Teenager .


Just wondering if someone could help me to answer my teenaged son who keeps telling me that going to Mass is pointless and boring and irrelevant today .


Your son doesn’t even know what mass is. I wonder if most Catholics do. It’s Christ’s Crucifiction all over again in the consecration; Him giving us his body and blood to take away our sins. Imagine, every mass said around the world it’s like Christ is being crucified all over again. And the pews are getting empty and the masses less and less reverent; I wonder how He feels up there on the cross seeing this? How could mass ever be irrelevant? This sort of thinking is the problem with the world today. What could be more relevant today? There’s nothing in my life more relevant than mass. Try an EF mass; maybe he’ll feel a bit more intrigued.

Well, I have two atheist kids, I would say that you need to wait and see what will happen. We can’t force anyone to believe, and if your son only want to skip Mass there is still hope. But to force him will make it worse, many Catholics with good intentions have managed to raise their kids to become atheist or inactive members of The Church. All we can do as parents is to show them the right door but in the end it is up to them to open it. So don’t force him, see what time will do and keep on praying, you can’t do much more.

I’m sorry but I feel this only encourages “atheism.” I can already see it in the next generation or two; it will be the children and grandchildren of Catholics persecuting the church the most! Even I wasn’t much of a Catholic as a teen but I’d have certainly never described myself as an athiest! Get your kids to mass, better yet drag them to the confessional now, and again I feel I should mention the more spiritual Latin mass. I pray you’ll eventually find them on their knees imploring God for His forgiveness… :gopray2:

What you as a responsible parent is going through is perfectly normal,so please do not think that you have somehow failed as a parent, because you have not…
The reason they see nothing in faith is the same reason that teens see no reason to have the best education available so they can get into a solid career , for a comfortable future…
It doesn’t register in there mind simply because they have no previous life experience…
They only think of now… This moment… They have no concept of next week,and last week didn’t happen… They just think of now,not much else…
They don’t realise that without permanent employment ,life will be tough…
They don’t realise that with faith, life can become so incredibly rewarding…
It’s simply that they lack life experience… My advise is, don’t freak out,be patient & loving,understanding… And just be there for them,because if you treat them with an open heart ,they will come to you for help when there life falls apart,and you will be there to pick up the pieces…and you can then explain that it is by the grace of God that you will always be there for them… That is life experience… They will see the light by themselves…

Read Sacramentum Caritatis.

Here are a few exerpts (boldface mine):

  • The sacrament of charity (1), the Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man and woman. This wondrous sacrament makes manifest that “greater” love which led him to “lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Jesus did indeed love them “to the end” (Jn 13:1). In those words the Evangelist introduces Christ’s act of immense humility: before dying for us on the Cross, he tied a towel around himself and washed the feet of his disciples. In the same way, Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us “to the end,” even to offering us his body and his blood.** What amazement must the Apostles have felt in witnessing what the Lord did and said during that Supper! What wonder must the eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts!***

This Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation seeks to take up the richness and variety of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – from the Lineamenta to the Propositiones, along the way of the Instrumentum Laboris, the Relationes ante and post disceptationem, the interventions of the Synod Fathers, the auditores and the fraternal delegates – and to offer some basic directions aimed at a renewed commitment to eucharistic enthusiasm and fervour in the Church.”

An encyclical which will flood you with reasons that there is absolutely nothing that is done by humankind that could be more relevant than the Eucharist is Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

Here is a tidbit from that document’s introduction:
*The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.

The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life”.1 “For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men”.2 Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.*

That is the long and short of it: Any Christian who thinks the Mass is pointless, boring, or irrelevant has not allowed the truth of what the Mass is penetrate his heart. That does not mean it is too late for your son–not at all. It does mean that he will not do well if allowed to drift along his present course. I’m referring to Letter 12 from the Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, in which an old tempter tells a younger one how to catch a soul:


Obviously you are making excellent progress. My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position. For you and I, who see that position as it really is, must never forget how totally different it ought to appear to him. We know that we have introduced a change of direction in his course which is already carrying him out of his orbit around he Enemy; but he must be made to imagine that all the choices which have effected this change of course are trivial and revocable. He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space…

…You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,

Your affectionate uncle


If you teach your son what a treasure the Mass is, if you live that truth yourself, believe me that even though he doesn’t show that he ever accepted what you told him that truth will be there to call out to him, even after you are gone.

I think your teen will come around eventually.Do they have any practicing Catholic friends?? They have a bigger influence then parents. If so,can your teen can go to mass with them? .

Is the issue with the importance of mass or with attending? We have teens and it seems everything is boring or pointless if they don’t want to do it… Teens do lot of pointless and boring things and I would tell your teen this-such as facebook, texting, video games, social things etc. These can be eliminated too, if we are not doing as they put it " boring pointless things.". It’s their choice.

As for explaining the importance mass- when we try to explain why something is important- we get a glazed look, and know we are tuned out. So we don’t push the why, that has to come from themselves or influential friends.

I hope this helps.

I think that the answer needs to come from your heart, and your spouse’s. Are you both practicing Catholics? Does the family pray together, prayers such as the faimly rosary, mealtime prayer? Are you involved in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as a family? How are you living out the virtues as a family?

What will resonate with your son is both the example you and your spouse set for him, your personal relationship with Jesus lived out in daily life, and your own sincere testimony to him. Not our intellectually ramblings here on CAF.

This is very well said and agree completely. I have 3 kids in Catholic school where they go to theology class everyday, a weekly prayer service, and Mass once a month, one child goes once a week. Needless to say they do not want to go to Mass on Sunday. I get them to Mass at least one Sunday, which means 2x a month for my teens and 5x for my younger son. I know they are getting a positive Catholic experience at school and I don’t want to hurt that by fighting with them to go to Mass. They a normal teens and God understands their personalities. We speak about God on a daily basis, reminding them to keep God with them through everything. Teaching them to let God guide them in everything they do. I think just keeping God as the focus of your life will help them saty in the Church when they get older.

I came into Christianity recently after over 20 years as a Pagan, Atheist and Agnostic. Because of my time as a non-Christian my kids weren’t raised with any faith. My daughter is 15 and very open minded. She is a willing Mass participant. My son is another story. He is a “man of science” and thinks religion is insane at worst and a childish comfort at best.

I told him I will not force him to believe or to worship, but that I think Mass has value beyond religion. The lessons in the Bible are ancient wisdom that is still relevant today as human nature doesn’t change. We can listen to the homily and it can make us think in a way we wouldn’t have thought before. We can be inspired to be kinder and better people who actually act in ways that help society instead of just talking about taking action. After all, the catholic Church does more for those in need than any other religious or charitable organization in the world.

Basically, I point out all the ways that Mass benefits us as individual people and as a society without the “whole God thing”. I know I’m not going to get anywhere with my son by force and I know that at this time he has zero faith. So, I am settling for him going willingly and listening in hopes that he will eventually open his heart to God.

It helps greatly that our priest is very lively and passionate about his faith and that his homilies take Bible stories and lessons from centuries ago and make them relevant to what is going on in our area today. It also helps that I volunteer at the parish when I can and I take the kids with me and have them help, too. My son is able to see first hand the Church in action. Our last volunteer day was spent helping pass out food boxes for Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas. My son was adding up the number of people each box was set to feed on every box he carried from the basement food bank to the cars of folks in need. My boy said “I carried food for 70.” I said “Do you realize you just helped the Church feed 70 people who otherwise would have been going hungry?” That blew his mind and made the works of the Church very relevant to him.

I will tell this is again. It is not possible, it is not right nor fruitful to force anyone to have faith or attend Mass. I it is sad, that it is, but if we start to force people, even our own children, to do that and this when we talk about faith, is wrong, morally wrong. Let us say that both parents belong to church A and the children have gone to church B and have peace with that, is it right to take that faith from them only because we as parents want them to have faith A? No it is not, and we all know that, even if we don’t want to accept it.

A teenager is clever enough to make own choices, and actually, they can be right.

Too much religion is too much, and teenagers need to try their limits. We can do only two things, be with them or against them. To be with them mean that we show them respect, to be against show we have no respect, what is better? I hate when people force or bully me in to something I don’t like, as I guess we all do, and if I would have been forced to church as a teenager I would most likely stay away from religion now. (Luckily I have a strong faith, and it dates back to my very early years.) I miss Mass, but I must be honest, where I am, Christ is. It is not a question about attend Mass, it is not about praying together the whole family, it is not about how often we pray, it all about Christ, what He did and what He still do, being with us. He is with us all the time, no matter where we are, what we do. I know Christ pretty well, we talk every day, and often during each day, so I think He are not amused to see parents drag screaming and kicking kids to Sunday Mass, no, He is ready to wait until the time is right, and so should we, so should we. If we love the freedom we have, why can’t we grant that freedom to our kids? If Christ can wait so can we. God gave us freedom, a freedom that we are supposed to pass on to the next generation, to our kids, and hoping and praying that they will pass it on to their children. The very day we think we can say what others shall do we are on the wrong road. As a parent myself I must say, I am worried when I read how we should make our kids to do that or this, that is not right. We show them the right road, but they must walk it by them self. And personally, Christ is closer to me at home, or if I am out with my dog then in a church, each time I enter a church, or did, I always think “how many of you are here because you had no choice, how many of you are here because you think you need to, how many of you are here because you need to show all others how good you are”. I do like best those who come because they really want to. I would like to attend Mass, and maybe I one day can again, but when that time may come it will be out of my free will, a gift God gave me the day I was born. We all want freedom, and we all know that freedom is not something we all have, let us give our children freedom to make some choices, and let us respect them for what they are, and as L.Pasteur did say, “let us respect the children for what they are and for what they may be one day”. I am Catholic, all the way, I do what The RCC tech, but I am aware of the fact that God have give us the freedom of being free. The Finnish history are full of incidents when we have been forced to think some way we don’t like, or speak a language that is not our own, so I may love the freedom more, as all who live in Europe do. To obey The RCC is one example of freedom, I can obey or I can disobey, and Christ love me anyway. We Catholics, and I am a very devoted one, have after all no right to force or bully anyone to do something we don’t would not like. A teenager will make up his/her mind someday, but have no fear, Christ is with him or her no matter what, that is a solemn promise Christ did give us, He went to prepare room for us, and I believe in that, as we all should.

Hi, I am a junior in high school. There is a book written by Peter Kreeft that I bought over the summer. It is targeted at high schoolers and those preparing for Confirmation. It answers a lot of questions pertaining to the God and the Catholic Church. I found it excellent and compelling. I highly recommend it for your son. It will change his perspective (hopefully) on many things, including the Mass.


I don’t want to derail the thread but I don’t think this is true. Jesus was crucified once. We are participating in the Passover but we are NOT crucifying Christ again

I would point out that your son is welcome to his opinion. Then I would explain what the mass is about and as long as he is living under your roof, he has to go no matter how boring he thinks it is. You can force a kid to do something, you can not force them to like it

Personally, I think you two are both going to extremes.

ServusHumilis: I see where you’re coming from that a laissez-faire approach can just encourage atheism. But it is true, however, that forcing religion on your kids can encourage it even faster. Currently, the OP’s son just sounds like he thinks Mass is boring and pointless, not like he’s becoming an atheist. To be honest, I was that way growing up. And yet now (with NO parental prodding), I have a group of friends I go to Mass with every Sunday (and on HDOs), and I’m even planning on asking one of them out! Forcing him to go to Mass and Confession will just enforce the image of the Church being outdated and legalistic.

Lasting faith: On the other hand, the OP should still try to get his/her son to Mass. However, instead of just using parental power to do so, like you seem to be condemning, I would use this as a chance for catechesis. Perhaps if the OP’s son understood more of what Mass means and more of the theology, he wouldn’t find it as boring. But again, I don’t think the OP shouldn’t try at all. That would just open the way for the OP’s son to disregard religion later in life.

Perhaps ServusHumilis’ wording was a bit off, but it was still fairly close. We aren’t crucifying Christ again, but we are still witnessing that same sacrifice on Calvary presented to us again in the Mass.

Unfortunately, his mind has probably been plagued by other Catholic youth.

The Mass is a Sacrifice. The Mass is the ultimate weapon against the devil. Does he think it’s a simple remembrance service?

Try taking him to a Traditional Latin Mass, or a Byzantine Divine Liturgy. They aren’t boring, and he will probably he interested in Catholicism when he sees one. :slight_smile:

My answer (mom of six, 2 now adult and practicing, 2 teenagers, my opinion only, your mileage may vary):

  1. Anything is boring and pointless if that’s the attitude you bring to it. Can there be anything more boring or pointless or irrelevant than a football (basketball/soccer/etc.) game?
    Of course not - unless you are emotionally invested in the teams and/or the sport. Ditto for mass.

  2. It is entirely up to him to decide to learn more about the mass so he can better understand it. You’ll be happy to speak with him and direct him to appropriate resources but whether he wants to continue to see it this way or not is his decision.

  3. As a minor living in your household, attending mass however is YOUR decision and you have decided he needs to go - for your own sake and peace of mind if nothing else. I know it means a great deal to me to have my family with me at mass (whether they are “focused” or not). This is the same as getting their teeth cleaned at the dentist or visiting grandma - want to or not, until they are independent, some family things are not negotiable.

  4. As a family member he is welcome to make suggestions for what would make mass attendance less burdensome for him (different priest, different time, different seats, family breakfast post-mass, etc.) and you will take his views into consideration but the final say will be your’s and your spouse’s.

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