Young Catholics (letter)

Young Catholics (letter)

Nola Viney

The debate on why young people have left the Church and are not returning has been an ongoing one in which I have participated with researchers, youth and parents experiencing the pain of loss of Christian community with their children.

One not mentioned in your article is Br Kevin Paul, a Christian brother who taught a lifetime and spent two years meeting with youth, young adults, parents and grandparents and wrote a book on this.

I have four offspring who are part of the "lost generation" of the Church, specifically those who received the wishy-washy teaching in the transition period after Vatican II, in the 1970-80s. Primarily they were told they did not have to go to Mass weekly by their liberalised teachers who had responded with touchy-feely instincts of their own rather than take time to examine what the Church was asking, why and how.

Very definitely the often revolutionary move from pre-Vatican to post-Vatican teaching upset many. Demolishing our spiritual organisations and movements further eroded our information bases. My 30-40 year olds still ask why the Church does not provide moral teaching - something which has been remedied over the past few years.

Post-school leavers, young adults and now young parents have had no doctrinal teaching to understand the symbols and practices of the Mass and sacraments. Also the younger generations are not intergenerational: they want a youth Church, regardless that it excludes everyone above 40. If they can't have this then why go? Meanwhile older Catholics are holding the fort.

One of the problems in churches today was outlined for us by an American priest working here. Multiculturalism has divided even Church-goers into tribal groups, all competing for their cultural spirituality to dominate or at least take up as much of the priests' time as they want.

Priestly leadership requires sophisticated skills, men not caught up in maudlin sentimentality and able to assess parishioners' needs very clearly. There is also a need to communicate an awareness of the whole Catholic community to people.

Even St Monica only prayed 30 years for St Augustine. We little suburban St Monicas are wondering not when but how God is going to answer our prayers.

Nollamara, WA

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