and environmental concerns, terrorism, immigration and
abortion, among other topics
DOCAT features inspirational and
insightful quotes from Catholic leaders and saints, including St. Pope
John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis and Pope Benedict; excerpts
from Francis’ magisterial teaching; and important statements from his
immediate predecessor regarding the four principles of Catholic social
teaching: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity
“DOCAT answers the question: ‘What should we do
[as Catholics]?’; it is like a user’s manual that helps us change
ourselves with the Gospel first, and then our closest surroundings, and
finally the whole world,” says Pope Francis in the foreword of DOCAT.
“For with the power of the Gospel, we can truly change the world.”
Mark Brumley, President of Ignatius Press, states 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 in a consistent way in
their daily lives and in their life aspirations." He explains that the
volume will help young people become what they are called to be:
"enthusiastic, well-formed and well-informed disciples of Jesus, acting
by the power of the Spirit."
Ignatius Press has also co-published, with the Augustine Institute, The DOCAT Study Guide, which is an aid for using the DOCAT in a classroom setting, 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 from the Ignatius Press website.
Below is the full Introduction to DOCAT, written by the Holy Father, Pope Francis:
Dear Young People!
predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, put into your hands a Youth Catechism,
YOUCAT. Today I would like to commend 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 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
Jesus says: “As you did it to one of the least of these
my brethren, you did to me.” Many saints were shaken to the core by this
passage from the Bible. On account of it, Saint Francis of Assisi
changed his whole life. Mother Teresa converted because of this saying.
And Charles de Foucauld acknowledges: “In all of the Gospel, there is no
saying that had greater influence on me and changed my life more deeply
than this: ‘Whatsoever you did for one of the least of my brethren, you
did 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 am
called to seek and to love Jesus above all in these little ones, in the
Dear young friends! Only conversion of heart can make
our world, which is full of terror and violence, more humane. And that
means patience, justice, prudence, dialogue, integrity, solidarity with
victims, the needy, and the poorest, limitless dedication, love even
unto death for the sake of the other. When you have understood that
quite deeply, then you can change the world as committed Christians. The
world cannot continue down the path that it is taking now. If a
Christian in these days looks away from the need of the poorest of the
poor, then in reality he is not a Christian!
Can we not 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 direction of Cardinals Christoph
Schönborn and Reinhard Marx, a team set to work to bring the liberating
message of Catholic social doctrine to the attention of the youth of the
world. They collaborated with famous scholars 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 made sure that the text is
readily comprehensible. Social doctrine calls that “participation”! The
team itself applied an important principle of the social doctrine from
the start. Thus DOCAT became a magnificent introduction to Christian
What we call Catholic social teaching today came about
in the nineteenth century. With industrialization, a brutal form of
capitalism arose: a sort of economy that destroyed human beings.
Unscrupulous industrialists reduced the impoverished rural population to
the point where they toiled in mines or in rusty factories for
starvation wages. Children no longer saw the light of day. They were
sent underground like slaves to pull coal carts. With great commitment,
Christians offered aid to those in need, but they noticed that that was
not enough. So they developed ideas for counteracting the injustice
socially and politically as well. Actually the fundamental proclamation
of Catholic social doctrine was and is the 1891 encyclical letter by
Pope Leo XIII, Rerum novarum, “On Capital and Labor.” The Pope wrote
clearly and unmistakably: “To defraud any one of wages that are his due
is a great crime which cries to the avenging anger of Heaven.” With the
full weight of her authority, the Church fought for the rights of the
Because the needs of the time demanded it, Catholic
social teaching was increasingly enriched and re ned over the years.
Many people debated about community, justice, peace, and the common
good. They found the principles of personhood, solidarity, and
subsidiarity, which DOCAT, too, explains. But actually 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.
kills”, I wrote in my apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, for today
that economy of exclusion and disparity of incomes still exists. There
are countries in which 40 or 50 percent of the young people are
unemployed. In many societies, older people are marginalized because
they seemingly have no “value” and are no longer “productive”. Great
stretches of land are depopulated because the poor of the earth flee to
the slums of the major cities in the hope of finding something left
there on which to survive. The production methods of a globalized
economy have destroyed the modest economic and agricultural structures
of their native regions. By now, approximately 1 percent of the world’s
population owns 40 percent of the entire wealth of the world, and 10
percent of the world’s population owns 85 percent of the wealth. On the
other hand, just about 1 percent of this world “belongs” to half of the
world’s population. About 1.4 billion human beings live on less than one
euro [approximately $1.10] per day.
When I invite you all now
really to get to know the social doctrine of the Church, I am dreaming
not just about groups that sit under trees and discuss it. That is good!
Do that! My dream is of something greater: I wish I had a million young
Christians or, even better, a whole generation who are for their
contemporaries “walking, talking social doctrine”. Nothing else will
change the world but people who with Jesus devote themselves to it, who
with him go to the margins and right into the middle of the dirt. Go
into politics, too, and fight for justice and human dignity, especially
for the poorest of the poor. All of you are the Church. Make sure, then,
that this Church is transformed, that she is alive, because she allows
herself to be challenged by the cries of the dispossessed, by the
pleading of the destitute, and by those for whom nobody cares.
active yourselves, also. When many do that together, then there will be
improvements in this world and people will sense that the Spirit of God
is working through you. And maybe then you will be like torches that
make the path to God brighter for these people.
And so I give
you this magnificent little book, hoping that it might kindle a re in
you. I pray every day for you. Pray for me, too!
November 6, 2015