I've really enjoyed the series, and it's been instructive hearing one (rather exceptional) 23-year old committed Catholic's voice. [And apparently one will get to hear his voice, literally, in a segment on the Halo podcast ... coming soon ... ]
And he's right on the money when it comes to young adult Catholics.
Even if they don’t hit the cadences of the message exactly, but at least the sense of “We’re interested in you. We’re interested in who you are.” Not, “you’re wonderful for publicity purposes and you can come and paint signs but when Sunday morning comes the show belongs to everyone in their 40s and 50s and you just sit there and watch.” There is this rise of “orthodoxy” among people my age and that’s fine but it’s a very small group of people. But when you talk about your average twenty-something, coming out of college, getting into their first job. If I didn’t literally go after the church the way I did as a kid, it never would have cultivated me or been interested in me as someone who could be part of it.In my experience, Catholic parishes that actually foster this kind of discipleship are uncommon. And the experiences of the young adults who've moved beyond the campus ministry I've been involved with in SC are largely discouraging.
I’m not saying we should be like Jehovah’s witnesses and knock on people’s doors but in terms of outreach give people something that will nourish them and make them feel good about being Catholic. Not something they do out of obligation. But something that even when they’re with their co-workers, without being a crazy zealot, banging people over the head with copies of the catechism, which if anything has a counter effect. Like when people are in their offices, again, like St. Francis said 'preach the gospel always, when necessary use words.' Give people something that they can come to where they feel unburdened and they’ll feel some kind of nourishment and spiritual fulfillment that can strengthen every aspect of their life.
In SC, pastors seem more concerned about your envelope number than anything else. And the hoops one has to go through to get married in the church! I mean what message does it send to a young, excited Catholic couple who calls a parish to schedule a wedding and is treated like a problem case, and sent on a wild goose chase that would make the Indian bureaucracy proud?
No, I'm not talking about diluting the Church's teaching or any of that.
But for heaven's sake, when did one have to pay for the Sacrament of Matrimony? That's what it boils down to, doesn't it?
Why do so many parishes still treat the faithful, especiall young adult Catholics, with such disrespect and disdain?
And people wonder why so many drift away from the Church? (And no, it's not just because they're evil sluts who cannot control their libidos.)
[Heh --- not being in the employ of Holy Mother Church is a little liberating. And I know I have one reader in our chancery. At least for a bit. Print this out and show it to the Bish! :-D]