“For God so loved the world that He did not send a committee.”
“If I ought to write the truth, I am of the mind that I ought to flee all meetings of bishops, because I have never seen any happy or satisfactory outcome to any council, nor one that has deterred evils more than it has occasioned their acceptance and growth.” – St. Gregory Nazianzus (ep. 131)
It seems to me that all this thrashing around with a Synod (“walking together”) is a waste of time… at least when it comes to the topic of “young people”.
First, there is almost no way that what happens there won’t come off as condescending.
Next, there is almost no way that what happens there will produce “solutions”.
How about this.
Let’s return to the liturgical worship of our forebears and give that a try, with the whole thing that even Vatican II commanded (Gregorian chant, Latin, no innovations, etc.).
Let’s return to clear preaching and explication of doctrine, succinctly and with conviction. Getting rid of unneeded microphones could help (cf. McLuhan).
Let’s promote parish activities as of yore and opportunities for corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
But it all comes back to preaching (catechesis) and, above all, sacred liturgical worship.
My old pastor, Msgr. Schuler was wont to quip, “Nemo dat quod non got”, purposely macaronic, for “You can’t give what you aint’ got.”
We have to know clearly what we believe (fides quae creditur) and have a solid, holy relationship with the content of our Faith (fides quae creditur – a Person!) and we must be able to communicate it clearly and with charity (1 Peter 3:15).
If we don’t know who we are, then we can’t share who we are. If we can’t share who we are, why should anyone bother to listen to us?
Why should young people listen to the previous generations if a) we don’t know the Faith and b) we don’t act like we believe it?
The strongest signals they receive are c) the Faith doesn’t mean enough to us that we want to hand it on and d) they don’t see us on our knees.
They see us stick our hands out and they know that we never go to confession. They’re not stupid.
And yet, inherent, I think, in young people, especially children, is a liturgical being struggling to be realized. They want truth. They have the right inclinations. Hence, when they don’t get the good stuff that our forebears worked out really well, then they search for it elsewhere and through all they know: enthusiastic dashing about.
The starting point, therefore, is a renewal of our sacred liturgical worship of God. That’s where we must start and that’s where we must wind up.
We cannot simply have a marketing approach evangelization. Everything we do must flow from our Catholic identity and that must start and aim at worship, as individuals and as congregations.
We need liturgical worship for our identity, like our bodies need shelter, air and nourishment.
If we have become ineffective bring the Faith to the masses and the masses to the Faith, including young people, then we need to review how we are worshiping Almighty God.
We need a strong, hard identity liturgical life! Prayer in the home with joy! Works of mercy as a regular part of life!
Ask yourselves: Is what are you are getting at your parish or chapel providing what young people (and you) need? Clear Catholic identity (which involves works of mercy as a sine quibus non)?
Fathers: Is that what you are providing for your flocks?
If not… for the love of all that’s holy WHY NOT?!?
This Synod stuff will wind up being smoke and mirrors, I’m afraid, unless simple points are addressed.