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Exposing Church’s best kept secret

HONG KONG (SE): In an attempt to expose one of the best kept secrets of the Catholic Church, DOCAT and its accompanying smartphone app were released during World Youth Day in Poland as a way of introducing Church social teaching in a simple and understandable manner and encourage people to live it out.

While not exactly social teaching for dummies, DOCAT provides a simplified version of the history of the social teaching. Its 12 chapters cover statements, principles, the political community and love in action, among other things.

It also includes 328 questions that can be asked about poverty, the environment and peace-making. In addition, it features well known quotations from Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

Apart from the app, those who still prefer the traditional way of reading can get it in paperback from Ignatius Press.

The smartphone app was presented to everyone at World Youth Day by Pope Francis in the hope that they will live the social teaching on a daily basis, making a change in their own lives, as well as in their immediate surroundings and the whole world.

The smartphone app is interactive, with question and answer games. People using the app are invited to commit to using it to bring change into the world and a tally is kept of the number of people who put their hands up. It comes in 15 languages including English, German and French.

Lina Chan Lai-nga, the executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, told the Kung Kao Po on August 3 that she hopes young Catholic people can come to a better understanding of Church social teaching, as well as reflect on their own spiritual lives and learn more about society and the world.

She described the social teaching of the Church as its most hidden treasure, because it is seen as relatively difficult and rarely talked about.

Chan pointed out that in addition, parish social concern groups pay a lot of attention to visiting the needy, but neglect commenting on the social policies contained in Church teaching that pertain to their situations.

She said that her hope is that DOCAT will inspire young people to reflect on their social role as Christians.

Chan also talked about the way the commission goes about promoting social teaching by publishing books, running formation courses, guided tours, seminars and exposure trips, both locally and overseas.

She spoke of a guided tour to Choi Yuen Village in Shek Kong to reintroduce people to the simple lifestyle of the farmer, but it had to be stopped when the village was demolished in 2010 to make way for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

She added that the Umbrella Movement in 2014 gave the courses a shot in the arm, as people became more aware of the need to know more about Church social teaching in their search to find a way of interpreting the complicated social issues of the present.

YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) was released in 2011 during World Youth Day in Spain. DOCAT is its follow up.

Francis Law Wai-chung, from the Diocesan Youth Commission, said DOCAT can be a help in looking into the meaning of faith post-World Youth Day.

“When the delegates go back to their daily lives, they are annoyed by the social issues which are hard to improve. But DOCAT encourages them to live out the social teaching. I believe that can help young people to face their challenges from a Catholic point of view,” he said.

Law and others have set up a monthly group called You.C.C. to encourage sharing of experiences and group discussion under themes set out in YOUCAT.

Law said most people consider The Catechism of the Catholic Church too serious and academic, treating it only as a reference book. He said he is glad that YOUCAT has become a primer for young people to learn more about the catechism.


He emphasised that young people need to relate the catechism to their daily lives and DOCAT is one way that can help.

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