18Oct Exodus of young people is the Church’s core problem

Many words have been spoken over the past few months about the escalating problem of shortage of priests. The Roman Synod and the October NCBI have been addressing the meaning of priesthood, vocations to priesthood, and the problem of shortage of priests to provide for Sunday Mass. But Sunday Mass for whom?
The core problem is not shortage of priests. The real problem is the virtual absence from Sunday celebration of Catholics of the three younger generations. The core problem is the exodus. Where there’s a problem, the appropriate response is to begin by investigating the causes. This problem has so far not been investigated. Instead, the Church leadership has been attributing the causes to a tranche of —isms, looking around for short term patchwork solutions while lamenting the absence of the majority of the younger generations and the shortage of candidates for priesthood. Isn’t it time we go out to where the absentee younger generation people are to be found, and engage with them. We may end up finding the cause of the problem is neither with them nor with any of the ‘isms’ being quoted by the hierarchy.
I propose to focus here on the substantial number of dedicated young people one might see around in Dublin, live coals among the embers of Church. Though still Catholic, they have opted out of Sunday Mass and other church activities for dedicated life in community. We need at the very least to move around among them, listen to, observe them in action and then ask ourselves a few questions.
There’s that young fellow, for instance, let’s call him Eric, respectfully balanced on his haunches while engaging with a presumably homeless man seated by the railings of Halfpenny Bridge, beaker in front of him on the ground. Eric is listening attentively while the man, let’s call him Frank, is talking. As I pass by, in a hurry to get to church, some words of a song come to me.
‘His name is Jesus Christ and he is homeless And he sleeps on the margins of the streets And when we see him we pass by Assuming he is in a drunken sleep’
Eric is one of the volunteer members of the Dublin Simon Community. He will be followed later tonight by two or three of the part-time Soup Run team. Eric will have been initiated into this ministry team of volunteers through accompanying and later being accompanied by a Simon staff member. This ministry based on respect for each of the service users includes getting to know them, the history behind what has led to their plight whether of family breakdown or other traumatic experience leading to drug or alcohol addiction, whether lack of ability to earn a living, or having been evicted, due to unemployment and penury. Whatever be the cause of Frank’s homelessness, if he succeeds in staying with the Simon community he will be enabled to surmount the obstacle to his full human development. He will be enabled to chose between Community Counselling Service, the Treatment Services for healing of drug addiction through detoxification, rehabilitation and aftercare, or entering on the Learning and Development Programme of classes and workshops that build confidence and self esteem, or the Support to Live independently (SLI), and Tenancy Sustainment service. Eventually, through on-going Simon Community support, he will move step by step from homelessness to independent living.
Ministering to the homeless in greater Dublin through a staff and a volunteer team of about 220, Simon is only one among many faith communities in Ireland attracting a substantial percentage of the younger generations, absent from Church life, to volunteer costly service on an on-going basis, giving meaning to the lives of server and served alike. In addition to the Simon group, I’m thinking of such groups as the 14 staff and 30 volunteer members of Ruhama dedicated to outreach, education and development, counselling, and resettlement of women reduced to prostitution in Dublin alone; I’m thinking of the 2,188 volunteer members of the 20 branches of the Samaritan Communities across Ireland ministering to women, mainly drug addicts reduced to prostitution. I have in mind also the volunteer members of the 18 Camphill Communities devoted to the mentally disabled, of the Bernardos the L’Arche, and the many other such faith groups.
In sharp contrast to Catholic Church culture, the culture of these groups, in their attitude of total respect for each person without distinction of gender or sexual orientation, walk of life or religious affiliation, is a community based culture. Even if they don’t say it, they are witnessing to the Christ life in close communion with one another “I have come that they may have life”. Working and sharing life together, their aim is to bring life, building up the human person through community and mutual respect. And for the younger generations where the power of the peer group is strong, community support and the urge to face up to challenge are both central and rewarding.
Will members of these communities find such human challenge and support in the Catholic Church? In the Catholic Church, will they experience a spirit of community sharing of life, enabling them grow through responsibly participating in planning, decision making, mutually respectful dialogue and celebration? “Their heightened influence on society demands of them a proportionately active apostolate.. Happily their natural qualities fit them for this activity. As they become more conscious of their own personality, they are impelled by a zest for life and abounding energies to assume their own responsibility, and they yearn to play their part’. This question of challenge, participation and support arose in a recent visit with Kate, a member of staff of one of these faith communities. Kate shared with me and my companion how, when she had asked her married daughter, ‘a devoted wife and mother’, why she doesn’t go to Mass, her daughter said she was not willing to listen, Sunday after Sunday, to someone telling her what to think. I was envisaging Kate’s daughter as a number in a pew, looking into a sea of human backs. (It might, of course have been a different experience in one of those few parishes where a circular ordering of seating has replaced the lines of pews, where there is a real effort to develop a sense of community).
1.C.f. Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity no.12

The problem is, the culture of the Church is foreign to present day Irish culture to the point that some of the hymns and prayers in use are startling, ‘Hide me in your wounds’, ‘inebriate me’, as are prayers addressing a heart, a body, a sacrament, blood. Church culture is alien in excluding women from major leadership roles, even to the point at which a General Council made up exclusively of males discusses and definitively pronounces on such issues as birth control, the experience of intimacy in marriage, the family; and with women excluded .
Jesus was culturally inserted within the society of his time. He was not an Emperor. So who are the bishops imitating in their Roman Imperial gowns, diamond rings, mitres and crowns and thrones? Jesus came, not to re-establish a Roman Imperial institution, but to establish the reign of God in the world of all ages. Culturally, the Church is out of sync. with our generation in more respects than in the regalia of its leaders. The Church in decline has yet to wake up to the fact that world society, and specifically Irish society has undergone radical change over the years. Our education system is no longer confined to rote learning but has opened up to enquiry, research and investigation. In fact, today’s education system mirrors the system Jesus adopted. He used parables to challenge people to reflect and engage in dialogue on life, on meaning and on values. And this was the method and style of preaching the disciples would have learned in their apprenticeship to Jesus. It is the system and method the early Christian communities used as they recounted their experiences of Jesus among them and were inspired to follow in his Way. It is also the method the Basis Christian communities of Latin America followed before conservative bishops engaged in a campaign to repress them.
It is the same method and style that inspires and preserves the spirit of faith in communities such as the Simon community when for example they would invite a speaker to interact with the group. Sometimes it would be an invited speaker making a presentation on a personal experience of a weekly AA meeting as a safe place for people sharing on personal struggles with addiction, and on the joy of day by day conquests through faith in a ‘greater Power’. In these presentations, all are free to contribute. There is no pulpit. Instead, all are growing together, not through written laws and dogmas and exhortations, but through mutual interaction in friendship, nourishing the inner individual and community spirit. These communities don’t generally talk about ‘communion with Christ and with one another’ but they genuinely live it. I found the arrangement of seats in circular form in one of their prayer rooms both functional and symbolic.
People like the Kate’s daughter could yet find a home in the Church when in our time we have succeeded in undertaking the task of digging away the heavy ash and re-igniting the live embers; a task demanding more than cosmetic change. ‘New wine needs new wineskins’, new wine, the ever new spirit of the historical Jesus, to replace the heavy ash of Roman Imperialism with all its pomp and circumstance.
2. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. No.32 ‘He revealed the love of the Father and the sublime vocation of mankind in terms of the most common of social realities and by making use of the speech and the imagery of plain everyday life…He chose to lead the life proper to an artisan of his time and place’
So the challenge we’re facing is much deeper than shortage of priests or the drop in Sunday Mass attendance. The embers waiting to be ignited are there among the faith communities, the faith Movements and Associations seeking Reform, among the people who have been marginalised for speaking out in the midst of this chaos, among the tens of thousands of heroic survivors of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up still faithful to their God and still struggling with where to go to find the true Church. All of this possibly raises some intimations for reform, but also some practical questions on what’s missing for Church renewal. Above all, it highlights the need for celebrating the loving, challenging, living presence of Jesus the Christ within and among us, our greater Power. As he expressed it in his prayer to the Father, ‘You in Me and I in You, that they may be one in us’.
Teresa Mee

23 Responses

  1. Mary O Vallely

    Excellent, Teresa! Challenging us to think outside the box/pulpit as usual. Where would Christ be today? He would be with the man on the Halfpenny Bridge and most of us would probably walk past him. This article is worth sharing/ reflection in discussion groups and is a reminder to all of us who care as passionately as Teresa of that need for “celebrating the loving, challenging, living presence of Jesus the Christ within us and among us, our greater Power”. Thank you for lighting a spark of fire in this dying ember.

  2. Con Carroll

    Jose Pagola new book is out, a commentary St Matthews Gospel. 2012 can be purchased in Veritas. looks very interesting

  3. Sean O'Conaill

    Teresa is entirely right. There will be no hope for the ‘New Evangelisation’ if it adopts a ‘sit down and listen to me’ model of Catechisation. Essentially the Gospel is about the ‘Kingdom of God’ – the God who breaks into our isolation and reunites us with community, and young people are as capable of communicating that love as adults. We must stop boring and patronising them and give them something important to do.
    .
    We must also challenge them to explore together the current problems of consumerist secularisation in light of the principles of Catholic social teaching. At their best and properly mentored older teenagers are well capable of rescuing younger teenagers from loneliness, depression, addiction and meaninglessness. The voluntary organisations are showing the way forward, as is the ‘Search’ evangelical programme. The deadening hand of clericalism must not be allowed to go on alienating the young. They have a world to save, and a Trinity to help them do it. At present the magisterium is simply in the way.

  4. Dairne Mc Henry

    Thank you, Teresa, not only for your excellent and challenging article, but also for giving me a good laugh! In the second line you mention NCBI. Did you intend to refer to the Conference of Irish Bishops? NCBI usually stands for the National Council for the Blind of Ireland…

  5. Kevin

    Inspirational as always Teresa, and thanks for the reminder of what I understand now as priesthood of believers – in Love – in God; however that recognition be acknowledged, expressed by an individual.

    ‘Sacrament’ seems meaningless, empty, worthless ritual if it does not support and feed this Way of living, being – seeing all as truly brothers and sisters.

    God bless you always. :-)

  6. Gearóid Mary

    That is a very thought provoking article, Teresa. The activity is there, the social outreach, the Church without walls. I like it. If only this ideal could be captured, and lived by all of us. But, there is something missing. What comes to mind is a phrase by the late Fr. Myles Reardon “what is missing is the mystical, the holy”. He was right. It is a way of being a church without being the Church, the divine, the sacramental life of grace is absent. Where do we go without it? What are we without it? Where are we without it? Who are we? Thoughts???

  7. Joe O'Leary

    “The problem is, the culture of the Church is foreign to present day Irish culture to the point that some of the hymns and prayers in use are startling, ‘Hide me in your wounds’, ‘inebriate me’, as are prayers addressing a heart, a body, a sacrament, blood.”

    “Deep in Thy wounds, Lord,/ Hide and shelter me” is Faber’s translation of St Ignatius’s Anima Christi; maybe not so far from the homeless man mentioned in the article.

  8. Ger Gleeson

    Teresa, your contribution is full of common sense, wisdom, understanding and love. Unfortunatly it will not progress any further than this website, principally because you are a WOMAN.The Vatican do not believe that women have anything of merit to contribute to our Church. Jesus is still weeping.

  9. Fergus P Egan

    Great article, Teresa!

    And there is a “Halfpenny Bridge’ in most cities of the world. I am thinking of a police officer I know, who notwithstanding being a Catholic, no longer goes to Mass, but with some of his colleagues in Toronto, feeds and clothes the homeless. This is a daily ritual, and considering nighttime temperatures dropping to as low as -40 on a cold winter’s night, the danger of hypothermia is ever present. Blankets and sleeping bags are a high priority. By contrast, the Archdiocese prohibited a priest from ministering to the street people a few years ago – e.g. he was celebrating Mass in a park frequented by street people. It appears that the AIDS-infected and drunken dropouts are not worthy to approach the table of the Lord – they are probably “in sin”. (Whose “sin”, I wonder?)

    If Jesus appeared today to witness this, what would he say? And (as Mary O Vallely suggests) would we recognise him?

    Thank you Teresa, for keeping our focus fixed.

    Fergus P Egan

  10. Kyle

    The patronising approach here is stunning…there is nothing absent in the lives of the young – we live our lives, care for our fellow human beings etc because we are human. For most f us religion is not a thing. I have nothing against religion, in fact, I think it is often a power for good. For those who are religious: great. But leave the rest of us alone.

    This overly paternalistic fretting about ‘how can we be good and not religious’ is very arrogant. When no ne is buying what you’re selling close down or move on! I think Jesus said something about that.

  11. Kevin

    Just reading your post Fergus and I wonder how in God’s name that priest could be prohibited from being with these people.

    And they supposed to be spiritual leaders – the ‘Archdiocese’.

    Whatever ‘sin’ they may or may not be in – it’s with such people Jesus is most often recognized and to be found I believe. There but for the grace of God go I. Angels amongst us unawares. Made me think of this scripture – those who love much.

    “Wherefore I say unto thee, his/her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she/he loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

    God bless your police officer friend for his charity – and the priest too.

  12. Anne

    You talk about working with the Poor and marginalised. You left out the Legion of Mary who also have two hostels for homeless people in Dublin, The Regina Coeli Hostel and Morning Star Hostel who have looked after the poor and marginalised (prostitutes, drug addicts, the mentally ill and others) for many years. I also know one of the girls who was homeless who is now in an Enclosed Convent and is very happy in her Novitiate. She has given open testimony to her life at a Catholic Youth Conference. I don’t think that would have happened her if she had lived in a hostel where there was no Sacramental life. It is because she came in contact with Catholics that cared, that she received her vocation after much suffering endured in the world. As Catholics having received Christ in Holy Communion, we are called to share Jesus with others. The Capuchins in Dublin, the Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica and many other Catholic Religious and Laity are also showing what the Catholic Church does at its best. They don’t complain but just get on with tending to those in need as Jesus has asked of us.

    The statement above about women not having anything to contribute to the Church doesnt make any sense to me at all. Have you heard of any of the great women Saints such as St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Avila, Bl. Mother Teresa and countless more and heard of their contribution to the Church and even those who were canonised today. I don’t feel the Church is stopping me from contributing to the Church and neither do any of my female Catholic friends. We don’t need to be Priests to contribute to our Church. The Priesthood I believe is for men only. And I don’t see the Church ever changing on that. We already see many Anglicans coming into the Church because of women being made Priests in their own denomination. Thank God they are coming in, as we need them. God bless.

  13. Chris McDonnell

    This is a fine contribution to the current discussion, thank you Teresa.

    It asks questions that go beyond the maintenance of structures, it searches for the mission that is inherent in Christian faith- it brings to mind the issues of Liberation Theoology in South America.

    My posting of October 11 of the few words I gave at the start of the Call to Action meeting at Heythrop in London concluded with these words.

    “We do indeed have a duty to make the case, in faith, for the Church as it is today and for what it might become tomorrow. How do we make our church the church of our children?”

    We might almost say that in some instances our children are showing us how that Church should look, even today.

  14. Teresa Mee

    Kyle says, ‘For most of us, religion is not a thing.. it is often a power for good’, and, I would add, sometimes a power for bad.

    According to my understanding, Jesus, a Jew to the end of his life, came not to establish a religion but a way of life, the reign of God on earth, a reign of Justice, Peace and Love, with underpinning value system; a way of life in community, ‘love of God and of one another.
    The two questions I’m struggling with are the following:
    How do faith communities such as the Samaritans succeed in promoting community with individual and loving, respectful commitment to each other, staff, service users, volunteers and those they contact and through whom they are enriched? I’ve verified that it’s not through homilising.
    I’m also struggling with Gearóid Mary’s, ‘what is missing is the mystical, the holy’. My own most privileged encounter with the mystical was with a man reduced almost to a carcass, lying on the side of the street, having been expelled from his homeland in the Amazon region by a marauding Mining Company. With the little breath left, he was rhythmically repeating, ‘only God…Only God…only God.
    Was he a Catholic? Did he go to Church? I don’t know; but for me he was a powerful sacrament of the Presence of God. I felt I was in the presence of a mystic.

  15. Raymond Hickey Bordine

    Kyle #10 and Teresa: thank you for your insightful article, Teresa; Kyle, thank you also for your perceptive remark as one who Teresa was talking about in her piece.
    I have come to the conclusion that just as physical man has evolved over the eons, so too is spiritual man evolving. Many of the comments here refer to the Catholic religious culture of Ireland. I would broaden that to the Catholic religious culture of the world. I think it was Cardinal Martini of Italy who before his death a few weeks ago, said that the RCC is about 200 years behind the times.
    I think that is the very problem. The young are living in a spiritual environment of today, while the old are still caught up in a religious world of centuries ago. Eventually the religious will become spiritual.
    From what Kyle said, he is of the young. For him and those who are young, Jesus is real and does not need to be conjured up by some ‘sacrament’ or ‘ritual’ such as the Mass. They are of Jesus and with Jesus in their lives. Institutional rituals and practices are foreign to their personal sensitivity of who Jesus is. They live the Jesus Way because they are of it and in it. To them, religion is a phony and superficial way of being what they are: spiritual.
    Of course, I can’t speak for each member of all the younger generations, but I do speak from my experience with them for the past 40 years. Personally, I feel more at home with Jesus in a discussion with the young than at any Mass. I believe that the spiritual among us have progressed past so much of the current understandings and practices of the RCC as to make them irrelevant, much in the same way as superstitions are considered today in our culture. That is why the ‘spiritual’ as opposed to the ‘religious’, no longer attend our ‘services’.

  16. Mary Burke

    Joe, I admire your contributions very much. The Anima Christi, though often attributed to Ignatius, predates him. A copy exists from the time of the Avignon papacy. It has sometimes been attributed to Jacques Duèze (John XXII) the second of the Avignon popes.

  17. Nuala O"Driscoll

    All of the above notions of moral living, care of the poor, justice, peace, love are being discussed within the context of Catholicism. The Catholic church and religion in general does not have a monopoly on these ideals. I know very fine atheists who believe in and practice all of them. Scientists for example, Richard Dawkins, would even say that all of these ideals are motivated by the ‘selfish gene’. I have seven children all of whom were altar servers and helpers in the church up until the time they started second level, not one of them practice their religion now. One of them who surfs once said to me, “Mam I get more spirituality out on the waves than I do in a crowded building”!
    While the heirarchical structures of the church are being blamed for the problem of falling numbers, I believe the problem is more fundamental than that. It is the the language and the symbolism within which the core doctrines of the faith are encompassed that is at issue. For example, the Trinity is comprised of three male persons in one male God, the virgin conception and the virgin birth of Jesus, the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The doctrinal language and religious symbolism of the church are seriously outdated and to me are the main cause of the absence of young people from our churches.
    Three of my kids are scientists and for their birth religion to speak to them we need to take the advice of the late Pope John Paul II: “If the cosmologies of the ancient Near Eastern world could be purified and assimilated into the first chapters of Genesis, might contemporary cosmology have something to offer to our reflections….?” (from his Letter to the Director of the Vatican Observatory, 1 June 1988).

  18. Raymond Hickey Bordine

    Thank you, Nuala, for making real what I was saying in an abstract way. I agree with you that the problem of the RCC and most mainline Christian religions is far more broad than just the hierarchy. As I was trying to state above, the problem is with RELIGION itself. Many in the modern world have evolved far past what we think of as ‘religion’ and are now ‘spiritual’ in their relationship with the divine. The entire concept of ‘religion’ is no longer relevant to those individuals and is in the same wastebasket as ‘superstition’. When your son said, “Mam I get more spirituality out on the waves than I do in a crowded building,” he said it all. We are in a new phase of our spiritual evolution, and in my opinion, your son is in exactly the right place. I would encourage him. You are fortunate to have children to learn from; I was blessed to be able to learn from them in the second level classroom as their teacher. Forgive me if I am being sexist and assuming that your surfer is a son and not a daughter!

  19. Beverly Mee

    Teresa, I have just got round to reading your article and the many and varied responses to it. The thought occurred to me that maybe the time has come to knock the old building down and redevelop the site just keeping a few of the old features that worked, to incorporate into the new fabric. I especially liked Raymond Hickey’s responses and particularly the words “Eventually the religious will become spiritual”. I feel that this is what is happening, that there is a movement for the greater good that is taking place in people’s hearts on a grand scale. The actions of those people speak louder than any words and they take place in a community without walls. There are indeed many good people within the structure of established churches but they usually have a lot invested in trying to persuade others that theirs is the only true way of worshipping God. Those younger people who have rejected the church established are saying very clearly that they are taking responsibility for their own spirituality and that is reflected in their actions. They do not need a priest/vicar/minister to sanction and approve their behaviour nor do they need anyone to tell them whom is worthy of their help or not. These are interesting times indeed and I personally believe that the new Christ light and energy is burning as strongly as ever in those young people whose actions are fuelled by love, not religion.

  20. Anne

    Something that is not mentioned here much is Prayer which is vital for a relationship with Christ. Young people continue to come out in their thousands to hear the Holy Father at World Youth Day. There were many hundreds of young people in Clonmacnois recently for a Youth Retreat organised by Youth 2000 and a Youth Festival in Knock Shrine. Also the Legion of Mary organise Youth Retreats each year as well which are always very well attended. None of these are mentioned above. Many good Catholics in Ireland are doing tremendous work for those who find themselves in very difficult situations of poverty, drug addiction etc. I already mentioned the Legion of Mary who have two Hostels for homeless people and there is also the Cenacolo Community (International Community) which has a house in Knock Shrine which helps those who suffer problems of addiction or other problems to come out of those problems and discover a new life. The Divine Mercy Apostolate in Dublin helps many impoverished people abroad, in Eastern European countries as well as Africa and South America.

    The Holy Father continually asks us to develop a deep interior relationship with Christ which is built on Prayer. As Catholics we also have the Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass. The Eucharist is central to our faith as Catholics. Yet Prayer and the Sacraments are hardly mentioned here. If I didn’t like the Catholic Church or disagreed with its beliefs I would leave it for another Church…but I wouldn’t try hard to undermine the faith of those who truly believe in what the Catholic Church teaches and who want to hold on to that Truth.

  21. KAYTHEGARDENER

    My personal observations from the USA, which might also apply to Ireland & other lands —

    One factor why few young people have membership in the institutionalized church over the past couple of generations, is that their parents, often single mothers, had no participation either — too busy surviving to be bothered with meetings on Sundays that led to nothing…

    A key point is that these youths working in outreach start with where their “clients” are currently at, not preaching to them about where they should be in their lives in a perfect world…

  22. Kevin

    “but I wouldn’t try hard to undermine the faith of those who truly believe in what the Catholic Church teaches and who want to hold on to that Truth.”

    I agree with you regarding a strong prayer life Anne and I am sure others do too. You cannot undermine the faith of another. Challenge it certainly – which can only help real and true faith grow and deepen. Life itself does that most, the experiences we all go and live through – not the chattering of men, or women, inside or outside the ‘church’.

    I am very much reminded in this of the accusations against those sexually abused by clerics when they spoke out. They were speaking, and very rightly so about the worst abuses of power on so many levels, often against ‘true Catholics’, the most innocent and vulnerable. Rome would never have done it. Thank God for the media ‘attacking and undermining’ or I, like others could now be dead.

    It was a constant in my own experience. Many good and true and faithful Catholics just did not want to know, to hear, to believe the reality and awfulness of it. You were trying to ‘attack’ and ‘undermine’ the faith itself. Of good and true Catholics. They could not differentiate it seemed and the reasons were understandable too. It often made me wonder what kind of faith they had so easily undermined though.

    Speaking out about real abuse of power is not in any way an attack on faith. If faith is so easily undermined then I too could suggest that a person of such faith might feel less challenged, attacked and undermined elsewhere too.

    I agree with many of the things you speak about in your post.

    But it will be a cold day in hell fore I ever not speak out about abuses of any kind.

    No one, no one can attack or undermine faith.

    The Holy Spirit blows where it will.

    And if our faith is true, and it’s been said that a faith not truly tested is no true faith at all, then we can be truly sure that same Holy Spirit will have its way. With or without our ‘faith’.

    I don’t see here that the good is not known and acknowledged. I’ve learned here things I did not know which are quite faith affirming. Even hearing about the great St Thomas Aquinas the other day.

    Real people speaking about their real lives and their real spiritual abuses is not a matter of faith.

    Suggesting that people effectively shut up and get out is not helpful. Something truly deadly to faith – spiritual pride.

  23. stephen

    This article is the reason that the Catholic Church in Ireland is the way that it is. Why bother showing up to mass every Sunday for the ugly music, the apologetic New Age sermons, the legions of eucharistic ministers when you can just go down to one of those singing and dancing born again churches down the road and you get free chicken wings and all? This article and the entire ACP website spits on authority in the Church and then wonders why young people follow their example.

    ‘Church culture is alien in excluding women from major leadership roles’ as were Christ’s appointed apostles. Do you want to take that up with Christ?

    ‘her daughter said she was not willing to listen, Sunday after Sunday, to someone telling her what to think.’ Christ tells us the truth. He is no dictator, we are free to accept or reject this.Do you expect the priest at mass to place people’s souls in mortal danger of hell merely for offending? Incidentally I bet that that lady’s daughter is happy to have the media tell her how she should think.

    ‘In fact, today’s education system mirrors the system Jesus adopted’ Do you know, I’m done copy and pasting and replying. This isn’t even a sentence related to anything. I give up.

    Christ died for our sins. The Catholic Church was established by God to be our connection with him, forgive our sins, baptise us, marry us…the whole lot. And its heirarchy are men,just like the Apostles and the early Church. The last four Doctors of the Church have all been women so don’t even bother with this victim mentality. I brought my girlfriend to a Latin mass recently and she has been to mass more regularly since,such was her disbelief at the undeniable beauty of it and the fact that the old Church that it was in had beautiful mosaics and not just matchstick Christs with no faces smeared across the pained glass windows.

    Eventually, the Latin mass will return and the Church will return to its former glory. My own reconversion after years of debased mental torture from ACP and Vatican II Fr. Brian Darcys came from attending a Latin Mass and hearing the beauty of the singing as well as seeing the beautiful church in Maynooth seminary. Countless, and I mean countless because we’ll never be able to guage it, have been converted by the beauty of Gothic, Byzantine and other wonderful Churches as well as the beauty of the Latin Mass.

    No one has ever or ever will be…converted to the Catholic faith by the Novus Ordo. Or by a priest making some vague homily about being nice. Or by taking communion without confession for social reasons. Or by reading a blog telling people that the Church is corrupt and needs to get a woman Pope etc. The sooner people like this convert to some form of Protestantism the better off that we will all be and we can get on with the business of being Catholics.

    Yours sincerely,
    A young man fed up with explaining to poorly Cathecised Catholics that the Catholic Church is more biblically sound than one with free Chicken Wings.