“What young Catholics want.  What old Catholics want young Catholics to want.”

A couple of related stories.

Consider this against the background of some clever tweets that are going around.  Some wags post side by side images of something traditional and something liberal with the caption, “What young people want… What old people want young people to want.”

Now, forward! (Which is the traditional way, after all.)

First, our friend Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a piece giving 10 reasons why liberal catholicism is doomed to fade away.  Let’s see the first, part. Take note that the image heading the piece is an old, and I mean old, photo of the LCWR on the march! Slowly.

Ten Reasons Why Liberal Catholicism Will Fade Away

The late Cardinal George of Chicago [of happy memory] said, “Liberal Christianity is a failed experiment.” At this time in the church there seems to be a rise in the liberal or progressive wing of Catholicism. However, those who are concerned about this should keep several big picture aspects in mind.

First of all, our dear old Catholic Church, when it tries to keep up with the times, is invariably about twenty or thirty years behind the times. That is to say, when the Catholic Church started bringing in folk hymns and round churches and groovy priests, the trend had already pretty much reach a peak and was fading out.

The liberalism we are seeing in the Catholic Church at this time is not new. It is not fresh. It is not young. It is not innovative. It is old. It is passe. It is derivative. It is uninspiring.

It is a bunch of old folks who are either trying with one last gasp to resurrect the glory days of the sixties and seventies, or it is a few well meaning intellectuals who really do feel that climate change, neo-Marxism and the adaption of current sexual ideologies are the way to bring the church into the modern age.

Secondly, liberalism is always a protest movement. It always has to have something to campaign against. But now it has become the establishment default setting it has rather had the wind knocked out of its sails. Liberalism is driven by anger[That’s for sure!   This is one of the reasons why libs are so humorless.] and if there is nothing to rage about you run out of gas.

Thirdly, liberal Christianity is, by definition an adaptive ideology. [It does precisely what Paul warns against: it seeks to conform to the world and the world’s ways.] It believes that to survive, Christianity has to adapt to every age and culture in which it finds itself. If the culture and age in which it finds itself is still residually Christian there’s no problem, but if the culture and age in which it finds itself is radically anti-Christian, then to adapt to the culture is to cease to be Christian. Thus we have liberal Catholics who, incredibly, support same sex marriage, abortion, remarriage after divorce and who knows what else that isn’t really part of the Christian religion

Fourth, liberal Christianity focusses more on this world than the next. It is concerned more with making this world a better place than preparing for a better place. People aren’t dumb. They soon realize that you don’t need to be religious to make the world a better place, so they sleep in on Sundays. Liberal Christianity is therefore self defeating.  [Libs, as modernists, reduce the supernatural to the nature at every turn.]

With this in mind, here are ten reasons why, despite the present appearances, Catholic liberalism will shudder, fade out, flicker and die.


Check out the 10 reasons over there.

Next, at First Things there is a piece by Matthew Schmitz about the tone and spirit of the document from “young people” issues shortly ago as a lead up to the 2018 Synod.

Here’s a taste…

The document is supposed to have been written by young Catholics for the benefit of bishops, but it eerily repeats what certain bishops have long been saying. For instance, the “youths” declare: “Sometimes, in the Church, it is hard to overcome the logic of ‘it has always been done this way.’” But at the opening of the meeting, Francis had said the same thing: “You provoke us to break free of the logic of ‘it has always been done this way.” This is not a dialogue; it is an echo.

This makes the document significant—and unsettling. The document manifests an aversion to whatever is sacred, holy, divine. It laments that “sometimes we feel that the sacred appears to be something separated from our daily lives.” But that is the precisely the meaning of the word “sacred”—that which is set apart.


Remember the tweets?   “What young Catholics want.  What old Catholics want young Catholics to want.”

Reduction of the supernatural to the natural.

Conforming to the world.

On the other hand, we see demographic studies which suggest that in a few years, the number of Catholics attending Mass will plummet.


It’s not liberalism.

Several things are staring us in the face, however.

Alas.  As I have written before and I will have to write again, there are those in the Church who would rather tear churches and institutions down, burn the wreckage and then sow the ground with salt rather than try reconnecting to our roots.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Absit invidia says:

    “Liberal Christianity is a failed experiment” – that is the true statement of the century.

    Imagine what the Church can accomplish if liberalism was rooted out of Her. Yet, we still have bishops who want to play both fields … prolonging the damage and the eventual realization that we all know liberalism is a failure.

  2. NBW says:

    I am very disappointed that the liberal regime in the Church is still trying to keep the young & old from the Truth and real Catholicism. AND…Not all old people want the crappy guitar Masses and all the liberal garbage. Many of us never asked for all the garbage the liberal Church at the time rammed down our throats. We were hungry for the Old Mass even though we were never exposed to it. We were hungry for all the Traditions of the Church even though they were hidden under lock and key from us. If there were Adoration chapels I know many would have been there to Adore Him. Many of us are hurt and angry that the people in charge at the time (and now) are pushing novel things and ideas that are not truly Catholic. And now younger people look at us and point their finger saying”you want guitar Masses” when most of us really don’t.

  3. tamranthor says:

    For those who wish the Church to conform to the world, we already have the world as it is. For what reason would we need a church that is simply another part of that world?

    Pretty sure I read somewhere about a particular snake who thought a lady by the name of Eve should conform to the world, too. Not sure that worked out all that well for her.

    The people who want the Church to focus on this world instead of (not along with) the next are the same people who promote “sacred” music that spends more time saying “Yay Us!” than praising Our Lord or Our Lady. It is clear that they are at Church to celebrate themselves, rather than Him who made us and sustains us. There is an odd pathology there that has exactly nothing to do with anything sublime.

  4. Thorfinn says:

    Demographic trends are fascinating to me but just a starting point. What goes up can come down, and vice versa. At one point there were 11 Apostles and a limited number of other disciples tasked with converting the entire world. And we are not helpless — we have help human, angelic, divine.

    I see a huge shift in emphasis between those – of any age – whose faith was formed under S. John Paul II and those formed or enhanced under Benedict XVI. Those formed under the former read Vatican II in an orthodox way; those formed under the latter connected to the riches of the Church pre-Vatican II. The two emphases are complementary and form fertile ground for growth. And then there are those – again, of any age – formed under a hermeneutic of rupture, which as we have seen is a dead end.

  5. Malta says:

    “This is one of the reasons why libs are so humorless.” Excellent! Two great writers, Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton were two of the funniest men to walk this earth. They called them Chesterbelloc because they were such great friends. I used to read the book “The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts” (source: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/27175) by Belloc to my kids, which still makes them laugh. Absolute comic genius! But these men were no liberals–they were very focused on the Catholic faith after Elizabeth/Henry VIII purged Catholics from England. They of course attended the Latin Mass (as did JRR Tolkien, as an aside, even after the new mass was introduced). When I go to, for instance, FSSPX masses I see tons of families with kids–when I go to Novus Ordo masses playing banjos I mostly see aging hippies, relishing the “good ol’ days” of the 60’s, but completely humorless; it’s almost like some of them walk around angry about something. I mean there are Novus Ordo masses well prayed, and people are very happy with it; so, I don’t mean to generalize. But I’ve just seen more family life in the Traditional Order of mass. I’ve been an investigator in one capacity or another for almost 20 years, and it’s my job to see things that most people don’t. I can say for absolute fact that the Traditional orders of the mass engender more family life.

  6. Sawyer says:

    Regarding liturgical music, it’s not only what old Catholics want young Catholics to want, it’s also what the music publishers such as OCP, GIA and WLP want priests, liturgists and music directors to want so that those companies can sell their music. In my travels I am frequently astonished at how much schlocky, inappropriate music is performed at Mass and performed poorly. How do so many people apparently without good taste or judgment or knowledge of liturgy get into positions in dioceses and parishes where they are able to foist such horrible music on assemblies and distort the Mass? Look at the recent Los Angeles Rel. Ed. Congress for examples of terrible liturgy and music. That becomes a model for people who don’t know what they’re doing. They say, “Look, it’s done in L.A. and it draws big crowds” and they copy it. The music publishers are all too happy to promote it and go along with it because they profit from it. You look at parishes today and young adults are not at those parishes. Old people who think they are playing hip, groovy, current music that appeals to today’s sensibilities are driving young adults away because the music is bad and performed badly, turning Mass into a dreary concert interrupted by prayer.

  7. Malta says:

    But to the point of this excellent post: young people really need the TLM. We live in a confused world. An adrenaline shot of sound doctrine is what these kids need. Many of them are very confused. I have four daughters, a son, and a grandson. I had to baptize my own grandson (with my daughters permission) because she’s part of some protestant church that advocates to let the child wait to be baptized until they decide if they want to be baptized. That wasn’t going to fly with me–I know you baptize with the right form (water) and intent. So I had to baptize him–he’s like my own son to me, since the father is out of the picture. I don’t see how there could be any prelate on earth who is still against the TLM since it inspires family.

  8. chantgirl says:

    Deja vu. Sounds like our last synod all over again. I was one of those who signed the petition for the bishops to walk out of the last synod, because when it became clear that the synod was rigged, its outcome predetermined, I couldn’t stand the thought of good bishops being used as pawns to enact immorality and sacrilege. I understand that many of them thought it best to stay and fight it out, but I wonder if, having seen the wrecking ball that is AL, they would go back and do anything differently.

    Well, this time we have seen how the process works, and what the tactics are. Best to prepare for the circus now and be proactive in an attempt to steal their thunder. Perhaps a parallel meeting could be called during the time of the synod, with actual Catholic youth participating ( those who assent to the teachings of the Church and have been properly catechized). If the real synod is going to be an echo-chamber kangaroo court, there is no reason that Catholic youth could not have their own meeting and invite the press. Barring that, actual Catholic youth could gather outside the actual synod and speak to the fading hippie generation in the only language it understands- protest.

    OnePeterFive has a pretty good summary of the way actual Catholic youth voices are being “filtered” and stifled ahead of the synod:


  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    I hate to start an unfair and uncharitable meme, but sometimes, humor has a place in skewering the pompous. Parts of the pre-Synod document that I have read sounds like they were purchased from a store called, Documents-&#7449-Us.

    Look, I trust few documents that claim to represent opinions unless I can see the raw data. How did they collect and process the data? What safeguards were put in place to insure a lack of bias?

    In other words, Gentlemen of the pre-Synod committee – do you think we are idiots? Do you think we don’t know how to do research at least as well, if not better, in some cases, than you?? Have you even had a course in statistics or research methodology (no, bibliography for theological research does not count)? Good grief. No one and I mean no one should give these results the time of day. This is insulting. Oh, the document may have been made by well-intentioned people, but they seem to have no idea what they are doing, from what I have seen, based upon how the research, if you want to call it that, were done. If I were wealthy, I would do my own survey, with proper safe-guards, to insure a fair and representative sampling of opinion. I would bet my final document would look nothing like theirs. Perhaps, I am wrong, but in science, we share data, we reproduce results (if we are careful) and we strive to represent nature as it really is, not how we think or wish it should be.

    More than that, however, excuse my excess of zeal, but Christ waited to start his ministry until he was 30, which would have been the equivalent of 50 years old, today, in terms of life-expectancy, so, ironically, He would have been excluded from your survey. In other words, to quote Bernard-Shaw, “It is a pity youth is wasted on the young.” What the heck did I know at the age of twenty-three, say, that could have really aided the Church in her mission? You gain wisdom by obedience and by suffering, which we euphemistically, today, call, experience. Some (a very few) youth are given extraordinary graces of wisdom at a young age, such a St. Therese of Liseaux, but I assure you that even she paid her dues to gain that wisdom.

    Many older people have raised youth, have seen the problems and the pitfalls. Did you bother to ask them for their wisdom, their experience in raising youth? You are asking youth what they want in the Catholic Church rather than asking the wise question, the question that would really indicate that you intend to be true pastors: what do they need. I solemnly assure you, it isn’t a conversation on homosexuality without taboos! Indeed, St. Paul says such things should not even be discussed among Christians. That young people want such a thing tells me that they are clueless when it comes to Essential Things.

    I may be ranting, but I teach these same youth you are surveying, every day. I darn well think I have a good sense about what they need (not want). I teach students from all over the world, so my observations are cosmopolitan. Have you consulted us, those on the front lines of forming the youth about our experiences? Really…

    Look, I have been taught and formed by master teachers, living legends in both the arts and sciences. I have observed them, carefully. Do you not think we (my teachers and I) have had conversations on modern youth? We know them as you know them, if you are doing parish ministry, except that we do something you, apparently, by virtue of this document, are unwilling to do – we consider it our solemn duty to pass down the knowledge of the ages, the learned experience of which we are the guardians. Yes, we expect some of that wisdom to be challenged, but always with respect and reverence for those who did the work.

    You want youth to take up a sax and play jazz, but that is not how it works. The best jazz musicians start from humility. They listen to the Giants; they learn from the Masters. Then, only then, when the knowledge of the Master, the way of the Teacher, has become their knowledge, do they set out on their own path.

    No, you want to ask half-tone-deaf youth to tell you what a good sax solo sounds like, as if their youth gives them an inside knowledge. Let me clue you in – rare is that wisdom that comes from youth. Savor it, encourage it, where you find it, but don’t expect to conduct a badly- formed survey and expect to find it within the results. Shame on you!

    What do old Catholics want young Catholics to want? We want to hear the astounding solos we expect from them, but we want to be sure that they have studied the recordings of the Master Teacher and that His thoughts have become their thoughts, first. We want be sure that the hands we leave the future in will be well-formed hands, strong hands, nimble hands, new limbs formed from an Old Flame.

    Dear pastors of the Synod, dear pastors…do not make me fear for the future, please, do not. There is nothing new about the youth, today, that Christ did not know and show us when he walked the earth. You say that Christ accompanied them, but that word is never, once used in the Gospels. Let me, instead, finish this comment by quoting the best words ever addressed to youth and ones you should know. It was written by a youth, when he was an old man (1John 2:13 – 29):

    I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
    I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
    I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
    For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
    Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
    But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
    I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
    Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
    Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].
    Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
    And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
    These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
    But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
    And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    In the name of Him whose death is the fountain of all wisdom, I plead with you: do not stop to bargain with the future, for in one wasted moment, the youth of today will have moved on to another age and what will you have left them and future generations of a posterity? Do not look for the youth of this age for answers, but tell the youth of all ages of the timeless beauty, of the ineffable truths that awaits them, if only they will sit beneath the Cross and listen to the music of the Master. Truly, it is only there that they will find the answer and the way that will satisfy their hearts.

    Oh, tell them…

    The Chicken

  10. chantgirl says:

    And, as a completely ridiculous side note, if there is one thing I absolutely hate liberals for, is giving the guitar a bad name. I go to the EF Mass, and I play guitar, but never at the same time ;) However, all of you libs have given my beloved instrument a bad name. Trads wonder if I am a true trad, carrying that weapon of Mass destruction around.

    I assure you, guitars are like guns. They are only dangerous in the wrong hands.

  11. LeeGilbert says:

    This discussion bring to mind an article I wrote up (but did not submit) in 2013 with the intention of sending it to the Catholic Sentinel, our diocesan paper here in Portland.

    Recently at St. Mary’s Cathedral [Portland,OR], we had a great presentation on Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. In the Q&A a young woman asked our speaker why so many young priests are interested in the Latin Mass and in much of the pre-Vatican II ecclesiastical culture. She answered that perhaps it is due to the natural rebelliousness found in everyone, that perhaps it is a kind of rebellion against the older generation who were so thrilled to be able to celebrate Mass in the vernacular after the council. To me, at least, this seems off the mark.
    Here bear with me, for I am not at all interested here in promoting either Gregorian chant or the Latin Mass, but rather in noticing a factor that seems to underlie the renewed interest in both, a factor that we would ignore to our own great loss. That factor, I believe, is the quest for authenticity and transcendence on the part of our young people. For that matter, this may be key to understanding our new archbishop [Alexander Sample], whose appreciation of the Latin Mass and Gregorian chant is not merely antiquarian or nostalgic, but reflects his interest in developing the faith of our youth. In a February 4 article in Catholic World Report he says, “The Tridentine Mass certainly has many strengths; for example, it clearly stresses the sacrificial nature of the Mass. It also draws many young people who did not grow up with it. 1 They’re discovering their heritage and tradition. It’s providing them with something they’re not finding in the ordinary form. We need to pay attention to that.” Paying attention to that is the entire focus of this short article.
    In my own daughter I have seen the same search for authenticity. Not only was she not raised on the Latin Mass, but when once we invited her to go with us to St. John Cantius in Chicago to see what it was all about, she had absolutely no interest in going. Ultimately, however, she entered the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, Nebraska which has the Tridentine Mass in Latin and all seven liturgical hours in Latin Gregorian chant. To me this was very puzzling at first.
    Evidently, however, after feeling a call to contemplative life and beginning a year of discernment about where exactly she should go, authenticity became paramount. She did not want to commit her life to an order of women who seemed to have an ongoing identity crisis, pursuing seemingly endless enthusiasms and experiments in clothing and charism and spirituality. Rather her thinking seemed to be that if the Carmelite rule, the Tridentine Mass and the Divine Office in Latin made saints of St. Theresa of Avila, St. Therese and so many other women down the centuries, perhaps it would make a saint of her as well. So today we find her a solemnly professed nun, clothed in full habit, radiant and flourishing in a Carmelite monastery in California, thanks be to God!
    However, it is not just her or her order. From the time we left her there in June of 2007, that monastery has continued to overflow with vocations. They have had to make two new foundations, one in Elysberg, Pennsylvania in 2009 and another in Canyon, California in 2012. [And a further two since then, in Post Falls, Id and Philadelphia]. Many other traditional orders are similarly flourishing. It is true of the men as well, with the Wyoming Carmelites receiving something like 600 applications and the Benedictines of Clear Creek, Oklahoma something like 800 applications.
    We could dismiss all this as nostalgia for a past that never was, as I have heard said, but what a slur on the intelligence, learning and spirituality of the younger generation that truly is, to say nothing of a slur on the Holy Spirit who knows how to inspire every generation.
    By way of broadening the focus of the discussion and taking it altogether away from the Latin Mass controversy, here 2 is a link to an article by Marc Barnes 3, incredibly a 19 year old sophomore at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. In this article, “The Catholic Church Young People Actually Want,” authenticity and transcendence come to the fore with nary a mention of Latin. For an understanding– in their voice– of where our young people are “coming from,” I’d especially encourage you to scroll down through some of the many comments which they make. It is quite a revelation, with enormous implications for our parish, archdiocese and the Church as a whole in terms of liturgy, catechetics and vocations.
    His article is a commentary on a similarly titled article in the Washington Post, which he links. Again, read down through the comments to the WaPo article. If we want to reach our youth, should we not pay great attention to those who already are so energized by the Faith and so articulate in expressing their experience growing up in it?
    1. http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1938/portlands_new_archbishop_im_a_teacher_at_heart.aspx#.UTk_JNZ33Tq
    2. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/02/the-catholic-church-young-people-actually-want.html
    3. http://brandonvogt.com/interview-with-marc-barnes-badcatholic/

  12. David says:

    Indeed, liberal Christianity is nothing new. The future Cardinal Newman’s Anglican sermon 24, ‘The Religion of the Age’ is a scathing indictment of what is essentially contemporary suburban Catholicism.

  13. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “I assure you, guitars are like guns. They are only dangerous in the wrong hands.”

    I was always kind of partial to the way Junior Brown uses his WMD, chantgirl. ;^)

  14. majuscule says:


    I hear you on the guitar (oh, did I make a pun?). At my church our cantor is accompanied by her husband, a guitarist who is schooled in classical guitar. It makes a difference.

    Certainly, guitar should not be the first choice for music at Mass. But if we didn’t have this couple we would have no one. We surprise some visitors by using the Kyrie and Agnus Dei nearly every Sunday.

  15. Charles E Flynn says:

    Will someone, for the love of God, drive a wooden stake into the still-beating heart of the “Spirit of the 1960s”? Various literary sources attest to the efficacy of this approach.

  16. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY MORNING EDITION – Big Pulpit

  17. Peter Stuart says:

    What I wanted in the late 1970’s was a church that was strong enough to help me out of the confusion of my young life, including budding SSA that became full-blown not many years later and weighs on me to this day. What I was told to want was a feminized church that mocked tradition and manhood. And here I am 40 years later, watching it happen all over again just when I thought it was safe to try to pull myself up out of the ditch.

  18. snegopad says:

    Dear Chicken, I am so fond of this your commentary, and of your last one , that fits in here too:

    “If you are young and talented and don’t mind being poor, study Greek and Latin, philosophy, and theology, and then do the research necessary to uncover the wrong-headed thinking by the change agents of the Church of the last 100 or so years. Then, people in authority (hey, we need our own secret cabal of cardinals) begin to slowly, methodically, introduce this correct research and, knowing the tactics of the other side, demolish their arguments.
    This is the only way that the essentials of sin, of redemption, of holiness, of objectivity, will become, once again, the common inheritance of everyone in the Church. If you think that the new young priests are going to bring about this change in anything like a permanent basis, then you do not understand the forces you are fighting. The up-and-coming generation are just a pendulum swing. Until you make Modernism so distasteful, its illness so hideous, just like tobacco, it will keep coming back – maybe not in the following generation, but within centuries, certainly. St. Augustine, St. Athenasius, and many others railed against the heresy of Arianism and by the force of their arguments, prevailed (with a little help from a Council and Pope, or two). Where are the arguments against Modernism, against la Nouvelle Theologie?”

    I personnally am seeking often such arguments in discussing with neo-pagans or ex-catholics or so-called european catholics or similar species……I would be so thankful to have someone to ask, to have really such materials, arguments,
    “uncovering the wrong-headed thinking by the change-agents of the Church of the last 100 or so years”
    –as you write so brilliantly….Who can help me?

  19. Carrie says:


    This is the link to the actual document. I think it represents where most youth are today. But it also didn’t seem new. I was working in youth ministry in the 80s and 90s, and much/most of this was true then. However, for bishops who haven’t got their pulse on youth culture, this might be insightful for them.

    Is liberal Christianity a failed experiment? I don’t see it as an experiment, but part of the Church’s journey. I have experienced, and witnessed much fruit from this change in the Church. And I can understand the resistance. Though, I think using terms like “hate” about liberals makes me wonder why conservatives think they are so much holier.

    [There you go again. You bump along, more or less in a direction and with some observations worth reading. Then, at the end, you blow it with something that you didn’t think through at all.]

  20. Imrahil says:

    Dear chantgirl,

    but you have to admit that the trads, in this, did play a part when they did not distinguish “songs with open or subtle heretical content” from “inadequate songs” and those from “songs I do not like”. In itself, there is much among newer poppier Church songs that do call for a guitar which are no more (nor less) problematic than the [Meditative] Songs to Accompany the Celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, lyrics by Neumann, music by Schubert (commonly known as the “German Mass”). Also, the guitar is no more (nor less) unapt for liturgy than (certainly) the trumpet or the piano or drums and (I guess) violine and cello and any other instrument which is not a) human voice b) the organ or c) possibly the harp.

  21. hwriggles4 says:

    One recent World Youth Day (I recall it was around 2010 or 2011 in Brazil), Pope Benedict XVI defined youth as those between the ages of 18 and 29.999. How many youth responded to the surveys from this demographic? Were college Catholic Student Unions (particularly the more faithful ones) encouraged to respond? How about students from Christendom, Wyoming Catholic, and Franciscan University of Steubenville? How about seminarians, including pre-theologate? Young adult groups that have good faith formation? Frassati? Recently married Catholics that fit the under 30 age criteria?

    Someone commented earlier that the survey could have been filled out by anyone, regardless of age. How is the filtering (If any) done? Did many surveys end up in shredders or were deleted because the screeners had a different agenda? Something sounds fishy – this survey was most likely flawed.

  22. Vincent says:

    While agreeing with huge amounts of what’s been said on here and on other sites – there’s something here which makes me nervous, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    What slightly concerns me, I think, is that every time the youth are mentioned, we hear the same lines about how young people are more in touch with tradition and appreciate this, that, and the other.

    And I’ll be honest, I see some of that. But more often I see ‘Catholics’ who don’t understand why you can’t live together before marriage, who think that pre-marital sex is something that’s normal and not entirely wrong, I see people who think that women could be priests, etc. And yes, I go to some churches and there are some young people with tweed jackets and babies and all the rest of it. But I don’t see that very much.

    I believe that young people are more sensitive to the kinds of things that the Church has thrown away – they are intrigued by Latin, by codplicated liturgy, some of them are uncomfortable with sleeping around, with contraception and with abortion. Maybe they could come over to a church that was more traditional and knew what it stood for. But I don’t see it everywhere, by any means.

    What I’m getting at here is: one young person’s perspective among many others, where’s the evidence that all these young people appreciate tradition and will break the mould? Or are we creating an image of a Church that we would like to see in the future driven by people who sort of exist?

    I’m usually the first to talk about the hope of the Church, but I genuinely wonder if we’ve created this image of what our Church looks like that just isn’t going to happen. Hopefully someone has hard facts and data, but if so it’s not evident to me…

  23. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z for these articles by Fr. Longenecker and Matthew Schmitz.

    “This document does not speak for young Catholics. It fails to represent either the Catholic faith or the young people who profess it. It conjures and condemns a Church that is too institutional, too hierarchical, too focused on the sacred at the expense of the world. This image of the Church is a holdover from the 1950s, when the men who now lead the Church were young rebels.” – Matthew Schmitz

    chantgirl: Good points. “Guitar as weapon of Mass destruction” *chuckle*

    Charles E. Flynn: Exactly.

  24. Mary Fran says:

    LeeGilbert. “From the time we left her there in June of 2007, that monastery has continued to overflow with vocations. They have had to make two new foundations, one in Elysberg, Pennsylvania in 2009 and another in Canyon, California in 2012. ” I knew many of the nuns at the monastery in Elysberg. Half of them were from a Carmel in Wheeling, WV, where I first met them. I thought about being a Carmelite. Spent a summer helping the externe in Wheeling before the whole group moved to Elysburg. I remained good friends with one of the nuns for 35 years and visited a few times in Elysburg. I was very glad to not have a vocation with them as I watched that group leave behind so many of the traditional Carmelite customs—the enclosure, the traditional habits, the turn and the grates, all the other Carmelite things. Then they all grew too old to care for themselves and the buildings and moved to an old nuns place close by. I was very happy to hear about the new group from the overflowing Carmel out West taking over the place after it had been vacant for 1 1/2 years and restoring all of what seems normal for a Carmel. A woman who is entering Carmel is looking for a life that demands much of her. The ones that have left behind the demands are thankfully dying out.

  25. maternalView says:

    I don’t think the argument is going to be won based on which side has more “youth” on its side.

    For me the correct side is the one that has the people willing to die for the Faith. Whatever their age. Which Mass, traditions and teachings give us those people? I don’t think it’s hard to answer that.

  26. chantgirl says:

    Well, I suppose I should have attached a sarcasm tag to my post. I don’t hate liberals-if I did I’d have to disown 90% of my family ;)

    Yes, back in the days before I knew better, I did play guitar for Mass- things like Panis Angelicus. Now that I’m aware of what the Church actually says about music in the Liturgy- never again.

    People, Just. Say. No. to guitars at Mass. You might think to yourself, “Well this guitarist is actually classically trained and would never play Haugen”, but the next thing you know, that musician leaves the parish and some 70-year-old folk band takes his place. Before you know it, elderly women and one or two effeminate men are running around on the altar in togas, someone has filled the holy water founts with sand, the children are coloring pictures of Jesus sliding down a rainbow during the homily, 20 extraordinary ministers of holy communion are running up to the altar to distribute communion to 15 people, everyone is wearing yoga pants, and the priest reads a children’s book in place of a homily. Guitars in Mass are the gateway drug which leads to tambourines, people :)

    Vincent- you pretty much described the cultural Catholics in the West right now. To find those who are committed (and assent to the Church’s moral teachings) and catechized, for the most part, you would need to look for them at the more reverent liturgies.

  27. Malta says:

    @Carrie: “Though, I think using terms like ‘hate’ about liberals makes me wonder why conservatives think they are so much holier.”

    I was an atheist in college, and I have no Catholic relatives except my grandmother, who converted just before her death (I was her sponsor) so I know a thing or two about what not being a Catholic is like. It was only in the ‘conservative’ Catholic faith that I found solace. I found liberalism unnourishing. The ‘conservative’ TLM is holier–sorry to break your dreams that VII was a harbinger in the faith of young souls. It wasn’t. Ask yourself a serious question: of how many of those youth you tried to protect in the faith, who percentage now hold to all of the dogmas of the Church? If you deny even one dogma, you are a heretic.

  28. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “People, Just. Say. No. to guitars at Mass. …. Guitars in Mass are the gateway drug which leads to tambourines, people :)”

    Oh my goodness, chantgirl. =) Would you mind if I plagiarized that *whole* paragraph? Absolute classic!

    Once again, I don’t know how many times I’ve typed this at Fr. Z’s, I really did LOL reading this blog. Love it.

  29. surritter says:

    Perhaps I missed it, but where is the link to be able to read Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s 10 reasons? Fr. Z made a good tease for it and now I want to read the full thing.

    [Check again, I added the link.]

  30. chantgirl says:

    Midwest St. Michael- plagiarize away. Humor is a tremendous weapon. Notice that more millenials form their opinions about politics based on skits they have seen on SNL or Daily Show than from articles they have read.

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