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  #16  
Old Jan 28, '12, 10:24 am
blanc10 blanc10 is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by BGR_15 View Post
I'm 22 and completely agree. If there were drums or guitars in the church, it'd keep me away. I think the church draws a lot of young people away when they try to be "cool". Some of us 20-somethings come to church because it seems very official and something very special.

I agree. I'm the same age and I think that making mass into a "rock concert" is a complete turn off. I think a lot of younger aged folks prefer the older mass (Latin mass!) because its much more mystic than the current mass. I think the younger generations like that type of mass the most these days.

When I hear people at my parish ask where all the younger people are going, I usually respond with "they're all attending the latin mass"
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  #17  
Old Jan 28, '12, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

Deo Gratias42,

Great Testimony.

The Church really needs you to help her bring others home...

Peace
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  #18  
Old Jan 28, '12, 11:21 am
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TrueLight TrueLight is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by Roy5 View Post
[b]

As for myself, I would choose the second course - move forward and not yearn for the 'good old days' when the hierarchy told the faithful what they must not read, when Protestants were 'heretics' and not 'separated brothers and sisters', when no one questioned the dogmas and dictates of the Church. Those days are gone. American Catholics have become well-educated, go to Harvard and Yale as well as Notre Dame and Boston College, and learn that while there is much inspiration in the Bible there also are many difficulties, contradictions and even bloody atrocities committed in the name of God. In order to hold on to them, the Church must allow a broader spectrum of opinion to be expressed in faith but freely. Most young people who give it serious thought have trouble with, say, the dogma of transubstantiation as well as the blanket condemnation of artificial birth control among responsible married couples who want to plan their families with loving concern for the future of each baby.

God bless everybody.
Roy, are you Catholic?

If you are not, no offense, but I'd prefer to hear responses from Catholics on this issue, since we are discussing how to bring young Catholics BACK to the church, at this time, not non-Catholics.
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  #19  
Old Jan 28, '12, 11:23 am
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TrueLight TrueLight is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

DeoGratias, that is a lot to digest. Thanks so much for this list. Gives me a lot to think about.

So it seems that theology that is more embracing of everything actually drove you away? Would you say that is the case with most youth?

I attend the EF. I don't see any youth filling up the parish seats. I don't see a lot of youth at the more orthodox OF masses necessarily either. It could be a NYC thing.

But I do see youth at other parishes.

So again, do you think that most youth are attracted to more liberal theology or run from it?
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  #20  
Old Jan 28, '12, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by Deo Gratias42 View Post
I'm a youngish Catholic revert who had a radical conversion of heart and returned in full force. I fell away in high school after I was scandalized by heretical catechisis, did a lot of things I'm not proud of, and purely by the Grace of God through the work of a very patient and humble priest who lives in the Confessional at my parish, I ended up back in the Church.

I attended some diocesan meeting/discussion about my generation of fallen away Catholics and how to get them back the other night. It was a joke. I found it rich that a group of people "of a certain age" were telling me why I, and many others like me, left the Church. When I told them what caused me to leave, and what caused me to return, several of the panel of priests actually scolded me for allowing myself to be scandalized and leaving.

Some of the various reasons the people there came up with for why we all left include:
  • Mass is too boring
  • Young people aren't actively involved during Mass (IE: Being EMHC's, Lectors, etc)
  • They can't relate to the music

Generally all pretty superficial, as were their reasons for how to get us to return. It's as if no one believes in sanctifying and actual grace anymore, or that Faith is an infused theological virtue, that is corrupted and lost by one single sin contrary to it. The only way to get it back is via Confession and absolution. They think they need to use banal and superficial means to get young Catholics back in the church, so rather than let God do what he does best, they get in the way of him.

I wasn't the only revert there, and those who spoke up, got the same condescending treatment. They want to bring young Catholics back, but they don't want to listen to those of us who left and came back, I have yet to hear from a fallen away Catholic that the reason they left was because they weren't distributing communion or reading at Mass. Quite the contrary, as many who seem to return, attend the EF Mass, where these are not options, nor is there happy clappy music.
Amen, friend! The folks on the panel may need YOU to step up and educate them. I fell away in my late teens and returned around 30. We might be the same generation. I didn't leave because of the Mass, music, or lack of involvement (I was a parish musician). I left because of:

1) my problem with personal pride
2) the lure of sex and other sins
3) abysmal catechesis that basically amounted to "Jesus loves you"

Many others (at least in my town) fell away because their lack of catechesis made them vulnerable to the false accusations of Protestant groups.

I do take personal responsibility for my own faith education NOW....but I have to wonder how much we can expect that from a 14-yr-old? That's how old I was at confirmation. I'm relieved to see a movement toward later confirmations (18-yr-olds) in my diocese now.

God bless you,
cecilia
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  #21  
Old Jan 28, '12, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
DeoGratias, that is a lot to digest. Thanks so much for this list. Gives me a lot to think about.

So it seems that theology that is more embracing of everything actually drove you away? Would you say that is the case with most youth?

I attend the EF. I don't see any youth filling up the parish seats. I don't see a lot of youth at the more orthodox OF masses necessarily either. It could be a NYC thing.

But I do see youth at other parishes.

So again, do you think that most youth are attracted to more liberal theology or run from it?
Alas, I'm no longer a youth, but I listen to a few at my parish. Young people want TRUTH. They do not want to be patronized with the easy ways out. Liberal theology is easy. TRUTH is challenging and worth living for. Young people are way more determined, interested, and capable than a watered-down theology gives them the credit for.

As a young person, I needed more definitive statements of truth to stay in communion with the Church. The "Jesus loves you, be happy" thing basically allowed me to think it was OK to sleep with my boyfriend and attend Mass at Christmas and Easter. After all, Jesus loved me. There was never any challenge that amounted to "I need to love Jesus BACK". That would have gotten my attention.
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  #22  
Old Jan 28, '12, 12:03 pm
Luna Lovecraft Luna Lovecraft is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

I can only speak to my experience as a young Catholic adult.

The parish that served the college I attended apparently didn't know that there were thousands of young Catholics a stone's throw away. There were ministries for moms, the elderly, the bereaved, children, as well as businessmen's breakfasts. If you wanted to interact with other college Catholics, ya got nothin'. It was almost as if they made a conscious decision to exclude as many 18-24-year-old Catholics as they could.

I hope things have improve in the 30 years since I graduated.


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  #23  
Old Jan 28, '12, 12:06 pm
mary bobo mary bobo is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cecilia97 View Post
Alas, I'm no longer a youth, but I listen to a few at my parish. Young people want TRUTH. They do not want to be patronized with the easy ways out. Liberal theology is easy. TRUTH is challenging and worth living for. Young people are way more determined, interested, and capable than a watered-down theology gives them the credit for.

As a young person, I needed more definitive statements of truth to stay in communion with the Church. The "Jesus loves you, be happy" thing basically allowed me to think it was OK to sleep with my boyfriend and attend Mass at Christmas and Easter. After all, Jesus loved me. There was never any challenge that amounted to "I need to love Jesus BACK". That would have gotten my attention.
Your posts are wise, Cecilia. I have long thought that the lack of good Catholic education is at the root of much of our troubles today. Back in the Stone Age, when I was a kid, we learned the faith and all the precepts of the Church backwards and forwards. We learned that God loves us and it was not presented as a Church to be feared. We did those things required because of this. At the risk of being a old foggie, our faith is presented in a much different way now. I was an RCIA sponsor a year ago and I was shocked at how ambiguous the teachings were presented. There was no black and white at all, it was all gray. And it seemed to me that an "informed conscience" allowed us to explain away anything we wanted to do. I was disappointed.

Don't know if this makes much sense, but I think if our faith were presented to young people as a thing to be honored and revered and as special, I think it might make more of an impression. Faith is a gift, given to us by God, that we should learn to appreciate. He does not give it to all.
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  #24  
Old Jan 28, '12, 1:30 pm
Deo Gratias42 Deo Gratias42 is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post

So it seems that theology that is more embracing of everything actually drove you away? Would you say that is the case with most youth?
I'm not sure what you mean by "theology that is more embracing". I basically left because if Hell didn't exist, I could be whatever religion I wanted to be if I didn't like all Catholicism's rules, and do whatever I like as long as it wasn't anything super bad because I could still go to Heaven, there was no point in staying.

I'm also pretty sure I was in the state of mortal sin when I was confirmed, which is when the virtue of Faith would have been strengthened in me, which means I probably never had faith for a significant part of my life. I might have had the natural habits of faith such as going to Mass and going to a Catholic School, but my virtues were all corrupted by sin. I'm wondering if this might be the case with other younger Catholics.

Of course, I'm basing this entirely on grace. To understand where I'm coming from, one would have to have an understanding of grace and actually believe in it.

It's not good enough for people to be complacent with getting young Catholics into Mass on Sundays. It's only the beginning. Catholics need to make a good thorough and humble confession with the firm resolution to amend their lives. Once they're in the state of grace again, and stay there, the battle is a lot easier. Of course, if the catholics who are trying to bring fallen away Catholics back aren't in the state of grace, well then, it's just the blind leading the blind.
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  #25  
Old Jan 28, '12, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

I grew up with divorced parents who rarely went beyond the sacraments in raising us Catholic. Surprisingly, the churches we attended seemed to require almost no training whatsoever. I can't really say I was "fallen-away" as much as I never really latched on until I was on my own. I went through some really hard times where I had absolutely no faith whatsoever, in God, in my parents, or in society in general. However, God used alot of people to bring me back to the Catholic Church.

I didn't attend any Catholic school past kindergarten, however, I had some very good Catholic role models in several of my public high school teachers. They weren't allowed to teach us the Catholic faith, of course, but they showed through example that a person can be a true practicing Catholic without being a racist, elitist, hypocrite that hates anyone that isn't part of their own little cult. This was a stark contrast to the appalling behaviors and opinions I witnessed from the "private school sect" I'd encountered at my own church and from my bigoted family members. I also learned that so many of the best artists, writers, musicians, and scientists were also faithful Catholics and of course, we learned the importance of the Church in the history of the world. While in highschool, I learned about the basic teachings of the Church and what the Protestant reformation was protesting. I was assigned to write a paper about St. Augustine and his contribution to monastic life. Also, due to my involvement in the choir, I left public high school having memorised the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the entire Ordinary of the Mass in Latin.

During senior year, I remember taking a field trip where we went to learn about different major religions. We saw a Jewish school and the rabbi gave us a very historical tour. We also saw a mosque and heard a very watered-down version of the Muslim religion. The next stop was a monastary. I remember being very annoyed going into it and thinking that a bunch of monks praying in a gorgeous church was absolutely nothing like "real Catholicism", but the talk Br. Basil gave us really inspired me and had me questioning things that I thought were true about my family's religion. The last place we visited was a Presbyterian Church and while I'd never really given Protestant churches a second glance before (I kinda figured if the original was no good than the copies weren't going to be any better.) the encounter we had with their youth pastor certainly ensured that I would never go looking there for peace and love!

Anyway, when I went off to college and was on my own, I immediately sought out the local church and began attending Mass. I was fortunate to have a devoutly Catholic roommate as well as some new friends who, like me, were baptised Catholics who had become distanced from the Church but were interested in learning more about it. We joined the Catholics on Campus group and did service projects. We got to know the Jesuits across the street. We went for weekly prayer meetings where we learned how to engage in intimate prayer with God. I thank God for these people and groups and the profound effect they had on me. I know that these ministries brought alot of students back to the Church. By the time I graduation, I had resolved nearly all my issues and was completely happy int he Church.

So, what would help people like me stay in the Church or return to the pews? You can bet it has nothing to do with the music! (Although I do love a good choir!) First of all, someone with authority needs to grab ahold of these parishoners who despise their brothers and sisters in Christ because of what school they attend or attended and shake them until their teeth rattle! (okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but seriously, even if the priest can't change their minds from the pulpit, it would be encouraging once and a while if he could at least make a public statement that they are wrong!) Secondly, smaller prayer groups, social groups, and Bible studies help fullfill the spiritual needs of begining Christians. Lastly, CRHP, CRHP, and more CRHP! I love that program! I loved my CRHP retreat and formation team! I can't begin to say in one post what an amazing impact it has had and continues to have on my life and that of my family! It also has revitilized our parish and I know it has undone a great deal of the hurt and division that has existed in our parish for over the last two decades.
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  #26  
Old Jan 28, '12, 3:47 pm
Tenofovir Tenofovir is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Originally Posted by Deo Gratias42 View Post
It's as if no one believes in sanctifying and actual grace anymore, or that Faith is an infused theological virtue, that is corrupted and lost by one single sin contrary to it.
Two points. There are people who sin but attend mass and do very good deeds for God, or at least think they do. They make moral choices for good against their own interests especially when these choices are harder to make.

Secondly, you seem to know better than these priests. And here we have to draw a balance. You could be mistaken and you could be wrong. You could be doubting the inspiration these clergy have in their lives in drawing these responses. Your experiences are based on a sample of 1 but you seem to know better than they do. An almost more Catholic than the Pope attitude. This by no means is to insult you. I am sure you are sincere. But in Catholicism we have to submit to the Church and can't really do our own thing, right? What do you think?
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  #27  
Old Jan 28, '12, 5:05 pm
Deo Gratias42 Deo Gratias42 is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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Two points. There are people who sin but attend mass and do very good deeds for God, or at least think they do. They make moral choices for good against their own interests especially when these choices are harder to make.
According to my priest, if they're committing grave sins, or don't believe what the Church teaches, they're not moral people.
Quote:
Secondly, you seem to know better than these priests. And here we have to draw a balance. You could be mistaken and you could be wrong. You could be doubting the inspiration these clergy have in their lives in drawing these responses. Your experiences are based on a sample of 1 but you seem to know better than they do. An almost more Catholic than the Pope attitude. This by no means is to insult you. I am sure you are sincere. But in Catholicism we have to submit to the Church and can't really do our own thing, right? What do you think?
My experiences seem to echo the same experiences many other fallen away Catholics have shared. Even the Pope has expressed the same reasoning and call for renewal of our Catholic identity to bring fallen Catholics back to the Church.

Everything I know about theology I learned from listening to lectures given by a former FSSP priest who taught theology at the seminary in Nebraska.

I do submit to the Church. I have yet to read anything from the Pope saying we need more young people acting as EMHC's and lectors, or more happy clappy music. In fact, I read the exact opposite.
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  #28  
Old Jan 28, '12, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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......

Secondly, you seem to know better than these priests. And here we have to draw a balance. You could be mistaken and you could be wrong. You could be doubting the inspiration these clergy have in their lives in drawing these responses. Your experiences are based on a sample of 1 but you seem to know better than they do. An almost more Catholic than the Pope attitude. This by no means is to insult you. I am sure you are sincere. But in Catholicism we have to submit to the Church and can't really do our own thing, right? What do you think?
If I may interject. What I got from the OP was that he felt a bit "blown off" by the panel when he tried to give a first person testimony on the matter. I find that to be rather sad.

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  #29  
Old Jan 28, '12, 10:02 pm
Deo Gratias42 Deo Gratias42 is offline
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

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If I may interject. What I got from the OP was that he felt a bit "blown off" by the panel when he tried to give a first person testimony on the matter. I find that to be rather sad.

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I'm a she, and yeah. The panel treated me like an ugly cat. Acknowledge it, and then pushed it aside. I especially love how they dodged the question about priests not being available to hear Confessions. I'm so blessed to have a confessor who is always there.
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  #30  
Old Jan 29, '12, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Bringing Back the Fallen-Away Young Catholics. Why don't people ask us why we left in the first place?

Any time I hear or read something along these lines, I have to point at the poor state of catechesis in general over the last 20-30 years. I was about as devout as a 13-year-old could be way back when I was 13 years old. When I got to high school and college, though, it was awfully hard to stick to my faith. Like others have mentioned, we'd been taught that we didn't have to do much more than believe to avoid hell (if there even was a hell); that all religions were pretty much the same and a path to God (this came about in high school and was the standard line given to us); that masturbation wasn't a sin and that anything short of vaginal intercourse was A-OK as far as the Church was concerned (we even had one grade school teacher who taught the "bases"--as in getting to first base, etc., and even gave us a good amount of detail as to what each one was--and said as long as we didn't cross home plate, we weren't committing a sin). We were told that going to Mass every Sunday was expected, but not mandatory, and we were never told the requirements for receiving Confession and the Eucharist at least once a year (and it wasn't until a couple years ago that I realized receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin was, itself, a mortal sin).

With this "nothing's a sin and everyone gets to Heaven" attitude, it was pretty easy to slide away from the Church. All my friends were going down the same path, and without that solid foundation to fall back on, I really couldn't even come up with any good arguments as to why I should or shouldn't do something, other than that small handful of things that we all knew were sins. From my perspective, there was no perceived value in wasting an hour of my time every Sunday to listen to these same old, meaningless words I'd heard thousands of times before, and to partake in the equally meaningless symbol, which is essentially what I'd been taught the Eucharist was.

When God reeled me back in a few years ago, I started reading up on the Catechism and was truly shocked. The more I read, and the more I learned and re-learned, the stronger my faith grew and I found myself more excited about and happy to be a Catholic than I ever had before. I can't say for sure that having a proper foundation when I was younger would have prevented me from falling away, but I believe it would have at least made that falling away period much shorter.

Based on my own experience, I'm doing everything I can to give my kids a better catechesis than I received. My son's out of high school now, so he's at that stage when I had the hardest time and fell the furthest from the Church. I know he was taught much of the same things I was in school, and I'm working overtime to help him unlearn a lot of those things. At least with my daughters, I have the opportunity to teach them right from the outset, and I'm doing whatever I can to not only provide them the right knowledge, but set a good example as well.

For others who have fallen away, and for others who may be in danger of it, I think the best thing the Church could do is to promote Catechism classes as much as possible. I think if more people understood the teachings they'd not only be stronger in their faith, but I think there'd be a lot less dissension.
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