The co-creator of the Church’s catechism for young people has revealed that it's now the top selling Catholic book in the world.
“The latest figures show that Youcat has sold 1.7 million copies worldwide. It’s been a great success in nearly every country where it has been published,” said German publisher Bernard Meuser in a Feb. 23 interview with CNA.
“For example, it is number one in Spain, number one in America, and number one in Germany along with the Pope’s latest book.”
In 2006 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Meuser decided to work on catechism that transmitted the Church’s teachings “in a way that younger people can understand.”
He said Cardinal Schönborn’s key advice was that “if you do something for young people, you should do it with young people.”
Over the next five years the two men worked with theologians, educators, priests, and over 60 young people to create “Youcat.”
The name is an abbreviation of “Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The distinctive, slim, yellow volume was published ahead of the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid, and contains 527 questions and answers.
They are accompanied by numerous quotations, images and illustrations including their trademark “stick man” who becomes animated by the rapid flicking of each page.
“I was astonished that the young people liked the book so much,” Meuser said. “We’ve had so much praise from young people and, yes, they really like the stick man.”
The Youcat Facebook page has also garnered over 21,000 followers to date.
The book is currently published in 20 languages, but Meuser said that by next year that total will rise to 30, including Chinese and Arabic.
One of Pope Benedict’s hopes for the book has also come to fruition.
The catechism has generated many study groups, including one in the Philippines that has over 12,000 participants.
Meuser praised God, “who helped us from the beginning,” for the project’s success.
“I really think it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”