Annie Selak's article in the Washington Post is well worth pondering. - Fr. Rick
Posted at 04:10 PM ET, 02/14/2013
The church young Catholics want
By Annie Selak
(This photo is the Pope in Australia. This is not the photo that appeared with this article in The Washington Post. I choose this photo from goggle images to illustrate this article - Fr. Rick)
Pope Benedict XVI walks past a figurine of baby Jesus as he leads the
Christmas Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 24,
2011. REUTERS/Max Ross (MAX ROSSI - REUTERS)
resignation of Pope Benedict XVI,
all eyes are turned to the future of the Roman Catholic Church. Rather
than getting caught up in a game of the most likely candidates to serve
as the next pope (a different type of March
Madness for Catholics), I think it’s helpful to take a step back and
think about what we hope the future church will look like. I’m a young
Catholic. I work with college age Catholics. What do young Catholics
- A church that takes our experience seriously:
If you dig through church
teaching, you can see that experience is a valid and necessary aspect
of forming conscience. However, it does not feel like that is the case.
Whether it is the sexual abuse crisis or new translation of the Roman
Missal, the church seems distant from what is
actually going on in the world. We want the church to ask the questions
we are asking, rather than ones that seem trivial at best and
irrelevant at worst. Catholicism can recover from mistakes, but one
thing the church cannot recover from is being irrelevant.
-A church that emphasizes the inclusive ministry of Jesus:
Jesus was incredible,
right? Why is it that we so rarely hear about that? Jesus consistently
reached out to those marginalized from the community, yet the church
does not follow suit. Who are the marginalized today? Most young
Catholics are quick to point to two groups: women and
people who do not identify as heterosexual. Regardless of political
leanings, there is an overwhelming consensus that the church needs to do
better in these areas. The Vatican has repeatedly shut down any
dialogue surrounding the ordination of women and church
teaching on homosexuality. At the very least, these issues need to be
opened up to a thoughtful, informed dialogue that includes historical
analysis, social sciences, tradition and Scripture (notably, all areas
the church affirms in the formation of conscience).
There is an urgency to these issues, as these are not nameless people
on the margins, these are our friends, family members, mentors,and
leaders. One of the things that draws young people to the Gospel is the
inclusivity of Jesus; how is it that the exclusivity
of the church turns people away?
-A church that embraces that God is everywhere:
younger generation of the church resonates with the universal notion of
Catholicism. We see diversity and unity as two concepts that go
together, rather than being opposites.
Moreover, we recognize the importance of other religions. Some of Pope
Benedict XVI’s biggest missteps related to his interactions with other
religions. But young Catholics have grown up alongside people from
different religions who are some of the holiest
people we know. Nostra
Aetate , Vatican II’s “Declaration on the Relation of
the Church to Non-Christian Religions” affirms that God is present in
other religions, yet you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the
pews on a Sunday morning who knows this. We need
to affirm and emphasize that God is present in other religions and
sincerely work on improving our relationships with them.
-A church that engages struggles and is open to dialogue:
We want to wrestle with the hard questions of how our experience
interacts with Scripture and tradition. Yet, it feels like young
Catholics are alone in this desire. Many young people respond to this
vacuum in two ways: by either taking everything the hierarchy
says as absolute truth or completely disregarding the church. Neither
of these responses are what the church actually calls us to do. We do
not need answers; we need to engage the world. We do not want to be
spoon-fed theology. Rather, we want to wrestle,
grapple, use our minds, engage our hearts, debate, think and pray. And
we want our church to do that with us.
Mass we say that “we await the blessed hope and the coming of our
Savior, Jesus Christ.” So too, in this time of transition in the church,
we wait in joyful
hope of a Catholicism that lives out the Gospel in our modern world.
We, the young generation of the church, are yearning for the Gospel of
Jesus. We want the church to get its hands dirty and be engaged and
relevant in our lives, helping us to share this
good news throughout the world.
Selak is a lay minister in the Roman Catholic Church and specializes in
the question of young adults and vocation in the modern world.
By Annie Selak | 04:10 PM ET, 02/14/2013
Labels: chruch taking experience seriously, Pope, Pope Benedict, young catholics