Why do some Catholic young people quit practicing the faith for a while?


#1

I mean when they turn 18 and go to college. It seems like a lot of them-Catholic young adult drop out of church-but only for a year or 2 maybe.

But why is that?

Did/does it have to do with their family life at home or poor catachesis or ?


#2

sometimes i jst think its family problems & things surrounding us. im 19 & thank god im still keeping my faith alive. there is days that gets a little shaky like today. bt i always remind myself of all the good things god has given me & i dnt think i can even leave my faith & hurting him in any way, even though i do it when i talk back to my parents or other things. Or it can be that they forget of all the things god has given them, all the beautiful things god brings in our life when we have faith & we never forget about him.


#3

Family life and poor catechesis could be the reasons why. Some young people think that the Mass is boring and pointless (IT'S HEAVEN ON EARTH. HOW IS IT BORING AND POINTLESS?!) Some parents just drag their kids along for the heck of it, and then when those kids go to college, they see no need in going to Mass anymore since their parents made it out as a "chore."


#4

I think unfortunately it might not be just for a while, but it might be permanent.

Out of the five members of my family in my generation, I'm the only one who goes to Mass regularly. We all went to Catholic school.

I think the problem is rooted in catechesis. I don't know about you, but although I was taught about the "basics" of Catholicism, I wasn't taught about mortal sin, the need of confession if you're in mortal sin, sanctifying grace, the need for baptism, the Mass as a sacrifice, the proofs for the existence of God, purgatory was mentioned once to my memory, etc.

I think that fifty years ago, people accepted authority for its own sake. These days, for better or for worse, thanks to the "question everything" mentality people want to know the reasoning behind things. I wasn't taught the great intellectual reasoning behind the faith, and I wasn't taught those elements of the faith which would make some "uncomfortable." Thus, for years I, and my relatives still, hold to the belief that the Church's sacraments are old superstitions, and her beliefs old fashioned morals which will change with the times.

In short, my generation needs to be taught not just that God exists, but why God must exist. Not just that same-sex marriage, or abortion, or contraception are wrong, but why they are wrong.

Absent that, and absent teaching the faith in its fullness, most young people won't come to Mass more.


#5

[quote="jason3477, post:1, topic:249021"]
I mean when they turn 18 and go to college. It seems like a lot of them-Catholic young adult drop out of church-but only for a year or 2 maybe.

But why is that?

Did/does it have to do with their family life at home or poor catachesis or ?

[/quote]

The obvious reason seems to me is that they are no longer under the influence of their parents.


#6

I cannot answer in general but I can share what some young or middle age adults share when then come back for confirmation, return to the faith when they have children preparing for sacraments, seek marriage convalidation etc. have told me.

The number one reason for males especially who stop practicing the faith as teens or young adults is that the father does not practice. Girls also express this but it is rare to talk to a young man who does not list this as at least one reason why he stopped going to Mass etc.

The second is that since they drupped out of formal Religious education before or after confirmation having regarded it as a duty, rather than from any desire to know more about Christ and serving his Church, they simply have a very poor knowledge of what it means to be CAtholic, other than whatever cultural and family customs they know.

The third is that there has been a decision to adopt an objectively sinful lifestyle, and they do know enough about Catholic moral teaching to know it is wrong, and suffer from cognitive dissonance if they try to remain active Catholics with no current intention to change their manner of living. When they reach a point where they begin to undergo true conversion, there seems to be a movement of grace back to the sacraments, and that often comes with a desire for more formal faith instruction, bible study, and completion of initiation sacraments, and for marriage in the Church.


#7

[quote="jason3477, post:1, topic:249021"]
I mean when they turn 18 and go to college. It seems like a lot of them-Catholic young adult drop out of church-but only for a year or 2 maybe.

But why is that?

Did/does it have to do with their family life at home or poor catachesis or ?

[/quote]

Speaking from my experience only, I found it really difficult to stay with the Church during my college years because the parish that encompassed my university offered nothing in terms of social activities or faith formation for young Catholics. And this was a 45,000 student body university, so this parish could have reached out to literally thousands of young Catholics. There was CCD (this was the 70s and early 80s), marriage and baptism classes, and the usual Altar Society and KoC groups, but nothing that really appealed to the 18-25 y.o. crowd. Yeah, there are 18-year-old young women who dig altar decorating, but there are far more who might be interested in a solid Bible study class or even a social group of youth Catholics who get together for pizza or some such. But no.

So, for four years I was a pew potato more or less every Sunday, and that was about it. And once I got to graduate school, in 1983, the parish encompassing that major American university was no better, so I got to maybe a Mass a month.

Is it ultimately my own fault I drifted away? Absoutely. Was I particularly encouraged to stay? I didn't feel it. Did anyone seem to care if I was involved in parish life or not? No. So, what do you expect?


#8

I believe there are a number of reasons. Rebellion against parents and everything they hold dear, and opting for immoral lifestyles that the church condemns are the ones I have most often encountered and experienced myself. It is difficult to remain faithful when we are assaulted by different messages from society that is increasingly anti-Christian. Young people are easily influenced.


#9

I think it's more to do with adopting a party type of lifestyle that seem's fun and exciting (casual sex, drinking, etc) and the fear that if they didn't do these thing's they might feel later in life that they missed out. I'm saying as a 22 year old who used to think this year's ago however now i still go out to club's, theme pub's etc but wouldn't be up for immoral act's such as casual sex, drugs etc and try to just drink more socially and have good time. Bible studies and other thing's were never something that appealed to me at all


#10

Good question - is it so they can get to know the opposite sex without feelings of guilt and make themselves available to date and be dated by people who expect a sexual relationship - and then 'find' their faith again in time for middle class respectabilty and a nice, Church wedding?:p

I agree, I had very little teaching after primary school (age 11) about doctrine and the Catechism, so I sort of found out some things were mortal sins after I'd tried them! I was a late baby for my parents, so they were of a generation that just assumed nice girls didn't do wild parties and the rest and that their daughter was a nice girl.

Seriously though, I remianed a virgin throughout my college years because I thought the men there were by and large an immature bunch and I really wanted to save myself for someone I would marry. I also knew contraception was wrong - so basically, it wasn't worth the risk.

Throughout this time, I made a real effort never to miss Mass and would have described myself as a good Catholic. It was only years later, when I found out something that - had I known - I could have saved myself an awful lot of heartache - that I started to look more deeply into what it actually means to be a Catholic. To be honest, I still find bits of it difficult to accept, but I enjoy having that sense of order in my life and if I'm brutally honest about it - whether I like them or not, the rules do make sense (just like a father's love for his chidlren - so it does what it says on the tin ;))

The thing I find hardest to come to terms with are the people my age who have deliberately and knowingly comitted mortal sins, but see themselves as too smart for rules that they see as designed for Medieval peasants to apply to them - and yet they still claim to be Catholics - especially when it comes to getting their kids into good schools and keeping their own parents sweet:p


#11

The kids I talked to at my college who were raised Catholic told me that they found the mass very repetitive and boring and many of them attended non-denominational churches or other protestant campus churches that were more upbeat and utilized a lot of contemporary music. I also noticed from my time spent there when I visited different churches is that the non-denominational and protestant churches usually head leaders/speakers who were college age that a lot of us felt we could relate to, but the Newman Center at my school had a Wednesday night that was just college focused which I liked. Now that I am no longer at my college or near a Newman Center I find myself missing it so much because the Catholic church in my town does not even compare to the church at my college because it's very dry cut and there aren't a lot of young people my age or college age oriented ministry. It's either kids, youth, or adult ministries it would be nice if more churches had something for young adults.


#12

In my case, my convert father stopped going to church when my (also) convert mother passed away. I was 10, had done my First Eucharist but never made it to confirmation. I may have tried to go to church alone (seem to remember that) but my mother was the spiritual glue of the family, she was very devout. After that, I just stopped being Catholic, and got into all sorts of other stuff including paganism and witchcraft, Zen Buddhism, yoga, all sorts of spirituality. I had no one in my life who went to church at all, especially not the Catholic Church.

So I'm kind of amazed I ever found my way back...Well, the Lord led me back, really, through the miracle of the creation of a child...and his birth...

But I gotta lotta catching up to do as far as catechism...

:)

My son quit going to church because 1) his then-girlfriend was not religious and 2) he had a reason to be guilty and feel guilty when he went to church. He's been back a few times now, mainly because he wants to please his brother, but it's been a long slow road. I have not been good at catechising and my husband although Catholic by sacraments, is not practicing and sometimes is derisive of the Church, usually not in front of the boys. But he doesn't help with their faith life AT ALL, not one tiny bit.


#13

As the poster above stated, a lot of kids stop practicing Catholicism and attend non-denominational churches because of the "interesting" and "age-appropriate" services they hold. I know from experience that my sister went to a non-demoninational services a few times with a friend, and they were practically rock concerts for young adults with a little religion throw into the mix. I'm sorry, but I don't think I should go to church to be entertained. It's not about me.


#14

For me it was a number of things. Primarily, it was the fact that I was only exposed to the "basics" as another poster said. Our faith is rich, interesting and very challenging. But I was pretty much just taught "go to mass on Sunday and don't sin" Compared to the breath and dept of what I learn in my lit, science and history classes.....the Church was a little dull.

The second reason I wasn't an active Catholic was because there didn't seem to be any "normal" Catholics. I understand this was a childish view but it seemed that all of the Christian groups were full of zealots. It reminded me of being in preschool with that kid that always said "ummmmm......I am telling!" There is being a good Catholic and then there is being overbearing.

There are of course more personal reasons I fell away too but I think those were the two biggest roadblock to finding my way back.


#15

I can offer my personal story to answer your question somewhat as a "revert".

I was a good Catholic boy in my youth. I altar served till the end of high school, I went every sunday with my Mom, to the early mass no less, and went to one of the best catholic private schools out there that teaches according to the Magisterium, all those fun things like true Catholic theology, arguments for proof of God, Moral theology, etc. So here's where things went wrong:
1) I went away to university Monday to Fridays. Because my parents were overprotective and overburdening (a.k.a. they actually loved me) I saw it as FREEDOM!!! AHOOOGA!!!! This was my biggest reason that led to my falling away though the others listed here contributed too.
2) The university I went to had a very weak to non-existent Catholic community at time that consisted of masses on campus and 1-3 yearly events. No retreats, no adoration, nothing else. They have imrpoved since I graduated. Of course they had 2 general Christian groups: Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ. And I only went to one event of theirs each, mainly because of a girl I liked belonging to each one.
3) I was literally a 2 minute walk to the bar area downtown from my bachelor pad.
4) I have a lot of conflict toward my mother who is my Catholic parent (Dad isn't Catholic) and she's somewhat odd about her faith (Think Judge Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame). Now at Uni, I can make my own choices and not have my mother force me to go to Mass because that's what you do in the family.
5) Sheer laziness, including many late night or all nighter computer gaming sessions and being too tired to get up.
6) Once I came back from University, there wasn't much positive influences convincing me to come back to my faith: I was forced again to go to Mass, I was focusing on a 2nd post-secondary ed program in health care/sciences, I went to a youth group at another church where it was mainly "Passion Play group" for 1/2 the school year and the people in it were of an odd bunch that didn't help me grow in my faith.

What really helped me was the current youth ministry I'm in now at my home parish that started up in 2009. I could extrapolate further if you want but you wanted to know why people leave their faith.


#16

Oh I never really quit practicing my faith by choice...did I??? Everything was so darn SUBTLE I didn't just wake up one day and suddenly find myself not Catholic.

Miss Mass? Sure I guess, after all I am tired and God will understand! I'll go next weekend with my parents so no big deal right? One sin slips into another into another...missing Mass once was the beginning of a tailspin for me. Then boyfriends and sexual activity arrrrrrrrrrgh what I wish I could take back!.

Good thread, a good reminder to pray pray pray pray for our young people and the temptations they face!


#17

Ok, well let me unburden more of my heart here.

I'm 34 years old and I never really went always to the Catholic church when I was growing up becasue my Dad was a non-pracitincg Catholic he was into drugs and things like that, and my mom was/is Baptist.

So I've just recenly started going to a few different Catholic Parishes since then en of 2009, but I DID have my first comuioin before that and I go to reconciliation now too.

And I'm single, never been married or even had any kids and never evern really dated either.

And the parishes here where I go are mostly in the suburbs. So I kind of feel like a fish out of water in the parishes. Becasue 1. I'm single and I go by myself and becasue 2.. they all seem to have money there....=the other parishoners.

That's why I went to a few mega-churches before and the idea is still tempting to me to go back to the mega-churches or just not go to any church at all.......

What do you think?

What should I do?


#18

[quote="jason3477, post:17, topic:249021"]
Ok, well let me unburden more of my heart here.

I'm 34 years old and I never really went always to the Catholic church when I was growing up becasue my Dad was a non-pracitincg Catholic he was into drugs and things like that, and my mom was/is Baptist.

So I've just recenly started going to a few different Catholic Parishes since then en of 2009, but I DID have my first comuioin before that and I go to reconciliation now too.

And I'm single, never been married or even had any kids and never evern really dated either.

And the parishes here where I go are mostly in the suburbs. So I kind of feel like a fish out of water in the parishes. Becasue 1. I'm single and I go by myself and becasue 2.. they all seem to have money there....=the other parishoners.

That's why I went to a few mega-churches before and the idea is still tempting to me to go back to the mega-churches or just not go to any church at all.......

What do you think?

What should I do?

[/quote]

hahaha. That sounds similar to my situation.


#19

I don't think you can really pinpoint it on one thing. I have 7 children, homeschooled them all for 16 years. Oldest child (21) is still practicing and never wavered. Second is 18 and has quit going to church within the last 18 months. I have several other friends who homeschooled in the same situation. All of these children received strong catechisis. What went wrong? I think there could be many things, our horrible world being probably the biggest. It is so anti-God and full of wild attractions. It is a very discouraging spot to be in for parents today. It doesn't seem to matter what we do. I am just hopeful that I planted the seed and that they will someday come back to it.


#20

I think the key issue here is the fact that to want to go to mass you need to know Christ, you need to own the faith that you have been taught, if you do, you will keep coming back to it. It is not the amount of CCD that will effect this, it is being able to hear the word of God that is key and this can happen in a variety of times and ways. God can use us in time..despite our sinfulness and sometimes our apparent wanderings can actually be necessary to our vocation.


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