Book Review: YouCat Bible

YouCat Bible review

Note: Happy New Year! The Catholic Man would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the publishers and companies who have sent review copies and samples of their products this past 2017 year. Each product is a surprise and each one has blown me away. I guarantee you that The Catholic Man Reviews offers the most honest reviews. I am currently reviewing many of the books and products received. Many of them had been read or tested with personal notes alongside. The reviews will be thoroughly written and posted once completed. 

The category of books that takes the longest amount of time to review are Bibles. Though they may be time-consuming but each review copy allows me a chance for me to be immersed into the Word of God. Each Bible reviewed here on The Catholic Man Reviews is unique.

Today, I sit down to write this review of a Bible for youth released last year in its English translation, the YouCat Bible. Based on the 2015 YouCat Bible in the German language, the YouCat Bible in English is based on the Revised Standard Version (RSV) Catholic translation.

But first, let’s find out what YouCat even stands for. YouCat is short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. Eventually, it has become a series of catechetical materials for youth, consists not only of the YouCat catechism, but also a Youth Prayer BookConfirmation handbookDoCat (Social Teachings of the Church) and now a Bible. In the near future, a YouCat Confession book will be released.

YouCat Bible does not lack the elements seen in other books of the YouCat series, inlcluding notes and quotes in the margins and its youthful stick-figure illustrations. However, it does contain many standard Study Bible elements.

As you flip to the second page of the Bible, you find a two page spread of the Overview of Bible History, leading you through the key events and time period of major Biblical Figures of the Old Testament.

The YouCat Bible also contains a preface by Pope Francis. In the preface, Pope Francis speaks a language very close to the youth. “I love my old Bible, which has been with me for half my life,” Pope Francis said. This shows how much love he has for the Word of God and how much meaning there is behind the  Bible in a personal way for him. “Do you want to make me happy?”, he asks, “Read the Bible.”

In the margins, there are very short Biblical commentaries that may (1) Reference a specific quote from another book of the Bible, (2)Expands on the historical context of a Bible text, (3) Define a certain term, or (4) Connects the reader to an event or situation in today’s world to give the reader better understanding. There are also relevant quotes from saints and other religious figures that reflect a Bible text. Coloured photographs are also scattered throughout Bible bringing life to the texts.

The margins also includes notes that lead the reader to parts of the YouCat. Often, in YouCat reference notes, there are actually questions that prompt the reader to reflect and ponder. YouCat catechism is a good companion to have while reading the YouCat Bible.

There are also maps, though they are not as detailed as the ones in the Oxford Catholic Study Bible as this Bible is for youth. These maps are drawn in the same style as the stick figure illustrations which I found quite interesting. I do enjoy the simplicity of these maps. They seem to go “right to the point”, especially the one of The Journeys of St. Paul, a map I have seen in many Catholic Bibles.

Before most Biblical books, there is a short introduction that outlines the main events in the Book and outlines the significance of the events. This gives the reader some context of what the book is about which I find quite helpful. Some smaller chapters like Lamentations of Jeremiah and the Book Baruch contain a very short introduction that do not take up a full page like the other books.

Though there are many good features with the YouCat Bible, unfortunately, I have to honestly say it has drawn to me some disappointment, but it is partially my fault for not reading things carefully. When I requested a review copy, I never paid close attention that ti was only an, “introduction to the Bible with selected biblical texts”. At first when the Bible came to my doorstep, I expected a full thick Bible like the many others I have received to review. I expected it to be at least the size of The Catholic Children’s Bible by St. Mary’s Press, which is a full Bible for children.

Probably the thing that I found misleading was the sub-title, Youth Bible of the Catholic Church. I thought to myself that if it were a Youth Bible of the Catholic Church, then it should be a full Bible. It would be better in my opinion, to put in the cover, “Bible – Abridged”.

John 3:16 is said to be one the most popular Bible verse. It has even been said so by Kyle Heimann (if I’m not mistaken) at Steubenville Toronto 2016 . Curious, I turn to the Gospel of John in the YouCat Bible. I saw excerpt chapter 1, excerpt of chapter 2, but skipped to an excerpt of chapter chapter 4. Chapter 3 of John was simply summarized in a couple sentences. I saw this as a surprise as if John 3:16 is a popular verse, then it must bear significance to people.


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On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★☆☆ 3/5

I really enjoy the appearance of the YouCat Bible, its colours and layout. Honestly though, I was disappointed that the “Youth Bible of the Catholic Church” is only an abridged bible.

The YouCat Bible would be recommended for youth who are new to the Catholic Church or have never picked up a Bible before. The YouCat Bible would be a good beginner’s Bible.

I hope the YouCat foundation and Ignatius Press can have a full “Youth Bible of the Catholic Church” one day with in depth commentaries and features in the margins for youth.


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