The read is a "gripping" one, he writes, because "it speaks to us of our very destiny and because it looks at each one of us closely."
He invites youth to approach the book with passion and perseverance, to "remain in dialogue" with the faith by speaking with friends, forming study networks and exchanging ideas on the Internet.
Youth must know their beliefs and faith with the same precision as "a computer specialist knows an operating system" or "a musician knows a piece of music," he says.
"Yes, you must be more deeply rooted in the faith than your parents' generation, to be able to endure the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and decision."
He tells them not to let the evil and sin of the world, even that within the Church, keep them from learning their faith. "You carry intact the fire of your love in this Church every time that men have darkened her face," he tells them.
Cardinal Schonborn told the Vatican newspaper that the Pope was interested in every stage of the process from the very beginning. The idea for the youth-based catechism, he said, was proposed by young Catholics in Austria.
The first draft was created by a theologians and teachers in German-speaking areas. The text was then put to the test during a pair of summer camps to see if it retained its relevance across language and cultural barriers.
"In this way the entire book is an expression of the youth culture profoundly implanted with the fruitful seed of the Gospel," said Cardinal Schonborn.
The world, he added, has become so "small" that it was necessary to give young people a new perpective on the Gospel, "and 'Youcat' will be able to carry out this mission."
The resource will be available in 13 languages by April 4, 2011.
Ignatius Press has announced the English edition will be released in March 2011. Other volumes in world languages, including Chinese and Arabic, are being prepared.
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