New Approach or Sales Pitch?

Oooh! I love this one!  https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/03/19/god-save-them/  Sometimes youth can be exasperating – which of us wasn’t in our youth? – but I also find them completely fascinating. If you don’t spend much time with them, you should. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend your own on most days, but find somebody else’s who might not as easily roll their eyes at you. Face it, the person who tells you to do the dishes, put away the laundry, or mow the lawn rarely gets a fair shake when it comes to discussing, say, morality in our day and age. If you do, you can gain some interesting insights and have some great conversations.
 

God Save Them

Robert Royal

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

It’s a verifiable fact that not all politicians are hypocrites. When they begin to worry, publicly, about what’s happening “to the children,” some are genuinely concerned. Public talk about young people, however, is often a form of ventriloquism – by which the opinions (or alleged opinions) of “youth” are used as a voice to advance things that people in authority already want to do.

I’m pretty sure Americans get this in the wake of the Florida shooting. We’ve pretty much been beaten by the main stream media into that conclusion. You want to know how to solve the social ills in America? Ask a teenager, they’ve got all the answers. Well, of course, unless it’s a teen who’s taken the time to actually think about issues. Those kids? Just ignore.

The Vatican is organizing a Synod on Youth (scheduled for this October) and I’m convinced that the percentage of the people involved who are sincere is quite high, relative to the typical crop of democratic politicos. Which is why it’s counterproductive when they start using the cant of politicians about “listening,” not just doing something “for” but being “with” youth.

OK, Robert Royal has a little more hope than I do for who is running the Synod on Youth.  I’m a little more skeptical. Oh, you are too???  I cannot imagine why.

“When I was young, I would have found this sort of thing – adults acting like they needed to learn something from me – pathetic, indeed highly suspect. Maybe young people have changed deep down, but somehow I doubt it.

Amen to that! I’d definitely say that I believe youth like to be heard. They like to give their opinions. They like to have a cause, but if you think that they believe for an instance that they can’t see through pandering, get a clue. Sadly, many of the people in the synods, as of late, are professional panderers. Or, maybe, serial panderers is more descriptive.

Listening to young people can be a good thing – depending on who’s doing the listening, and why. Fr. James Martin “listens” to young people with various sexual disorders, particularly at events like “IgnatianQ” conferences, which are sexual and gender diversity events organized now at Jesuit universities. They’re intended to make young people think that LGBTQetc. is just fine – even fine with Jesus Himself. And that people who think otherwise are bigoted, hate-filled, un-Christian.

BAM! That’s calling a spade a spade. The minions (my pet name for the those undermining Church teachings) are masters at advancing their agenda, and like every good advancer of agendas, right or wrong, true or untrue, they put forward a victim. In the minions case, they like to put forth martyrs. The kids are just the latest group to whom those faithful to Church teaching are mean. I mean, really, faithful Catholics are ignoring and uncaring about the thoughts of youth. There’s never been a single program for them in the Church. And, certainly, there’s never, ever been a pope as caring about the youth as Pope Francis.  Except there has. Seriously, does ANYONE remember Pope John Paul II??? You know, the founder of World Youth Day??? He was AWESOME with youth and gave them a mission like nobody else. Most of the amazing, faithful youth speakers of today were inspired by him.

If he were alive today, that ex-military man St. Ignatius would doubtless take vigorous – and very different – action than his latter-day descendants about these things, which are of as great moment as the Reformation he battled, perhaps greater.

He would probably do something very much like what Karol Wojtyla, now St. John Paul, famously did with his canoeing and hiking trips – meetings with young people, which included Mass, confessions, spiritual counseling. He “accompanied” by telling the truth of Catholicism. Not browbeating but, after clearly laying out the arguments, he would tell them “you must decide” the path you will follow. That actually worked. The accompaniment moved many young people – not to accept the unacceptable, but to saving truth and action.

EXACTLY!  “Be not afraid!” started off JPII’s papacy.  It didn’t start with the doom and gloom that we see from all the liberal lobbyists running around today. Back in JPII’s day, there wouldn’t be a team whining, “Everything should be totally easy for you!  We’ve been so mean to you!” There were people saying salvation is tough and here’s what we have for you to achieve it. Join us! Like Royal says, true accompaniment.

The world desperately needs 10,000 such “accompaniers” – today, yesterday, every year, for decades to come. Manly men not afraid to talk about submitting to God’s will; compassionate but tough-minded women who won’t shrink from countering our sad culture, even sometimes within the Church.

That’s what we try to do for our children and for all youth with whom we are in contact.  We simply want them to see the truth through all of the lies, pandering and sales pitches from the Fr. Martins of the world. (Yeah, he’s a category now.)

There’s a planning session about the Youth Synod this week – and I’m here, for the next few days, in Rome. So far, I don’t have the impression that we’ll see much of that Wojtyla-type listening and acting. (As in the past, I may post some reports here if developments warrant.) What we already have is a lot of weak sociology, as we also saw before the two Synods on marriage. No one should be surprised if this event turns into something quite different than planned.

Color me shocked. Prepare for an undermining of truth.  Personally, I expect it to go off EXACTLY as planned. Or, should I say, contrived?

There have been surveys of course, and there’s to be participation of young people via Facebook. As is true for almost any public question these days, it’s not very hard to make survey numbers say almost anything you want. Religious surveys are particularly tricky because who you choose to ask – serious Catholics, nominal Catholics, the spiritually indifferent – makes a big difference in results, even before the interpretative spin starts. 

What? No Instagram or Twitter? No #hearme or Snapchat filter has been made? Psh! I’m pretty sure the ”interpretive spin” has already started. I’m pretty sure that the whole “Synod on Youth” is just a manipulative move.

The most salient fact here is that young people in developed countries have been effectively catechized – by the secular state, the media, popular culture, and public schools – to be skeptical about truth claims, but to believe firmly in two things: that science has refuted religion, and the sexual revolution.

There’s been a little pushback on the sexual revolution. Some Millennials have suffered from divorce or weakened families and seem to have taken flight to more stable views of marriage and parenting. But we shouldn’t be overly optimistic about this still early trend; Eros unbound continues to tear up the social fabric of developed nations.

Millennials say, however, that the most common reason they abandon religion is that they believe “science” (and the quite useful technologies it spins off) has proven faith is an illusion. This belief is, itself, of course, an illusion, conjured up out of quite weak reasoning: you don’t have to be a believer to know that faith and science – properly understood – are two different things, neither reducible or refutable by the other.

When I run down a list of Catholic scientists who were major contributors to scientific discovery, you almost have to pick up jaws off the floor. Whaaatttt??? No! No! The Church is totally against science because, well, Galileo! The liberal spin is high with millennials. It’s not insurmountable but you actually have to believe in truth, unlike the minions whose truth it completely squishy.

But to understand this distinction takes some careful thinking – and where now is that taught?

Thankfully it’s happening in more and more places as the groovy club who were ordained mid-last century die off. 

Love and mercy – the field hospital in the pope’s striking image – are two fine Christian realities, and they do an end run around reflex resistance to religion. But if they don’t then go on to the main event, aren’t bolstered by some hard thinking, they won’t long remain Christian – or even realities, as we’re seeing in the increased social brittleness and angry polarization around us.

Yup! It doesn’t help that parents, who are the front line in countering this, have bought into the idea that we shouldn’t say anything or, worse yet, they weren’t taught anything themselves. Nobody ever said it would be easy and heaven knows it isn’t pleasant, but we can’t give up or give into this thought. We have to educate ourselves, too, since we were one of the first generations who experienced the happy-clappy education which was anything but education about our beautiful Church. As I’ve said before, there’s a reason I homeschool. In most areas, if you are leaving it up to the local parish or Catholic school to educate your children, you are making a big mistake. My poor parents had to do a lot of undoing what the parish and schools did to their kids.  

Under the circumstances, there’s a strong temptation to believe that reducing the demands of love and mercy, by downplaying their Christian foundations, will draw people in. Thomas Jefferson, no stupid man, wrote to a friend in the 1780s, “I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its conscience to neither kings or priests, the genuine doctrine of only one God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.” The latest Pew Survey says Unitarians are 0.3 percent of the U.S. population – maybe 600,000 in the whole world.

There is little to be expected from the liberal path, as not only Unitarians but the liberal Protestants know. The Synod has taken on a massive task under highly unfavorable circumstances. Sure, being “with” young people may keep the usual barriers down – at first. But the harder part is what comes next – the way, truth, life.

We’ve been in “I’m OK, you’re OK” mode for decades now. This isn’t some new and unique tactic, and belief is at an all-time low because of it. But, by all means, let’s ignore the hard truth and go with nice and pleasant.

It will be a miracle if the Synod can make progress against so much resistance, not least in the Church Herself. But as every Christian should always remember: miracles do still happen. Pray. Hard.

A miracle is totally needed and something we should all pray for lest it turn out like the last synod. My guess is some are rushing to grab their millstones.  

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3 thoughts on “New Approach or Sales Pitch?

  1. Nothing but decadence is in store for Catholicism. By its own volition.

    May it disappear from the face of the Earth, along with uncivilization.

    Anyone who hopes for good from the Catholic Church, needs medication.

    I am sixty something. The charade of Catholicism is coming to an end.
    Deservedly so.

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  2. I was invited to the preparatory session – I wasn’t able to go because of other commitments… I think it would have been a waste of time. My strategy (and I would not have been alone, as others at the meeting did this) would have been to shout “trad! everything more trad!” etc., just to swing it even a little bit in that direction.

    This synod’s final content is likely to be ambiguous vanilla milquetoast which will mirror the discussions of retirees about the pros and cons of fads that kids are into these days, and I get the sense that everybody knows that. The very idea of having a global discussion about youth issues strikes me as strange… As if there is all this meaningful similarity between sub-Sarahan Africa, China, USA, and Brazil. “All the kids have all the needs, desires, beliefs, and challenges about all the things.” I’ve taught elementary and high school in Rome – the Diocese should “clean its own room” to paraphrase Jordan Peterson. There are serious, deep-seated problems which could actually be addressed. What ever happened to subsidiarity?

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