Houston we have a problem. Some people are looking for answers in all the wrong places. Instead of relevant answers, they are simply creating many more problems. They are calling for the Church to go back to its traditional teaching but what is traditional in a traditional sense? The problem becomes quickly apparent here. The question is what is traditional?
Some have called for another directional change; they want to make the Church relevant to the youth by introducing clown Masses and other types of Masses.
The problem is neither is correct. Jesus did not speak Latin. The early Church services were not conducted in Latin. In fact, they were conducted in Aramaic the language that Jesus and his Apostles spoke. Latin was the language of the people who crucified Him and a clown Mass would never have crossed the mind of the early Church Fathers.
In June 2018, a major new survey of young Catholics in Britain found some startling findings concerning the youth age group. On the plus side, Complex Catholicism: The Lives and Faith of Young Catholics in England and Wales Today, showed a very strong increase in regular Mass attendance (at least monthly) from 25 percent of all respondents in 2009 to 36 percent in 2017. Irregular Mass attendance (less than monthly) has increased from 59 percent in 2009 to 75 percent today.
This study was conducted by Catholic research group Camino House and Cymfed, the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, in September and October of 2017. A total of 1,005 Catholics in England and Wales were surveyed online.
52% were 15-19 years old
48% were 20-25 years old
66% Identified as Catholics
33% came from a Catholic Home or went to a Catholic School
Well over half do not hold traditional Catholic beliefs on God:
- Many believe that Jesus was only human.
- Jesus was not the Son of God.
- A large number are willing to ignore the Church’s moral teachings.
- Around a third of young Catholics are positive about the future of the Catholic religion in England and Wales.
- Half of the students did not believe it was important to attend Mass regularly.
What Jesus was only a human? He was not the Son of God? Are these even Catholic Beliefs? What, you can pick and choose your own morals? If a third of your youth are not positive about your future, what does this say about your Church? What does this say about how we are teaching our religious education programs today in Church if it is not important to attend Mass regularly or attend religious education regularly?
Before you answer these questions take a look at what the PEW Foundaction found out about this problem in 2015. Five years ago, the PEW Foundation surveyed 5,275 American adults found that of those who were raised Catholic, 52 percent left the Church at some point. Of those who lapsed, 11 percent eventually returned, 41 percent would define themselves as “no longer Catholic,” and 13 percent are now “cultural Catholics,” or people who practice another or no faith, but still identify with the religion. We are losing these people because we are not teaching our own Faith. 54% of people who were Catholic when they were young will fall away from their teachings when they get older. This is a horrible indictment of a second-class religious education program.
The time for clowning around about trying to make the Mass relevant to the people has long past. Rather, we need to start looking at making our Religious Education relevant to our students right here and now. We cannot continue forever if we lose generation after generation to lousy, sub-standard, religious education programs. What are we teaching our children if we are losing so many? Should we be surprised
It is absolutely criminal to complete a religious education program and still believe that you can moral relativism, Jesus was human, and he was not a Son of God.
The Church must address this problem immediately. We do not need to change the Mass. We need a mass change in our Religious Education program. Not tomorrow but today. We cannot wait, we should not wait, and more importantly, the future of the Church depends upon it. The best way to fill the pews now and forever is to have the best possible Religious Education program today. Teach the youth the values of the Church so as adults they can value the Church and impart those values into their own children. Amen