Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Greetings to a new friend, diets, and the dearth of youngins

I have been added to the blogroll of the Deus Ex Machina blog. Check him out. I may have to begin speaking of my five loyal readers now.

The diet is going well. It's been six weeks and I'm down thirty pounds. Remember: eggs for breakfast, rare steak for lunch, whiskey for dinner. Every sixth day is your cheat day. I've got more energy than a train loaded with dynamite crashing into a nuclear submarine that's on fire.

The local FSSP parish is the exception to most of the rules, but there's definitely a shortage of singles at the typical Novus Ordo parish. Whenever I attend the Novus Ordo on Sunday, it's mostly a sea of white hair interspersed with a few young families who have very young children or recently baptized infants. Unmarried young adults between the ages of 18-29 are virtually nonexistent. I don't think it's a phenomenon restricted only to a few parishes in northern California. It's a cliché now: good Catholic boy or girl is an altar server, attends all of the classes, receives all the sacraments, goes off to college, never darkens the doorstep of a parish again until sometime in their mid to late thirties, if ever.

Everyone from bishops to bloggers has spilled a lot of virtual ink about this problem. The hierarchy usually blames things like our sex obsessed culture, the easy access to contraceptives, and the secular nature of most universities, including and especially the so-called Catholic ones. The real problem lies squarely with the Church herself. Bad catechesis is always the scapegoat but I think it's a symptom of a deeper problem: we don't take the faith seriously anymore.

That's not to say we should always come across as grim and dour when teaching or talking about the faith. But earlier generations approached it in a way that we haven't for a long time. They could have fun but in the end they understood that obeying the commandments and the precepts was a matter of eternal life and death. They accepted the reality of the supernatural and preternatural in a way we don't.

This is reflected in the documents of Vatican II which have informed virtually all of the Church's official thinking and analysis of the last fifty years. To be blunt, a lot of the Church's official teaching has been informed with humanist gobbledygook. We don't think of the Church's mission as the salvation of souls anymore but providing ease and comfort to man in this world. We used to make a distinction between the corporal and the spiritual works of mercy, and both were laudable. Now the Church herself often scolds us for performing old fashioned works of mercy like "instructing the ignorant" or "admonishing the sinner."

Young people pick up on this. If all it means to be a Christian is to be a nice guy, then what do we need to go to Mass for? Why do we need to believe in God at all for that matter, beyond thinking of him as our personal cheerleader? If nothing else, working with teenagers has proven to me that young people crave discipline and order. The harsher I am in my instructional methods, the more they eat it up. You don't have to be drill instructor hardcore; just don't sugarcoat anything. If they're instilled with good habits and good instruction as teenagers, it's that much more likely they'll stick with the faith through college instead of going off to sow their wild oats.

3 comments:

  1. What do you eat on your cheat day?

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    1. Anything and everything. On my last cheat day I had pancakes for breakfast, a Carl's Jr. six dollar burger combo for lunch, and a big bowl of ice cream with all the fixins for dinner.

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  2. The local FSSP parish is the exception to most of the rules, but there's definitely a shortage of singles at the typical Novus Ordo parish. Whenever I attend the Novus Ordo on Sunday, it's mostly a sea of white hair interspersed with a few young families who have very young children or recently baptized infants. Unmarried young adults between the ages of 18-29 are virtually nonexistent. I don't think it's a phenomenon restricted only to a few parishes in northern California. It's a cliché now: good Catholic boy or girl is an altar server, attends all of the classes, receives all the sacraments, goes off to college, never darkens the doorstep of a parish again until sometime in their mid to late thirties, if ever.

    I notice this all the time. You will see plenty of children and young folks at the FSSP parish, but at NO Masses they are mostly absent. Sometimes, when I attend a vigil Mass on Saturday, I am the youngest person there. That is disturbing on so many levels.

    And I too have noticed the whole "altar server gone forever" thing. I know far too many for whom that applies. Perhaps they will return when they get older, but who knows? What I find funny (in that you have to laugh so you don't cry), is that I never left the Church, but was never an altar server. Go figure.

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