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Young Catholics Need Heroes

April 5, 2018 Frontpage No Comments


What do young Catholics want? A number of polls seem to reflect that Pope Francis is immensely popular among Catholics in the United States. Pew Research puts this number at 84 percent. Yet when asked precisely what it is about Pope Francis young people love so much, the numbers are a bit more foggy. In fact, not only is there no clear result that young people point toward, opinions about Francis’ pontificate being a monumental shift have actually decreased precipitously in recent months.
Of course, there’s nothing more grating than to have octogenarians dictate to teenagers what they want to hear. Let’s be clear on this point — if we are ever at the point of telling teenagers “what they want to hear” in an effort to perform outreach, ecumenism, or passing on the traditions of our faith? The game is already over.
To put it more bluntly, younger Catholics under the age of 40 (and as of this writing, I am still of this category) already know what Bob Dylan sounds like. Somehow, the organist attempting to hammer out “Sing to the Mountains! Sing to the Seeeeees!” doesn’t quite bring anyone closer to Christ.
Quite frankly, my generation’s degree of tolerance for the guitar and sandals wing of the Church is precisely nil. What the rest of us see is a clique that, no matter how well intentioned and kind its members are, remains straitjacketed by a Gather hymnal no one buys twice because it is never used once.
Whatever happened to great reverence and ceremony? We are quite literally re-presenting the Real Presence of the Eucharist — God — through the person of a priest in an unbroken tradition of faith stretching back 2,000 years. One would think that such an event would demand Sunday best. Instead, we have polo shirts and shorts to Mass.
This isn’t to say that we start hanging “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs at the front of the parish door. To the contrary, some of the holiest men and women of the Church have covered themselves in hair shirts, work clothes, sackcloth and ashes. The laborer in sweatpants covered in paint who attends daily Mass faithfully understands something that the peacock in the front pews every Sunday does not.
And yet.
If we want to know why our children and grandchildren no longer attend Mass faithfully, there’s a simple answer. At some point, it stopped being important to us. Instead of suits and dresses, we started wearing shorts and yoga pants. Instead of great hymns, we started singing third-rate pop songs. Instead of Fr. O’Brien, we started calling him Tom.
Children are sponges. When we treat prayer as an imperative, they will do likewise. When they see a family honor Mary as Christ would, this is passed on as well. My grandmother would tell stories of my great-grandmother lighting a single candle for the Blessed Mother every day. In our home, we light a votive candle for the Blessed Mother every Friday which burns until Sunday.
What children want and need are heroes. Not superheroes, but ordinary heroes who cut through the mendacity of the world and point to the important things. Mass, the rosary, honoring the Blessed Mother, Confession, and a good example.
That’s what young Catholics want. In fact, we are starving for heroes. In a world where the heroic often comes at the price of martyrdom in the public square? Surely we could use more examples of courage and wisdom in a world where cowardice seems all too eager to cloak itself as prudence.

+ + +

After a three-hour meeting with Vatican officials, Chinese Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin quietly returned home, packed his bags, and waited for the Communists to come and arrest him. Xijin’s crime? Refusal to not only accept a demoted status as an auxiliary bishop to a Communist-appointed excommunicant, but also Xijin’s refusal to concelebrate Mass with such a man.
As before — heroes. Sadly, if you’re checking your calendars, this is indeed 2018 — not 1948. Cardinal Mindszenty, pray for us.

+ + +

Just in case you were curious, there was no walkout at Kenney Manor in support of anti-gun violence. Feelings are for after your Latin quiz.

+ + +

Curiously enough, The Washington Post trumpeted the 200,000-member “March for Our Lives” (not to be confused with the 500,000 March for Life participants The Washington Post continues to ignore every year) as some sort of massive victory.
What they failed to note? Not only were the participants the same gaggle that participated in the last three nationwide marches, but if they added another 120,000 people? That would total the approximate number of babies Planned Parenthood kills every year.

+ + +

Speaking of America’s #1 abortion chain, Planned Parenthood received a boondoggle of cash from the federal government, as President Trump failed to keep his promise to veto Planned Parenthood funding after Congress (both parties) made sure full funding stayed in the bill.
To the credit of the House Republicans, they attempted to include a one-year moratorium early on, yet Senate Republicans (specifically, their staffers) continue to keep funding at a distance for the rank reason that they need the leverage in 2018. To win elections, of course…not to save any babies.
Of course, there are plenty of pro-life leaders that get invited to swanky events at the Naval Observatory to sit around the table and achieve moral victories…while Planned Parenthood not only engorges itself at taxpayer expense, then spends tens of millions of dollars crushing pro-life activism at every turn.
If only we Catholics cared about the babies the same way the political left cared about homosexual marriage, stripping away Second Amendment rights, tearing down statues, transgenderism, etc. Of course, the bishops have the tools to do this, as does the laity. Again — the world needs heroes.

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