Sunday, September 23, 2007

Too good

If only I hadn't grown up in the missing generation. Our catechism consisted pretty much of what Fr. Phillip says Kids These Days: What they don't want from the Church. Father offers some great thoughts on what works and also how NOT to relate to the youth. Perhaps I will forward this to our youth ministry.
These students aren’t you at 18. Apply your own standards of liberality and let them explore the fullness of the Church’s ancient traditions. You had a crappy childhood at St. Sixtus of the Perpetual Frown under the bruising discipline of Sr. Mary of the Five Wounds of Christ, so religious habits, rosaries, crucifixes, devotional booklets, Latin, incense, sanctus bells, etc. all remind you of stifling dogmatic lectures, knuckle-rappings, silly moral imperatives, triumphal-martial Catholicism, etc. Guess what? They aren’t you! They didn’t have these experiences, so they don’t associate Eucharistic adoration and First Friday Masses with intellectual repression and physical pain. Let them transform these traditions and make them their own. This is what you did, right? Well then, be consistent and apply your own principles. If you don’t, they will simply ignore you as a dinosaur and look for unofficial leadership elsewhere…which is exactly what you did when your elders failed to allow you the room you needed to explore and grow!

You grew up (for the most part) in a sexually repressed culture crowded with rules and punishments. They didn’t. They grew up in the sexual chaos your revolution caused and still celebrates. If they want to figure out what virginity, chastity, and NFP is all about, let them. Again, your snarky predictions of their inevitable failure will only serve to further damage your credibility—it will not deter them. Also, ask yourself: why are you threatened by their desire to put their sexuality in the context of faithful marriage?...

Also, please, please, please don’t assume that they want their Christian lives to mirror their secular culture.
You wanted the Church to look more and more like your “times.” They don’t. They want their Christian lives to be counter-cultural, against the secular grain. Yes, they are extremely na├»ve sometimes about what this actually means but you will lose them instantly if you think an MTV Mass is the hip thing to do. Why would they come to a MTV Mass? They have MTV (and worse) 24/7 on their cell phones. They don’t need or want you for entertainment. Church is not a concert or an amusement park. What they don’t have on their cell phones is the Real Presence of Christ in his Eucharist.

Amen, and thanks for the link Jeff

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The best possible thing that anyone could do is encourage them to look around at other faiths to see if Catholicism is really the dying old horse that they want to hitch their wagons to.