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    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Some ado about nothing

    The 80/20 rule seems to apply to so many things.

    Regarding Catholics in the pew, I wouldn't be surprised if the figure was 10% committed and 90% fuzzy, but perhaps it is 20% after all.

    So to look at young Catholics and find that 20% at that tender age are serious about their religion is very good news. You would think from the article that things were falling apart.

    Nope, that's the way it is. Just be sure you're in the 20% group before it's too late.


    One of the main results of the new survey was to confirm and reinforce earlier findings that younger adult Catholics tend to have a looser, more tenuous relationship with the church than their older counterparts. The younger Catholics are less likely to accept church teachings on issues of sex and marriage or to consider the church's teaching role important in such matters, for example, and they are less likely to attend Mass regularly or to consider Mass attendance important for being a good Catholic.

    "The long-term trend in the level of Catholics' commitment to the institutional church from 1987 to 2005 was moderately downward, and, on the basis of generational differences, we can predict a continued downward drift in the future," the study says.

    This is always where the experts sound like know-nothings. "we can prediect".. oh sure. I'm betting they never sat in a pew for weeks on end and tried to make sense of their situation. But they do know how to draw a line on a graph and predict demise. This compared to Jesus' promise that there would never be demise.

    "As long as they believe in God, Jesus' incarnation and resurrection and Mary as the mother of God and as long as they do whatever they can to love their neighbor, they do not feel obliged to attend Mass every week, go to confession every year, or even marry in the church," it adds.

    "Many young adults feel they were never taught the basic truths of the Catholic faith. ... They do not understand their faith enough to explain it to their children," it says.

    "Other young adults are troubled by the discrepancy between church teachings on sexual and reproductive issues and their own views on topics such as artificial birth control, abortion, homosexuality and the ordination of women and married men," it says.

    "It is unlikely that the church will change its views on these issues any time soon," it adds. "Nor are ... Catholics (in the generations born 1960-78 or since 1978) likely to change their views. Thus, young adults -- more than older Catholics -- are faced with participating in an institution that does not reflect their worldview. The church also is confronted with ministering to young adults who disagree with many of its policies and practices. ... These tensions pose serious problems for both young adults and the church."

    Yes sure. These tensions are what life's all about. Nothing new here, or ever.

    In one recent survey "just over half of American Catholics said that young adults' lack of participation in the church is a serious problem," the 205-page book says. That concern was reflected not just by older Catholics, but even by nearly half of the younger adult Catholics surveyed, it says.

    D'Antonio and Hoge are fellows of the Life Cycle Institute of The Catholic University of America, Davidson teaches sociology at Purdue University and Gautier is a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

    The new book is titled American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church. It was co-authored by William V. D'Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge and Mary L. Gautier.

    The new book... I think now we can guess why the survey tries to be controversial. Book sales.

    "A sizable minority of young adults are very spiritual and highly religious," it says. "As Colleen Carroll has shown in her book, 'The New Faithful,' a sizable number of young adults -- we estimate about 20 percent – attend Mass and go to Communion regularly, go to confession occasionally, think of themselves as 'orthodox' Christians and read the Scriptures whenever they can. ... They see themselves as the future of the church and are quite naturally offended when others describe young adults as the problem."

    Despite that minority, the evidence suggests that most young adults "are only loosely tethered to the church," it says.

    Despite that 'minority'. Thank goodness for that constant minority.


    Blogger BJ said...

    Hi! I thought you and your readers might be interested in some post-Easter news about Pope Benedict XVI...
    The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
    The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
    money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.

    April 10, 2007  

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