In 2009 Pope Benedict addressed the youth of the Catholic Church by stating “The Church depends on your for this demanding mission. Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you encounter.” My first article on examiner addresses the issue of youth in the Church, an important issue for the continuation of our faith. Today Catholic youth are very unaware of many aspects of their faith; many are uninvolved because it may not be “cool,” and those who are involved are most often forced to attend church with their families or attend religious education classes. The question then lies herein. How can the church bring about involvement of the youth in cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, etc where religion, and in this case Catholicism is often a taboo topic?
The most important recommendation that I have is using EDUCATION. By education here I do not simply mean, that of a religious education in which a student takes “love, care, share” class until his/her confirmation nor do I mean that of a simple bible study. At the same time, do not get me wrong, these are all forms of education that are necessary, however our teenage youth needs more. Today those that are in middle school and high school are maturing much sooner than those at the same age ten years ago. These maturing students especially teenagers need something more than “we pray because everyone should pray and love God.” We live in a curious generation and our youth needs a solid theological education; that is, one that answers the begging question of, “why?”
The reason many of our youth are not interested in their Catholic faith is because they are uniformed of it’s biblical tradition, history, morality and philosophy behind our church doctrine, dogma, and practice. For example at one point during my undergraduate career, I had once talked to a fellow student who told me that she had stopped practicing her Catholicism. I asked why. Her response was “well I started taking birth control a few years ago for health reasons and the Catholic Church teaches that now I am going to Hell.” Well that shocked me! In fact I think it may prove that the time has come to offer theological study at parishes in Boston and other cities. I am certain that some theologians may be willing to volunteer their time to teach teenage students who are confused or genuinely interested in knowing about the real Catholic Church, I know I would. By educating students through a more theological means, the church may be able to recapture the youth by first trusting in it’s intellectual capacity and giving answers to those “why” questions.