Talking to youth

In the UK Catholic Herald this week Bishop Kieran Conry, who is supervising youth ministry said the Church had to speak to young people in their own language.
He argued that talking about faith in the context of climate change was likely to be more effective than addressing salvation or repentance.
“You can’t talk to young people about salvation,” he said. “What does salvation mean? My eternal soul? You can only talk to young people in young people’s language. If you’re going to talk to them about salvation, the first thing they will understand is saving the planet.” As a retired schoolteacher with 40 years experience I tend to agree with him.
Bishop Conry also suggested that there should be a greater emphasis on charity rather than on contraception.
“The birth control issue becomes easy because it’s measurable. You do it or you don’t do it. But love: you do it or you don’t do it, how can you measure that? We fight the easy battles but we ignore the bigger ones,” he said.
At last I have found a bishop to whom I can relate. But I guess many of you will be shocked by his views.

Charity is the man focus of Christianity. These other things come under the heading of love of God above all, others as ourselves, appreciation of God’s creation… of ourselves, each other, including our unborn infants, and of our world

I think what the bishop is getting at is the old formulas no longer work with the young today. When I was young there was a sense of solidarity in the youth movement, now young people see themselves very much as individuals. In the sixties we were into social change; today its climate change. In the sixties we were into Vatican II; now we appear to the young as being in reverse gear, Latin masses, blind belief and obedience, medieval philosophy, a denial of the enlightenment; in other words many of the young people I have taught over the years have come to see the Church as a vehicle of reaction. The bishop rightly recognises that a way of bringing the young back to Christ (which is his mission) is by the Church addressing their concerns. It is the young who will be most affected by climatic changes (however these might be brougght about) . Love, unconditional love, as God so loved this world he gave his only begotten son up to death for it, requires the Church to speak out when the fabric of this world - God’s World - is at risk from human exploitation and greed.

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